Mid April N. India Itinerary - Advice wanted

#1 Dec 6th, 2010, 22:30
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  • Ronny Dep is offline
#1
Hi guys,

I'm Ronak from London and I plan to travel around North India for 2 months or so.

I would love to know your thoughts on my below plans. I expect to travel places by bus or train.

Mumbai
Udaipur
Jaipur
Agra
Dehli
Amritsar
Dharamsala
Jammu
Srinagar
Kargil
Zanskar
Leh
Manali
Shimla
(back to)Dehli

Can this be done in 2months? Is there anything you suggest i cut or anything i have missed?

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Thanks
#2 Dec 6th, 2010, 23:22
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Well, doable, yes, I suppose so. At say 60 days/14 destinations = some 4.3 days a place, that's not at all bad actually. I've done trips there at some 2.5-3.5 days a place on average I think, tho' my last two trips I've spent mostly a short week everywhere, but that's just me (and arguably on return trips you may feel less pressed to see it all. One also just gets a little older as time progresses, doesn't one ), and anyway you'd be getting close enough to such a leisurely pace on average.

Check if the roads to Ladakh will already be open that time of year, I can't tell you, anyway you could fly if not.

And bear in mind it's probably gonna be hot hot hot (easily 40C-plus, with any luck) most anywhere along your route except for in the mountains. That's OK, but you'll need to take it easy & concentrate your activities on beginning and end of day, good reason again to not want to rush around.

And anyway btw, on a trip like this and over two months, it'll allow you the luxury to add and drop places as you go along, as you surely will; so, sure, basically just go for it. The latter obviously doesn't sit very well with today's need to get your trains booked well in advance, but, well. There's often a middle way to be found here, to suit everyone's own temperament. (E.g. much of this could be done by bus, which don't book out so easily. And in the higher mountains, there are no trains anyway. On shorter daytime train rides, you could try your luck in Sleeper Class on a regular Unreserved ticket & see if you can get upgraded, or simply allowed to sit there. Or Unreserved class won't necessarily kill you.)

Looking at it one more time, it looks like a good and sensible stretch, really.
Last edited by machadinha; Dec 7th, 2010 at 20:26..
#3 Dec 7th, 2010, 06:22
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Just 2 things:

As Macha said, it get HOT across mainland India except the hills. Extremely distressing if you can't take it.

April is also the time when it get real busy on Indian trains with the school/college holidays.
#4 Dec 8th, 2010, 04:17
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Unless there is something in particular you want to see, i would aviod Mumbai.
#5 Dec 8th, 2010, 04:21
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Er, I think the person clearly has to land there One has to fly in somewhere, no.
#6 Dec 8th, 2010, 08:00
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ps I could only be brief about this before. Three points then (and so thanks to Narendra's additions before):

-- The heat can be a killer yes. I didn't want to make more than necessary of it before. I know some who think nothing of it; some who just wilt away. I'm not very good with it myself (and having never even taken the brunt of it yet, having "just" had to deal with say 45C or so myself so far. And/but yes, I can attest that is very hot); you'll just have to learn to take things sloooowly and as it comes. There's no point fighting it, you'll just be defeating yourself. And very quickly, too, if you do try to resist it. (Seriously, you can get exhausted in no time.) Again, learn to limit your activities to the (very) beginning and end of day. And so including evenings and nights, right. Now find something of your own rhythm with it.

-- Indian summer holidays, very good point yes. Kick in somewhere April (but there'll be a few weeks leading up to it even, so when you'll already notice trains get a lot harder to book and stuff. As if they wouldn't be any other time of year, ha), last until June or so if not later. Expect a lot more people on the move at this time, and no, funnily enough the heat seems to deter them less.

-- The person again had clearly devised a good route, based on them entering by Mumbai, leaving by Delhi. And a good route as such I indeed think it is. If best time of year, well, that's for the person to decide. It clearly would be for the mountains, when it will be the high season there, and for good reason. (It lasts there roughly until the monsoon sets in -- I guess with two months the poster may just witness the start of the latter, but can't be sure, and then it will just vary. It would make travel in the mountains trickier.) The high season meaning you may find accommodation there doubling or tripling in price, btw. I know this notably pertains to the Kumaon part of Uttarakhand in any case; it may be less so in some other mountain parts, which however I know very little of (where it isn't so, you may expect average room rates year-round to be higher. Than they might be in the low season in say Kumaon, then. You could get some real bargains in the latter in winter -- except it will just be freezing. And exactly "cheap" I didn't find it even then and not for what you get, just this last winter.) Make no mistake btw, this high season is by the far majority spurred by domestic tourism, foreigners would dwindle by comparison.

I personally quite enjoy Mumbai btw, over several visits and over the years by now, but it's a mad city of course, like any Indian metropolis would be. Wouldn't hold it to be a must if you don't have to. But anyway it seems to be a moot point. Just dive right in -- and/or remember to take it easy if required, it's just the start of your trip. No, you really don't have to see the whole city right from scratch.

(The person going by their name btw may be of Indian backgrounds, or may have been there before. It could arguably have helped if they had specified so.)
#7 Dec 8th, 2010, 15:38
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#7
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the replies - very helpful indeed!

