India in Nov. reality check

Old Aug 16th, 2006, 07:21 PM
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India in Nov. reality check

I have been reseaching for our trip to India in Nov. We have three weeks are cramming everything we can see in that period. I would like to take advantage of a 15 day Jet airways pass and sleep on trains to get more in. I don't sleep on vacation much anyway, I get to excited. I know my intineray is tight but is it possible. Could someone advise me what won't work and any possible fixes. Thanks
See below

date cities plan flights / trains

10-Nov Fri Depart Pgh
11-Nov Sat arrive Delhi 9:15 PM check in & walk about
DELHI INDIA, 9:15 pm
12-Nov Sun Delhi /Fatehpur Sikri / Agra early AM drive or train to Agra, hotel check in. Visit Fatehpur Sikri then Agra Fort and Taj at sunset. early morning express train to Agra or car and driver Is there a flight option Agra to Khajurho?
13-Nov Mon Agra/ Jansi/Khajurho Travel by train then jeep taxi to Khajurho, possible pause at Orchha AM train Shtbdi express train 2002 8:12 arrive 10:38. Then taxi jeep to Khajurho 4 1/2 hrs
14-Nov Tue Khajurho Explore temples
15-Nov Wed Khajurho/ Vanasari Explore temples "Start Jet pass Jet Airways
Khajurho to Vanasari 9W724 13:30 arrive 14:10"
16-Nov Thu Vanasari Ganges at dawn & sunset, explore city
17-Nov Fri Vanasari /through Delhi to Chenai/ south to Mamallapurni exploring then pm flights. Pick up from hotel to overnight beach location by Mamallapurin "Vanasari to Chennai through Delhi
9W724 depart 14:40 arrive 16:00
9W832 depart 16:55 arrive 19:35"
18-Nov Sat Mamallapurim / Madurai " Visit Mamallapurim & Shore temple
pm flight to Madurai" "Chennai to Madurai
9W3519 19:05 ARRIVE 20:05"
19-Nov Sun Madurai Explore Madurai temples & museum
20-Nov Mon Madurai / Chenai/ Bangalore/ night train Maduri to Chennai then travel to Bangalore ( visit Mehwa Baba site?) for night train to Hospet "Madurai to Chennai
9W3522 8:30 to 945
Chennai to Bangalore
9W3525 11:30 to 12:30

Night train from Bangalore to Hospet"
21-Nov Tue Hospet/ Hampi Explore Hampi
22-Nov Wed Hampi/ Hospet/ night train Explore Hampi then take night train to Bangalore Night train from Hospet to Bangalore
23-Nov Thu Bangalore/ Goa Arrive Bangalore by train am, take flight to Goa Beach "Bangalore to Goa
9W521 depart 12:45 arrive 13:45
earlier flight if available

self drive car
24-Nov Fri Goa Beach
25-Nov Sat Goa / Jodhpur/ night train to Jailismer Fly to Jodhpur/ explore old city take night train to Jailismer "Goa to Mumbai to Jodhpur
9W472 depart 8:10 arrive 9:10
9W3407 depart 10:25 arrive 12:40

Night train Jodhpur to Jailismer"
26-Nov Sun Jailismer explore fort
27-Nov Mon Jalismer overnight camel trip
28-Nov Tue Jailimer "return from camel trip
night train" night train Jailismer to Jaipur
29-Nov Wed Jaipur tour Jaipur
30-Nov Thu Jaipur /Pushcar taxi travel to Pushcar Jet pass ends consider return flight to Delhi
1-Dec Fri Pushcar / Jaipur/ train taxi back to Jaipur night train to Delhi
2-Dec Sat Delhi Red fort & old Delhi shopping pm flight home "Flight: from DELHI INDIA to NEWARK EWR

Day and Date: Sat, 12/2/2006
Flight: CO 83
Class: T
Depart: DELHI INDIA, 11:45PM
Arrive: NEWARK EWR, 5:05AM"

margotlynn is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2006, 07:58 PM
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have you ordered an ambulance to meet you at newark to take you to the psych ward....??

doesn't seem to me after a quick scan that you are stopping to look around are too busy moving from place to place..

i move slowly and for my nov trip of 11 days i am doing delhi, agra and jaipur only and i am not sure i have allowed enough time for you have no interest in delhi at all??

after you international flight you are planning to start walking around the city, say at midnight????

have you read anything about how difficult moving from one place to another can be in india?? have you read about flight delays---very frequent??

seems to me that you are setting yourself up for a disaster...

sorry to be so blunt, but you asked..
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2006, 10:52 PM
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I'll be even blunter: this won't work.

