5 wks in Aug/Sep, history-focused

#1 Jul 6th, 2014, 01:54
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  • tocsin26 is offline
#1
After a fortnight's browsing, here goes...

I'm currently planning a 5 week trip in August and September. I'm travelling solo, and am interested in exploring history/architecture/culture. I've been to India several times before, but only in the south (Chennai and Tamil Nadu mostly). For that reason, I would like to explore other parts. I haven't really nailed down an itinerary, but here's a list of places I would like to visit:

Mumbai - Aurangabad - Hyderabad - Badami - Hampi - Bhubaneshwar - Puri

I'm also vaguely thinking of including a trip to Ahmedabad, then Bhuj in order to see the Harappan site at Dholavira, but am aware that this is a very long journey for an afternoon's viewing pleasure. Might then also see the Sun Temple at Modhera, but haven't really looked at travel options within Gujarat.

Another possible addition is Trichy and the nearby temples in Thanjavur, Kumbakonam and Swamimalai (for its bronze workshops)...am I right in saying that the best way for me to reach Trichy would be a flight from Mumbai to Chennai, followed by a train to Trichy?

I realise that I'm not exploring any region in particular; instead, I have taken a bucket list of places and am trying to plot a path between them. Frankly, I'm uncertain whether this is a good approach or not. Let me know what you think!

Questions:

1) My port of entry and departure will be Mumbai (cheapest fares from London). What's the best way for me to get to and back from Bhubaneshwar from either Mumbai or Hyderabad?

2) Related to q. 1, do you think Bhubaneshwar/Puri will add a lot to my trip. It's far to travel, but vaibhav_arora's trip report on Konark and Odisha was my inspiration for including it. I'd also love to see an Odissi performance.

3) What effect will the monsoon have on my travels?

4) Should I spend a couple of days in Bijapur?
#2 Jul 6th, 2014, 02:09
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  • aarosh is offline
#2
The Modhera Sun Temple and Rani ni Vav could be done as a day trip from Ahmedabad. You could also add in Adalaj ni Vav along with it. Take the Duronto from Mumbai Central which reaches Ahmedabad early in the morning and take a night train to next destination.

Bubaneshwar / Konark / Puri would be a good addition.

Monsoon would be at its end during August / September. The prediction by the Met department is less monsoon this year. We however do not trust the Met department. However one could not predict how it would rain.

You could spend a couple of days in Bijapur. Take a train from Jalgoan (closer to Ajanta) to Solapur. From Solapur take a bus or train to Bijapur. If you want to skip Bijapur then take a train to Badami. The trains halt in Bijapur also.

Give at least 3 days to Aurangabad. Check which days the caves are closed.
#3 Jul 6th, 2014, 09:17
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
#3
Hello

Welcome to Indiamike. It is so nice to see someone planning a history and culture focused trip with good amount of time to spare. Few points-

1. It's your trip and however you'd try to structure it is fine. I've sometimes dreamt of doing a 'highlights' trip, even adding places based on the first alphabet - I tried to add Bhopal in the same trip as Bhubaneswar (of course didnt work out then due to want of time but you get the picture). However, something for you to mull over is that over the years, I've felt that interspersing major historical sights with a bit of nature / birdwatching or visiting a place of natural beauty or even a living temple works much better than moving from one sterile archaeological site to another.

2. I'd not recommend Gujarat on this particular trip only for the reason that kutch traditionally sees some flooding in Monsoon season. On the other hand, this year, we're expecting a drought (thanks to El nino). If you do go to Gujarat, allocate atleast a week+ as there's lots to see in the upper lip - villages in Bhuj that do handicrafts (some require permissions for foreigners to visit though).

3. I'm glad you found the Konark report useful. I love that place (and since then I've visited Ajanta / Ellora / Badami / Hampi and have just moved to Hyderabad - so can make some comparisons). In that area, spare some time (half a day minimum - a day preferably) for Raghurajpur - the place where artists make patachitra. Do not stop near the State bank ATM area but continue to the village few hundred meters down.

4. Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram, Dharasuram and Swamimalai workshops are indeed the stars of Tamil temple tradition but there're few others that should not be missed - Srirangam, near Trichy; Chidambaram, Madurai Meenakshi and Rameshwaram especially. If you've already been to TN once and it is too far to include in this trip, there're other options too. You can consider south Karnataka (for hoysala architecture - Halebid / Belur / Sravanabelagola) as it's more pleasant in the rains. Also, given this year's deficient monsoons, Coorg would be a welcome respite from the travels. If you still would like to go towards Trichy area, it's connected to Hyderabad via flights (and to mumbai too).

5. Bijapur is good for a day - I spent one in December this year and was able to visit the major monuments without being rushed. I went to Badami that evening from there.

You've not indicated what your budget is and how would you travel in india?

For some idea about the places you're going to cover, a few threads / reports I wrote might help :

Srirangam

Post comparing Badami / Ellora.

Tamil Nadu Bronze.

Unfinished Ajanta Ellora report
#4 Jul 6th, 2014, 15:22
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  • vonkla is offline
#4
Hi

In 2007 we made a trip covering much of the places you want to visit:
Badami - Hampi - A glimpse of Tamil Nadu - Odisha -Ajanta caves near Aurangabad - Gujarat

The highlight of the Odisha part was, for us, the road trip through the tribal areas. I don't think that Bhubaneswar and Puri/Konark deserve such a detour.

Also for Dholavira, I found it a great experience, but you must plan it with other destinations.

I like your idea of including Tamil Nadu and Vaibhav's Karnataka suggestion.

A possible route for this
Mumbai
Aurangabad
Hyderabad
Chennai
A trip through Tamil Nadu, ending in Madurai
Mysore
Visit the Hoysala temples as a side trip
Hampi
Badami/Bijapur
Mumbai

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