2 month trip to India Feb and March - itinerary/route problems!
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Nov 21, 2012 4:42 PM Last Post By: zoltan
Nov 14, 2012 12:26 PM
2 month trip to India Feb and March - itinerary/route problems!Hello!
I am planning to spend 2 months in India - february and march - on my gap year, travelling with 2 or 3 friends.
I need some help with the itinerary as I'm worried that we have packed too much in and it might feel a bit rushed - and there are plenty more places that I really want to go to that we haven't managed to squeeze in!
So, I was hoping that someone could help me with choosing what are the essential places to visit and what we could miss so that the whole thing is less rushed.
Here is the itinerary:
Arrive DELHI (spend 2/3 days here - more??)
Go North to Himalayas (shimla to rishikesh to Kullu Valley to Leh (do you have to fly when its not summer???) to Kargil to Dal Lake to Dharmashala) Only have about 5/6 days for this so I'm guessing there are two many stops?
Back to DELHI (one day)
AGRA (2 days)
JAIPUR (3/4 days)
PUSHKAR (5 days)
JODPUR (4 days)
JAISALMER (can you do a desert safari here??? 2 days)
Back to JODPUR (1 day)
UDAIPUR (4 days)
MUMBAI (2 days - I think more days are needed here?)
JANJIRA (1 day)
PANAJI (6 days)
HAMPI (3 days)
MADURI (4 days)
PONDICHERRY (2 days)
CHENNAI (2 days)
Travel back to MUMBAI/DELHI to get plane.
So thats our itinerary - it seems very precise! but its just a rough outline that we can obviously change when we are out there.
Firstly does travel between all those places work??
Secondly, I REALLY want to go to Varanasi where would be the best place to fit this in. Also should we go to calcutta? I'd also like to go to Amritsar and Aurangabad to see the caves.
Thanks so much for any help! I'm so excited just wish we had more time!
Nov 14, 2012 12:27 PM
Nov 14, 2012 2:37 PM
2I wouldn't spend 2 nights in Agra - just arrive there in the evening and get up early to see the sunrise on the Taj and then get out of there!
Pushkar is nice, but there's not much to do there for 5 days unless you explore its surrounds. I got sick of all the touristy shops really fast and I was surprised at how little nightlife there was for such a touristy town. I would cut that down to 3 days... I'd recommend staying at Inn Seventh Heaven. It is really nice, and good value (although not really a budget hotel). But book early! If you miss out on a room, at least have dinner there (best western food I had in India).
I hated Jodhpur, but that might just be my opinion. Apart from the fort overlooking the walled part of the city, it isn't really a nice place to stay for 4 days (better off to be in smaller towns that have a more relaxing vibe for fun street wandering). This was the only place in India that I left before schedule.
Jaisalmer is fun. I did a camel safari there, which I'd recommend. However definitely bring a sports bra, and warm blankets and sleeping bag. Even though the safari people supply you with stuff, it usually isn't enough (I brought my own tent!). I'd rather spend more time in Jaisalmer (especially if you do an overnight safari) and maybe even skip Jodhpur. Otherwise you can do a camel safari outside Pushkar. It just depends on what kind of desert you would like. The aravelli hills around Pushkar are gorgeous! While Jaisalmer is more sand-dunes and barren (but still interesting).
I haven't been to Mumbai yet, but probably worth staying more than 2 days. 4 days in Udaipur is probably about right (maybe 3 days?).
Hampi is a long way out from Goa to go for just 3 days, I'd cut down on Panaji and add an extra day to Hampi. When in Goa, don't get stuck at the beach the whole time. There is so much to see!
Can't really comment on the others because I haven't been there. Except yes you are right 5/6 days is way to short for that Shimla-rishikesh-Kullu-Leh. It takes ages to get up in the mountains. Rishikesh to Shimla is probably around 16 hours. I would say Kullu and Leh are just too out of the way for the amount of time you have. It's not worth the agonizing bus trips to spend less than 4 days at each location.
Haven't been to Jaipur but from other reviews it seems skipable.
Kolkata is awesome. I wish I spent more than 2 days there. That is a big city that you could enjoy just wandering. Such an interesting mix of modernity, dilapidated Victorian buildings and a tropical atmosphere. But it is way too far, unless you go from Chennai and fly out here instead of Delhi.
If you really want to go to Varanasi and Kolkata, you could always re-arrange your trip and go Delhi-Rishikesh-Shimla, back to Delhi-Agra-Varanasi-Kolkata and then travel south to Chennai etc. and move up to Goa, Hampi, Rajasthan, Mumbai and fly out. But you'd have to cull a few stops (i.e. Jodhpur, Jaipur).
Hope this helps!
Nov 14, 2012 2:40 PM
3As you've made this as your first post, it's obvious you haven't done any searching on this forum, as there are many posts already on suggested itineraries...
Having said that, here's a few comments:
1) what is your budget ? this will affect whether you can take trains or flights around the country.
2) Arrive DELHI spend 2/3 days here
First time, 2-3 days is adequate.
