Golden Triangle, 6 Days, Feb 2012?

#1 Dec 2nd, 2011, 04:27
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  • pounce is offline
#1
I will be attending my friend's wedding near Madurai in Feb 2012. Following the wedding, a few of us are planning to travel around the Golden Triangle. We are still in the planning stages of our trip, so we welcome any advice that you all have to offer

I will be flying in early (from SFO) to attend the pre-wedding functions and help with the last minute wedding arrangements. After the wedding we are planning to fly to either Jaipur or Delhi.

It seems to be cheaper to fly back out of DEL, so ideally we would like to end our trip in Delhi. Since our time is pretty limited we thought it made sense to fly to North India rather than taking a train. Currently our plan is:
-- Jaipur (3 days)
-- Delhi (1 day)
-- Agra (1 day)
-- Delhi (1 day)

About us:
- three travelers, females in our 20s
- I've visited Sri Lanka with my family, and my friends are pretty well traveled as well. However this will be the first time any of us will travel to India
- on a medium budget (willing to splurge, but we'd rather keep expenses to a minimum if possible)


Do you think that 6 days is sufficient time?
What order of cities would you recommend?

Thanks in advance! The wealth of information posted on the site and forums have been so useful to us already!
#2 Dec 2nd, 2011, 10:35
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#2
I doubt if you would get a direct flight to Jaipur from Madurai.

If you get one then Jaipur-Agra-Delhi will be a good route.

If you do not get one then Delhi-Agra-Jaipur will be a good route. Take a taxi from Jaipur to Delhi airport and fly out from there.
#3 Dec 2nd, 2011, 11:11
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Hey aarosh, thank so much for the reply!
I just looked into the flights and I couldn't find any direct flights to Jaipur (the flights I found went via Chennai AND New Delhi), so we probably will fly to New Delhi instead.

Do you feel that two days is enough to spend in Delhi? From what I've read on the forums one day should be sufficient for Agra, but I don't know if we're splitting the remaining time well between the other two cities.
#4 Dec 2nd, 2011, 12:02
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#4
If you have only 1 day in Agra then you can restrict to Taj, Itmad-ud-Daula's Tomb and Agra Fort. Here is a my travelogue on some lesser known aspects of The Taj.
http://www.greatholidayideas.net/her...ahal-agra.html
For more of my travelogues off-the-beaten-trail check http://www.greatholidayideas.net/
#5 Dec 2nd, 2011, 13:03
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  • aarosh is offline
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by pounce View Post From what I've read on the forums one day should be sufficient for Agra
I had been to Agra recently and feel that 1 and 1/2 days is more than enough for Agra, if you cover Sikandra, Itmad-ud-Daulah and Mehtab Bagh on the first day after you reach Agra. On the second day you can see Taj early in the morning and Agra Fort and you can leave Agra by noon.

You will be spending around 11 hours in total in seeing the sights as well as traveling between them for both the days.
#6 Dec 3rd, 2011, 02:48
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#6
Keep in mind the Taj Mahal is closed to tourists on Fridays.
#7 Dec 3rd, 2011, 06:28
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#7
Thanks so much for the advice and links.

Thanks machadinha, we'll make sure to plan accordingly for the Taj Mahal. Actually, we were considering going to one of the night viewings. Does anyone have any experience going to the Taj Mahal at night? (And would you recommend that over the regular viewing?)
#8 Dec 3rd, 2011, 10:16
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Hi Pounce (from a felolow SFO airport traveler)

As you have limited time to see the "Golden Triangle" IMHOthe best, most practical way to do it now on this brief "introductory" trip(you are young, and i guarantee you will want to return to India in future!) is to fly from Madurai into New Delhi and from there, start one of the many classic 6 day Golden Triangle tours.
You can have the same driver pick you up at IGIA, take you all 'round, and then return to IGIA before your departure. It's seamless. Considering time constraints, make it as easy as possible on yourselves,.

