One Week to Power through India - Holi, Rajasthan, Taj HELP - India Travel Forum | IndiaMike.com

One Week to Power through India - Holi, Rajasthan, Taj HELP

#1 Jan 7th, 2012, 05:35
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  • jcol4208 is offline
#1
Hi guys,

I am spending three weeks in Bangladesh for research and decided to still get a taste of India at the end of my trip. I fly into Delhi on the 2nd March midday and depart 8am on the 10th giving me exactly a week to do as I wish.

Firstly, I am travelling alone, have never been to India or anywhere similar and on no particular budget but would like to do it as cheap as possible whilst also being comfortable and not going to be in dangerous places.

The places I wish to go are Rajasthan, Agra (I know, I know, tourist trail.. but it is a week) and realistically I would love to be in Vrindavan for Holi Festival as I am a photographer. My plan so far is:

Get on a train in the night of the 2nd:
Delhi - Rajasthan (still undecided but most likely Jodhpur, Jaipur or both). Depart on the 6th. How much will this cost to travel and how long will it take?
Can I travel on an overnight train to Jodhpur/ is it safe to fall asleep on the train??

From the 6th-9th:

Option 1) Raj > Delhi (night in Delhi) > early morning train to Agra (day trip) > spend from the of 7th- 9th in Mathura or Vrindavan for Holi and depart on the night of the 9th for early morning flight next day (probs will sleep in airport).

Option 2) Is it possible to travel from Rajasthan to Agra via train? Or is it recommended to travel back to New Delhi and make a day trip to Agra (Option 1)? If this is the case,

Some other questions:
So far I completely bypass even having a night in Delhi? Is this a stupid idea?
Just for clarification, what actual day is Holi Festival this year? I read the 8th but I have heard it can sometimes be celebrated over a week or two days. On what day is the colourful powders thrown at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan? Over the 8th and 9th or just one day?

Thanks heaps, hope you can help as everyone on here seems to know India amazingly well! Looking forward to hearing some opinions..
#2 Jan 7th, 2012, 11:33
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  • aarosh is offline
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To check trains between 2 stations and availability on a certain date use erail.in. For booking tickets from outside India use www.cleartrip.com

Delhi - Jaipur/Jodhpur - Agra - Mathura/Vrindavan - Delhi sounds good to me.

In Mathura/Vrindavan Holi is celebrated for a longer time than the rest of India.
#3 Jan 7th, 2012, 11:46
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If you are a photographer you may not give Delhi a miss, many did and repented later. I myself wouldn't venture to join Holi celebration in Vrindavan.
#4 Jan 7th, 2012, 14:10
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Do you mean I should spend Holi in Delhi? I have heard it gets out of control and people use more of the paints rather than the colourful powders (I'm afraid this may damage the camera?)

If I did have a day in Delhi what would you recommend and where is best to stay (a backbackers hub but also not too cheap)?

I will be returning again in July 2012 and January of 2013 so I'm not in a rush to see ALL sites, I just wish to make the first trip to India both memorable through a lens and for me.
#5 Jan 7th, 2012, 15:31
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You could do something like

2 Days in Delhi - see Chandni Chawk, Spice market (I've forgotten the street name), Red Fort. All good photo opportunities. Plenty of other things to see and do.
Day 3/4 - Early train to Jaipur. Spend 2 days there. See Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, City palace, bazaars
Day 5 - Travel to Agra via Fatephur Sikri
Day 6 - Agra - see Taj Mahal, Fort Travel on to Vrindavan
Day 7 (Holi) - Vrindavan
Day 8 - Back to Delhi

By "powering" through India you will miss a lot. There will always be something to go back for. Only you can decide what your "must sees" are. Once they are fixed build a trip around them. Trains are a great way to travel but don't leave your bookings till the last minute. Booking opens 90 days before travel and some trains fill up very quickly.
#6 Jan 7th, 2012, 16:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyotirmoy View Post I I myself wouldn't venture to join Holi celebration in Vrindavan.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcol4208 View Post Do you mean I should spend Holi in Delhi? I have heard it gets out of control and people use more of the paints rather than the colourful powders (I'm afraid this may damage the camera?)
Your camera is at risk unless you get invited to some civil gated community's Holi Celebration.
#7 Jan 8th, 2012, 09:04
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Do you know what kind of temperatures these parts of India will be like in early March?
#8 Jan 8th, 2012, 11:47
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This thread might be of some use to you.
#9 Jan 11th, 2012, 14:10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post You could do something like


Day 7 (Holi) - Vrindavan
Is this the actual day Holi is celebrated in Vrindavan?
#10 Jan 11th, 2012, 14:13
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Originally Posted by jcol4208 View Post Is this the actual day Holi is celebrated in Vrindavan?
To be honest I don't know. I saw that Holi is set for the 8th March this year and just mentioned it to give a reference point.

http://www.holifestival.org/holi-calendar.html
#11 Jan 12th, 2012, 04:17
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Hi jcol4208, first of all I have to say that Vrindavan is a very special place to me and of course to many other people. So I would not discourage anyone visiting Vrindavan any time for any reason. I just thought I mention a few things to make sure you have a great time there and hopefully visit again in the future:

- You have heard that people get out of control in Delhi etc.; the same goes for Vrindavan I am afraid... I am sure you can enjoy the celebrations, and many people do, but you have to be realistic about what to expect. Yes, Vrindavan is a pilgrimage place, but it will be very far from peaceful during Holi. There are many narrow lanes in Vrindavan, particularly near the Banka Bihari temple where the main 'action' is during the Holi festival, and these will get extremely crowded and you can expect to get pushed around a lot. Even on normal days, you almost have to fight with people just to be able to get through the streets near the temple, let alone get inside the temple.

- People throw water and paint at each other, you cannot really protect your camera from paint and water if you are on the street.

- Just a thought: even though Banka Bihari is the most famous temple in Vrindavan and the centre of the Holi celebrations, it will also be the centre of all the chaos and water throwing etc. that might be too much for you. There are other, more interesting and peaceful opportunities to see the city during Holi and take photos. For example, there are quite a few NGOs / charities operating in Vrindavan, among them an orphanage and large school for poor children. You could get in touch with one of these organisations before you go; for example, it might be an alternative for you to spend a day with the children and taking photos of them celebrating Holi, which would perhaps be nicer for you than fighting the crowd near Banka Bihari, and the photos would be unique and show a side of Vrindavan and Holi that not everybody gets to see.

P.s.: As far as I am aware, it is not allowed to photograph the deity inside the Banka Bihari temple - if by some miracle you do get inside with your camera still in working order , be careful about this.

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