WAAAAAY too much in too short a time. One day in a city like Jaipur is not nearly enough to see the minimum there is to see and not enough at all the experience the place. The distances you are going are quite far. On top of that, the infrastructure of India is not developed to the extent you are probably used to. To take a 3-hour train ride and then the 5 hour taxi ride to get to Khajuraho is simply not worth the one day plus one morning you plan to spend there IMO; you will believe me AFTER you have suffered on the roads, negotiated with the taxi driver(s) at the train station for the journey to Khajuraho, and then perhaps after you sit in the Khajuraho airport trying to get to Varanasi and suffer the flight delays, etc.

Even if this trip were to Europe which has excellent air and rail links, and distances are much shorter, I would say cut out a lot of this. You have 21 days on the ground. Pick 5 to 6 places at the very most and spend more time in them. You have something like 12-14 (I lost count at some point). Spend more time in each of them; that will let you really see them. It will also let you relax after what can be hellish trips to GET to those places. (I once had to get off a plane on the tarmac in Varanasi when trying to get to Khajuraho and ended up having to take the train, the trip therefore took about 8 hours longer than I had planed; this happens more than you want it to in India. Fortunately, we had planned 2 nights in Khajuraho so we could still see it and not have to rush right off.) I never get ill in India, but many people do, and trying to keep to your schedule with a gippy stomach or the runs would not be fun I would imagine. India is a huge huge country both physically and culturally; you cannot see it all. Making choices is difficult, but they must be made.

Some comments. With a 9:15 pm arrival in Delhi, if the gods are on your side you will be checking into your Delhi hotel around 11 pm. (gods are not always with you, it may be even later given traffic or if you arrive with a lot of other international flights and have to wait an immigration or baggage claim). If you want to walk around after that, I suppose you could, but there is not a whole lot going on at that hour, shops are closed as are tourist sites, restaurants and clubs are open if you want to do that. If you intend go down to Agra by car the next day, you should stay near the airport rather than going into Delhi, in that case there is nothing really to see. The international airport and Agra are both south of Delhi, so staying outside Delhi will save you quite a bit of time in the morning. If you want to train down to Agra, then stay in Delhi as the train station is in town (although you could go from the station in Okhla in southeast Delhi, I don't know hotels in that area others might). If you stay near the airport, you will get to your hotel a good bit faster.

There is no option to fly out of Agra. The comment on "self drive" in India. You must mean hiring a car with a driver, as driving by yourself would not be any picnic and IMO actually could be dangerous unless you have experience. I myself am not ready for it and I travel in India every month. I generally don't even look ahead when I am in a car, as I don't want to know what is coming at me. ( I don't wear a seat belt either, I want to go quickly and not linger is some hospital, but that's another story...) If you want to rent something like a motorbike in Goa to get around, that is possible and tourists do that, but otherwise a car with a driver is cheap and easy. I don't even know where one would park a car in many parts of say Panjim when touring around....that's what drivers are for.

Cicerone is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2006, 11:39 PM
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That would just be a nightmare trip..You have got to cut some things out..

Why not do Delhi/Agra/Varanasi/Jaipur

Then Chennai/Goa...and rest in Goa for awhile..You can do a day trip to Hampi from Goa..

I went to India 3 times and didn't even do that much in all 3 trips combined!!
TracyB is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2006, 01:14 AM
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I am exausted just to read your itinerary!!! OMG!
Tere is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2006, 09:54 AM
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I disagree with the previous posters. It is an excellent itnerary (if you have Air Force One at your disposal).