Below is a link to such a tour withcompany I was referred to from an Indiamiker--i and others have been happy with their help. There are other tour planers of course, but at least spend some time on Indianpanorama's fabulous website:

http://indianpanorama.in/214golden_tri.html

The itineraries are JUST ideas--they are very flexible. Their main HQ is in Tamil Nadu (in Trichy) so it's likely they will have excellent advice about how to get from Madurai to start your trip. ANd they may have anotehr idea than what i suggested,above.

No matter what you decide, if you go with a driver (vs trains) i HIGHLY recommend you use an Innova--more comfortable for the three of you, higher off the ground for better viewing, and safer!

Good luck and have fun plannning!!

As for Taj Mahal at night: i recall that night viewings are a couple days before and after the Full Moon. I just checked a chart and the FM is Feb 7--which would mean night-time TM viewings are Feb 5 -9??..but CHECK!!
I would NOT subsitute one for the other. If you 'd like, see both day and night. I thik it is a good idea to stay overnight in Agra to give justice to all you want to see (Moonlight Bagh, Taj, and the amazing Fort, among others)
2. Be aware that winter in Agra and Delhi can be VERY foggy!! This can affect your view of the sunrise, sunset, moon, etc at TM

Have fun planning!!!!
#9 Dec 3rd, 2011, 11:25
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by pounce View Post Hey aarosh, thank so much for the reply!
I just looked into the flights and I couldn't find any direct flights to Jaipur (the flights I found went via Chennai AND New Delhi), so we probably will fly to New Delhi instead.

Do you feel that two days is enough to spend in Delhi? From what I've read on the forums one day should be sufficient for Agra, but I don't know if we're splitting the remaining time well between the other two cities.
Few points:
a) There're two direct flights - one each by spicejet and indigo. The Indigo leaves in the afternoon from Chennai and hops via Ahd and Spice (If i recall correctly) is via Hyderabad. You dont have to change planes though and it takes about 3H40m total time from Chennai to Jaipur. That said, the only advantage will be avoiding backtracking. The other HUGE advantage will be avoiding any fog related delays that can totally kill this trip if you try to come into Delhi straight esp if you're taking a morning flight from chennai. Not that there's any problem otherwise and it should definitely be cheaper.
b) What to see in Jaipur. I wrote something for fellow IMer Ashwin here. http://www.indiamike.com/india/rajas...2/#post1295855 What you could do if you fly into Jaipur first is do the day 3 first (The airport is 10 kms from the walled city and Chokhi Dhani is quite close-by). Actually, you can even stay @ their resort or the resort opposite for a good introduction to Rajasthan.
c) Regd Agra, I concur with Aarosh but I have done it a bit more relaxed and give myself 2 days.
d) That does unfortunately, leave only a day for Delhi, hardly doing it justice. So, if you think you'd come back, then add that day to the other two and consider Bharatpur bird sanctuary en-route to Agra. If not, there's a great Hop on Hop off (HOHO) bus tour that runs in delhi.
I like Rebecca's suggestion on doing a pre-planned tour as my perspective is definitely colored through years of living here. For a first time visitor, a planned tour should be pretty good. You can always ask them to add the places you'd like to visit.
Lastly, Jaipur doesn't have fog except very early mornings (and i think we have it just to fit in - the moment you cross kanota on Agra highway or behror on Delhi highway (and the aravalis are behind you, fog becomes a problem). So keep that in mind when making a plan. Sitting here in Delhi, I know fog is a genuine problem.
If you do it by yourself, do specify your budget for recommendations on stay and other stuff.
#10 Dec 3rd, 2011, 12:38
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#10
Three days in Jaipur is too much. You can see most of it in a day and a half. The Golden triangle is often monuments, monuments and more monuments and it wears thin after a while. The Taj, Agra Fort, Jaipur Fort, Jaipur City Center, the Observatory...how many carved chunks of stone do you really want to look at?) Consider heading to Ranthambhore or another nature reserve for a day.

That being said, Galta - the monkey temple - was my favorite place in Jaipur.
#11 Dec 3rd, 2011, 12:42
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#11

Hal, i "feel" ya!

Hal, LOL!! I'm not a big-time "monument" fan either and have booked two days in Jaipur. If i lvoe it, i'll come back.

