Taj Mahal + Kerala in 2 weeks??

#1 Aug 31st, 2007, 17:36
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  • coebra2 is offline
#1
Hi all,in an ideal world my girlfriend and i would like to fly into Delhi and fly home from Kerala!The distance is vast so i dont know if its realistic to see the Taj Mahal,maybe Pushkar and Udaipur then down to Mumbai,a train to Goa,a few days there and then down to Kerala!We want the real India,culture,wildlife,quiet beaches,backwater trip and fish!Im getting a serious headache trying to get a realistic itinery together but i need some good advice from you with experience!!Please help!!Many thanks
#2 Aug 31st, 2007, 17:49
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  • Nick-H is offline
#2
Two weeks is enough time for a really nice trip in Kerala, even maybe touching on Tamil Nadu too (Maybe Madurai for a wonderful TN Temple town?)

Otherwise you will have a headache in the doing as well as the planning!

Even sticking to the South, if you can, it could be good to arrive and depart from different cities to save doubling back.
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#3 Aug 31st, 2007, 19:17
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#3
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Taj Mahal + Kerala in 2 weeks??

No.

Pick one of either Rajasthan OR Kerala this trip. Given your list of wants I think Nick's suggestion of Kerala would be better.

I know nuffin about south India but maybe in at Trivandrum and out at Chennai? I'm making it up as I go along...better leave this to more knowledgable folk.
#4 Aug 31st, 2007, 19:24
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#4
Stick to Kerela..

Its will offer you, wildlife, beaches, backwaters, Hill stations, yoga, ayurveda, Kathakali and more...

Maybe for bit of history you can touch somehwere in Tamil Nadu..but kerela is the place to be..

If you are interested in history and architecture then North India..i.e. Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan is the place to be...
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#5 Aug 31st, 2007, 19:46
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#5

Hello Coebra and welcome to indiamike.com

EDIT- didn't see the other replies, and I agree, you'll have a much more relaxing holiday if you stick to Kerala, you can then spend the money saved on better hotels in Kerala, you really do get some great hotels for very good prices in India.

The following is just to show what will be involved in covering both the north and Kerala in such a short space of time.


First of all, forget Goa, it's the Blackpool on India, the sea may be warmer and it's sunny most of the time, other than that, the beaches are better in Blackpool, there may be some secluded beaches in Goa (just follow the crowds to find them), but you wont have time to find them.

I've been to a few of the more popular beaches in Goa, and I'm 100% convinced the beaches of Kerala more than match them, I've been to Kovalam and Varkala beaches (both close to Trivandrum), but even these are very popular now, a lot depends on when you're going.

You can easily get a flight to Delhi, with the return flight departing from Trivandrum, one of the Gulf airlines will offer you a good deal, again, the price will depend on when you're travelling, you should comfortably find something under £400 return, but you'll be happy to see a 6 in the fare if you're travelling over the Xmas break.

So lets get realistic with the Itinerary, the first thing you have to do is turn 14 days into 15, departing on the friday night, getting back on the monday morning will allow this, every single day extra you can squeeze out of work will make a big difference. (I've departed from work to the airport, and went directly to work from the airport on my return, hard work, but worth it, and yes, easier to do in London than in Blackpool)

The places you choose are all said to be relaxing (none will be over Xmas), but flying into town, sorting everything out, then trying to relax knowing you have to leave the following day - is not relaxing at all.

Ideally, you want about 5 days on the beach with a day in the middle to go on a backwater cruise, so more or less 7 days in total (if you include your flight to Trivandrum).

(You will have to fly from the north to Trivandrum, it's a minimum 42.5 hour train journey)

So you'll arrive in Delhi with only 7 days before you fly to Trivandrum, so that rules out one of your places in the north.

Delhi can be hectic and can even seem mad at times (though I've only been twice and enjoyed it), but Delhi is real India, it's part of what we all love and hate about India, you really want to stay in Delhi first (tell us your interests, Delhi has everything), on the 3rd day you should take the early morning (06:00) Shatabdi train to Agra (arr 08:07), spend the day in Agra, see the Taj and other things, then you can either take a bus or a cab to Fatehpur Sikri (do a search on indiamike or look in a guidebook), Fatehpur Sikri is 35kms from Agra and 25kms from Bharatpur, or you could just take a bus or cab direct from Agra to Bharatpur, either way, it will be a very tiring day.

