Order of cities and other questions

#1 Jul 26th, 2014, 05:23
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  • kdern is offline
#1
Hi all...

I'm planning a trip to India in mid to late October this year and would love some advice on my itinerary. I'll be there for about 2.5 weeks.

I'm interested in Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, maybe Varanasi, and Mumbai. I am thinking I will fly into Delhi and home from Mumbai.

Here's a map I put together of the northern India locations.


Questions:
  • What order would you recommend I visit these cities?
  • Where would you suggest flying and where to take train between cities?
  • An Indian contact suggested that Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur are too similar. Do you agree? Would it make sense to spend a little more time in each location rather than visiting all of them?
  • I've heard very mixed feelings about Varanasi. Do you think it's worth the trip?
  • Should I plan to spend any time in Agra or just pass through to see the Taj Mahal?
  • Would it
be crazy to skip the Taj Mahal? It looks beautiful but seems so touristy.

Thank you!

Kevin
#2 Jul 26th, 2014, 05:50
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  • ViShVa is offline
#2
The Taj is touristy for a reason. I have been about eight times and am astounded each time. Don't miss Fatehpur Sikri and Jaisalmer.

Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Ranakpur, Kumbhalgarh, Chittorgarh, Jaipur, Bikaner, Jhalawar, Bundi are all totally different experiences. Whoever told you that they are the same needs to come with you.

The itinerary I will leave for the experts to advise. I would follow my nose, and my own interests.
#3 Jul 26th, 2014, 11:51
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  • aarosh is offline
#3
Delhi - Varanasi - Agra - Bharatpur - Jaipur - Jodhpur - Udaipur - Mumbai could be one option.

There always would be mixed feelings about any place on earth since all people are not similar with similar likes and dislikes. One thing is for sure you will either love or hate Varanasi. There would not be a middle ground.

I would recommend taking a flight to Varanasi. Then train to Agra. From Agra onwards you have the option of cab / bus / train to reach the next city.

You could also check out Khajuraho and Orchha and if you decide to visit them you would need to do that between Varanasi and Agra. There is a train connecting Varanasi to Khajuraho. From Khajuraho a cab to Orchha and from Jhansi a train to Agra.

For Agra, Bharatpur and Udaipur you can go through my trip report.
#4 Jul 26th, 2014, 15:06
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#4
For me 2.5 weeks is not enough time to cover all the places you want to visit, and I should skip Mumbai.

A possible sequence for the rest is:
Delhi, fly to Udaipur, car/bus to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi, Delhi.
#5 Jul 26th, 2014, 15:39
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#5
I agree that 2.5 weeks isn't enough time to visit. now to satisfy your criteria of the cities being very different from each other i would recommend visiting in the following order. Spend 3 days in delhi. Then to khajuraho for two and onwards to varanasi.from varanasi fly back to delhi and take a train to agra. Alternatively overnight train to agra. Agra deserves more than a day to include fatehpur sikri as well. Stay at least one night then take the mewar express now to make your way to udaipur and also cover the fort of chittor en route. Chittor is the largest and finest fort. Spend around 3 days in udaipur area. From here hire car and driver how to get to jodhpur covering kumbhalgarh and ranakpur en route. Then a train to jaisalmer to spend about 3 days with at least one night in the fort.another night should be on the dunes. This would bring your itinerary To a close. From here train back to jodhpur and fly back to delhi.
Your one miss in this is jhalawar and also Jaipur but I've recommended places significantly different from one another so as to provide good contrast between the two stops and at the same time not to be terribly rushed.
#6 Jul 28th, 2014, 08:11
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  • Shashi K is offline
#6
Hey Kevin, have you worked out your travel plans yet? If it isn't too late, I'd suggest doing the Golden Triangle plus Udaipur or Jodhpur and then flying out via Mumbai. Can't say if the 3 Rajasthani locations are too similar as I've never been to Jodhpur and it's been a good 40 years since my last visit to Udaipur! However many people like to stick to the Rajasthani circuit and never seem to tire of the palaces, forts, and havelis.

I suggest you stick to the more touristy areas as this is your first trip to India and (as mentioned in another post) you like luxury travel. Although India has developed a lot, it can still be a shock for first-timers, and these areas have a well-developed infrastructure to make your first visit more comfortable. If you enjoy your first visit you will want to go back and that would be the time to visit the more hard-core places like Varanasi.

I also strongly advise first-time visitors to make their 1st and last night stays extremely comfortable. In Delhi, you might consider staying at the Imperial (an old British colonial-era hotel that has been beautifully updated) and in Mumbai, consider the old wing of the Taj.

Disclaimer: I am not in the travel industry and have no connection with either of these hotels.

I am also planning a trip to India from STL probably late this Nov to early Dec and also considering going to Udaipur. Have you bought your airline tickets yet? Would love to know which airline you went with and what fare.

Good luck & thanks!
#7 Jul 28th, 2014, 08:44
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#7
Just read the other responses....

For domestic travel, I'd recommend taking either the Palace on Wheels for the golden triangle (very expensive) or rent a car and driver from your hotel for maximum flexibility. Your hotel can also arrange for guided tours. Then fly from Delhi to Jaipur/Jodhpur and Mumbai. Having your own transport goes a long way in making your trip more pleasant.

Also, do NOT skip the Taj -- there is no substitute for seeing it in person.

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