Mumbai - Calcutta via ellora, sanchi et al?

#1 Mar 9th, 2009, 04:36
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Mar 2009
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  • tiffin is offline
#1
Hello folks,

I am just beginning to look into planning a trip for this June/July.

I will be flying into Bombay and after a couple of days would like to set off in the general direction of Calcutta, perhaps visiting famous ancient sites such as Ellora and Ajanta, Sanchi and Khajuraho along the way. After making specific enquiries in Calcutta I will be setting off in the direction of Delhi, with a detour to Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Is it realistic to think I can accomplish this itinerary in 2-3 weeks or is this insane? I am thinking to get the Indrail pass and use the train as my accommodation as much as possible so as to save time and the expense of hotel accommodation.

At this stage I am quite daunted by the challenges involved in figuring out routes and timetables and would welcome any and all general and specific advice.

A general question: Should I plan this out right down to the minute, reserving berths on trains and so forth, or would it be possible to play this by ear and still make decent time?

Thanks!
#2 Mar 9th, 2009, 11:33
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May 2003
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Northern California
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  • wonderwomanusa is offline
#2
The IndRail Pass is NOT like a EurailPass, that is, you still have to make a reservation -- all you've done is prepay the fares. Well, it does get you into various quotas, so might be easier to get a reservation at busy times.

I think you are trying to cover too much ground in one short visit, especially if you have to go back to Mumbai to fly out. Can you get an "open jaw" ticket that lets you enter in Mumbai and fly home from Delhi?

June/July is dreadfully hot in Northern India -- temps of 45C/113F are normal, and it is sometimes hotter. And it can rain for 20 minutes every evening (before the monsoon starts), just to make things hotter and steamier. You may be used to tropical rains, over there in Hawaii, but how fast will you want to travel in those conditions?
The map is not the territory. --Alfred Korzybski
#3 Mar 9th, 2009, 23:37
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Mar 2009
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hawaii
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  • tiffin is offline
#3
Yeah, I know it is not the ideal time of year to visit, but I have funding to do some scholarly research and this is when the funds are available. And actually, Hawaii can get humid, but never that hot, so it will take some adjustment. Then again, I am from originally from Australia and have spent some time in the far north, so... There again, wouldn't an AC class berth be a great way to beat the heat? Let Mother India's railways rock me gently to sleep each night?
I appreciate your response, of course. You are probably right. I haven't paid for my flights yet, and will see if the agent can get me out of Delhi before I do...
Also, I understand that the Indrail pass still requires reservations and this is why am trying to figure out in how much advance detail I will need to plan things. Of course, even the best laid plans of mice and men... I can totally see myself missing a connecting train and throwing my entire trip schedule to the wind...

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