Train 2963 departs Bharatpur daily at 21:31 and gets to Udaipur at 07:00

First Class air con = Rs 1613
2-tier air con = Rs 952
3-tier air con = Rs 691
Sleeper Class = Rs 265 (not air con)

Have a couple of days in Udaipur, then go via a 5 hour bus (or taxi) to Ahmedabad and get a flight to Trivandrum (via Mumbai or Bangalore),

AMD 17:30 TRV 23:10 (£65)
AMD 15:30 TRV 20:00 (£80)

The above are both options from Ahmedabad, though prices vary depending on how early you book, and these prices will triple for Xmas holiday. (and availability will be difficult to find)

You could also get train 2964 from Udaipur (dep 18:35) to Nizamuddin in Delhi (arr 06:10), prices about 15% higher than train from Bharatpur.

Then get a flight to Trivandrum.
#6 Aug 31st, 2007, 20:06
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#6
Firstly,many thanks for all the useful info and for giving me a reality check!!Tbh i did Taj,Jaipur,Pushkar,Udaipur,Mum bai and Goa(central goa and palolem) 5 years ago over 5 weeks but this is new ground for my girlfriend and she is leaving it to me!It just seemed a shame to miss the Taj Mahal!Ok,feet back on the ground!We are planning to go around the 18/11 and i like the idea of flying into one airport and out of another.So,as both north and south seem unlikely with time constraints could anybody help with an itinery(maybe a week in Kerala and a week seeing the "real india")..flying into?and out of?going to?inbetween?Many thanks for your time
#7 Aug 31st, 2007, 21:02
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  • Nick-H is offline
#7
There is nothing unreal about Kerala!

Tell us what you mean by the 'real' India?
#8 Aug 31st, 2007, 21:08
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#8
The 'real India' is everywhere you go.

Madurai is a good example, apart from one of the most awesome temples in India, it doesn't appear to have a lot for tourists, but it was the city that I found 'the real India' all around me, and helped start my love affair with India.

I done a long post about a family I watched from my hotel window in Madurai, read it here.

But it was more than the view from the hotel that changed me, across the road from the hotel was a little back alley, the kind of alley we all walk past without even giving it a thought, I was fed up with tourist stuff and ready to see the things I was not meant to see.

I walked down this alley and was overcome with a mad mixture of emotions, the people 'living' and working in this alley were the poorest I'd ever seen.

I was scared out of my mind, If I was that poor I'd rob people and maybe even murder someone to feed my children, so I assumed they would do the same to me, I got out of the alley quickly, but it was too late, I'd seen the people, I'd seen the children, I'd seen what looked like a hidden community, and they had all smiled at me, and I was intrigued.

I went back the next day and had a look around their little 'market', it was just a bunch of (mainly) old women sitting on the ground selling vegetables, spices, hair clips, bangles, a few plastic bowls and flowers that had been made into all sorts of shapes, none of the women had a lot of things and the whole atmosphere was more like a social event than a market.

Children were running around with hardly any clothes on and no shoes, and everyone was staring at this out-of-place foreigner, but I wasn't going to run this time.

I found an old man selling chai, so I bought one and sat down, I could see that the children wanted to run over to see this strange person, but they were nervous, but it didn't take long for them to slowly come closer and closer, eventually I was surrounded.

To this day, I am still in awe of these children, the dreadful living conditions seem to go unnoticed and their eyes were filled with happiness, and not one of them asked me for money or put their hands out for anything.

I eventually walked further down the alley and found a cafe, cafe is maybe the wrong word, it was just like a backroom with wide doors and 2 dirty tiny tables, a man was eating what looked like a dosa, so I asked for the same, it was delicious and a pleasant surprise after the tourist crap I'd been served in my hotels.

I saw a small shop selling all sorts of little toys, I walked over and bought a small cricket bat and a couple of tennis balls, the shop owner couldn't stop smiling.

