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barnetda Apr 14th, 2006 01:47 AM

Just back from India
Wow Wow Wow, awesome country.

Firstly many thanks to fellow Fodorites especially Craig, Hobbes Thursdayd agtoua bostonharbor and waynehazel. (Plus any others I missed out). Your input made our trip possible, without your help we would have been in a mess and not enjoyed it as much as we did.

A short trip report for you.

We arrived in Delhi on March 28th and left India on April 12th. The colors, sounds and friendliness of the people needs to be seen to be believed.

We stayed at the Oberoi hotels in each City, every Hotel surpassed our expectations.

Delhi. Much greener and cleaner than I expected. Tremendous few days sightseeing and shopping.

We loved the Indian restaurant in the Oberoi. The staff was so friendly. One lady even went to the market the following day and purchased Spices for us to bring home. We were also given a tour of the glass-fronted kitchen while the chefs were cooking for the guests. Incredible restaurant.
Olive: Superb food great setting.

Bukhara. Our one disappointment on the trip. Staff were rude, food average, pricey. Would not go back again.

Ranthambore: Hotel sensational. Pool area peaceful. Indian restaurant probably the best we ate in. Tiger safari interesting. Saw 3 Tigers in the bush but had to move after 2 mins due to some tim ing rules. I own a share in an African Safari lodge, the guides are definitely better in Africa and tend to get closer to the Animals for longer without disturbing them. Definitely get a private jeep. We also hired a driver to go into the surrounding villages. The people were so warm and friendly and allowed us to take many photos of the street life.

Jaipur. What a place. Such incredible sights. Hotel great as was the restaurant. Wireless access by the pool!!
Only had 2 nights there should have stayed 3 at least.

Agra. Didnít like the City. The Taj is purely magical. Best to go at sunrise.
Hotel again superb as was the international restaurant.

Wildflower Hall in the Himalayas. Incredible place. We went horse riding in the foothills and should have gone rafting but we were stupidly too tired! Restaurant in the hotel again sensational.

We had the Oberoi drivers taking us from one hotel to the next, expensive but more than worth it. We flew from Delhi to Chandrigarh for the Wildflower Hall (Shimla) leg. We took the train from Delhi to Sawar Madhopur for Ranthambore.

Everything went smoothly, I canít tell you how much we loved the holiday. We needed more time than 15 days.

One doesnít get an appreciation of distances/time to get places until you arrive and see for yourself. Cars drive on the wrong side of the road even on highways. Cattle are more often viewed on the roads than cars!

All in all a great trip. We couldnít have done it without your help.

Please feel free to ask any questions.

barnetda Apr 14th, 2006 06:27 AM

Forgot to mention the weather. It was fantastic. Low 90s without any humidity.
Shimla was in the low 70s which really was pleasant.

rhkkmk Apr 14th, 2006 06:35 AM

thanks for this review....anxious to hear any more that you might want to share, like specifics of days adventures....?

i have Bukhara on my list for eating one nite....should i give it a pass? how was the food....can you describe to us how the rudeness came forth at the restaurant and what exactly were the problems...thanks

how would you rank olive's?

what did you order, i.e. indian or international foods??


rhkkmk Apr 14th, 2006 06:36 AM

can you share any of your photos with us??

barnetda Apr 14th, 2006 06:45 AM

Personally i would not go to Bukhara again. Staff just were not pleasant and food i thought was ordinary. Definately not what i was expecting.

We loved the Indian restaurant in the Oberoi the Kandahar. Sensational food, excellent service , great indian music (except on tuesday nights). The female hostess was so friendly to us and bought us spices from the market.

Olive. Its a mediteranean menu. Excellent food and service. Great setting as we sat outside. Very good value.

Special activities. The usual things really. We really enjoyed the horse riding at Wildflower. We loved the Taj in the sunrise. Our guide was very good in Jaipur which is a fantastic place.

The train ride to sawar madhopur was different!