agtoau is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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OK, Thanks for the reality check but when I go to trim..its the transportaion hubs cities I want to cut out. That walk about is just to stretch the legs after the long flights I'm not looking to sight see. I would skip Delhi, but I fly in there. Does anyone know a reasonable guesthouse or hotel south of Delhi by the airport? I found a hotel Star View in Delhi with a reasonable rate and I could arrange a car and driver to take me to Agra. I'm looking at rooms average $50. I wanted to cut out Bangalore but can't find anyway to Hampi from Goa. I found something saying there is a train twice a month. Any one have additional information? Id skip Chennai but want to get to Madurai. Sshoud I cut it? It looks awesome. The decisions are to hard. Special thanks for the suggestion for an ambulance pick up to the psyc ward in Newark. I loved that. I've heard similar comments before about my plans in China, Turkey, Thailand, Egypt, Jordon, and Venezuela but it seems to mostly work out. Minor disasters were part of the adventure.
margotlynn is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2006, 05:29 PM
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Well, I'll be happy to read your trip report if you manage to pull this one off! Of course It sounds like we'll be getting lots of details on trains, train bunk-partners who snore and fart, airports, airport bathrooms, road conditions, driver skills.... not much on sights and sounds of India...

I used to travel like this in my wild young days, but really, this kind of trip makes for a great map with pushpins but will not let you get to know the country.

But, it's your trip, so here are some specific problems I see right off the top:

1) no flight options from Agra

2) you seem to have night trains several nights in a row. It will be winter, but India is still very hot in November. Planning to take showers anytime that week??

3) self drive in India? totally nuts.

4) you sound like you travel a lot, but you've allowed no time for illness, airport and train delays.

5)Some of the spots you are making plans to visit are not all that unique that you need to kill yourself getting there. Kind of like planning a US trip and aiming for SF, LA, Las vegas, Podunk Idaho, toursit caverns in Arkansas, and the beaches of Mississippi.

I would sugesssst that instead of trying to schedule (by flying) to such far-flung spots, that maybe you stick to trains and plan a looser trip; adjusting your itinerary as you go.

That way you could go nuts collecting cities, or perhaps slow down and enjoy the travels without feeling you need to get your money's worth from the airpass.

Again, you'll be in India. Allow for third world conditions and please write a trip report afterwards so we can hear how it went.
lcuy is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2006, 11:44 PM
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If you are talking about the Star View hotel in Pahar Ganj, I would avoid this at all costs ! We were supposed to stay there 2 nights last Dec but left after 1. We had arranged the airport pickup which worked out great, the driver was still there waiting after we spent a long time trying to find my lost luggage. The room however was not very clean, we had the room guy change the sheets 3 times before we found some acceptable ones (and that was iffy, we still slept in our clothes). We would have left right away but it was 2 am and we had no idea where to go (we had never been to India before). The next morning we left (without daring to set foot in the shower) and found a different hotel which was a whole lot better but much more expensive (Nirulas). I actually felt bad when we left (and we just paid the 2 nights since it was around 2 in the afternoon when we had checked out) as the guys working there were super nice, they seemed genuinely bothered and offered one of their other hotels but we just wanted out of the whole area and said it was just too noisy (which it was as well).

As for the rest of your plan, I have to agree with the others that it is way too much. I had a really hard time deciding on where to go for our trip too as there is so much to see, but we decided to stay in the north and save the south for a separate trip (or 2). We also had 3 weeks (plus travel time) and ended up with this :

Delhi 2 nights, evening train to Agra
Agra 1 night, Taj at sunrise, then private driver to Fathpur Sikri, Agra Fort, Baby Taj
Night train to Varanasi, Varanasi 2 nights
Night train Jaipur, Jaipur 2 nights
Evening train to Ranthambhore, 3 nights
Night train to Udaipur, 3 nights
Driver to Jodhpur (stop at Kumbhalgarh and Ranakpur on the way) 2 nights
Driver to Jaisalmer, 2 nights
Night train back to Delhi, 1 more night (2 days) before 2 am departure.

We had a great time, but that already was a lot and you have more stops and greater distances than we did. As someone else said you also have to allow for the unexpected, we had many late trains and we also got pretty sick which slowed us down a bit.

Have a great trip whatever you decide on !
kellyee21 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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Hello, Namaste, and WOW!

That is some intense trip planning u have mustered up! And yes, it is way to much for three weeks, but u certainly have picked/highlighted some of the most wonderful places to visit in India, so for that, good job!

Anyways, I have been in/out of India for over 15 years and leading tours in the region for over a decade and i wld say it is not really humanly possibly to cover all that in three weeks and keep your wits and sanity!

By all means u must Slow Down a bit and u really/unfortunately must cut some portions too.