My plan for a too-brief but still sweet mini-Rajasthan itin in February is Jaipur 2 nights; Karauli 2 nights; Bharatpur 1 night...train to Nizamuddin
#12 Dec 6th, 2011, 12:23
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#12
rebeccam, thanks so much for that link! The more we discuss it, the better a pre-planned tour sounds. I've contacted the company and from their quick and detailed responses (and the testimonials I've read on IM) it sounds really promising.

vaibhav_arora, your plan for Jaipur actually hits most of the items that we wanted to see (and includes a few that we hadn't even considered haha). I'd like to consider this trip to India as a "taste" that will more than likely only whet my appetite, so your suggestion of the HOHO bus tour/ bird sanctuary is incredibly useful. While I'd like to hit all three points of the Golden Triangle (especially from a financial standpoint... I'm not sure when I'll be able to return), I wouldn't be averse to focusing on only two cities if it would mean a more enjoyable trip. With regards to accommodation, I'd say we have a medium budget. Do you mind sharing your experiences booking hotels online vs. in person?

Hal, haha I think I concur as well. More than likely our itinerary (if not pre-planned) will end up being a guide more than anything else. If visiting the monuments becomes too taxing or repetitive, I don't think any of us would complain about deviating from the plan and spending the day shopping or something instead. And yes! I'm actually really really looking forward to the monkey temple! My friend went last year and said that sitting and feeding the monkeys was one of the more memorable parts of his trip.
#13 Dec 6th, 2011, 13:18
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#13
Quote:
]vaibhav_arora, your plan for Jaipur actually hits most of the items that we wanted to see (and includes a few that we hadn't even considered haha).
- And i had kept the day 2 as a tour of the markets in the walled city as a break from all the monument hopping you'd do. I also do not concur with the two posters above that they're 'just monuments'. It's a bit like comparing what's in new york vs what's in san francisco and saying 'they're only buildings'. I lived in the bay area for a year, and am still very optimistic about making it to NY sometime just to see what it's like. The monuments of Delhi and Agra are mughal/sultanate and the ones in Jaipur are purely Rajput (some Raj era - like Albert hall)

Quote:
I'd like to consider this trip to India as a "taste" that will more than likely only whet my appetite, so your suggestion of the HOHO bus tour/ bird sanctuary is incredibly useful. While I'd like to hit all three points of the Golden Triangle (especially from a financial standpoint... I'm not sure when I'll be able to return),
I understand, I still regret not ever exploring mission district leisurely enough (I was there just for a day and didn't even get to photograph all the wonderful graffiti). I always thought work would take me back - but it hasn't.

Quote:
I wouldn't be averse to focusing on only two cities if it would mean a more enjoyable trip. With regards to accommodation, I'd say we have a medium budget. Do you mind sharing your experiences booking hotels online vs. in person?
I always book in person (better deal, WYSIWYG, etc) but in your case, I'd suggest book through a tour agency if you're doing it that way, simply because you'd spend most of your time outside - and you have just 6 days!! Online in India is dicey except if you're going with upmarket chains. Spit out your budget in rupees and people will come back with suggestions.
#14 Dec 6th, 2011, 13:35
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Hi Pounce, If you decide to go with Indian Panorama, ask if you can perhaps fit in a trip to Kairauli on the drive between Jaipur and Agra. It is supposed to be fantastic. (I will be there (Kairauli) on Feb 2 and 3--what about you?) If you look on the IP website, under one of their Rajasthan tours, you can read about it. Rooms are in the town's "palace." I can hardly wait! ( I am using Indianpanorama for the third time to help with planning in this area--their drivers for the long trips haev been fantastic!)

Your itin could be one night Delhi, one night Agra, one night Karauli (for a bit of village life) and two nights Jaipur--figure out if you want to add a night to Del or Karauli. the IP folks (or as i said earlierm, any good India-based trip planner) will have suggestions/pros and cons.

Have fun! And you are right, you WILL return, so look at this as a sort of "introduction" to Inda!!
#15 Dec 6th, 2011, 15:38
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#15
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Originally Posted by rebeccam View Post Kairauli
Do you mean Karauli? ... and the bhanwar vilas palace?

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