Lost in Space

#1 Oct 9th, 2010, 00:41
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  • Jacksons is offline
#1
Hi,I am fully new to this but here goes...
Will be arriving in Delhi mid January with a group of 8, including my two twenty something sons, and their friends. First visit to India for most. Duration of the trip is roughly 5 weeks.
Would like to spend about 3 weeks or so, visiting Agra 1-2 days,Rishikesh2-3 days white water rafting, Ahmedabad 3-4 days and also maybe Darjeeling or Shimla-Manali, or Benares or Varnasi. Then head over to Goa for 3-4 days not including travel time by train, then to Kerela - Trivandrum 2 days, Cochin 2 days, Chennai 2 days and Kolkata till we leave on the 23rd Feb. Doing it on a very tight budget so would appreciate advice on best way to tackle it i.e.
Which direction to head, for the north destinations and what would be most practicable destinations, given the time frames?
Ways to get there on a budget? Costs and tips for train, bus or even car hire...maybe possible as we will be sharing costs.
Rafting possible at this time?
Any other information or advice?
Much appreciate the input. Been reading through heaps of posts but it is information overload for me at this point and I can't seem to put it all together! Great site by the way. Have recommended it to heaps of other travel junkies. Cheers.
#2 Oct 9th, 2010, 00:44
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  • mridula is offline
#2
I don't think rafting happens in January.
#3 Oct 9th, 2010, 05:41
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#3
Trip sounds hectic. Direction-wise Ahmedabad doesn't fit in that well w/ the other places you mentioned.

Not been rafting in India that time of year, so no idea if it's a possibility or not.
#4 Oct 9th, 2010, 07:34
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#4
Sounds like you're trying to do the whole country in 5 weeks. Lots of traveling in there and the distances and train times are not insignificant. e.g. Chennai to Kolkata is 28 hours.

I'd suggest you focus on 3 areas for 5 weeks e.g. Rajasthan, Kerala, Delhi/Rishikesh

Check erail.in for train times.
#5 Oct 9th, 2010, 17:28
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#5
I agree wikt Hal. It's like saying lets do Paris, then Helsinki, on to Madrid and Athens and fly out of London. Tight budget is also not helping. Teel us what´s really important and we´ll get back to you.

Tips for trips to India with (young) children: India with kids
Our travel blog (mostly in Dutch): Reisfamilie
#6 Oct 9th, 2010, 19:43
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#6
Thanks all for the valued input. Yep it is hectic, fully agree. Landing in Delhi, so may as well do Agra and something else up north...like to do Darjeeling, Manali and Rishkesh. Got to to do Goa, Kerela, Chennai and Kolkata(leaving from there). Love to do Rajastan as well. I know that Goa to Kerela is an overnight train trip and so is Kerela-Chenai. Know Chenai-Kolkata is a long one. Know Delhi-Agra can be done in a day. Don't know about journeys to Darjeeling, Manali, Varnasi or Rajastan, nor do I have any clue about journey from North to Goa. Have looked into train fares for the journeys I know about and they seem affordable and accomodation is mostly sorted out for these places. It is just the areas I know nothing about that I am seeking input on. In the north, would love to try and fit in the places mentioned but we are flexible with the travel in this area and so any suggestions for this area would be much appreciated. Such as which direction to head after Agra...either Rishikesh, Manali, Darjeeling, Varnasi or Benares then make way to Rajastan and onto Goa? If these options are ridiculous please forgive my ignorance and ambition...hahaha... be kind! I am absolutely unfamiliar with the north, geograhically and otherwise. Naturally would like to squeeze in as much as possible...this is possibly the last time I will travel with my now grown up sons and I just want to give them a taste of travel and of India so they will go back on their own in the future able to pick areas they would like to spend more time expoloring. They and friends are all keen for the adventure and prefer that it be hectic and move along at a fast pace. They were very keen to do the rafting but looks like that is a no go, eh? Que sera sera...thanks for your kind help and taking the trouble to entertain this madness. So, what is a goer and what is the impossible dream?
#7 Oct 9th, 2010, 21:14
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#7
If you're starting in Delhi you could see the north from there. Head on to Manali from Rishikesh. Darjeeling is best approached from Kolkata and would be a separate leg of the journey. Remember that in January the north will be cold so you'll have to carry cold weather gear.