Three weeks in India is a great chunk of time, and all the places u Dream of visiting are Wonderful choices, some of my pesonal favorites! But looking at some of your travel routes u have noted, such as (from Varanasi to Mamahalirpuarm in a day) or from Goa to Jaisalmer are routes that are absolutely extreme/ and wld not even consider to do them in one fell swoop. U will be flirting with disaster!

Be careful planning back to back flights, or back to back trains, or double whammy road journies..U must leave room for delays, canellations, physical exaustion, and India's chaotic magic to mess up your plans or mince up your stomach!!

Looking at your whirlwind trip and i am already a bit dizzy, Ur trip takes u thru many diverse STATEs of India, crisscrossing the country up and down and right and left.

First off, i wld definately rethink the scope of your trip and perhaps concenetrate on three regions/States, as opposed to the five/six u mention.

Looking carefully at the trip, i can give some personal reccos or opinions!

I can say that the first portion, from Delhi, Agra, orcha, Khaj, And Varanasi is very do~able. I do that route all the time with my groups..It is a qiick speed but it can work.

Post VAranasi.. Got to rethink this..If i had to choose from your trip i would probably take out Chenna/Mamahalipuram, and Madurai and Bangalore off the bat..

Don;t get me wrong, i love these places and the State of Tamil Nadhu, but i wld not go to Tamil for 2/3 days..U should spend at least a week, so much to see like Pondy, Tanjore, Trichy, doesn;t make sense just to go for Madurai, though spectacular..And No need to go to Bangalore, at all! will chat about that later!

Goa. U might consider taking this out too. Everyone has different options about Goa, and yes, i do like it and have been many times, but i do not think it is the most important place to see on a trip. however, that said, u will certainly need some chill down time, so this might fit the bill..Relax in Goa!

There are many buses from Goa to Hampi and back, so don;t worry on that!..U asked about that..This is a big tourist route, especially for the backpacker set.Hampi is stupendous, but really in the middle of nowhere, alot of traveling to get there, so do consider that!

Your Rajashtan portion, again very intense traveling in a short time and u certanly must change ur routing from Goa to jaisalmer in one fell Swoop/ wld not even think..Actually, exausted by the thought....Again, u should really break up your journies by train/road..

But by all means, get to jaisalmer as this is another wonderful place!!..And yes, also i love Pushkar..U may consider giving your self more time in Rajasthan as per the earlier cuts, and u may consider Udaipur too, as if u have time to spare....

U may consider the train from Mumbai to udaipur and starting ur Rajsthan portion many choices.

U may consdier flying from Varanasi to goa via Mumbai if u ax out the Chennai portion. or u can go Varanasi back to somewhere in Rajasthan, and flow that way..

Anyways, happy planning, happy travels, good luck and feel free to drop me a line. I am a American living in India! [email protected]

Bonita is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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If you are looking for ticks on your India Tour T-shirt then fine. I am sure that when you look back, you will wish that you gave yourself time to absorb the real life and sense of being in India.
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Old Sep 26th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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I have been to India many times but wouldn't self drive there, it's madness and that's from someone who lives and drives in Rome!
carrom is offline  
Old May 19th, 2007, 09:47 PM
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I just discovered this thread, and am dying to hear how the trip turned out.

fleate is offline  
Old May 20th, 2007, 05:33 AM
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Hi there,

India is wonderful but you really cannot experience it truly travelling to such a tight schedule. You don't have any time in to just BE THERE.

You have to have some slack to just wander, and maybe spend a whole three hours in a temple, or shopping street you din't even have on the itinerary.

The other very obvious thing to bear in mind is that the trains do not always run to time. I am one of the biggest fans of IR around - but I have to tell you I have often waited 2-3 hours for a train. Probably prestige services like Shatabdi would be OK but that route from Jaisalmer to Jaipur (I did the overnight train the other way round) is not a prestige service.

My record waiting for a train was 14 hours!!

Please do slow down.

If you insist on seeing both north and south in one trip then I'd cut, either cos detour involved outweighs benefit, or just because you can't see everything.

Pushkar (30 Nov seems very late for the Camel Festival, which is the only reason for going there).

chimani is offline  
Old Jun 6th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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you can take out mamalapurum. I would have to say it is one of the most disappointing places in india.
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