Itinerary for (circa) 2 months. Advice needed!

#1 Aug 31st, 2012, 03:01
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  • redbutton is offline
#1
Hi everyone. I apologise in advance for the very long post!

A little while back, I posted a thread on here asking for very early advice on my itinerary for my 3rd trip to India (second long term, solo trip). Turns out I was a bit premature in asking that advice, as I hadn't had a lot of time to sit down and think through the timings and possibilities of trip 3, though it did clarify in my head what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go - so if people are reading yet another itinerary post from me and thinking "oh, this guy again!" apologies for that, but your advice was very helpful!

.. Anyway, the more concrete aim is now for a roughly two month trip encapsulating many places I haven't visited in North India (Varanasi and Delhi are the only 'repeat' locations). I aim to arrive in Delhi in Mid February and leave in Mid-to-Late April. I am headed to Rajasthan first, on the advice that April in Rajasthan is not exactly ideal conditions!

Below is a rough plan of what I want to do (split into 3 parts to make it a bit easier on the eye!)

I'd really, really appreciate honest criticism of this itinerary. I have done a fair bit of research, but sometimes more experienced eyes can highlight flaws! I say all this because when I was planning my 3 month trip back in 2011, people gave so much excellent advice that it really, really helped me get the most out of the trip.

So, with all that said, here goes:

Part 1 (Mid February - Early/Mid March)

Land Delhi (2 days to get acclimatised, also I rather like Delhi )
Train Delhi - Bikaner (around 3 days Bikaner)
Train Bikaner - Jaisalmer (around 7 days Jaisalmer)
Train Jaisalmer - Jaipur (2 days Jaipur)
Bus Jaipur - Pushkar (around 5 days Pushkar)
Bus Pushkar - Bundi (around 4 days Bundi)
Train Kota - Varanasi (around 4 days Varanasi)

Part 2 - (Early-Mid March to late March/early April)

(This is where I get a bit more sketchy, as I am in no way as familiar with West Bengal/North Eastern States as other parts of India! So advice particularly helpful here!)

Train Varanasi - Kolkata (2-3 days Kolkata) is this too long/enough?
Train Kolkata - Guwahati, and then 7-8 days in/around Assam/Meghalaya (Cherrapunjee, Shillong) Again, is this enough time realistically?
Train Guwahati - New Jalpaiguri, and then to Darjeeling (around 5 days Darjeeling)

(The next bit is where I wonder whether alternative routes may be better)

Part 3 - (Late March/early April to Mid/Late April)

Backtrack from New Jalpaiguri - Kolkata, a day or two in Kolkata, then Train Kolkata - Gaya (2/3 days in Bodhgaya)
Train Gaya - Varanasi (another 2 days or so in Varanasi, I love spending time there )
Train Varanasi - Jhansi, and onward to Orchha (2/3 days Orchha)
Train Jhansi - Amritsar (4 or so days in Amritsar)
Train Amritsar - Delhi, a couple of days souvenir shopping/relaxing, then flight home!)


Does this look realistic for 2 months, or packing too much in? Obviously I am flexible with the itinerary, I don't like to be really fixed on doing things on certain days, especially if I love a place + want to stay longer/exhaust a place + want to move on earlier, etc, but giving you guys the clearest picture I can, would you say this looks realistic?

All advice very much welcomed. Thanks very much for reading.
#2 Aug 31st, 2012, 03:18
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  • Dave W is offline
#2
redbutton

I don't know all of the places that you plan to go .

I think that anybody could always use a bit more time in Kolkata. 4 days in Amritsar might be a bit long. 7 days sounds like a long time in Jaisalmer. Have you skipped Udaipur on purpose?
#3 Aug 31st, 2012, 03:30
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Kota-Varanasi tickets will need to be booked 4 months in advance, very small quotas that sell out fast.

Either go direct from Varanasi to Guwahati, or go direct from New Jalpaiguri to Patna, then to Gaya, if departing NJP on a Monday, there's a direct reasonably timed train to Gaya.
#4 Aug 31st, 2012, 03:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post redbutton

I don't know all of the places that you plan to go .

I think that anybody could always use a bit more time in Kolkata. 4 days in Amritsar might be a bit long. 7 days sounds like a long time in Jaisalmer. Have you skipped Udaipur on purpose?
Hi Dave,

I skipped Udaipur (along with Jodhpur and Mt Abu) because I was there back in 2011 and, whilst really liking it, am not over-bothered about returning on this trip.

Hmm.. maybe Jaisalmer is a bit too long: perhaps the time could be distributed a bit more effectively elsewhere. Thanks for your advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post Kota-Varanasi tickets will need to be booked 4 months in advance, very small quotas that sell out fast.
Will bear that in mind and put that on my to do list! Thanks for the heads up

Quote:
Either go direct from Varanasi to Guwahati, or go direct from New Jalpaiguri to Patna, then to Gaya, if departing NJP on a Monday, there's a direct reasonably timed train to Gaya.
I didn't realise Varanasi-Guwahati was possible direct (doh, makes sense now though thinking about it! ) I think I'll do it that way then, and head to Kolkata on the way back from Darjeeling rather than stopping there twice (and therefore having a potentially more productive time there). Then can head to Gaya from Kolkata.

Great tips, thanks
#5 Aug 31st, 2012, 06:11
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#5
Agree that there is too much time allocated to Amritsar and to Jaisalmer; and not enough to Kolkata.
#6 Aug 31st, 2012, 15:16
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  • vonkla is offline
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbutton View Post Part 2 - (Early-Mid March to late March/early April)

(This is where I get a bit more sketchy, as I am in no way as familiar with West Bengal/North Eastern States as other parts of India! So advice particularly helpful here!)

Train Varanasi - Kolkata (2-3 days Kolkata) is this too long/enough?
Train Kolkata - Guwahati, and then 7-8 days in/around Assam/Meghalaya (Cherrapunjee, Shillong) Again, is this enough time realistically?
Train Guwahati - New Jalpaiguri, and then to Darjeeling (around 5 days Darjeeling)
We visited Assam in the same period of the year as you intend to do. In two weeks we did
-Guwahati, a not so interesting place
-Jorhat, we stayed some day in Mou Chapuri a resort on the banks of the Brahmaputra from where we also went to Manuli island. Later we stayed in the town itself and went to Sibsagar and a Gibbon sanctuary.
-Kaziranga, a great wildlife sanctuary
-Tezpur another nice town but you can skip it.

More details you can read in the March part of Seven weeks North East
#7 Sep 2nd, 2012, 18:03
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#7
Thanks for the advice Vonkla: I've read through your report and it's given me some ideas.

I have taken a couple of days from Jaisalmer and Amritsar so that I can spend some more time in Kolkata/the North East.
#8 Sep 3rd, 2012, 03:08
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  • vonkla is offline
#8
Glad it helped, just since you mentioned Amritsar I had another look at your trip.
Is there special reason to visit Amritsar at the end.

If not, you can go direct to Amritsar from Delhi.

Next to Rajasthan:

Train from Amritsar to Jaipur, see here and then do the rest of Rajasthan

Another option is
Take a bus from Amritsar to Makhu, around 70 km to the South
The train to Bikaner leaves around 3 PM see here.
The bad thing it arrives shortly after midnight so you must find a hotel withe 24 hours check-in.

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