My priliminary India plan

Apr 30th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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My priliminary India plan

I will be in India for about 12 days. I will have a car and driver for whatever part makes it easier for me.

I am a fan of glorious hotels. So, that is one reason, among others, to the following itinerary:

1 Fly into Delhi, 2 nights
2. Train to Agra 2 nights
3. Car to Udaipur ? nights
4. Varanasi ? nights
5. Darjeeling ? nights
6. Fly back to Delhi and connect to flight home.

Is this too much for 12 nights? Also, what order is best to see these places? To which cities should I fly and to where should I use the car? Is there any city above that logically or geographically should not be included on this trip?

Thanks very much
starstruck is offline  
Apr 30th, 2005, 01:37 PM
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The most glorious hotels are those of the Oberoi chain - not available in all of the locations you mention. Others might disagree on this but most of the other hotels with longstanding reputations are old and tired in one way or another. 5 locations seems a lot for 12 days. We did 4 in 12 days and it was just about right. Have you been to Jaipur before? If not, I suggest you spend time there - we spent 3 nights, 2 full days - we did spend time shopping but you need at least 1-1/2 days to see it properly. You might want to fly to Udaipur. We wish we could have done Varanasi - we did a tiger safari at Ranthambore instead. To tour Delhi you will need 2 full days at least. If you are shopping you will need more time in Delhi. Don't count on making a tight connection at the end of your trip. For an idea on what we did see our trip report:
Craig is offline  
Apr 30th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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I can't give you any information on glorious hotels in India, but I can tell you that Varanasi is amazing, best seen on a rickshaw, then boat ride on the Ganges..At least 2 nights..Agra is good for the Taj Mahal, and I wouldn't stay longer than 1 night..I would recommend Mandawa, it was a fascinating city with it's painted frescoes and havelis (merchants houses)..We stayed in a fascinating Haveli built in 1890..It was not 5 star, but it was amazing..We also stayed in luxurious (not 5 star either) mud huts, from where we took a 2 hour camel ride around the small villages..It was just awesome..Jaipur was nice, deserves a night or 2..Did not go to Darjeeling or Udaipur but did Karauli...It was an amazing town where we got to walk around and meet the locals...It was the greatest experience ever..We stayed at the Bhanwar Vilas Palace...Also did Ranthambore and it was very nice, but I enjoyed the rest of India more..Delhi is good for 2 or 3 nights, expecially at the beginning to get over jet lag..I'd like to stress that India is best seen in 2 and 3* hotels, just to get a sample of just how India is!! You'll never appreciate a luxurious hotel more in your life after that. Try it out a few nights..Happy planning..I am planning our next trip to India for later this year to Kerala!!
TracyB is offline  
Apr 30th, 2005, 07:48 PM
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Karauli, where is this town?

What made it so special for you ? Was it more than just meeting locals ?
starstruck is offline  
Apr 30th, 2005, 08:36 PM
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Karauli is a 5 hour drive from Ranthambore. I guess what made it so special, was that it was the "Real India" that we really wanted to see..No traffic lights, no malls, just people, animals, street vendors selling chai,and other things..walking through traditional markets..It was like walking in the past!!With the cows and the camels and pigs!! Visited a rustic bidi factory and the Old City Palace..I guess it all depends on what you want to experience once you get there..But even the drive there was unreal..We stopped (we were with 12 others on a small bus by the way) for a bathroom break on the way..The roads are so narrow, you can barely fit 2 vehicles on it..When we stopped, villagers came running to see us, some were just as amazed with us as we were with them..All I can say it was the ultimate experience!! But so was Varnasi!
TracyB is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 12:03 PM
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Loved the suite at the Rambagh Palace and also the Samode Palace.

