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-   -   First time in India. Does it look like a reasonable itinerary? (https://www.indiamike.com/india/india-travel-itinerary-advice-f91/first-time-in-india-does-it-look-like-a-reasonable-itinerary-t271523/)

SimoneDF Nov 15th, 2018 19:24

First time in India. Does it look like a reasonable itinerary?
 
Hi all,

in March 2019 I'll be in India for the first time. I'm mostly interested in taking street photos, I'll probably be around with my cameras from sunrise to late night and walk 8-10km a day :)
I'll be traveling solo.
Can anybody tell me if this itinerary is too ambitious and can be done?

Day 1: arrive in Delhi at 1.30AM. Spend the day exploring Delhi and recovering from the trip and jet lag.
Day 2: Delhi
Day 3: take a flight to Jodhpur. Flight lands at 12.25 so I have the rest of the afternoon in Jodhpur.
Day 4: Jodhpur
Day 5: take the train to Jaipur. Arrive at 10am
Day 6: take an early train to Agra. I was thinking to arrive around 12.30, is that enough time to see the Taj Mahal and something else?
Day 7: Vrindvan or Mathura for the Holi. Which location and which day is best? March 20th or 21st?
Day 8: take an early flight from Delhi to Varanasi
Day 9: Varanasi
Day 10: Fly back to Delhi, spend the rest of the day in Delhi. Take flight back to Ireland at midnight.

Do you guys think it's too much? Maybe for day 2 I can do a day trip to Agra and use day 6 for more time in Vrindvan/Mathura?

kmalik Nov 15th, 2018 19:52

While I am not in a position to offer revisions to your itinerary, I think it is too much travel for 10 days - a common problem with first time visits. Travel in India is somewhat onerous and tiresome and narrowing the list of cities and spending more time in them (e.g. Jodhpur), you would get more out of it.

Second word of advice: Holi is a bit of a mixed blessing. Some people’s idea of fun during this period can be harmful to others. So, pick a spot where you are going to have a good experience - spend time there. Safety is a consideration alongside fun and interesting experience it can be.

Finally - flights get canceled. Varanasi is perhaps not a big airport. So, if you are flying on day 10, take the early flight. Better yet - fly back earlier.

Others with more creating thoughts will be along to give you a more specific advice.

vaibhav_arora Nov 15th, 2018 20:22

If the camera rig is expensive and you're not getting paid to do this, I'd avoid vrindavan / mathura on Holi without a local fixer. A lot of color gets thrown around and youd be risking damaging the gear.

Also, drop Jaipur, there's nothing much for a few hours.

SimoneDF Nov 15th, 2018 20:27

Quote:

Originally Posted by kmalik (Post 2108353)
While I am not in a position to offer revisions to your itinerary, I think it is too much travel for 10 days - a common problem with first time visits.

I know, I know. I wish I had an extra day or two, but unfortunately I cannot [cry]
The other option would be to drop a city, but which one? Varanasi seems the obvious victim, but I'm really fascinated by this city and it would be a real shame to miss it.

Quote:

Second word of advice: Holi is a bit of a mixed blessing. Some people’s idea of fun during this period can be harmful to others. So, pick a spot where you are going to have a good experience - spend time there. Safety is a consideration alongside fun and interesting experience it can be.
Yup. I was planning to see it from some roof or balcony, at least during the most crowded time, and go down only when the situation looks more calm.

Quote:

Finally - flights get canceled. Varanasi is perhaps not a big airport. So, if you are flying on day 10, take the early flight. Better yet - fly back earlier.
Thanks for the advice. Didn't think about that. There's an evening flight back to Delhi, I will get that instead of flying the day after.

Thanks a lot for your recommendations!

SimoneDF Nov 15th, 2018 20:31

Quote:

Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora (Post 2108354)
If the camera rig is expensive and you're not getting paid to do this, I'd avoid vrindavan / mathura on Holi without a local fixer. A lot of color gets thrown around and youd be risking damaging the gear.

Also, drop Jaipur, there's nothing much for a few hours.

The camera rig is indeed expensive, but a rain cover or two with gaffer tape should protect it from dust entering into the sensor/lens.

vaibhav_arora Nov 15th, 2018 20:33

Well, I do look forward to reading how it went!

buggy.88 Nov 15th, 2018 20:56

I visited Delhi (briefly) and Agra.

Agra is best enjoyed if you arrive the night before. So you can visit Taj Mahal sunrise. Wonderful view, Not too many people, temps still bearable.
If you have half day, then Taj Mahal and the nearby Agra Fort are doable.
Do bear in mind Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.

For Delhi, I visited Old Delhi and Humayun's Tomb. Both very good. Be careful not to get lost in the many alleys in Old Delhi - better if you get a good guide.

One extra tip - Use the monuments not just to take photos, but also as a way to take a short break before you re-enter the outside chaos/dust etc.

That's all.