I went back down the alley and offered the cricket bat & balls to one of the women, I gestured that they were for the children, this was misunderstood, and within minutes I was involved in a game of cricket, there was hardly room to swing the bat, never mind play a game of cricket.

I bought a cauliflower and a garland of flowers (my travel partner was ill, so I made him a cauliflower god to watch over him )

I managed to get away about an hour later, and I left Madurai that night, but Madurai never left me.

The real India is also everywhere at 5 or 6 in the morning, no tourists, no touts, just people going to work, or fishermen working on a beach, it's all there, just turn left when everyone else is turning right.

I curse Goa a lot on this forum, it's my least favourite place in India, but even in the heavily touristy Calangute, you can find these alleys, you just have to look a lot harder
#9 Aug 31st, 2007, 21:30
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#9
Great

You are probably lucky to get away with the tea and dosa, stomach-wise, but even if you hadn't it would have been worth it
#10 Aug 31st, 2007, 21:48
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#10
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Great

You are probably lucky to get away with the tea and dosa, stomach-wise, but even if you hadn't it would have been worth it
On the same trip, on our last day, we went to the fort area in Chennai and found place in a back road, they were selling parathas (of all things) and Chai, they were wonderful, my last breakfast of my first trip.

I still think the food problems in India are overdone, but I read about enough cases to know there are problems, but I will carry on in my usual way, I'll probibly become ill one day, but I'll have fun in the meanwhile.
#11 Sep 1st, 2007, 02:57
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#11
I wish id known about this forum ages ago...absolute quality!As far as the real India goes i suppose its about experiencing the Indian way of life(enjoyed the Madurai story),just day to day life...even though Kerala is very much on the agenda i feel that we would be less interested in too touristy(get enough of that in Blackpool!).Am still hoping for more advice on an itinery for the 2 weeks based on my last message(fly into?flying out of?and of course an inbetween!!).Many thanks again
#12 Sep 1st, 2007, 10:00
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#12
I have the same attitude to tea drinking. I'm not too fussy, when desperate, about where I drink chai --- but a little fussy; it is nice, for instance, to see that the place has running water! But this is not just a traveller thing; local people will not take risks either.

My stomach (sore last 24 hrs but nothing worse) has been pretty good since it got used to living here --- but I do figure that if I am confined to bed/toilet for a week it is only a week out of my life: a week out of a three-week trip is really bad! It may be, of course, that the more relaxed attitude actually makes the immune system function better!
#13 Sep 1st, 2007, 17:53
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#13
I'll leave other more experienced members to advise on a kerala Itinerary.

You may want to look at some of the charter flight from Gatwick/Manchester to/from Trivandrum, as you're going for 2 weeks you may find a good deal.

Also check out the Gulf airlines, a lot of people from Kerala work in the Gulf, so there are a lot of flights to/from Trivandrum and Kochi (Cochin), you can often get a good deal, but need to change planes somewhere in the Gulf.
#14 Sep 1st, 2007, 18:45
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  • incitatus is offline
#14

South India trip

A good airline to fly out on is Emirates from Manchester.
You can get an open-jaw ticket flying into Cochin and out of Chennai for under £500 -as long as you don't intend to go 3 weeks either side of Xmas!
Go to http://www.emirates.com/uk/

select "advanced search" then "multiple destination" then put in your intended route.
Their South India destinations are Cochin, Trivandrum, Chennai, and Bangalore.
You will have to change in Dubai.
(You could also fly into Delhi and out of Trivandrum or Cochin if you REALLY had to pull off the North/South stunt!)

Flying into Cochin out of Chennai enables the following route..
arrive Cochin -backwaters cruise- beach Kovalam - Madurai- Mamallapuram ,taxi from there direct to Chennai to fly out, or other ,more crowded variations.
#15 Sep 1st, 2007, 22:54
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#15
Fantastic once again!This feels like it might just be coming together!I quite like the idea of flying into Cochin and out of Chennai.From opinions and what ive read i like Cochin then head south,up to Madurai and then?maybe Ooty(miniature train journey sounds good),Mysore,maybe Pondicherry,Mamallapuram and fly out of Chennai..is this realistic in 2 weeks?or any other suggestions very welcome,many thanks

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