Any particular reason you are going to Chennai? It's out of the way and doesn't have as much to offer as some other cities.

Here's an attempt at a route:

Arrive Delhi (2 days)
north to Rishikesh, Manali (5 days)
south through Delhi to Agra (2 days)
to Mumbai (3 days)
Hampi or Ellora/Ajanta(4 days)
to Goa (5 days)
Kerala (5 days)
loong train to Varanasi (or fly) (3 days)
Kolkata (3 days)

32 days. So you have 3 left for flexibility and changes. You'll be spending a day on trains between each stop, so about 1/3 of your trip is travel time.
A few strategically-place internal flights can help alleviate this. They are about $150 per person. Consider flying Delhi to Kerala then working your way back up the coast. Should cut out 3-4 days of train travel

So that would be:

Delhi-Manali-Delhi-(fly to)-Kerala-Goa-Mumbai-Agra-Varanasi-Kolkata.
#8 Oct 9th, 2010, 23:08
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#8
Ok. Thanks Hal. You have done an awesome job with the suggestions. Really appreciate this input. Never even thought about Hampi that would be great. This seems a good plan, now I am kinda getting an idea about directions to head. So besides the one flight suggestion of Delhi to Kerela, the rest is all by train, is this right? If so can you give me an idea which trains? Any estimation of the time it would take by train for the long journey Kerela to Varnasi? Or is it Mumbai to Agra? Also, I was thinking of maybe heading off south and Mumbai, Goa etc. and then maybe back through Varnasi, Manali, Rishkesh, Kolkata. This is because maybe Feb is a better time to go to these areas, what are your thoughts on this? If you think this is a totally screwed up idea then I will trust your expertise and go with your first suggestion. Chennai and Ahmedabad were factored in as I was trying to chase up some friends I made during my travels in India in the early 80's. However as I am not exactly sure of their whereabouts, (just heard through the gravpevine that they are in these parts), it is not essential to the trip. Most important thing is to show my boys a bit of their maternal family history and introduce them to the land that I love, as well as check out the north as I have never travelled that way to date. your suggestions appear to cover this more than adequately and with some added bonuses like Hampi. By the way what is in Ajanta/Ellora? Thanks heaps, Hal, you have been such a great help. I really was lost in space...hahahaha
#9 Oct 10th, 2010, 02:15
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#9
Check erail.in for the train times and durations. There's no train to Manali - bus only.

Going south then heading back through Manili/Rishikesh means you're probably going through Delhi again, twice, once on the way to Rishikesh and then going back to Varanasi. You could drop Rishikesh and Manli and do Darjeeling/Sikkim instead, between Varanasi and Kolkata.
#10 Oct 22nd, 2010, 00:39
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal View Post Check erail.in for the train times and durations. There's no train to Manali - bus only.

Going south then heading back through Manili/Rishikesh means you're probably going through Delhi again, twice, once on the way to Rishikesh and then going back to Varanasi. You could drop Rishikesh and Manli and do Darjeeling/Sikkim instead, between Varanasi and Kolkata.
Cool. That sounds like a good plan. Thanks heaps.
Nut Meg
#11 Dec 5th, 2010, 00:26
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#11
Have consulted with group and after much haggling and stomping of feet this is the new plan. Delhi-Agra-Varnasi-Bodh Gaya- Patna- Darjeeling- Kolkata- Kerela- Goa - Gujarat - Rajastan - Rishkesh- Manali- Delhi in 6 weeks! Factor in one plane trip a road trip and the rest by trains. An impossible dream? Well, been chatting with a group that just returned and did Kolkata-Nepal-Varnasi-Rishkesh-Manali-Shimla-Rajastan-Goa-Chennai-Kerela in five weeks with one flight and the rest by trains and bus. Had a fantastic time including river rafting. trekking, boating, camping, camel rides, elephant rides through the jungle, beaching and clubbing. Also included missed trains, getting tossed off trains due to reservation mix ups, missing planes etc. So, maybe this riduculous plan can be done...yea? Maybe even enjoyed? I am so spun out by this whole planning process amidst final exams and work and feuding factions, that I say just land in Delhi and see what unfolds...go where you dare and holdiay without a care! I love India no matter where I am and I am sure these guys will too. So that is my update. Any input? Feel free to out put.

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