Our trip of a lifetime...

#1 Aug 28th, 2012, 04:21
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  • wolfytom is offline
#1
We are a couple in our fifties planning a month long trip around India and we need help. And lots of it...

We have lurked on this fantastic forum for weeks now in order to develop a better understanding. Thanks to you all we know where we want to go, what we want to see but the questions are
1. Is it possible in a month?
2. Is it reasonable?
3. How should we travel between each point (some are obvious, others less so.)
4. What have we forgotten, missed, added in error?

Delhi
Shimla
McLoudGanj
Dalhousie
Amritsar
Atari
Jaisalmer
Jodhpur
Jaipur
Agra
Varanasi
Darjeeling
Katmandu - fly?
Delhi fly
Mumbai fly
Kerala fly?
Delhi

Can it be done in a month?
Is it too much?
Help!!
#2 Aug 28th, 2012, 04:45
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#2
Forgot Udaipur!

Looking at the current thread asking about 19 days in Rajasthan and listing Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Agra, We seem to be really overdoing it!!
#3 Aug 28th, 2012, 04:54
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  • robinsparrow is offline
#3

It will be interesting to see

Wow...I did meet 2 gals once returning to the states after like 2 weeks in India....they went all over...did not stop.......exhausted but saw a lot.How fit are you...and how long do you want to stop at each place?????Hope others an advise...as for me I am not a fast mover.......walking to the library is my travel


robinsparrow
#4 Aug 28th, 2012, 05:02
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  • unclelach is offline
#4
wolfytom, Your selections are great but I think you have too many places for the time available.

My first holiday tour in India/Nepal was with a group which visited eleven places in four weeks, Delhi to Kathmandu including a long circuit through Rajasthan. The travel was all by train or bus with five overnight journeys. As the tour was prebooked and completely organised we had all our time available for sightseeing etc. Even so we sometimes felt we had insufficient time to properly take in a city.

I recommend that you visit fewer places and see/experience more in each place you stop.
#5 Aug 28th, 2012, 05:35
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  • camelgirl is offline
#5

Question

We need to know how you like to travel. Constantly on the move, collecting many stops or slower with time to actually see a few things & get into the atmosphere of the area. What time of the year are you going?

You've got a bit of the entire country plus Nepal. To me that's much too much for a month. Pick an area, north or south & stick with that. Since you're starting in Delhi & ending there, the north and Rajasthan makes sense. We flew into Delhi & flew out of Mumbai our last trip, you could look into that.

We usually have 4 to 5 weeks & just do one area. Rajasthan, for example. Or Mumbai & kerala or Karnataka. India is huge & each area has lots to see.

Get a map & look it over. You don't need 2 hill stations (Shimla & Darjeeling). You'd want 4 to 7 days if you flew to Kathmandu (overland takes too long).

You can fly now around India easily to save time, it's quite reasonable & mostly reliable. Trains are interesting & a good way to meet people.
#6 Aug 28th, 2012, 05:56
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#6
Thanks for the advice.
A quick revision perhaps suggests....

Delhi Shimla McLoudGanj Dalhousie Amritsar Atari Jaisalmer Jodhpur Jaipur Agra Delhi

What do we want of our holiday?
Immersion in the culture
A view of the Himalayas
Nights in the desert
Wildlife
Occasional respite from the chaos
A taste of the huge variety
History
People
Memories

What are we frightened of...
YouTube videos of floating bodies in the Ganges at Varanasi
Funeral Ghats
Squat toilets
Rats and the like
Scammers and con artists

We are travelling in October/November 2013 and normally stay in a gite in France with the Grandkids!
#7 Aug 28th, 2012, 06:46
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#7
Wolfytom, you will inevitably come across the 'squat toilet' in India. But if ya gotta go, ya gotta go. As for scammers and con artists, you need to keep an eye on each other but don't stress because in my limited Indian experience, there aren't as many scammers out there as many would have you believe. I travelled solo and within 12 hrs of landing had got rid of my hidden purse etc. I found that a lot of the warnings were not relevant to the area I travelled in. Not that scams etc don't happen there, but I didn't encounter many and they were usually easy to spot. I travelled in the south and by all accounts it is a lot less congested and frantic than in the north. Relax. Enjoy the experience. Cheers. Zamba.
#8 Aug 28th, 2012, 09:39
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  • hfot2 is offline
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfytom View Post We are a couple in our fifties planning a month long trip around India and we need help. And lots of it......
...
Darjeeling
Katmandu - fly?
Delhi fly
...

Can it be done in a month?
Is it too much?
Help!!
Too much, too little time. How about sticking to the north (or south)? But don't try to do both in one month.

You will spend a lot of time getting from A to B and not getting to see anything of A or B.

Traveling in India takes time, even if you fly, you have to devote hours to getting to airport, being there an hour (minimum) before your flight, and then driving from the airport to the place you really want to go which will undoubtedly be a goodly distance from the airport.

On all our trips in both north and south traveling by car and driver, we felt extremely lucky if we managed 50km/30mi per hour, except for the rare good road with more than two lanes.

I don't know what the current rules are on leaving India and returning, but please check your Visa to be certain you can leave and come back in few days.

You don't have to see the bodies in the Ganges in Varanasi, in fact you likely won't and you don't have to visit the burning ghats if you don't want to. You aren't allowed to photo there but folks do so from boats. Search Google Images to check your tolerance for this.

Slow down, please. Follow the advice of those above and prioritize.

distaff
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
#9 Aug 28th, 2012, 10:52
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#9
Quote:
A quick revision perhaps suggests....

Delhi Shimla McLoudGanj Dalhousie Amritsar Atari Jaisalmer Jodhpur Jaipur Agra Delhi
When are you planning to do this?

