26 day itinerary - too much?

#1 Dec 6th, 2011, 10:32
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  • namin is offline
#1
My boyfriend and I will be in India from the 22nd of December till the 16th of January. Flying into Mumbai and out from Kolkata.
I've drawn up 2 rough itineraries with 'most' of the places I want to visit, one with Darjeeling and the other with Pushkar instead. I'm leaning more towards Darjeeling, as it would be great to include a hill station, but it seems more out of the way than Pushkar. Any suggestions about which one I should prioritise would be great, or maybe I should include both and leave another place out?
I'd really appreciate it if someone with experience traveling around these places could tell me if I'm being realistic, over ambitious or just out right nuts!

22 Arrive early morning in Mumbai
23 Mumbai>night train to Jalgaon
24 Arrive Jalgaon in the morning, see Ajanta caves, leave on 6:15 pm bus to Ahmedabad
25 Arrive Ahmedabad in the morning, spend day, then catch overnight bus to Udaipur
26 Arrive Udaipur in the morning
27 Udaipur
28 Udaipur>Bus to Jodhpur
29 Jodhpur
30 Jodhpur>Overnight train to Jaisalmer
31 Arrive Jaisalmer in the morning
1 Jaisalmer
2 Jaisalmer>Overnight Train to Bikaner
3 Arrive Bikaner in the morning
4 Bikaner
5 Bikaner>Overnight Train to Jaipur
6 Arrive Jaipur in the morning
7 Jaipur
8 Jaipur>Overnight train to Agra OR taxi via Abhaneri and Fatehpur Sikh
9 Agra>Overnight train to Varanasi
10 Arrive Varanasi in the morning
11 Varanasi
12 Varanasi>Overnight train to New Jalgaipuri
13 Arrive New Jalgaipuri>Darjeeling
14 Darjeeling>New Jalgaipuri>Kolkata
15 Arrive Kolkata in the morning
16 Kolkata>Fly to Yangon

OR

22 Mumbai
23 Mumbai>night train to Jalgaon
24 Arrive Jalgaon in the morning, see caves, leave on 6:15 bus to Ahmedabad
25 Arrive Ahmedabad in the morning, spend day, then catch overnight bus to Udaipur
26 Arrive Udaipur
27 Udaipur
28 Udaipur>Bus to Jodhpur
29 Jodhpur
30 Jodhpur>Overnight train to Jaisalmer
31 Arrive Jaisalmer
1 Jaisalmer
2 Jaisalmer>Overnight Train to Bikaner
3 Arrive Bikaner
4 Bikaner
5 Bikaner>Overnight Train to Phulera
6 Phulera>Ajmer>Pushkar
7 Pushkar
8 Pushkar>Ajmer>Jaipur
9 Arrive Jaipur
10 Jaipur
11 Jaipur>Overnight train to Agra OR taxi via Abhaneri and Fatehpur Sikh
12 Varanasi
13 Varanasi
14 Varanasi>Overnight train to Kolkata
15 Arrive Kolkata
16 Kolkata>Rangoon
#2 Dec 6th, 2011, 14:14
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  • Dave W is offline
#2
Have you considered the availability of the train journeys you require? For instance the overnight Jodhpur-Jaisalmer train on 30th December is very definitely waitlisted in all classes. At the moment there are 2 seats left in Foreign Tourist Quota but you would not be able to buy those until you are in India and they may have gone by then. Most Indian trains can be booked 90 days ahead of travel and by leaving it to 4-6 weeks makes it more difficult to get what you want.

It might be better to look at which trains are available on indiarailinfo or erail.in and build a plan around availability. Trains between Agra and Varanasi always seem to be particularly difficult to book. There can be problems with fog causing delays and cancellations during December and January.

If you are travelling by road from Jaipur to Agra it is well worth making the detour to see Fatephur Sikri.

I enjoyed Darjeeling but I'm a train nut. I've not been to Pushkar so I can't compare.
You haven't allowed much time in Kolkata which is a great place. We had 4 days there last year and we are going back for another 5 in February because there was so much that we didn't get round to doing.
#3 Dec 6th, 2011, 14:44
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#3
Hey Dave, thanks for your input.

I've been looking up train seats while mapping out the itinerary, and yes you are right, the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer train is indeed wait listed. I think I'm going to book waitlist tickets and also try to book the Foreign Tourist quota tickets as soon as I get to Mumbai, and if I have no luck we can always get the unreserved train the next morning, just means losing a little time in Jaisalmer and an extra night in Jodhpur which we don't mind.

Agra-Varansi still has some sleeper seats available, and as with Jodhpur-Jaisalmer, there's a couple or more FT quota seats and we're flexible about taking day trains (though would much prefer overnight rides to save time/money).

Do you think its worth taking a day off another city (maybe one of Jodhpur/Udaipur/Jaipur?) to add an extra day to Darjeeling? Right now I'm only planning a one night stay with two half-ish days on each side.

In general, does the itinerary look possible as long as I book train seats in advance?

Also, how bad can the train delays be? Like an hour or so, or cuold we be looking at losing whole days due to train delays?
#4 Dec 6th, 2011, 14:53
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#4
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In general, does the itinerary look possible as long as I book train seats in advance?
Yes, possible, but hectic. Specially the Varanasi onward leg in the first itin.

