New to Indian Travel
Last year I was in India for four days but I hired a tour guide and was in Chennai and Tirupati but I was under the weather which destroyed parts of the trip.
Anyways, going back this year from April 7th (flying into Chennai) and departing April 25th Am from Delhi.
I will be in a mediation retreat from April 8th to April 19th. My plan is take a train from Chennai to Delhi afterwards. I also would like to visit Varnasi and bathe in the Ganges while im in the North.
Nothing is concrete outside of the dates im flying in and dates im flying out.I'm also considering bailing on the mediation retreat and doing this instead.
Second Option - spending some time in Chennai then Mumbai, then Varanasi then Delhi. I would like to do this Journey by Train.
Meditation Scmeditation ;) . . . go see some India :) You can meditate at home . . . ;) Not sure about Chennai-Mumbai, but Mumbai-Varanasi by train is around 26 hours or so (depending on your own personal karma, of course ;) )
I've lived two separate times in Varanasi, both for six months, going nowhere else but there. Amazing powerful, chaotic place. Have bathed there numerous times too. I usually go to the eastern shore . . . water is a little (at least visually ;) ) cleaner there. Varanasi is my favorite place in India. It is/can be/no, Is a shock to some. The more time you can give it, the better.
after reading your reply and discussing it with a few ppl i think i may do Chennai, train ride to Mumbai, train ride to Varanasi and finally train ride to Delhi. I may look to do Muthara.
Hotel Suggestions Please? any general advice would be appreciated
hotels near train stations btw
I don't wish to pour cold water on your plans, but really? You have six days to see things and you want to criss-cross a large country by train. You'll spend almost half your time on the trains - fascinating as they can be it just doesn't make sense to me.
Chennai - Mumbai 26 hrs
Mumbai - Varanasi 26 hrs min
Varanasi - Delhi 12 hrs
Have a leisurely week seeing the best of Tamil Nadu and then fly
From there go to Bhopal or Jhansi+Orchha.
And then Varanasi.
"Isn't Mumbai the cultural capital of the country" . . . depends some, I think, on what 'culture' you're looking for . . . and yes, there are "a lot of things to do in Mumbai" . . . and as for "steeped in history", you can't really go anywhere in India without being "steeped" . . .
As you plan to visit the north on this trip (i.e. Delhi, Varanasi etc), keep in mind the difference between the average temperatures in early April with late April can be significant. The south is less extreme in comparison.
Mumbai is the financial capital, and arguably the most cosmopolitan city in the country (but as Delhiite I'd debate that. ;)) It is in some ways the richest and most impressive city (Bollywood, flashy cars and buildings), but can also have the look of being the poorest/filthiest (shanty towns are ubiquitous).
Every place has its own unique culture.
What are your interests? Tamil Nadu has a rich cultural heritage and stunning temples; Hyderabad has forts and a distinctive culture; Mumbai, museums, marine drive, Gothic Victorian buildings....Don't cover too much as you have little time and the weather won't be conducive to long and tiring trips.
While you are in Chennai you really ought to fit in Mamallapuram. Madurai is wonderful but means going further south. I haven't been to Mumbai for nearly forty years, but it's not really the cultural centre. Personally I really like Delhi - loads to see and a fantastic range of historic buildings (and modern too). Varanasi is fascinating too - you definitely don't want to rush around there. I liked Hyderabad, although the traffic is horrendous. Take a look at train times as part of your planning.
Cities are just one part of India. Have you considered seeing some of the wonderful countryside too? I always try to fit in at least one national park.
To put things into perspective, we spent a month in Tamil Nadu and missed loads. A month in Kerala. Another in Rajasthan and one more in Himachal Pradesh. Two months across north India. Just off to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh for five weeks. I missed some out too.
Of course, it's your trip and you must choose what you feel best with.
Happy to discuss over the next three days!
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