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Short Trip to India

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Jan 7th, 2013, 11:55 PM
  #1
cwn
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Short Trip to India

Fodors members have made many of our trips that much better with their suggestions. I am planning a trip to Dehli, Agra and Jaipur for the two of us and am looking for help. I have reserved a great package deal for the our hotels and have the flights (BC) with points and am now working on the daily activities.We will hire a car and drivier for the trip.

We like history and photography, I enjoy shopping, DH likes it when we travel because it is different so that works. He really doesn't like crowds and noise, but I really want to go to India soooo.

Here is the plan:
Friday - April 12 - Delhi - Car and Driver - Pick up at New Delhi Oberio at 11:00.
1.) Drive along Rajpath, stop for photos of key government public buildings, viewpoints down Raj Path and stop at India Gate for photo opt.
2.) Shopping stop at Cottage Industries Emporium, Kan Market for FabInfia and Anolki and Anokhi DISCOUNT STORE.
3.) Visit Humayun’s Tomb for photos of Mughal tomb garden near sunset.
4.) Return to Oberio.

Saturday - April 13 - Delhi - Car and Driver for the day.
1.) Early morning visit (south Delhi) Lal Ko for photography of gardens and structures....Qwwatu'l-Islam (Might of Islam) congregational mosque, the Qutb Minar, the Iron Pillar, the Tomb of Iltutmish, and the Alai Minar.
2.) Shopping stop at Greater Kailash Part I N market (South Delhi). Or one of the markets like Hauz Khaz or Dilli Haat.
3.) Lodhi Gardens for photography of gardens and tombs... Mohammad Shar's tomb, Sikander Lodi's tomb, Bara Gumbad, the Sheesh Gumbad and the Athpula ("Eight Piered") Bridge
4.) Late Lunch at the Imperial to see building and picture collection.
5.) Visit Old Delhi for photo opts only, no tours.....Jama Masjid and Red Fort.
6.) Arrange a rickshaw ride through lanes and narrow bazaars of Chandni Chowk.
7.) Return to Oberio.

Sunday - April 14 - Delhi to Agra
Car and Driver for the day. Morning drive to Agra....~three hours via new road.
1.) Visit Agra Fort - with guide.
2.) Check in to Oberio Ameraviles for rest stop, room may or may not be ready.
3.) Cross the Yamuna River to visit tomb of Itimad-ud-Daula. Do we need a guide?
4.) Spend end of day and sunset at Mehtabh Bagh, Mughal garden sited opposite the Taj Mahal; for good views of the Taj and good light at sunset for Taj photographs.
5.) Return to Oberoi Ameravilas.

Monday - April 15 - Agra to Japiur
Car and driver for the day.
1.) Sun rise visit to Taj - with guide - for pictures, then stay on as the light changes and slowly people begin to arrive..
2.) Return to hotel for breakfast.
3.) Drive to Jaipur (~5 hours plus stops)
4.) Stop at Fatehpur Sikri - with guide
5.) Short visit at Abhaneri step-well for pictures...no guide.
6.) Check in at Oberoi Rajvilas

Tuesday - April 16 - Japiur
Car and driver for the day.
1.) Drive through Jaipur’s 18th century walls city, photo opt at Hawa Mahal with morning light.
2.) Drive past Jal Mahal Palace in the lake for photo opt.
3.) Go up by Jeep or elephant to see Amber Fort -with guide - tour outer courtyard Durbar Hall and mirrored inner palace.
4.) Visit the Anokhi Block Printing Museum - no guide - behind Amber Fort in Amber city for block printing lesson. If time allows photo opt of step well and maybe old temple in Amber.
5.) Back to the city for tour of Jantar Mantar...the Observatory - with guide.?
6.) Rest stop/late lunch at Rambagh Palace.
7.) Maybe visit city Palace Museum if time.
8.) Shopping stop at the Gem Palace, Anokhi and colorful bazaars including the tiny cotton bazaar lanes.
9.) Return to Oberio Rajvilas.

Wednesday - April 17 - Japiur to Delhi
Car and driver for day.
1.) Morning leisure time at hotel.
2.) Drive back to Delhi (5 hours) to Oberoi Gurgaon.

