3 Weeks in India

#1 Aug 21st, 2005, 02:53
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#1
If you were me (fairly young, budget-minded and travelling with a friend), have never been to India before and had 3 full weeks in India to hang out and do whatever you like, where would you go? What would be your dream itinerary? I've been doing my homework but maybe a little too much and now I want to go everywhere. I do not know what places are truly worth the time and which aren't. Is it possible to split the time between North and South or is that too much? Since my air-tickets to and from India were arranged by work, I am being forced to fly in AND out of Chennai.
#2 Aug 21st, 2005, 02:58
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#2
what time of the year will you be in india?
#3 Aug 21st, 2005, 03:03
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#3
October
#4 Aug 21st, 2005, 03:07
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#4
I'd say take in a bit of Tamil Nadu and include a little of Karnataka and/or Kerala (preferably or). Should be enough to keep you busy for three weeks. Resist the urge to travel all over, rather make it a good introduction & plan to be back if you like it. Those three weeks will be over before you know it and the north is just far away.
#5 Aug 21st, 2005, 03:11
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#5
the monsoon´s starting in october in TN i think. so might be a good idea to cross the country and go to the west (kerala, karnataka, goa).
since you only have 3 weeks i would stick to one region.

Edit: just checked beach´s weather chart and goa looks best to me
Beach´s climate chart
#6 Aug 21st, 2005, 04:01
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#6
I had planned to go to Delhi. I was supposed to, out of necessity, but I'm finding it difficult to find open jaw tickets for a price that fits my tight budget so I'm afraid I will have to cut that out of my trip. I probably should stick close to Chennai for the last 2 days of my trip but I haven't heard anything positive about Chennai so I don't know where to go or what to do there for the last few days. I think I'll be there for Diwali so if any one knows of anything cool going on in Chennai around that time, please let me know. Thanks for the feedback so far!
#7 Aug 21st, 2005, 04:06
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#7
if you´re lucky and it´s not raining, mamalapuram could be a nice place to go.
lots of temples and a good beach. it´s just south of chennai.
#8 Aug 21st, 2005, 05:03
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It may sound corny and not what you wanted to hear but I'd just get a hold of any decent guidebook and pick out some places in the (much) wider area that interest you, and keep a realistic view on travelling times which they should list, and bearing in mind that it may take you a little to "get into it." Taking in a part of Karnataka or Kerala would not seem unrealistic at all, or Goa indeed if this suits you. We can tell you all we like about visit this that and the other place but we might just be missing the next place cos we haven't visited. I'd read around a little then get back with more specific plans. It all depends, do you want to see temples, historic sites, beaches, wildparks, yadida (Tamil Nadu has all of these and then some btw. For a more "tropical" experience Kerala or Goa is probably the better bet.)

As for your last days Chennai may be nothing to rave about, on the other hand as far as big cities go it's fairly laid-back and quite easy to find your way around even on public transport I found (speaking from having visited in the early 1990's btw). You're right that it's good to be close to your point of departure in the end in case of delays and stuff. I generally like to spend the last day or two doing a bit of souvenir hunting and generally taking it easy, Chennai would fit that bill just like any other city would I guess. There's plenty of strolling around to do, some sights to see, just taking a city train or bus for the hell of it, good eateries, etc.
#9 Aug 21st, 2005, 09:07
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#9
How bad is this second monsoon that I keep hearing about? I thought about visiting Pondy, Madurai and Mamallapuram but now I'm a bit hesitant. Is it persistant heavy rain? Is it dangerous? Does it rain and off for days? I've been reading guide books but they don't really touch upon how serious this monsoon is and its potential for wrecking any plans that I make or delaying my plane or any trains that I try to take in the area. My only experience with monsoons are the ones we have here. Arizona, believe it or not, has what it calls monsoon season which lasts from July through September. During the Arizona monsoon, it doesnt even rain that often (maybe 2 or 3 nights in a row) with mostly cloudy days and lightning in between, if that. I've found alot of information about the major monsoon season in India, but there's not much to be found about this "second" monsoon. Also guide books pretty talk about how sh%tty Chennai is. It doesn't seem to get anywhere near the same respect that Delhi does so I'm still wondering where the best area to stay, where the action is, decent places to shop for souvenirs in Chennai, etc. Does Chennai have a Connaught-type area like Delhi?
#10 Aug 21st, 2005, 09:32
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If I were you, I'd travel by train from Chennai to Delhi and see North India - the "mandatory" Golden Triangle; followed by a visit to the hills - Himachal or Uttaranchal. I'd return to Chennai all the way by train, for my exit.