I was a little dissapointed in the safari because we got to see the tigers but they were in the bush and the driver insisted we left after 2 mins. The country is wonderful to visit.

barnetda Apr 14th, 2006 08:05 AM

As soon as i have sorted my photos i will post a link.

agtoau Apr 14th, 2006 08:53 AM


What did you buy in Delhi? I am surprised that Bukhara was a downer. May be the visit by Clinton went to their head. Kandahar is Oberoi's signature restaurant. The Kandahar restaurant in the Oberoi in Mumbai is quite magnificent, and is considered one of the finest in India.

We now await your photos.

Craig Apr 14th, 2006 08:54 AM

Sorry your experience at Bukhara was not good - we had a great meal there but that was a year ago. The restaurant has been around for awhile - maybe they were just having a bad night or maybe they are now just riding on their reputation.

barnetda Apr 14th, 2006 08:59 AM

We bought some rugs in Delhi. Also bought some PAshminas

The bukhara was only a tiny part of our trip and therefore i do not want to dwell on it. I think Clintons attendance has gone to their head.

Craig a special thank you for your help. You may not recall but when i was organising the trip you really were very very helpful. Its only when one goes to India and realises the time it takes to go from one place to another. I wish we had gone for more than 15 days.

agtoau Apr 14th, 2006 09:13 AM

How was the Oberoi's Wildflower Hall? And the spa there? I have heard it is a superb hotel.

Lucyhda Apr 14th, 2006 10:03 AM

Which hotel were you in at Ranthambore and Jaipur - was it the Oberoi properties.

barnetda Apr 14th, 2006 10:08 AM

Yes I was at the Oberoi properties at both Jaipur and Ranthambore. Both are exceptional.

barnetda Apr 14th, 2006 10:09 AM

Agtoau: The Wildflower Hall cannot be bettered. The spa is superb, the indoor swimming pool and terrace are unbelieavable. Highly reccomend. I just wish we had rafted but we did go on a horse ride there.

jenneepoo Apr 14th, 2006 11:02 PM

Maybe I'm not reading closely enough, but did you do a tour or did you make your own arrangements?

barnetda Apr 15th, 2006 09:10 AM

We made our own arrangements. But stayed at the Oberoi properties throughout our trip.

jacketwatch Apr 15th, 2006 10:57 AM

I'm glad you had a good time. Maybe next time exploring the south, esp. Kerala would be in order. Thats what we want to do. You can cruise on a river boat there with staff to cater to your every need. I think is in a palce called the coconut lagoon.

barnetda Apr 15th, 2006 11:28 AM

Kerela is on the agenda for the next trip.

I would encourage everyone to go to India, it really is quite an amazing place.

agtoau Apr 15th, 2006 11:56 AM

There were some good visuals of Kerala's backwaters in Jeremy Piven's Journey of a Lifetime (Part I -southern India segment) on the Travel Channel. I see that today's (Saturday) schedule at 6 pm ET shows Part II, the northern India segment.

jacketwatch Apr 15th, 2006 12:39 PM

That was also on two nights ago. Kathakali (spelling?) is quite an impressive art. I hope to see a performance one day.

agtoau Apr 15th, 2006 12:48 PM

The Kathakali of Kerala is among the 5 old classical dance traditions of India. The others being, Bharat Natyam, Kathak, Odissi and Kuchipudi.

I hear that Anthony Bourdain was also in India recently; perhaps we'll soon get to see his "No Reservations" show of Indian food.

jacketwatch Apr 15th, 2006 01:17 PM

Speaking of Indian food I saw a show some time ago all about Indian cooking. The hostess was of Indian ancestry and raised in the US. She traveled all over India to showcase the various styles of cooking based on region. She even stopped at a temple that serves food free to pilgrims. Its basic and filling and is served on banana leaves I think. For me the Keralan fish curry looked succulent to say the least. The chef prepared it on the beach. Wow! Mouth watering. :-)

hobbes Apr 17th, 2006 05:48 PM

Glad u enjoyed...Definitely Kerala next...probably an off day at Bukhara tho even I agree they have grown a tad big for their boots...

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