Where should I go in India?

Jan 31st, 2010, 04:12 PM
  #1  
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Where should I go in India?

We have 12 total days at the end of April and are desperate to go to India!
Where should we go...
We love seeing culture, food, wild life, the city and the beach.
I have to confess that the Taj Mahal does not hold much appeal, but seeing the Ganges sounds fascinating.
The south sounds pretty lovely with Mumbai and the coastline or the backwaters of kerala.

Any thoughts?
alovesa is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 06:01 PM
  #2  
 
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While the usual first trip to India is to Rajasthan, go wherever strikes your fancy. India is so vast with so many different experiences, choose what suits you. For a place like India, I'd buy not only a guidebook, but a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, to help me choose.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 1st, 2010, 12:25 AM
  #3  
 
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I totally agree with Kathie, and India has so many amazing things to offer.
You may check the weather though as it can get really hot in the north by the end of April-May, Mumbay will always be humid as well as the rest of Maharashtra, and Kerala in the south will be cool by that time of the year. But you should decide your trip depending on what you expect to see in India.
jacksallaround is offline  
Feb 1st, 2010, 05:30 AM
  #4  
 
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I agree that Rajasthan is the "classic India" for a first-timer (much like Southern Spain is the first place people go to see "postcard" Spain.) The Taj Mahal, which if I recall correctly (and it has been a few years), is in Uttar Pradesh and easy to combine with Rajasthan. It is one of those places that is definitely NOT overrated.

For a short trip at the end of April (and twelve days to India is short), I would choose to concentrate in one area to really get a feel for it (Mumbai/Aurangad/Goa, Delhi/Rajasthan/Agra or Kerala/TamilNad/Karnataka/Goa).

You might also want to check the weather and see what area suits you best depending on your preference.

If you go to Mumbai, Goa is not too far (relatively speaking) for beaches. You can also take a short flight to Aurangabad and arrange transportation to see the marvelous caves at Ajanta and Ellora - I am not a huge "sightseer" but those were amazing. Bit of a trek to get to but well worth it.

Good luck!
usernameistaken is offline  
Feb 1st, 2010, 05:35 AM
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It looks like from another poster that the Taj is undergoing repairs/partially covered up. You might want to to look into that.
usernameistaken is offline  
Feb 1st, 2010, 08:37 PM
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End of April is not the best time to travel either in Rajasthan or down south. It is hot in Rajasthan & humid in the south. That leaves us the foothills & Golden Temple at Amritsar, as an alternative. Foothills hold some breathtaking sceneries & gels well with a couple of days in the Corbett. You will see a kliedoscope of cultures, Sikhs in Amritsar; Buddhists in Dharamsala; rural heritage at Pragpur; photogenic Shimla & it's lovely cedar flanked walks; Ganges & Hindu mysticism in Haridwar where the Kumbh Mela is currently on; And Rishikesh...if you do appreciate the Beatles, the Igloo like structures in ruins, where they meditated & composed!!
vp_singh is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 09:31 PM
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Honey you don't want to miss the Taj! Trust me
jm1971 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2010, 06:41 PM
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I think India is fantastic and offers a lot to see and do. However, for an April vacation, I would very strongly suggest you take a look at weatherbase.com and other weather websites to see the average temps for Delhi, Mumbai, Agra and Rajasthan in April and May. It is simply bloody hot, temps in the 90s F most days, over 100 F not at all unusual, and over 110 F can happen very often. You really have to be prepared for it. (And I say this as a person who lives in Hong Kong which has a summer which last 7 months during which temps over 85 F are pretty much the norm.) The sun is very brutal and as there is little rain, there is no cloud cover. As you are outdoors sightseeing, there is little relief. (Avoiding Agra and the Taj may be a wise decision, when I was in Delhi in April last year for business, I overheard some tourists at the Oberoi pool debating whether to go down to Agra the next day, the fact that the forecast called for temps of 112 F was weighing heavily against the decision….) If you choose hot northern areas, go slowly and don’t try to pack too much into an itin.

I agree with VPSingh that choosing higher elevations would be a better choice for April and there are many good ones to choose from. Beach locations can work as well; while the heat is similar, you have sea breezes and relief at the beach.

The suggestion of Rikisesh above is very good if you want to see the Ganges (never knew the Beatles were there! How funny is that. Obviously I have never found the igloos…) It’s on a much smaller scale than Varanasi and might be a better choice in the hotter weather. It’s lovely countryside and there are some game parks nearby as well. Not sure a first-time visitor would be ready to handle the Kumbh Mela, but more power to you if you think you can. Something like 10-20 million people attend; I myself like to observe it from photos, as I am not sure that after about 100 trips to India I am ready to head into the melee myself.

Otherwise, while this site is a great resource, it is not so great IMO at helping narrow choices, as you will get so many opinions that you will be bogged down with more choices. A guidebook would help you narrow your choices. You can get guidebooks out of the library; old books are fine, as being out of date does not change the basic info in books on sights, culture and weather. The net is a great source of info as well. As a start, read the destination guides on this site and on Frommers.com. When you have some ideas of what you want to see and do, then buy the newest editions for restaurant and hotel recs and the latest travel tips for that country.

If you have never been to Asia, there may be other places that would be a better choice weather-wise and also perhaps an “easier” introduction to travel in Asia, as India can be tough going and more so in the very hot weather, IMO. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia (e.g. Bali) would all be good choices. Singapore is an easy add-on to many of those. (Hong Kong is not in the best weather in April, tends to fog and some rain, but May is better.)

