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Seeking Itinerary Assistance for 12 nights in India

Seeking Itinerary Assistance for 12 nights in India

Old Aug 10th, 2012, 05:34 AM
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Seeking Itinerary Assistance for 12 nights in India

Greetings,

We are considering plans for our next trip, and India seems to be at the top of the list for mid-late February. Looking at probably 12 nights on the ground excluding international flights. After some preliminary research I am pretty sure we will focus on a northern itinerary...main interests as of now: New Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Ranthambore. Obviously it will not work to include all six destinations...New Delhi a must because of flights, Agra a must for Taj. I am drawn towards including Varanasi and while I really love the idea of Ranthambore, think that will have to be one of the two locations we drop. So....that leaves Udaipur and Jaipur - how to choose between them? Thoughts? Suggestions?

We love history, architecture, good food, and a mix of city/country. We enjoy experiencing new cultures, hiking, and love scenic beauty. A little shopping goes a long way for us and we generally choose 1 or 2 museums on a trip, but that is rarely our focus. Recent trips have combined Istanbul with Cappadocia and Ephesus/Sirince, and trekking the Inca Trail to M.P. with time in Cusco and the Amazon Basin outside of Puerto Maldonado in Peru.. I hope that helps give a feel.

Any suggestions for an amazing first trip to India in February for 2 active couples, mid 40's-mid 60's folks? We want some diversity of experience and are willing to schlep a bit if going that far, but don't want to hop around constantly. I am thinking we will do some combo of flying and hiring a driver. Would also consider a train if that would be most effecient for a particular leg.

Other main question...logistics. Assuming we do a combo of New Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, and either Udaipur or Jaipur...any suggetsed "routing" or recommended number of nights? Thinking 3 nights Delhi (1 on front end and 2 on back end or vice versa), 2 nights Agra, 3 nights Varanasi, ??

Thanks for any help you may be able to provide in gathering our thoughts/plans.
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Old Aug 10th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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One thing I strongly recommend while in Agra is to visit the Agra Fort (the Red Fort). It is an incredible piece of architecture and is shadowed by the famous Taj Mahal. Also, I would recmmend to avoid Fatehpur Sikri: I and many others according to reviews were bothered by a number of licensed tour guide who will not leave you alone if you don't hire them (this during the entire visit of the first site), then the beggars are overwhelming and sadly, they are children...
I can't advise on Udaipur or Jaipur as I haven't been there but I wish you a fantastic trip!!! India is an amazing country, full of contrast and you will appreciate it most as you let go of every preconceived idea you brought with you. Look at the people, talk to them (they may be a little shy, but it only takes to start the conversation with them) and look beyond the poverty and the trash on the ground a little bit everywhere... Then only, you will fully see the incredible colors of the sarees and mountains, smell of tea, incense, smile of the people etc...
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Old Aug 10th, 2012, 08:00 AM
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Oh, and watch "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", it's a little cliche at times but I watched it 3 times out of nostalgia when I came back from my 52 days trip in India this summer... The Indian romanticism is not even exaggerated (probably from the almost venerated Bollywood industry) and the way you approach India making your trip is well described: stay open!
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Old Aug 10th, 2012, 09:24 AM
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Thanks for your reply! Yes, we will definitely visit the Red Fort.

And have seen "Best Exotic..." Really liked it.
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Old Aug 10th, 2012, 11:03 PM
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Hard choice - Udaipur is prettier. There are some nice "Havelis" near the Lake Palace Hotel. If you want to do both Jaipur and Udaipur, I would suggest taking a car and stopping in Chittorgarh on the way. It is one of the most famous places in India due to stories of chivalry and bravery. We stayed in Jaiwana Haveli in Udaipur, where the owner arranged for a car at half the price compared to the other offers on the Net. Havelis are tradtional Indian mansions. The Jaiwana overlooked the Lake Palace. It is comfortable, and feels like a cross between a B&B and small hotel.
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 01:46 AM
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12 nights in enough to have an aroma of this vast country but still you can have some essence of the sites you r planning to explore in that span of time.The order of the s/s can be like this--------3NDelhi>2NVaranasi>1NAgra>2NRanthambore>2NJaipur>2NUdaipur.
Arrive at Delhi
1N Delhi--------------Fly to Varanasi.
2NVranasi-------------Overnight train to Agra.
1N Agra----------------car to Ranthambore/train from Bhartpur to Ranthambore.
2N Ranthambore---------------Drive to Jaipur.
2N Jaipur------------------Fly to Udaipur.
2N Udaipur-----------------Fly to Delhi..back home
For trains check with www.indianrail.gov.in
for flights----www.cleartrip.com
Thanks
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 04:56 AM
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We haven't gone yet, but also have 11.5 days (added one night since my previous post), and have decided to go to Udaipur instead of Jaipur. We also wanted one long stay with yoga and hiking, and chose to avoid overnight trains. Will report back after our trip.