Why Shimla? For the toy train? If not for the toy train I would suggest Manali instead of Shimla. While going from Manali to Dharamshala you could do an overnight at Rewalsar. After Dharamshala go to Amritsar. There are trains connection Amritsar to Jaipur. From Jaipur train to Jaisalmer. From Jaisalmer train/bus to Jodhpur. From Jodhpur cab to Udaipur seeing Kumbhalgarh / Ranakpur or both on the way. From Udaipur take a train to Agra. Train to Varanasi and another train back to Delhi.

If you are planning to travel during December - January take into account the fog factor. Trains and flights tend to be delayed due to fog.
#10 Aug 28th, 2012, 11:22
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  • nycank is offline
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfytom View Post We are a couple in our fifties planning a month long trip around India and we need help. And lots of it...

Can it be done in a month?
Is it too much?
Help!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfytom View Post
What do we want of our holiday?
Immersion in the culture
A view of the Himalayas
Nights in the desert
Wildlife
Occasional respite from the chaos
A taste of the huge variety
History
People
Memories

What are we frightened of...
YouTube videos of floating bodies in the Ganges at Varanasi
Funeral Ghats
Squat toilets
Rats and the like
Scammers and con artists
Can it be done in a month ? Sure !! You will be averaging about 1-1/2 days per city. Which is much better than the Griswold family

Immersion in culture ? At 1-1/2 days per place ? Himalayan ranges are about 1500 miles long, so is there a particular portion you wanted to see ? At that hectic pace, respite from the chaos is going to be elusive. Why ? at one-and-a-half day a place is going to cause its own chaos let alone the external chaos.

Finally, the Scammers and con artists ! You asked for them by the mere fact that you have a very perishable commodity - time, and a futures-option called places. To make sure you make your time, and make sure the future places are not missed, you would fall victim to scams and cons as you'd be chasing time and would be very tired by day 5 with 25 more to go.

To smoothen your trip - there are those package tours, you know the kind where you get in and out of Volvo AC buses see what they want you to see, and go when they want you to go....but you'll get your pictures for the album.

And those package tours aint cheap. Sorry to be blunt ! But you need to rethink the itinerary with detailed paper map or use google-maps to give you a geographical idea of distances.
#11 Aug 28th, 2012, 11:46
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  • ashwinnaagar is offline
#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfytom View Post Thanks for the advice.

What do we want of our holiday?
Immersion in the culture
A view of the Himalayas
Nights in the desert
Wildlife
Occasional respite from the chaos
A taste of the huge variety
History
People
Memories
Culture- you'll get it everywhere you go,select 3 places in Rajasthan(i would go for jaipur,udaipur and jaisalmer), 1 in himalayas( i would go for Binsar, McLeod doesnt come any close,you'll get a break from sight seeing and touristedness too).
If you have more time go for Amritsar, McLeodganj and Orchha, then go to the South,visit Hampi and kerala.
I wouldnt bother with Shimla or manali.
#12 Aug 28th, 2012, 12:08
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  • Dave W is offline
#12
Two years ago we went for our one month holiday of a lifetime to India. We have now booked the fights for our third visit, 6 weeks this time.

If you love India you will be hooked and return to see some things again and some new things. If you don't like it racing round like a mad thing won't make it any better.

For a desert experience I can recommend this http://www.durag-niwas.com/service/thartour.html organised for us by the Durag Niwas Guest House in Jodhpur. We blogged at the time http://radinja2.blogspot.co.uk/2012/...el-riding.html

Shimla is a pretty good respite from the chaos as there is no traffic in the central area. I don't think that we saw any squat toilets that didn't have a more familiar alternative available and only a couple of rats at long range. Touts have to be treated as part of the fun or they might start to get you down. Avoid Youtube.
#13 Aug 28th, 2012, 12:30
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#13
The thing nobody has mentioned is how physically exhausting India can be, even when we travel slowly! It's hard work managing all those stairs, hoisting ourselves up into a cycle ricksha, walking on uneven streets full of debris, and if all that isn't enough, India is so different from what we are used to that we have to stay alert and awake all the time. Two months in India and I need another six weeks to rest up!

There will be days when you want to stay inside the hotel and read a book that has nothing to do with India, days you want a cheese sandwich and a Coke instead of Indian food, and (really) days you just don't want to be there -- so don't build yourselves a schedule where you have to be moving every second day.

October/November 2013 is more than a year away; there is plenty of time to plan all this!
The map is not the territory. --Alfred Korzybski
#14 Aug 28th, 2012, 21:39
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#14
i agree with the plan given by aarosh. do not stretch too much, even if you are physically fit. remember in winter trains/flights are normally delayed due to excessive fog in north
#15 Aug 28th, 2012, 22:00
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#15

Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfytom View Post Thanks for the advice.
A quick revision perhaps suggests....

Delhi Shimla McLoudGanj Dalhousie Amritsar Atari Jaisalmer Jodhpur Jaipur Agra Delhi
Sounds better! You could add Jaisalmer. Jodhpur is the 1/2 way point between Jaipur & Jaisalmer.

We hired a car & driver (not expensive) for a week. The route was a circle from Jaipur:
Jaipur,
Nagaur (just for a couple of hours to see the amazing Ahhichatragarh Fort Nagaur (which had no tourists!),
on to Bikaner (another awesome fort) (with a brief stop at the famous & weird Karni Mata Rat Temple),
Jaisalmer,
Jodhpur & back to Jaipur. Then back to Delhi. However, before we did that one week trip, we had already been to Agra & Fatipur Sikri & spent 3 days in Jaipur.

As DaveW. said, if you like your trip you will plan to go back to see more. In 35 years of India travel we have barely skimmed the surface!
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