SimoneDF Nov 15th, 2018 21:18

As an alternative, I could drop Varanasi and do the following:

Day 1: arrive in Delhi at 1.30AM. Spend the day exploring Delhi and recovering from the trip and jet lag.
Day 2: Delhi
Day 3: Jodhpur
Day 4: Jodhpur
Day 5: Jaipur
Day 6: Jaipur
Day 7: Vrindvan or Mathura for the Holi.
Day 8: Agra
Day 9: Delhi
Day 10: Delhi

Looks definitely more doable, but it's really a big shame not to be able to visit Varanasi.

kmalik Nov 15th, 2018 21:47

Unless a stop for travel - skip Jaipur. It doesn’t add much. If necessary - add more real Rajasthan near Jodhpur. Others will know more - and hopefully forgive my ‘real Rajasthan’ jibe at Jaipur.

Holi is two days. Even though the colors are just one day - there are places and people who may get too enthusiastic on other day as well. Also, unless things have matured a lot since I was last in India during Holi (they should have as it was 35 years ago), sometimes there are random things like village kids throwing stones at trains or vehicles and so on. Not a huge risk but a risk nonetheless.

So, if Holi is a big part of your plans - get to where you are going to celebrate it, ensure your safety first. If you are or are with a woman, this risk goes up many times. Do not underestimate what random folks or children find fun.

All the best!

vonkla Nov 15th, 2018 22:33

Consider to celebrate Holi in another city than Mathura and look at this idea:
Day 1: arrive in Delhi at 1.30AM. Spend the day exploring Delhi and recovering from the trip and jet lag.
Day 2: Delhi
Day 3: Jodhpur
Day 4: Jodhpur
Day 5: Jodhpur, evening train
Day 6: Agra, leave the luggage at the station, visit Taj, evening train Varanasi
Day 7: Varanasi
Day 8: Varanasi
Day 9: Varanasi
Day 10: Delhi

-You can drop a day from Jodhpur or Varanasi and add this to Agra
-Personally I should fly from Varanasi to Delhi on day 10

SimoneDF Nov 15th, 2018 22:56

Thanks all for the tips!

@vonkla: I'll keep your schedule into consideration, thank you!

@kmalik: I'm a man and traveling alone. Kids are kids and they are the same everywhere. Last Halloween some kids throw stones at my window. Suprisingly no broken window, but still, it was not fun to wake up in the middle of the night.

torontomm Nov 15th, 2018 23:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by SimoneDF (Post 2108368)
As an alternative, I could drop Varanasi ....... but it's really a big shame not to be able to visit Varanasi.

Ancient and shall we say "not so clean" Varanasi is not for everybody. But this is your trip and no reason not to go to Varanasi if Varanasi fascinates you. Also near Varanasi is Sarnath where Buddha gave his first sermons and Sarnath is worth a visit if you can find the time.

Vonkala's schedule looks good and I would spend a night in Agra so I don't have to leave my luggage at the train station.

sab kuch milega Nov 16th, 2018 04:11

Quote:

Originally Posted by SimoneDF (Post 2108368)
As an alternative, I could drop Varanasi and do the following:

Day 1: arrive in Delhi at 1.30AM. Spend the day exploring Delhi and recovering from the trip and jet lag.
Day 2: Delhi
Day 3: Jodhpur
Day 4: Jodhpur
Day 5: Jaipur
Day 6: Jaipur
Day 7: Vrindvan or Mathura for the Holi.
Day 8: Agra
Day 9: Delhi
Day 10: Delhi

Looks definitely more doable, but it's really a big shame not to be able to visit Varanasi.

NEVER drop Varanasi for Jaipur! Leave out Jaipur, go to Varanasi and try to get to the Taj early in the morning(BTW, weekends are a zoo!) Not sure what to say about Holi, but as someone else mentioned, I would put some serious work into getting a fixer, especially if you a) are female, and b) are taking serious photos. A nice stress-free way to see Delhi is private car, surprisingly affordable and you can look around from the comfort of an air-con car with the windows rolled up (all of this is important). The driver just waits for as long as you like at each stop, and if you use a tour company they know what to see and how long it will take. I used Namaste tours and they were great. It's a huge city and can be overwhelming. A fun thing to do if you have an afternoon is a food tour in Chandni Chowk...great way to feel the chaos of Old Delhi without the stress. OK, that's my two cents! :)

NomadicBoo Nov 16th, 2018 14:40

I went to Jaipur in 2011 and didn’t like it. Then I went back last year, still didn’t like it. As others have said, I’d drop it and make better use of the day.

As an aside, Varanasi is great, but poses you a logistical problem. You could look at Maheshwar or Omkareshwar which will give you a similar experience but much more aligned to your journey.

NB

spud Nov 16th, 2018 17:54

Hi SimoneDF.
I'm landing in Delhi a week after you :) I'm not so bothered about Holi again (twice in the past) It's just such a pain carrying camera gear and trying not to get it ruined - even my waterproof camera ended up pink after my first trip there for Holi several years back. I found some of the powder made me itch too.... The hotel I was in made me wash in the garden after I got coloured.

Your 2nd revision seems better... I like both Jaipur & Varanasi...and Jodhpur too actually, I want to visit all three again on my trip :). But whatever you decide, I'd be tempted to get out of Delhi asap and do it last - especially if there's a flight back to Delhi involved (from say Varanasi) Give yourself space incase of delayed/cancelled flights.


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