Itinerary: Calcutta-Darjeeling-Varanasi-Calcutta
gqsmoothie
India > India Travel > India Travel Itinerary Advice
#1
| Senior Member

Itinerary: Calcutta-Darjeeling-Varanasi-Calcutta

Hey everyone. Trying to decide if I am fitting too much travel into a 2 week period. I am meeting my Mom in Calcutta. Here's the plan as of now. No train tickets are booked, but the flight times are already booked.

Sept 29: arrive in Calcutta 10PM
Sept 30, Oct 1 & 2: Calcutta, leave at 10 PM on the 2nd from Calcutta to NJP
Oct 3: Arrive in NJP in the morning, take train to DJ, arrive 4PM
Oct 4, 5, 6: Darjeeling
Oct 7: 9AM train to NJP and then Varanasi
Oct 8: 10 AM arrive in Varanasi.
Oct 8, 9, 10th: Varanasi
Oct 10: Varanasi to Calcutta, depart at 8 PM
Oct 11: Arrive Calcutta at 7AM
Oct 11: Fly Calcutta back to the US at 8PM

*All tickets will be 2AC


Am I trying to fit too much? I will already have been in India for a month when I meet my Mom in Calcutta, so hopefully I will be better prepared for everything.

What I am thinking of cutting out is Varanasi. If so, we'd just lengthen the time in Calcutta (maybe a day trip to the Sundarbans) and lengthen the stay in Darjeeling.

Any thoughts??

19 Replies

#2
| Maha Guru Member
If you cut out Varanasi, you can do some day trips outside Kolkata, say to Santiniketan and to Bishnupur... or, yes, a tour to Sunderbans.
The map is not the territory. --Alfred Korzybski
#3
| Account Closed
The itinerary as such looks OK to me, and not too rushed.

(btw "Oct 7: 9AM train to NJP and then Varanasi / Oct 8: 10 AM arrive in Varanasi." Aren't there quicker trains? It seems very long to me. Well, including getting to NJP first, might make sense I suppose, yes. Maybe forget I said this.)

If the Sundarbans could be done on a day trip from Kolkata, or if so, doing them justice, I'm not so sure about.

You'll realize if something screws up on that final day, you'll miss your flight. As a rule of thumb and not just in India, I'd always arrange my final leg so that if it falls through, I'll have an alternative way to make it to my exit point. As in a taxi if need be, or just simply another train, which could then take some time.

You have almost a whole day to play with there, but on a long distance, that might not give you that much leeway if necessary.
Reading tips, all picked up at IndiaMike :bunny: : INDAX's A Comprehensive Guide To India / ITHVC on Culture Shock & Travel Health / JetLag Travel Guides For the Undiscerning Traveller / India Travel Links
#4
| mikeaholic (recovered)
It doesn't seem too rushed, but you certainly wont regret spending a few more days around Kolkata and Darjeeling if you decide to cut Varanasi. This will keep you more in the general area of your flight.
#5
| Senior Member
The more I think about it, I think it seems better to cut out Varanasi. It would really suck if my Mom missed her flight back to NC. Think we'll add a day or so to Darjeeling then when we get back to Calcutta take a day trip to the Sundarbans or somewhere else.

Another question: what are some good day trips from Calcutta (besides the ones previously mentioned)?
#6
| Maha Guru Member
Seems ok to me, do visit Sarnath while you are in Varanasi
#7
| retired
Well, Varanasi would have been good, even if your order and transport arrangements could have been improved.

I'd have gone Kolkata, Varanasi, Darjeeling, Kolkata.

You'd have discovered the main reason for changing the route when you tried to book a New Jal-Varanasi train, very dificult.

Also, why take the toy train twice?

It's said to be a very scenic journey, but also very slow, a share-jeep would be better (and much faster) to get back to Siliguri.

Another advantage of the reverse route, is that you've more options for getting back to Kolkata if anything were to go wrong, including flights from Bagdogra airport to Kolkata.
#8
| Senior Member
Steven_Ber,

Thanks for responding. Why is the NJP-Varanasi train difficult to book? I had only looked at erail for that trip, haven't looked at it from the IRCTC site.