India was a dream that I keep wishing to repeat. Too bad there are so many flies in India. Avoid the train use private car and deluxe buses.
cowgrrl is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 12:34 PM
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Not to be difficult, but don't avoid the train! It is an awesome experience!! All in all, have fun planning and I am sure you will have a great time..
TracyB is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 03:00 PM
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Starstruck, your itinerary sounds wonderful, but without knowing which time of year you are planning to go, it's a bit hard to judge whether you are trying to do too much. There's one place in your itinerary where you could save a day.... reduce Agra to a single night. Apart from the Taj, there are only a couple of reasons to go to Agra, and nothing that can't be seen in a day.... and, frankly, it's one of the least-appealing cities in India. Go to the Taj early in the morning -- before checking out of your hotel -- having seen everything else you wanted to see there on the first day; if you get to the Taj at 6 a.m., you can be out by 8, and back to your hotel to check out by 9. You may, this way, even be able to add Jaipur to your itinerary, en route to Udaipur.

I agree, Varanasi is an absolute must-see; I have never been to Darjeeling, but it seems such a long way from everywhere else that you are planning, that perhaps it would be a good idea to make Varanasi your furthest-east point and instead add another town in Rajasthan -- somewhere easily accessible from Udaipur and Agra. Jodhpur is terrific, and Jaisalmer even better -- in fact, I would have to say that Jaisalmer was the most fascinating place I saw in India. However, before recommending these to you, I would need to know WHEN you are planning to travel.... I hear the temperature out there can get somewhat aggressive!

I agree about the trains -- this is a great experience, and you will save a lot of money that way. Udaipur was, a few months ago, inaccessible by train, however, as they were switching gauges, or something; I don't know whether the rail service has resumed yet.
Alan is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 07:55 PM
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I will be in India in late July/early August. I know it will be wet, but that is the only time I can travel. So, I will make the best of it. Can I wear flip flops throughout India since it will be so wet and flip flops dry quickly? Or is India too dirty to wear open shoes such as flip flops?

I will skip Darjeeling as I learned it is a bit out of the way. If I stay in Agra two nights, it is only to enjoy the fabulous hotel there, but that is probably not a good enough reason to stay 2 nights in Agra. Maybe I can add Jaisalmer instead.
starstruck is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 08:37 PM
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I can only answer your flip flop question, but I wore them the whole time I was there..(15 days)
TracyB is offline  
May 2nd, 2005, 02:44 AM
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Sad you have to drop Darjeeling as the Windamere there is a fab hotel, one of my all time favs but agree it does not fit in with the rest of your plan and your time frame. Jaisalmer is a long car drive from Udaipur and on this trip could ba a stretch but is your call. Any reason you are avoiding Jaipur? If you include Jaipur you could do something as follow re transport. From Delhi fly to Udaipur, either pick up your car there then drive to Jaipur or fly Udaipur-Jaipur, drive Jaipur-Agra, Agra-Varansai fly then Varanasi Delhi either fly or train. I would stay with one night in Agra as I feel it is enough. Have you looked at Neemrana Hotels - they certainly fit your glorious definition. Aman Resorts have a new Rajasthan property - not Ranthambore - take a look on
hobbes is offline  
May 2nd, 2005, 04:38 AM
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Make sure you find out all you can about the weather in these places before you commit yourself; I found this site very useful:

I suspect that my recommended Jaisalmer (which was hot but pleasant when we were there in October) might well be murderously hot in July! I wouldn't want to be responsible for sending you to your doom!
Alan is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 10:09 PM
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12 days is what I did in 2002. Check out:

It was a little rushed but all worth it. Here was the itinerary:

and return to Delhi for home.

As others have said, I would skip Darjeeeling. Don't just see the Taj in Agra, be sure to see Fatehpur Sikr.

The Ganges and the ghats MUST be seen.
Also the tigers.

The three main highlights of the trip for me were, in order:
The Taj
Tigers of Ranthambhore
The Ganges.

Actually, topping them all were some wonderful PEOPLE that I met including the cutest little girl ever in Varanasi.
waynehazle is offline  
May 6th, 2005, 03:35 AM
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Wayne, how did u travel from place to place? Was the above the order in which you visited each place?

I assume then you flew from Delhi to Varanasi. How did u get from Varansi to Agra?
starstruck is offline  
May 6th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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Hey Starstruck,

Basically my tour was done through a local company in Agra. Coleague Tours.

I arranged my flight to and from Delhi and they took care of everything else.

