My 6+ month itinerary: comments appreciated

#1 Aug 22nd, 2003, 14:23
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#1
My wife and I have six and a half months in India and Nepal; we arrive in Mumbai on October 2nd (from two weeks in Thailand), and leave Delhi for Frankfurt, Germany, on April 15th (and then return to the US on May 31st). Anyways, our trip is pretty open-ended, although we know the general areas we'd like to explore, and have a few specific things we'd like to do. So this is the basic idea:

Arrive in Mumbai Oct 2, stay for a couple nights to acclimate, then take a train to Kerala where we are meeting a friend who is attending
Ammachi's 50th birthday (he is a devotee; she is a great Indian saint who gives kickass hugs). We would like to stay in Mumbai for about a week, but our friend is leaving (I think, his plans aren't finalized) around the 7th, so we'd like to get down there on the 5th at the latest (if he ends up leaving later we might take our time a bit more in Mumbai).

Then we're planning on spending the next three months in south India, mainly Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, with an emphasis on Mysore where we (especially my wife) would like to study yoga. We'll also explore the Pondicherry area, Arunachala, Mahabalipuram etc, but would likely spend the most continuous time in Mysore (because of yoga study opportunities). I'd also like to study bansuri flute to get the basics, if possible.

Then, for a different experience, we'd like to hit Goa for the Christmas-to-New Year's scene. Supposedly it is a grand old party!

After that, our plans are more open-ended: we plan on making our way back up the west coast, maybe stopping in Mumbai (if we liked it the first time around and felt like we wanted more), Pune, and with the obligatory stop in Rajasthan, hopefully for a camel ride. Then on north to the Himalayas: Maybe Dharamsala and Ladakh, but most definitely Rishikesh, where there is the International Yoga Festival in early February. By the end of the month we'd make our way down the Ganges to Varanasi.

Depending on time, we might go to Sikkim; I'd love to check out the eastern states like Assam and Manipur, but that might be stretching ourselves too thin. My feeling is that we're not going to make it to these places...this time. We'd like to make it to Nepal for some trekking by early March (too cold?), maybe the Annapurnas, as well as hanging out in Pokhara.

Our plane leaves Delhi April 15th, so we'd head back in early April and stop in Agra to see the Taj Mahal and such.

Anyways, that is the basic idea...comments and ideas are more than welcome. Anything along this route that is most highly recommended? Does it seem like too much? Anyone spent time in Mysore?

thanks,
jonathan
#2 Aug 22nd, 2003, 19:20
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Hi Jonathan

I think that your route is great. With so much time on your hands I would imagine that the itinerary will probably end up being fairly loose and spontaneous. After all there may be nice places that you here about on the road. The only thing I noticed that wasn’t in your itinerary is the middle of India. Ajanta, Kajhuraho and of course the Taj in Agra are definitely worth a visit.

Have fun!
#3 Aug 22nd, 2003, 23:18
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I'm a bit unclear on your visa situation; if you are getting a 6month tourist visa, are you picking it up in Thailand, or before leaving home? The validity is from date of issue and not arrival date so keep this in mind. By the looks of it, you will need to get a new Indian visa in Kathmandu before proceeding to Pokhara -- this might take a week or so.

March weather should be pleasant during the day with mostly clear skies but cool-to-cold at night -- depending upon elevation. A nice time to trek and hopefully some of the rhododendrons will be in bloom as well.

If you have a 10 year visa, disregard most of the above.
#4 Aug 22nd, 2003, 23:54
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M2, we're planning on getting a one-year visas early next week in San Francisco. Supposedly if you drop your passports off in the AM, they'll have them ready to go by 5pm.

I'm a bit unclear myself now. If we have 1-year visas why would we need to get new ones in Nepal? I just looked up the SF site and it said something about only being allowed a six-month stay regardless of visa type. So if I get it issued on Monday, August 25th, the six month period would end February 25th...so if I was in Nepal by then that would be fine, and couldn't I re-enter when I wanted for another duration of less than six months and that ended before August 25th 2004? Why would I have to re-apply for a visa if I had a one-year visa? That doesn't make sense (I mean why call it a one-year visa if it is really only six months?)

And if I'm not planning on being in Nepal until March 1st, maybe I should wait until Sept 1 or even later to get my visa? And is it possible to get my visa in Thailand?
#5 Aug 23rd, 2003, 00:05
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Hmmm, I'm thinking that U.S. has different visa options than other countries--from .this website:

"Tourist Visa: Is issued for 6 months, 1 year and 10 years. The period of stay in India (for each visit) is 6 months only."

Doesn't this mean that I can get a 1 year visa and stay for up to 6 months at a time, but re-enter again after being in Nepal? My plan as is is to be in India for 5 months (about six from date of issue), then Nepal for 5-6 weeks and then India again for only a week or so (mainly to get back to Delhi for my flight to Europe, but maybe it hit, say, the Taj Mahal on the way).
#6 Aug 23rd, 2003, 00:07
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Quote:
Originally posted by Watson
Hi Jonathan

I think that your route is great. With so much time on your hands I would imagine that the itinerary will probably end up being fairly loose and spontaneous. After all there may be nice places that you here about on the road. The only thing I noticed that wasn’t in your itinerary is the middle of India. Ajanta, Kajhuraho and of course the Taj in Agra are definitely worth a visit.

Have fun!
Yes, we'd definitely like to hit the Taj (didn't I mention that?). Ajanta might work on our back back up north. On the other hand, we're not trying to see absolutely everything--but focus on a couple areas (south and Himalaya), witha few stops in-between.
#7 Aug 23rd, 2003, 00:30
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If you have a 1 year visa which permits 'multiple entry' then you wouldn't have to apply for a new one in Nepal. I'm not really familiar with the one year tourist visa and was just being sure you were aware that if you had the normal 6 month one that you will have to be careful to mind your dates etc., and that getting a new visa in Nepal (if required) might be a time-consuming business.

Best to clear up any possible misunderstandings at the Consulate when you go for your visas.
#8 Aug 23rd, 2003, 10:00
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jonny - isn't Envy a sin? Then forgive me jonny, for I have sinned! Whatever you do, whereever you go, you'e gonna have the time of your life! Six months? . . . a year? . . . The Time Of Your Life! You're from the States . . . you know the color of the Incredible Hulk? That's me . . . right now! Have a Great Trip! Peace. Namaste. Scott
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure - Marianne Williamson
#9 Aug 23rd, 2003, 11:51
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Hello Jonathan!

You have chosen the perfect period to visit India. Oct. to April 15 is the ideal period!

The first half of your trip is more or less planned, so I have no comments to make on that.

From Jan onwards, you can spend time in North India. The climate will be excellent (cold in the plains and chilly in the hills). Do visit leisurely the states of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. Then, you can spend time in the cities of Amritsar, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and Varanasi.

Have a nice trip!

SHIMLA
Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop !

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