1st timer to Golden Triangle, Rajasthan, Varanasi

#1 Sep 4th, 2012, 12:50
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  • rachelanne is offline
#1
Heading to India in late November for 2.5 weeks and I can't wait! I've scaled back my initial crazy itinerary so I hope I'm not too off base.

For some background: I'm travelling with my significant other and we are both in our 30s. I usually don't make repeat visits to the same country, so this may be my only India trip or at least my only for many years. I tend to enjoy a fast pace but understand that India will be more challenging than what I'm used to on a trip. Given our limited vacation time, I am OK with spending the $ for flights when they make sense. That all being said, how does the following itinerary look?

Delhi- 2 nights after 1 am arrival on the first night.
morning train to Agra
Agra- 1 night
train to Jaipur
Jaipur 3 nights
train to Jodhpur
Jodhpur 2 nights
driver to Kumbhalgarh (and maybe Ranakpur) then onto Udaipur
Udaipur 3 nights
AM flight to Varansi
Varanasi 2 nights
flight to Delhi
Delhi 2 nights then homeward bound!

A few important questions:

Am I doing myself a disservice by skipping Jaismaler for Udaipur? It looks amazing but far off with no easy flights to Varanasi so I've leaned towards skipping it. I'm hoping to get the grand fort experience in with Kumbhalgarh. Also looking forward to seeing some smaller villages on that drive. Is Udaipur worth it? Some people are bored with it while others seem to love it.

Is this too fort heavy? I love forts but am I going to risk experiencing the Indian equivalent of "oh no, not another gorgeous European church!"

Thanks in advance for any advice! Looking forward to hearing your sage words of wisdom.
#2 Sep 4th, 2012, 13:04
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  • Dave W is offline
#2
rachelanne

Welcome to India Mike. Quite a hectic schedule. I wouldn't worry about Jaisalmer - if you fall in love with India you will be going back. If you spend one less night in Jaipur and one more in Jodhpur you could build in an overnight desert experience from there. Don't miss Udaipur - lovely relaxed city but with plenty to do and see.

You need to get on with registering and booking trains. The booking window for November has already been open for a few weeks.

http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...012-a-t165379/
#3 Sep 4th, 2012, 13:19
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
#3
Rachelanne

I normally do not disagree with Dave but on this occasion, I think differently. Principally because you do have enough time and the itinerary can be tweaked to allow for what you'd like to see without significant compromises. If your heart is set on Jaisalmer, no point skipping and looking at photos of the place with wistful sighs for the next ten years.

Given below is what i think is possible:

Delhi- 2 nights after 1 am arrival on the first night.
morning train to Agra
Agra- 1 night (plenty - some people leave the same day! two days and a night you can see almost all major sights in agra and Fatehpur Sikri)
train to Jaipur
Jaipur 2 nights
train to Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer 2 nights (you'll reach around 11 am, so spend the first evening on the desert, the next day checking out the attractions in the fort and the havelis and you're done. Again, this fort is different from the others, its alive and do stay inside the fort on both nights)
Jodhpur 2 nights (early morning train) - this does given enough time to cover the three must do points: Fort, Ummaid Bhawan, Jaswant Thada and half day at Mandore gardens.
Drive to Ranakpur (for sure! - they're outstanding and since you're not visiting Abu, you would not get another chance to see
Udaipur 3 nights (take a day trip to Chittorgarh - India's largest fort, lots to see and it feels more like a city on a plateau once you're inside and it is very different from Mehrangarh at Jodhpur, Amer at Jaipur or any of the Mughal forts at Agra and Delhi)
AM flight to Varansi
Varanasi 2 nights
flight to Delhi
Delhi 1 nights then homeward bound!
#4 Sep 4th, 2012, 22:25
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  • rachelanne is offline
#4
thank you, great responses already! I should mention that I have done the camel/desert experience before and while fun, I think once was enough for me.

Dave, thanks for the reminder on train bookings, that is my next step after vetting this itinerary. thanks for the link, really helpful!

vaibhav_arora, that revised itinerary looks really great!! Am I correct in saying that Jaipur would only be 1 night and the 2nd night will actually be on a night train out to Jaisalmer? It looks like the Class 1A tickets are already wait listed so I better get on booking!