I had a driver in most places.
After two dys in Delhi, they put me on the train to Varanasi, which turned out to be AWESOME. I rode with local people, no guide or help. Someone from the company was waiting for me when I got off the train in Varanasi.

Also I took the train from Varanasi to Agra.

From Agra I had a driver constantly. We drove to Ranthambhore & then Jaipur & then back to Delhi.

waynehazle is offline  
May 8th, 2005, 04:51 AM
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My friend and I were in India last November for 3 1/2 weeks (15 days in Rajasthan). The whole thing was arranged by Compass Tours in Delhi which I just happened across on the internet. I sent them our "wish list" and they took care of every detail. I booked my own in/out of India flights -they booked air, train, private driver and accommodation within India. Our hotels were spectacular - in particular naming The Imperial in Delhi and The Amarvilas in Agra (where we had a view of the Taj from our room). Make sure you bring a credit card, though, as the Amarvilas is outrageously expensive (I'm not saying it's not worth it - exceptional service, delightful staff, beautiful rooms).

Our itinerary was a bit rushed because I was desperate to see as much as possible - we could have done with an extra day in Udaipur and maybe two in Delhi:

Mumbai arrival and overnight (Taj Mahal Palace Hotel)
Udaipur (Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel - not THE most luxurious choice in Udaipur but our room was right on the lake with a view of the Lake Palace Hotel ... cost - under $40)
Ranakpur/Narlai (Fateh Bagh Hotel)- the Jain temples here are definately worth a visit
Jodhpur - Fort Chanwa Luni (about 30 kms out of Jodhpur in the small dusty town of Luni)
Pushkar (for the festival)- Swiss Tents (gorgeous little tents with private bath but FREEZING cold at night)
Jaipur - Mandawa Haveli (absolutely perfect location for shopping)
Ranthambore - Nahargargh Hotel (brand new Heritage style hotel - beautiful and MASSIVE suites for the cost of a regular sized room. Furnished with beautifully carved beds and tables).
Agra - Amarvilas (Oberoi chain) incredible
Delhi - Imperial (beautiful furniture, lovely service, price included spectacular brunch)

All the Rajasthan travel was done in an aircon Ambassador with a driver that truly added to our trip ... bit of incense in the car each morning ... we met some ladies in Pushkar who had hired a "government" driver from the tourist office and he turned out to be a dud - walking into their tent unannounced, inviting himself to dinner ... as I say, ours was booked through Compass - he's been driving for them for 16 years...we WANTED him to join us for dinner.

Mumbai was a trip - we stayed there four days at the end ... but no one's asking about Mumbai!

We flew between Mumbai/Udaipur, drove throughout Rajasthan and trained it between Ranthambore and Agra - approx 3 1/2 hours. The driver took all our stuff and met us at the train station in Bharatpur where we continued on to Agra and then Delhi.

Did we experience the "real" India? Some would say no, but we had an awesome and memorable first visit, we didn't have to carry our 15 tons of purchases as the driver disappeared everything into the boot .... and neither of us got sick.

misspashmina is offline  
May 8th, 2005, 08:10 AM
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Nice to see another poster happy with Compass Tours - we used them in February.
Craig is offline  
May 8th, 2005, 01:45 PM
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I agree with hobbes--skip Darjeeling (too difficult to get to) and add Jaipur (loved it!!)
JaneB is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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> the "Real India" that we really wanted to see..No traffic lights, no malls, <

Um, we have traffic lights and malls in the "real" India too you know, it not all fake and put on for tourists

starstruck, I'd add Fatehpur Sikri, a ghost town that was the capital of Akbar's empire to you Agra jaunt. Add Jaipur. Drop Darjeeling, substitute Mussourie or Dharmasthala instead. I personally would have dropped Varnasi too, but many people seem to think its a "must do", so I'll reserve my judjement on that.
ssachida is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 01:00 PM
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ssashida..I guess I could drop the "Real India" and could have just said, that we had wanted to see a part of India that did not have traffic lights and shopping malls!! How's that? And we truly did enjoy that part of India..And we loved Varanasi as well, I think it is a must see..But each to their own!!
TracyB is offline  

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