We fly in arriving early hours of 12th and will fly out mid morning on the 18th. I know it will be hot, but this is when we can go. Plus we are use to the heat and humidity, so will just make do. I know we have a lot for each day, but I will probably only get this one chance. We have avoided India since we started traveling 30 years ago! But not this time.

Any suggestions?
Thanks..
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Jan 8th, 2013, 09:05 AM
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SLOW DOWN.... seems like way tooooo much for each segment..

take the elephant ride up to amber fort--no jeep... but have your driver drive up the back side to meet you after tour... you are looking at a couple of hours here..

i don't think police will allow you to stop by government buildings, even for pics
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Jan 8th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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Where are you traveling from? If it's North America, I'm a little concerned about jet lag. I also think since your husband likes peace and quiet, it would be great to substitute a rural location for either Delhi or Jaipur.
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Jan 8th, 2013, 02:45 PM
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cwn
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Thanks,

Don't know about exactly what our tour person ment about the buildings....he knows we like nice photo opts, history and calmer spaces if there is such a thing in India. We will see what the thought is.

I have some problems walking, so the plan is to see the best of the sites, not necessarily all of each site...that will depend on how I am doing with the activity.

I wonder if I can mamage the elephant ride...depends on how the seating works...hopefuly I can.
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Jan 8th, 2013, 03:17 PM
  #5
cwn
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crosscheck,

Thanks for yor reply. I love your report and it has given me lots of ideas. I also contacted Louise...she is very nice and gave me several suggestions on how to do what I really want and at the same time give my husband some relief.

We did talk about going to some more rual areas, but DH wants to just spend long enough to see what I have dreamed of and leave.

We are coming from the States, but will break up the flight in Germany and will actually arrive the day before so the jet lag shouldn't be too bad, I hope! We are also stopping in AMS on the way home to do a river cruise seeing the tulips. We will then rent a house for a week or so....my husband's treat for going to India.
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Jan 8th, 2013, 11:06 PM
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Your day in Jaipur is really packed. I have a feeling you can do the shopping OR the city palace, but not both. When I was there, we did just about everything you have on there, including block print museum and city palace, but had time for only a brief shopping stop. I was disappointed we didn't get to Gem Palace, but later discovered they had a branch in the Amarvillas. This was about 4 years ago.

The elephant seats are basically a flat wooden platform with a railing about 18 inches above the wood. you stick your legs off the platform and hang onto the railing. You get on by stepping down from a sort of "dock" that is higher than the elephants. It's a lot of fun, but I'd also recommend that you do a one-way up trip and have the jeep meet you for the ride down, especially with all you have on your list that day.

I was going to correct your spelling of the hotel chain and Amarvilas, but I see you figured out Oberoi mid-post!
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Jan 9th, 2013, 12:00 PM
  #7
cwn
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Thankyou Icuy,

Your comments are exactly what I was hopping for.

The elephant info really helps...I think that is doable for me.

Actually looking back over the original suggestions from the tour planner, it was lunch at one of the palaces and my husband staying there while I go shopping alone. But he likes the color of bazars and gems so I know he will follow me, if for no other reason to control the spending LOL!

I did read that there are "branches" of the Gem Palace at all the Oberois, but I think the main store might be worth a stop for the WOW factor!

I know the Jaipur day is loaded and I would like to keep the last morning free to relax at the hotel. But if we miss something that we really want to do, we can always do it before heading back to Delhi.

I have fat fingers and make lots of mistakes plus I can't spell worth a hoot! Bear with me.
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Jan 9th, 2013, 01:13 PM
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go to the main gem palace store... ask to see some of the old creations....

we were lucky enough to meet the owner and he showed us current things being worked on and his vintage car collection..
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Jan 9th, 2013, 03:54 PM
  #9
cwn
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Neat, I just love to look at beautiful stuff!!!

That is what I love about Bangkok....Istanbul too. I had some great pieces made in Bangkok when we were there several years ago using the stones and pearls I picked up from other place around the world.
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Jan 9th, 2013, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for your kind words about my report. Will be putting up photos this weekend.

I would try to build in at least 2-3 hours of relaxation time at each hotel, especially the Amarvilas - We spent almost a whole day doing nothing and would gladly have done that for several days.So maybe cut out at least activity a day (you can always put it back in if you get antsy):

Day 1 - Very Anokhi heavy - probably not needed because you'll also be going to the Anokhi in Jaipur. So you can skip Khan market - not worth it just for FabIndia. (The outlet is fine because it's right near Huyaman's tomb - get the quilts). I don't think you need too much photo op time for govt. buildings.)