But perhaps you prefer it this way. Me, I would have knocked out a couple of places from the list to slow things down a bit. Jaipur and or Darjeeling, for a start.

Quote:
Also, how bad can the train delays be?
Losing entire days because of train delays is very unusual, unless there is some strike or something that hits travel. Depends on the train, too. Some major trains are usually on time, more or less, but others are notorious for invariably arriving a couple of hours late.

Tough to generalise, but perhaps you should assume that all trains will be say, two hours late when you make your plans. I think the reality will be better than the two hours, on average.
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#5 Dec 6th, 2011, 15:10
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Crossposted with Capt_mahajan

That's good to hear. There are a lot of posts on here from people who just don't realise that train bookings can be difficult to get at short notice.

I think that it would be worth the extra day in Darjeeling if only because it is such a long way to go for an overnight. There is plenty to to do but it might be a bit chilly in January. You need to get road transport from NJP to Darjeeling as the Darjeeling Himalaya railway is not running below Kurseong following landslides over the last couple of years.

It's difficult to say where to save the day from. Udaipur is a lovely place lots to see and do but with a nice laid back feel. Jaipur is pretty frantic but great fun. We did an evening tour run by the tourist authority (RTDC) called "Pink City by Night" which was took us round all of the major landmarks (including Amber) which were floodlit, and finished off with a buffet supper at an old fort overlooking the city.

I haven't been to Jodhpur(yet),Bikaner or Varanasi so can't comment. Agra is a bit of a hassle but worth seeing the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. We did it as a day trip from Delhi and were glad that we hadn't decided to stay there any longer.

The fog delays can be pretty bad. I saw one recently that was 16 hours late but that is exceptional. 3 or 4 hours is not unusual. Occasionally trains get cancelled because of the fog. It is quite localised and the most likely bit of your trip to be affected would be Agra - Varanasi.

Have you looked at trains from Varanasi to NJP yet. They look busy for your dates.

Have a great time!
#6 Dec 6th, 2011, 18:07
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by namin View Post I've been looking up train seats while mapping out the itinerary, and yes you are right, the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer train is indeed wait listed.
The road between Jodhpur-Jaisalmer is excellent so you may want to consider that option. If you do take the road, consider a stop-over at Phalodi for a very off beat experience (the migrating demoiselle cranes land in the village of khichan - several thousands of them). We went there in october, if you find time, pls look at my blog: http://stalenews.blogspot.com (the entry for October 25th is on Khichan along with those wonderful birds).
#7 Dec 7th, 2011, 19:34
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#7
Thanks for the input guys

Yes, its definitely going to be hectic, but I do love being on the move and if there are delays and unforeseen circumstances, I'm not too fussed about skipping a town or two and changing plans if need be, not the end of the world!

Varanasi to NJP, currently waitlisted at 8 and 9 in sleeper class, so looking hopeful! (I think!) There is also a total of 10 Foreign Tourist quota tickets for the train I want, so going to try them when I land in Mumbai.

Though, I checked the status of a recent Varansi>NJP train and I think it was something like 14 hours late! Does anyone know what is the latest we would need to arrive in NJP to get to Darjeeling the same night?
#8 Dec 7th, 2011, 20:06
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Namin

There has recently been a post called something like Complete Darjeeling Itinerary where a guy talks about getting from Siliguri to Darjeeling in some detail and I think that he covers what you are asking. Siliguri is only about 4 miles from NJP so hopefully it will help. I'll try to get the proper name of the thread and the poster and get back to you.
#9 Dec 7th, 2011, 20:14
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The thread you need is Complete Information on Darjeeling-Sikkim Tour posted by Chitaliapraktik.
#10 Dec 7th, 2011, 20:21
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post The thread you need is Complete Information on Darjeeling-Sikkim Tour posted by Chitaliapraktik.
Here go: http://www.indiamike.com/india/sikki...-tour-t152145/
#11 Dec 7th, 2011, 20:23
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Thanks Mach. I must work out how to do that one day.
#12 Dec 7th, 2011, 20:27
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#12


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post Thanks Mach. I must work out how to do that one day.
Just copy-paste the URL (In Windows/Internet Explorer, right-click the link, go copy shortcut, now right-click again in your message, and go paste.)
#13 Dec 7th, 2011, 20:37
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#13
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Originally Posted by machadinha View Post



Just copy-paste the URL (In Windows/Internet Explorer, right-click the link, go copy shortcut, now right-click again in your message, and go paste.)
Still Aha. I see. I was trying to copy the Thread title out of the forum listing and it didn't seem to work. Thanks.
#14 Dec 7th, 2011, 22:01
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Don't understand going all the way to Darjeeling for a night and then want to be in Calcutta the next night? Is it for the toy train journey only? The rest of your first itinerary looks ok. Your second option looks better because of dropping Darjeeling.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#15 Dec 8th, 2011, 04:49
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#15
Thanks for the link Dave + Machadinha

Oh forgot to add that I have an extra day in Darjeeling now. So hopefully it I will get one night + one full day + half day there. Unless the train gets severely delayed in which case I'll just stay the night in NJP and go up to Darjeeling the next day.. but finger crossed for no huge delays!

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