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Southern India: two weeks worked out, would like an appraisal on its feasibility, please!

Southern India: two weeks worked out, would like an appraisal on its feasibility, please!

Jun 23rd, 2004, 07:39 PM
  #1  
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Southern India: two weeks worked out, would like an appraisal on its feasibility, please!

Thanks to some good advice on two earlier threads, I have now worked out a tentative itinerary for the first two weeks of our five weeks in India, starting in Mumbai on October 17 (to which we return for a few days at the end). Here it is:

Sun 17: Arrive Mumbai. Overnight Mumbai. (1 night acc)

Mon 18: Mumbai. Early train to Malavli/Lonavla (130 km) Karla/Bhaja Caves. On to Pune (60 km). Overnight train/bus (18:15, 19:15, 19:45) to Panaji (Goa) 495 km

Tue 19: Panaji (1 night acc)

*Wed 20: Panaji. Flea market. Overnight train/bus to Hospet (320 km)

*Thur 21: Hampi/Hospet (Vijiyanagar Ruins). Then to Bangalore by overnight bus.

*Fri 22: Bangalore (2 nights acc.)

Sat 23: Day trip to Mysore 139 km. Return Bangalore.

Sun 24: Air Bangalore to Cochin (Kochi) 12:45 ? 14:55. 533 km (2 nights acc)

Mon 25: Kochi

Tue 26: Kochi. Overnight bus/train to Calicut (Kozhikode) 181 km

Wed 27: Air Kozhikode to Tiruchirapalli 10:20 ? 11:15. (2 nights acc) 391 km

Thur 28: Tiruchirapalli . Day trip to Madurai (128 km). Accommodation near airport.

Fri 29: Air Tiruchirapalli-Chennai: 5:10-6:00, Chennai ? Hyderabad: 9:35-10:35.
(1 night acc near airport for early start next day) 899 km.

Sat 30: Air Hyderabad-Nagpur 8:45 ? 9:45. (487 km) Day in Nagpur. O?night train Kolkata.

* = Dussehra

These stops are fairly close to what I had in mind a few days ago, changed somewhat because of the constraints of when Indian Airlines flies in and out of these cities, so that we can make optimum use of our week.
There is still much I do not know, and would appreciate advice from the experts:
1. Is this actually doable in the time I have allowed?
2. Is there an overnight bus from Panaji to Hospet, and is there a web site showing it? (The Indian Railways website is not much help for trains, even though the Goa website assures us that trains between Panaji and Hospet do exist).
3. There are four overnight bus journeys in this 14-day stretch. Should these be booked in advance, or can I merely book in the morning for buses leaving that evening?
4. Am I trying to do too much by attempting a day trip from Bangalore to Mysore and another day trip from Tiruchirapalli to Madurai (which is wretchedly serviced by air)?
5. Two of the flights (from Tiruchirapalli and from Hyderabad) are very early starts. Is there plenty of budget accommodation around the airports of these cities? Any specific suggestions?
6. Is it realistic to see the Karla/Bhaja caves en route from Mumbai to Pune in a single day?
7. We are seeking budget accommodation everywhere, and are willing to take our chances. However, our first day in Mumbai might be best pre-booked in a central area, so that we can leave Sydney knowing that we have a place to rest our heads that night. Any suggestions for a hotel in a central area... and is there public transport from the airport to the centre of the city?

Well, I guess that's enough for one post! However, if you can spot any absurdities in this itinerary which I haven't asked about, please make some comments!
Alan is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 11:30 PM
  #2  
 
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Alan, I think u are trying to pack too much in yr 2 wks. Many of the places u r visiting will still be hot in Oct - specifically Mumbai is humid and uncomfortable so your journeys will drain you. Also, roads in India are not very good so travel times can be unpredictable. I would spend more than 1 night in Goa. It is a lovely, relaxed place with lots of local charm. Also, Pune-Goa DEF take the train. Much more comfortable and reliable. A day trip to Mysore will be very hectic. Can u try to spend a night? Buses can generally be booked on the day of travel. In Mumbai u can consider Shelley's Hotel - bear in mind that your train to Lonavla starts from the VT station which is in South Mumbai and about 1.5 hrs from the intl airport so prob makes sense to travel from the airport to South Mumbai so that in the morning you are nearer yr train station. From the airport to the center of the city u r best off in a prepaid taxi - the intl airport is far from everything and best not to take chances with luggage on your first day.
Sameera_Anand is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 02:12 PM
  #3  
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Thanks, Sameera, those comments are extremely helpful. I will adjust the schedule accordingly... some of those options were dictated not by me but the Indian Airlines timetable, so I might look at Jet Airways and see if, in spite of their fewer destinations on the one-week pass, they can't offer a better mix of times and dates. Many thanks for your help!
Alan is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 04:05 PM
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Alan

If i remember right there are some major Dusshera celebration in the Mysore - which might be fun, (if crowded). When I went years and years ago, I rember the palace was all lit up, and there was some sort of parade through the city.

Just curious why Nagpur? Why not go Chennai to Calcutta - is it the air schedules?
indie is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 09:52 PM
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It's the air schedules. I can get to Nagpur on the one-week $US300 deal which also takes in points aouth, such as Goa and Cochin. From Nagpur I can get a train to Varanasi and suddenly I'm in the north and heading for Jaipur and Udaipur. I guess there's nothing to see in Nagpur, and maybe there will be a bus service from there to Varanasi so I can move on the same day (the train means I have to wait more than twenty-four hours).
Alan is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 09:47 AM
  #6  
 
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I agree with the previous poster that you are trying to pack way too much in 14 days. I would limit to 1 or 2 flights maximum. I also highly recommend trains over buses. Keep in mind that trains, not only buses, can be very slow (with delays of several hours over the timetable). Personally, based on a trip I took last year, I would limit the trip to Bombay (1-2 nights), Hampi, and Kerala.
Matt is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 06:11 PM
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Are you going to the backwaters?
memee is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 09:11 PM
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Anyone check the date of Alan's original post? He's long gone & I think he had a great trip.
Lyndie is offline  
Jul 30th, 2005, 04:10 AM
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Bangalore is not uninteresting, but the surroundings of Mysore are definitely much much better. I suggest to limit or even eliminate your visit to Bangalore and make the outing to Mysore a circuit of 2, if possible 3 days. My suggestion:
day 1 - Bangalore - Somnathpur - Mysore
day 2 - to Hassan and visits to Belur and Halebid (which will require an early rise)
day 3 - back to Bangalore via Sranavabelagola
This mini-itinerary will very nicely supplement your Hampi visit
cram is offline  

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