Day 2 - This day seems crazy because of insane traffic everywhere. We were also there on a Friday. We liked the Red Fort (go in late p.m., less crowded) and its bazaar for cheap souvenirs. Didn't see much of the rest. Sorry we didn't get to Hauz Khaz.

Day 3- You will want some down time (pool/spa) at the Amarvilas. Try to get an early check in (or maybe arrive Friday pm) and spend two nights instead of two in Delhi. We only saw the exterior of Agra Fort - enough for us because we were also seeing the Red Fort.

Day 4 - We didn't do this drive (hope it's beautiful and rural) but this day seems okay to me if you don't spend too long at FS. You'll be finished with the Taj by about 10:00 - 10:30 am, but don't miss breakfast at the Oberoi.

Day 5 - Maybe pick one sightseeing activity and the rest shopping. Haven't been to Jaipur, but the shopping seems to be what everyone loves.

Day 6 - Yes, leisure!!
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Jan 9th, 2013, 08:24 PM
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one great fort might be enough.. i vote delhi
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Jan 9th, 2013, 08:24 PM
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plus amber of course...skip agra
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Jan 9th, 2013, 08:55 PM
  #13
cwn
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Thanks for the suggestions, crosscheck

Totaly agree about down time. We are not spa people, but do enjoy a swim in a nice setting or just enjoy a hotel's specialness.

We should have several hours in the afternoon at Amarvilas and we will definitely have breakfast there, plus the last morning at Rajvilas. Sometimes it is a real balancing act when we travel. During the daytime my type "A" DH likes to be on the move, and if we spend too long at one place he gets bored, antsy or both.

Like you. we normally go with just a carry on each also with DH carrying the camera case and me, the computer case. He hates to check luggage.

We spent 5 months going around the world three years ago (22 flights) and didn't check a thing. Made the mistake this fall on our two month trip to Europe taking two pieces of checked luggage...never again! Too hard to handle.

I though I would make my outfit tops more suitable to Spring in Holland. Then on first day, try to get some cool cotton tops to use while we are in India....that is why I have the FabIndia on the 1st day schedule. I love the styles and they are well suited for summer where we live...hot, some 100+ days with 90% humidity.

I have three daughters and they all love all sorts of linens so I hope I can find some neat stuff at the Anokhi Discount Store, it sounds great. Same reasoning behind the stop at the Cottage Industries. If I am lucky at those places, I won't bother with special shopping stops on day 2.

Actually day 2 is all Louise's idea. She said to skip the Delhi fort in favor of the one in Agra. She also didn't have many kind words for the Jaipur fort either. Our tour director says the two gardens, lunch and the rickshaw ride are easily doable including a shopping stop somewhere...guess I will trust their judgements and hope that I find what I want on day 1 so shopping can take a back seat.

The Anokhi Museum in Jaipur doesn't carry the stuff in the stores...it is the history/craft end. I hope to try my hand with a bit of printing.

We will probably do what we can of the Jaipur/Amber sites in the AM, fort, Museum, and the photo opts, and shop in the afternoon. Hmmm, DH can go to the observatory while I go to the markets. Then we can meet at the Gem Palace! I like that plan! Maybe we can eat lunch at the City Palace cafe, then have a drink at the Rambaugh Palace before heading to our hotel. That way get a peak at both.

Oh, am I getting excited!
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Jan 9th, 2013, 09:10 PM
  #14
cwn
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rhkkmk,

Interesting!

I have read that the fort in Delhi is not being maintained well and is in poor condition, to skip it if going to Agra as it is much better! Also the Amber fort has had terrible restoration, with only a couple areas well restored and worth seeing. That is what Louise N told me anyway.

If we were staying longer in each city, I would want to go to them all, but.....