With regard to repairs at the Taj Mahal, from the only recent article I could find, in the Washington Post, it appears it is some of the entrance gates which are under repair, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...011002917.html. I’d like to hear reports of people who have been there recently. The mausoleum itself occasionally has scaffolding on parts, as repairs are pretty constant; but to the best of my knowledge, they never cover the entire structure, only parts at a time. And the main work is not done during the winter tourist season (but might be done in April).
Cicerone is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 08:40 PM
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The Beatles were under great spell of the notorious Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The ruins of his Ashram lies at the very end of the Ghats (left Bank of the Ganges) about a mile or so from the Laxman Jhula. As you walk down past the Parmarth ashram & many more, there is a shallow ravine, down which you turn left & about a 100 yards you will come across a chained iron gate, an abandoned entry point to the Rajaji National Park.The chowkidar will charge you a flat rate of Rs. 50 & allow you in. This is where they were in 1968 till the Keatsean spell broke & they composed: "Sexy Sadi what have you done...you have made a fool of every one...!"
vp_singh is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 05:32 AM
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Here's the post that I was referring to
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...first-time.cfm.

Apparently, people who have been there in December 2009 and January 2010 said there is nothing much going on.
usernameistaken is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 10:38 PM
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I felt the same about the Taj Mahal when planning our trip. Agra is such a gross city and I wondered if it was worth the trouble to get there just to see the Taj. I am not a yoga, foo foo person and I have seen many ancient structures all over the world. However, I was blown away by the Taj Mahal. You just can't take your eyes off it. There is a certain energy about the place. IMO, I would visit Northern India and save Southern India for another visit. I would also include Varanasi. It is a "must see" place that is fascinating. My favorites on our 3wk trip were the Taj Mahal, Varanasi and the drive from Udaipur to Jodhpur stopping to see Ranakpur Temples and the kum? fort and overnighting in the village of Narlai.
lisasiegel is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 11:43 PM
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When we were there backpacking 10 years ago we saw Varanassi, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Goa and Agra. Varanassi was the best place I visited in India by far and I cannot wait to get back there some day. Its like walking through the set of a film everyday, its hard to believe what you are seeing sometimes.. amazing, fascinating, unnerving, smelly, beautiful, picturesque place. Can I come in your suitcase??
nikinoo33 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2010, 06:36 PM
  #13  
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HaHa, I'll keep you in mind, nikinoo! (Although, with the heat, we might try to travel lighter than that!)

Thank you, everyone, for the helpful advice. We spent our honeymoon in Thailand in May--very hot--and it gives us a bit of extra confidence about our tolerance, but you do give me pause.

We'll certainly need to talk this over a bit more, but I think we're really committed to finally seeing India this year. We'll be looking around some yet, but we did find nonstop flights into Mumbai and out of Delhi and like the idea of traveling between the two in Rajasthan.

I neglected to mention that the 12 days includes flying time, so you can understand that the nonstop is a bigger draw than usual... These flights would put us into Mumbai late on a Saturday night and out of Delhi late on the following week's Tuesday night.

Thinking that we could start in Mumbai, fly to Udaipur, visit Jodhpur and Pushkar (not sure of order), overnight train or fly into Delhi. My wife would really, really love to include Varanasi, but it seems like it might be pushing it too much. Maybe we could add a night at another small town around Pushkar or Jodhpur instead?

What do you think? Assuming we'll be okay with the heat, what itinerary would you suggest based on our flight plan?

Thank you again for all of the help!
alovesa is offline  
Feb 8th, 2010, 06:42 PM
  #14  
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P.S. LisaSiegel--can you say more about your drive from Udaipur to Jodhpur? How did you decide on a car/driver? How long did you spend on that portion of the trip? All details are appreciated! Thanks!
alovesa is offline  
Feb 9th, 2010, 08:11 AM
  #15  
 
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I am frequently surprised by what people can endure in terms of temperature or "hot" spices foodwise. Having said that, remember that Rajasthan borders a desert, which makes the weather there hotter and drier.

End of April is not the best time to visit India or Rajasthan. You will be there at just about the peak of the hot weather(which is usually in June, but end April/May is also very hot). If you are prepared, I think you will have a wonderful time there. Do Plan on air-conditioned hotels and air-conditioned cars for sure.

Good luck with your trip. Enjoy and have a wonderful time.
magical is offline  
Feb 9th, 2010, 01:03 PM
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I have not been on in a few weeks, but great to see my favorite subject on the board: first time travel to India.

I did a 12 day India trip in April 2002 www.waynehazle.com/india/

FAR FAR too short, but still my greatest trip ever. Sorry the Taj is a must! But the Ganges is incredible. But nothing on earth compares to seeing a tiger in the wild. I would advise you to go to Ranthambore but I am not sure if you will even see a tiger there.
waynehazle is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 08:40 PM
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I would suggest you to explore the wild jungles and forests of India on India Wildlife Tours.Feel the excitement of seeing a majestic tiger prowling in a jungle, or elephants and rhinos trampling their way through the tall grass of a National Park in India. Travel Horizon India Tours offers unforgettable adventure tours and nature tours to India. plz visit this website : http://www.travelindianwildlife.com for adventurous tour.

gud luck for your trip...Hope you enjoy
travelindianwildlife is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 10:13 PM
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Jain saint Bahubali - about 1,000 yrs old huge statue. In the province of Kanatka. Sravanabeloga (50km SE of Hassan) on the way from Mysore to Hassan. There are some good temples at Belur and Haledid. Bangalore being the nearest airport.

Have not been there myself and would love to.. but some info I got from friends.
twilightzone is offline  
Feb 18th, 2010, 10:17 PM
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Sorry -that's Kanataka.
Also, Jain is..I think an off-shoot of Hindu. Like Anglican and Catholic. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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