October is a fine time to spend in the North Indian hills.
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#11 Aug 21st, 2005, 10:45
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#11
I've travelled through the winter monsoon there, not sure if this is what Freemanx was referring to however. This was Decemberish, I think it was actually a rare "second second" one as it seemed to have the locals and the papers surprised too. It wasn't very heavy nor very non-stop although it might mess with transport sometimes, or with electricity supplies etc. I'm sure it varies per year too. There's some links to maps here http://www.indiamike.com/india/showthread.php?t=10984 , bear in mind that these just give the general picture. Nothing that really interfered with our travels in any major way though, we were also sort of following in its footsteps however, if we'd been a couple of days ahead of our schedule it might have been more serious perhaps. I wouldn't really let it get in the way of your plans. I do know some parks closed down for the time for instance, and also we weren't in any hurry.

In Chennai if it's still the same the popular backpacker's areas used to be in the Mount Road & Egmore areas, with the George Town area being something of a past glory of traveller's tales (and more of a hustle & bustle kind of area I think). Again, I found nothing particularly "shitty" about the place, nothing particularly exhilerating either. It's just an OK and fairly hassle-free big city. There's some British relics and some temples to see, and some historic temple towns and some fine beaches relatively close by. It makes for a good way into and out of the south I think. I have no real advice on where to shop, there are some avid residents here so hopefully they'll be along with advice (Nick! Where are you!?! ). At the time the LP advocated a bunch of government emporia and crafts shops along Mount Road "near the tourist office." I dunno, I mostly went book & idli hunting there I think. It's probably true it's not much of a tourist attraction and it doesn't really have anything like Connaught Place, which also means you'll be spared the complete backpacker's ghetto experience hopefully. Just use it as your convenient hub in & out of there.

Madurai & Mahabalipuram are both fine destinations btw. Depending on your taste you could pick some more temple towns in Tamil Nadu to see, then maybe head towards Hampi via Mysore, even onwards to Goa from there if that's what you're into. Or head via either the Western Ghats or via Madurai to Kerala; on all these routes you'd have the option to visit some parks if that's what you're into. Just some ideas, doing a little circuit of Tamil Nadu could also be fun.

So to answer your original question about my dream itinerary, I think I'd head on towards Mysore and possibly Bangalore via Kanchipuram and maybe some hill places, Mysore to the Keralan coast via the Western Ghats, include the Mudumalai sanctuary if I could, trundle down the Keralan coast, cross back via Madurai and a choice of some other places like Kodaikanal, Tiruchirappalli, Chidambaram and Mahabalipuram (might skip it just for its beach if I had included Kerala). That's just a variation on something I did in the past though, wouldn't mind doing it again. It would also be pushing it for 3 weeks but it gives a general sketch maybe, doing all of that would definitely be too much (counting just now I'd probably be halfway Kerala by the time I'd need to go back, and that's rushing it all the way). Delays because of the weather included but then delays are anyway. To rush it all up I'd do something like Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mysore - Madikeri - Thalasseri - Cochin - Periyar - Madurai - Trichy - Chennai, which at just over 2 days per place could still use a little trimming. This is not including any beaches to speak of but you can't win 'em all, you'd get to see the sea at least a couple of times.
#12 Aug 21st, 2005, 11:08
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by machadinha I've travelled through the winter monsoon there, not sure if this is what Freemanx was referring to however.
yup, that´s what i meant. it goes from oct till dec. don´t know how strong it is though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHIMLA If I were you, I'd travel by train from Chennai to Delhi and see North India - the "mandatory" Golden Triangle; followed by a visit to the hills - Himachal or Uttaranchal. I'd return to Chennai all the way by train, for my exit.
that´s not a bad idea either. this way you avoid the monsoon completely.
just bear in mind that you will have to spend 2 days and nights on a train to get to delhi and another 2 days and nights for the way back.
#13 Aug 21st, 2005, 12:18
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#13
I would opt for a few days in Delhi and then on to Rajasthan. Three weeks will fly by once you start travelling there and October is perfect weather there... no monsoons and not too hot yet. Also rates will be a little lower in early Oct there.Check out the Shekhawati region and try to get down to Bundi and Udaipur... loads of places to go and things to see in Rajasthan.
Dont try to go to too many places all over the country or you will crash and burn very fast. If you need a break hop on a plane and fly to Goa before you head home for a little R+R and sea and sand.
#14 Aug 21st, 2005, 15:54
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#14
much as I despise big cities anywhere on the globe - aint nothing wrong with Chennai......it's an experience that grows on you....Triplicane and the likes of it....walking down the long old road to the beach....she grows on you like India herself!
#15 Aug 21st, 2005, 16:05
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#15
I've only ever driven through Chennai but it looked like a pretty interesting city to me!

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