We will go to the Agra fort and the Amber fort, but Delhi is up in the air. DH doesn't really want to go to India period. Since Delhi is our first stop, guess I will have to see how far I can push the site seeing.
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Jan 9th, 2013, 09:29 PM
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we did not go to agra because we were told it was too much duplication..

we thought amber was fab... delhi was decent..

make sure to see the baby taj on the other side of the river..

taj is quite something.. we went at 10AM because it was foggy earlier..

you will love anoki (sp)... we loved santuchi shopping in delhi too.. inside air force base... cottons was another good shopping experience...

we were not wild about the emporium--cottage industries..

we bought a dining room carpet in agra... very pleased with it... price included air shipment to usa---about $2000.

we did not see much linen.. some but nothing like the cottons..
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Jan 10th, 2013, 12:37 AM
  #16
cwn
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Thanks rhkkmk, very helpful.


Check Check and Check..Baby Taj late afternoon 1st day in Agra then Taj at sun rise, then Amber Fort first thing in Jaipur!

Sounds like maybe I will be spending $$ a Anokhi!!! When I said linens, I was thinking cotton table wear and bed stuff.

I don't need another rug...said that in Turkey and came home with three, said it in China and came home with one.....maybe we better stay out of the rug shops!

Can't find a website for Cottons to get store locations. Where did you find their store?
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Jan 10th, 2013, 07:07 AM
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it is right next to one of the well known restaurants...let me look it up
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Jan 10th, 2013, 07:23 AM
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make sure to eat at niros in jaipur... we ate there twice and thought it the best meals we had...

cottons: hari bhawan; jacob rd; civil lines; jaipur Tel: 91 141 2223870/2225481

karen loved fab india in jaipur...

a good local restaurant not far from amber fort is maharaja foods: amber road, opposite brahmpuri police station...

the owners name at gem palace is: sanjay kasliwal... i just found his card in our diary..
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Jan 10th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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I've been to all three forts plus Fatehpur Sikri. I'd do Agra and Amber for sure, and possibly Fatehpur Sikri. To me, Red fort was not nearly as interesting, and not as well maintained. It was also hard to get a feel for it with all the modern crowds.

Whichever ones you visit, I'd recommend guides as the history and architectural details are what give the structures life. The second time I went to Agra fort, I used only a book, and I had a hard time figuring out where I was. The forts have very poor signage. Agra sets the stage for the life (and death) of the shah, and you'll get some beautiful views of the Taj Mahal.

Amber fort has the elephants, the views, the huge walls that wander the hills, and the big courtyards, mirrored room and Water cooling systems. A good guide will point out where curtains hung and the function of each space.

I really enjoyed Fatehpur Sikri as well, but that was 8 years ago and I've heard it's gotten pretty crowded with aggressive touts.

If you are at all a fan of great engineering, don't miss Humayan's Tomb in Delhi. The irrigation system is absolutely amazing, and still in use. In October, the water levels should be at full capacity.

A nice spot for lunch when touring South Delhi is Thyme and Basil (or Basil & Thyme?) at Santushti Market. It's a "ladies who lunch" kind of place with great food. There is a small Anokhi and some other interesting boutiques in this walled compound.

I don't think I'd visit either Hauz Khaz or Dilli Haat at the start of your trip. Both are better for the things you want to take home once you've been comparing prices and quality elsewhere.

Cottage industries is where you go to find everything from crafts to clothes, housewares, furniture, Indian temp tatoos, jewelry, art and rugs. Things cost a bit more than out in the markets, but prices are labeled, quality is as stated, and they have an incredible array of things. You can wander through and get an idea of prices & quality at the start of your trip.

It is also pleasant in that it's air conditioned and has a snack bar. There are no salespeople bugging you, but the flip side is that you'll have to hunt for them for help. if you don't fill your suitcases along the way, come back here at the end.
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Jan 10th, 2013, 11:00 AM
  #20
cwn
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Thanks rhkkmk for the address of Cottons, the Gem Palace owner's name and the eating places.

DH loves to try different foods and it is nice to know of places that others have found good. So maybe Maharaja Foods would be a good stopping spot for us or back to Niros.

Dick can eat anything, but I have real problems with heavily spiced food or food that is "hot" with spices. It can ruin the next day or two if you know what I mean.

What are some good dishes that aren't to spicy...or is there such a thing in India? I don't need meat though I eat it some..starches and veggies are fine with me. Any suggestions?

The more I learn about Jaipur, the busier our day gets!! We will definitely go to the Fort as early as we can get in and then on the the Anokhi Museum. Several years ago someone talked about really enjoying the experience. I will email them to be sure of the schedule as I would really like to try my hand with block printing. Some of the other places may have take a back seat to shopping there.
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