I have a friend who lives in Mumbai who i am keen to visit. I am indeed of Indian background but have only visited India a couple of times with spending most of my time in Gujurat and Mumbai (both times for weddings)

The heat is my main concern - Everybody has told me that April onwards is when the heat gets unbearable. I really don't want this to deter my plans as my work contract runs out in end of March and before i find another job would love to go travelling to India.

Another concern for me is the accessbility getting to ladakh by road. Do you know what climate condiitons are like in the mountains during may/june time?
#8 Dec 9th, 2010, 00:50
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I don't know; there are at least two weather charts and then a bunch of handy links in this thread to give you some idea: http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...e-chart-t4062/.

I'd been thinking why not go just to the mountains (moving in and out over Delhi), like I said it's the season to visit. However you say you really want to go in over Mumbai.

And I'd been thinking later Mumbai will probably not be insanely hot, but quite likely very humid that time though. As in, phew.

But, what are you gonna do. As you then move up, it should get hotter, but drier. Until again you hit the mountains then, where it should just be pleasant. (I'm personally, and all in all, better with that dry ultra-heat, than with the not-so-hot mad humidity down south in summer. But I'm sure others will think just the opposite.)

Regarding the roads to Ladakh, I'm sure a search around this site will get you going. Or any guidebook worth its salt should be able to give you the lowdown. Remember conditions will just vary yearly, of course. The Ladakh (sub-) forum here: http://www.indiamike.com/india/ladakh-and-zanskar-f31/. (Find the whole site's forums structure at http://www.indiamike.com/india/, it's under the "forums" button at top left of most pages. Handy to navigate.)
#9 Dec 9th, 2010, 03:42
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nb My experiences described above with the heat btw involved me leaving in mid-April -- when you'll just be landing. (Arguably in some parts where I'd been through in the two months before it, people had been telling me the heat was unseasonal and about a month early. But, well. Yes, 'twas hot.)

Can't say I envy you. I'm sure it will be survivable, though. Just learn to take it easy, again, it is my best advice. I remember this in itself took me several weeks, so to not think Oh but sitting in my room with my fan or out in the shade by day is silly, I should be out and about and seeing all these things, and all day long. No, just forget about it. Like I said, you'll just be exhausting yourself if you even try (or getting frustrated because you really can't). Once I learned to accept this, I had the much better time of it. So, do some walks in the early mornings and late afternoons, see a few things, take it easy much of the rest of the day. A stroll to the cafe, glance at the newspaper, chat with this that or the other person, that sort of thing. Nights of course are good, but there's few monuments open (And, after say 10-12 PM and depending where you are precisely, not much of anything open, period.) You'll even manage to do the occasional full day of sightseeing -- but chances are you'll be pooped for a few days after it. Watch that fluids intake btw, right. Keep drinking, and eating, even if you don't feel like it. I think I switched from full meals every day to little snacks all day long, proper meals only every so often, just didn't feel like them. You have to keep yourself going, and anyway there's always some nice and enticing bites around; though even those I sometimes just had to remind myself to yes, eat something. Some peelable fruits (and delicious fruit juices, btw), sure. Nuts and what have you, it's all readily available. If feeling overly lethargic, get in some extra salts and sugar, just add to your water if nothing else. Vitamin pills are readily available with drugstores on the ground (not crazy cheap, by local standards, but not crazy expensive, either) if you feel like you could use some.

I'm never sure when the monsoon kicks in btw, I think you may just miss it. There are some charts on it linked to in that weather charts thread I gave above. It will again also just vary, and word has it patterns have been erratic these past years.

In any case some seem to love the monsoon in the mountains, however if you run into just the start of it, count on it interfering with transportation and stuff. There'll be landslides and whatnot.

Anyway I reckon it wouldn't have to be an issue, if you just build in some extra leeway and notably to make it to your exit point out of the country well in time; or you could just descend to the plains again, which should freshen up by then.
#10 Dec 9th, 2010, 03:52
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And then ppps nnb, regarding the roads to Ladakh, Lonely Planet (2007) would suggest that generally speaking, there ought to be road traffic Srinagar-Leh (late) May - (early) November (night stop in Kargil); Leh to Manali, July-mid-October (night stop in Keylong). So both rides are said there to take two days.

It then goes on to suggest the road to Manali is officially open 15 July-15 September (conditions permitting, I would presume), but that private buses may run to mid-October, conditions again and indeed permitting.

Furthermore, it says shared jeeps to Manali and Kargil may run July-mid-October (all of this from Leh, again), making this a final option if nothing else goes at the time.

Beyond that, it will be a flight. I'm sure a further search here will shed more light on it all. A guidebook like that will in the meantime no doubt get into how to get to Zanskar and stuff as well, so, get yourself one

(I'm sure I don't need to tell you about there being this little issue of Kashmir suffering from something of a civil war ever since Independence, right? This doesn't affect Ladakh, at all, but it sure does Kashmir proper, as well as Jammu, it seems. And anyway it's not to scare you and many still seem to go there -- reports on this site alone seem to vary quite a bit, ranging from the "Go there no problem" to the "Don't even think about it" -- however no matter what you do, it would be good to at least be aware of it.

A decent guidebook again should at least give you something of an idea of the wider issue.)

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