Also, any thoughts on getting a driver from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur instead of the trains? The trains to Jodhpur both run late in the day.

Thanks all!
#5 Sep 4th, 2012, 22:30
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  • Dave W is offline
#5
rachelanne

I didn't realise that you were an old hand. When did you last book rail tickets from outside India? There have been significant changes to both Cleartrip and irctc since around November 2011. Old accounts will no longer work and trying to resurrect them seems to cause more problems than starting afresh.
#6 Sep 4th, 2012, 22:36
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelanne View Post
vaibhav_arora, that revised itinerary looks really great!! Am I correct in saying that Jaipur would only be 1 night and the 2nd night will actually be on a night train out to Jaisalmer? It looks like the Class 1A tickets are already wait listed so I better get on booking!

Also, any thoughts on getting a driver from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur instead of the trains? The trains to Jodhpur both run late in the day.

Thanks all!
As long as you get two full days in Jaipur, it's okayish. I was actually thinking it would be two days and two nights since most people find Jaipur frantic (it is Rajasthan's capital and a busy commercial hub and can be crazy in parts (not delhi-crazy but still).

There's an overnight train from Jaisalmer that you can get onto (that gives you two full days in Jodhpur). number 14809.

However, a car and driver will allow you a possible stop over at Osiyan and you could do mandore garden as you come in. That will take care of day 1 of Jodhpur. Remember you have to pay return fare if you hire a car.
#7 Sep 4th, 2012, 22:52
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  • chicovilla is offline
#7
Hi Rachelanne
As you say you lik a fast paced trip and want to see as much as possible, you can definately fit Jaisalmer in your plans.
I did Delhi-Varanasi-Agra-Jaipur-jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Delhi travelling by train in just over 2 weeks. Great places, and definately worth it.
My trip is on my blog

http://india-by-rail.blogspot.co.uk/

Enjoy!
#8 Sep 5th, 2012, 09:20
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#8
Dave- You give me too much credit! Not an old hand regarding India, my last desert trek was in Morocco. This is my first time booking Indian rail. I just received all of my passwords to book online, so lets hope that goes smoothly! ha.

vaibhav_arora- thanks for the tip re: Osiyan and mandore garden! This revised itinerary looks great to me, now just to make the bookings!

chicovilla- absolutely lovely blog! you have helped confirm my decision to take this route, beautiful photos and great tips!

Thanks all for the help!
My revised itinerary is as follows:
Delhi- 2 nights after 1 am arrival on the first night.
morning train to Agra
Agra- 1 night
train to Jaipur
Jaipur 1 night
1 night train to Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer 2 nights
train or car to Jodhpur
Jodhpur 2 nights
Drive to Ranakpur, Kumbhalgarh then onto Udaipur
Udaipur 3 nights (day trip to Chittorgarh)
AM flight to Varansi
Varanasi 2 nights
flight to Delhi
Delhi 1 night then homeward bound!
#9 Sep 5th, 2012, 12:29
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
#9
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Originally Posted by rachelanne View Post Dave- You give me too much credit! Not an old hand regarding India, my last desert trek was in Morocco.
Oh, in that case you may want to go to the dunes near Jaisalmer. Not so much for the camel ride but to visit some village hutments (called 'dhani' in rajasthani) and the traditional dance (kalbelia) and food. Here's a youtube: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...xY1QprRdpdclaw.

The Kalbelias were traditionally snake handlers / charmers. Gulabo is an exponent of the dance form . I like this move a lot. You can ask a good desert resort in Jaisalmer for organizing this for you. They traditionally bundle a dance with the safari but should be able to let you watch along with dinner for perhaps the same charge or less. You may want to ask for this (the specific dance) else you might end up witnessing a simple ghoomar which is traditional but nowhere close to the form I mentioned above. An easy way to distinguish is by the color of the dress. Traditional kalbelia dancers always wear black (with bling, lots of), ghoomar dancers are almost always in red / orange / bright color.

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