And for taking the Toy Train twice, I guess I never thought of taking a jeep share. Is that very expensive from DJ-NJP?

I've heard that the Toy Train is slow but I was thinking that the views would compensate for it.

Thanks,

Gabe
#9
| retired
The quotas for NJP to Varanasi (or Mughal Sarai) are very low, and even non existant on some trains (North East Express).

Share jeeps are reasonable if I remember right, other members have posted the costs a few times, but I can't remember the prices.

Originally posted by: gqsmoothie View Post


I've heard that the Toy Train is slow but I was thinking that the views would compensate for it.


Marriage is great, and the good times are always worth it, but we wouldn't do it twice.:rolleyes:
#10
| Maha Guru Member
Shall we?
#11
| Account Closed
Besides jeeps/taxis, there should be buses as well. Slower than the jeeps again, perhaps.

I don't think those taxis should be extraordinarily priced no, they're just local transport.

Have you checked the current situation in Darjeeling btw? It may be calm again so I don't mean to unduly worry you, I really have no idea.

See also http://www.indiamike.com/india/west-...trikes-t51082/ .
A recent (positive-sounding) report: http://www.indiamike.com/india/west-...sikkim-t58685/
Reading tips, all picked up at IndiaMike :bunny: : INDAX's A Comprehensive Guide To India / ITHVC on Culture Shock & Travel Health / JetLag Travel Guides For the Undiscerning Traveller / India Travel Links
#12
| Senior Member
From DJ back to NJP what's the best (costs, comfort, time?) transport option? Jeep, taxi, bus, flying monkey?
#13
| Member
I am thinking of doing exactly this trip, after hours, days, weeks of reading everything I can get my hands on at IM, I would LOVE to know how this trip went, if anyone has done anything similar and if you decided to go Kol-Var-NJP-Darj-NJP-Kol or the reverse!
#14
| Account Closed
It's a very common and obvious route yes. Let's see, I did Varanasi-Kolkata-(sidestep into rural West Bengal)-New Jalpaiguri/Siliguri-(Madarihat, for Jaldapara Park)-NJP-Darjeeling-Varanasi-(then on to Delhi).

In 1993, mind, and as part of a much longer trip. What do you need to know specifically? :)

As noted, many here touching those places in one go will have done something similar. It is indeed about (part of) the most popular route in that general north-easternly part of northern India. That's neither speaking for or against it (I really enjoyed myself); but there should be a lot of info on it, and save for some of those smaller places, it should be well-geared to tourists. If not a little overly so, by now.
Reading tips, all picked up at IndiaMike :bunny: : INDAX's A Comprehensive Guide To India / ITHVC on Culture Shock & Travel Health / JetLag Travel Guides For the Undiscerning Traveller / India Travel Links
#15
| Member

Originally posted by: machadinha View Post

It's a very common and obvious route yes. Let's see, I did Varanasi-Kolkata-(sidestep into rural West Bengal)-New Jalpaiguri/Siliguri-(Madarihat, for Jaldapara Park)-NJP-Darjeeling-Varanasi-(then on to Delhi).

In 1993, mind, and as part of a much longer trip. What do you need to know specifically? :)

As noted, many here touching those places in one go will have done something similar. It is indeed about (part of) the most popular route in that general north-easternly part of northern India. That's neither speaking for or against it (I really enjoyed myself); but there should be a lot of info on it, and save for some of those smaller places, it should be well-geared to tourists. If not a little overly so, by now.

My main concern is that I can only be there from 7th June-17th June. Other posts have said that if you dont have a long time in India, dont try to travel too much, stay around one area and really explore it. Is Kolkata, Darjeeling, Varanasi too much for 10 days? Im flying into Kolkata, would I be better off staying around there and doing day or overnight trips in that area? I like trains, so not too worried about taking several trips and indeed, I think a trip to India would be incomplete for me if I dont take one but I also dont want to spend half my time commuting.