Day 1 Mumbai (late arrival)
Day 2,3,4,5 rural Rhajasthan (Devi Garh, near Udaipur)
Day 6,7 Varanasi
Day 8 Khajuraho
Day 9,10 Agra
Day 11,12 Delhi
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 06:43 AM
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We are going February for 19 days so have more time but doing it at slower pace. Two nights Delhi recovering from flight. Two in Varanasi, 2Agra. Flying wherever it makes sense. We will all have lots to tell after. Devi Garth will be restful.
We are also not doing tigers. Have been on Africa safaris.
Also been up the Amazon from Puerto Mal...now that is a trip.
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 08:09 AM
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naziyaahmed's plan would be just awful, IMO. You would spend most of your time getting from one place to another, never more than 2 nights anywhere and a couple of one-nighters. Remember that getting from one place to another is "wprk."
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Old Aug 12th, 2012, 04:45 AM
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Thank you for the additional input. It is helpful to see what others are doing or suggest. I think naziyaahmed's is too rushed for me and I am not interested in an overnight train, but really appreciate the suggestions and flow.

crosscheck...will you fly from Varanasi to Khujuraho then drive to Agra and drive/train to Delhi? How did you decide between Udaipur and Jaipur? Sightseeing options? better hiking/yoga opportunity? Just curious as I try to prioritize.

At this point, I think Ranthambore is out of consideration (unless our travel companions find it a must). I've been on safari in Africa and traveled in the Amazon basin, although I am sure the wildlife experience would be totally different and I'd love to see tigers and some of the regional birds and such. Just can't do everything and I don't think it's a priority for this trip.

I'm thinking about a couple of routes at this point...comments welcome. I am not familiar yet with train or flight hop times/locations that work best.

More rushed...but would get a good overview sampler.
2n Delhi
3n Udaipur
2n Jaipur
1-2n Agra
2-3n Varanasi (4n total between Agra/Varanasi)
1n Delhi

OR, really choosing between Udaipur and Jaipur...I'd like to see all of the above, but don't want to be totally rushed and moving around all the time. Also not 100% settled on flight schedule yet...if a very late flight on departure day, does it make sense to come back from Varanasi the same day departing for U.S. as I usually try avoid that in case of delays/cancellations resulting in a misconnect home (disaster)?

2n Delhi
3n Jaipur or Udaipur
2n Agra
3n Varanasi
1n Delhi
plus that leaves one more night to add somewhere...where?

It would be nice to have a bit of rest or down time somewhere for a yoga class, hike, cooking class, massage or something not "sightseeing" as well as some time to just stroll around wherever we are. Plus it seems some daytrip options as well - suggestions?

I suppose we could also consider Khuajuraho between Varanasi and Agra.

And last question (for now)..any favorite recommended books about or set in India. Historical fiction, biography, mystery, whatever?

Thanks!!
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Old Aug 12th, 2012, 05:27 PM
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Have been reading a lot of the day.

crosscheck...read your other thread with more details on your itinerary. I like it. Very much. Plus other comments helpful. I may try a similar route. Thanks.
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Old Aug 12th, 2012, 08:51 PM
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Thanks for the kind words about our itinerary - hope planes, trains and monsoon cooperate. Good news for you is that we will return in plenty of time for you to tweak your trip.

I'm traveling now, but will get back to you later this week with the logic behind our decisions. But, to answer your Udaipur vs. Jaipur query: We chose Udaipur over Jaipur because a) weather is better in Udaipur when we're going, b) wanted a rural experience and got a great deal at Devi Garh, which has been on my radar for a while - we want to start off in a relaxing rural setting, c) we have to begin our trip in Mumbai - only award ticket available. If we were starting in Delhi and we could omit some internal flights, might be a different story.
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Old Aug 13th, 2012, 07:11 AM
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Thanks, crosscheck. Will look forward to hearing about your trip. For us, weather not as much of an issue in Februrary. And, as we will almost certainly be doing RT Delhi, Jaipur may work better than Udaipur from a logistics/flow standpoint as it may omit an internal flight. While I'd like a mix of experiences (both activities like hiking, yoga, cooking class) and rural/urban, I am not attached to Devi Garh or a particular rural stay. Still, I am not decided between Udaipur and Jaipur yet. Hmmm, it will sort out eventually. I also want to talk more with our travel buddies about their preferences or priorities. We will likely have an extra day for Delhi that it looks like you don't have.

Have a great trip.

Other suggestions/thoughts/comments still welcome!
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Old Aug 14th, 2012, 10:40 AM
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While we enjoyed our stay in udaipur and the beautiful vista on the lake, we thought Jaipur was far more interesting than we had anticipated. We also really enjoyed our drive between Jaipur and udiapur - especially our stops at the monkey temple and the stepping well. Since your time is limited and udiapur is more difficult to get to, imo I would opt for Jaipur.
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