Consider flying from Delhi => Leh. Roads may be closed due to snow. And, for 5-6 days, you have too many locations in the plan.
To help you work out distances, check this site: http://www.mapmyindia.com
Nov 14, 2012 10:17 PM
4Start travelling and adapt your time stayed at places when you get there and see what you think....Imo Pushkar is to be avoided at all costs..someone was disappointed with the lack of nightlife there? Well that could be said ffor practically all of India..Jaisalmer has become a tourist trap...toutsville and silly camel safaris..Jodhpur fort is worth seeing but a day in Jodhpur is enough...not that its "horrible" maybe you will get there and like it and stay longer....which is my point I suppose..it will be extremely cold in Leh...
Nov 14, 2012 11:06 PM
5Skip Jaipur,skip the camels,(you will not be happy)spend as little time in Delhi as possible.
3 days in mumbai,stay in Colaba area.
By panjim,you mean the Goan beaches,right?.No one stays willingly in Panjim,a dirty,crowded little city,with the beaches so close.
1 day for Jodhpur.
You will need some time to yourselves as you adjust to India.No easy task.To learn..To reflect..To grow..To acknowledge...And to recover.........
Nov 15, 2012 1:13 AM
Nov 15, 2012 1:56 AM
7Thanks so much for all your help!! It's all very useful.
Are there any other places that everyone would really recommend. What are the best places to visit in Goa?
"If you really want to go to Varanasi and Kolkata, you could always re-arrange your trip and go Delhi-Rishikesh-Shimla, back to Delhi-Agra-Varanasi-Kolkata and then travel south to Chennai etc. and move up to Goa, Hampi, Rajasthan, Mumbai and fly out. But you'd have to cull a few stops (i.e. Jodhpur, Jaipur)." - Monscon
This looks like a pretty good idea - I'm going to look into this and then present you all with an alternative itinerary if that okay!
To Zoltan - budget of about £1,500 (not inc flights to and from india) so I don't think we can do lots of flying, but I might look into flying to Leh.
And how does everyone feel about Thanjavur instead of Pondicherry and Mamallapuram instead of Chennai?
Is the general consensus avovoid Jaipur (possibly Jodhpur) and Pushkar ?
Thank you all!!
Nov 15, 2012 2:17 AM
The places you have chosen are good enough but yes, you may need to adjust your itinerary to optimize the time and cost...let me start with some info on these places from an objective point of view (as to what they have to offer)because I am sure the your interests as a foreigner will be different from an Indian tourist traveling within India...
Delhi - Capital of the country and historical city...Old Fort, Red Fort, Lotus Temple, Qutub Minar, Lodi Gardens, India Gate, Chandni Chowk (old bazaar), Jama Masjid, Connaught Place...the city has amazing street food to offer
3/4 days - should be fine
Agra - Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, nothing else to see...can be covered in a day
Jaipur (Pink City) - Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, Jai Garh Fort
3 days should be enough
Pushkar - Desert, camel safari etc...
Jodhpur (Blue City) - Mehrangarh fort, Umaid Bhavan and some other old buildings etc
You can cut down from 4 + 1 days to 2/3 days max
Jaiselmer (Golden City) - Definitely, give more days to this city in case you also want to go for Desert Safari under the night sky...
Udaipur (City of Lakes) - palaces, lakes etc
3 days are sufficient
Mumbai - Financial hub and definitely one of the biggest cities with good night life...this is a big city...As someone mentioned, you can stay in Southern Part of Mumbai (near Colaba) as this is one area which is frequented more by foreginers with loads of street side shopping options...if you are brave enough try the Mumbai local trains in rush hour (you can go to Elephanta Caves as a day trip)
Panaji - I am assuming you meant Goa, Panaji is the capital...it is one of the smallest states India...
Party place: North Goa - Baga beach, Vagator beach
Old Goa: Near Panaji...beautiful churches and homes
Vasco: Again a beautiful part of the state...
South Goa: Palolem beach, Agonda beach (by the way, this is a total non commericialized beach apart from the beach huts, no vendors on the beach...so really chill relaxing atmosphere)
Trains generally will drop you at a station names Madgaon which is 35 kms south of Panaji...airport is near Vasco (little Western part)...again 25-30 kms from Panaji...
Hampi - 3 days should be fine...haven't been to this place but have heard a lot from friends
Madurai/Chennai/Pondicherry: Number of days seem to be fine (6/7)...Southern India is known more for its temples...
Holi: If I am not wrong it is on March 27/28 in 2013. In case you want to be a part of this colourful festival, you definitely have to be in the northern part of the country...Mathura (birthplace of Krishna) is known for its holi and is near Agra...
I would suggest go to Agra at the end once you return from your trip from South...by doing this you can come Mathura/Agra during Holi and can also think about going to Varansi..it is the closest from Agra of all the cities you have mentioned in your trip.
Nov 15, 2012 2:51 AM
9Leh: Simply stunning place...however, since you are coming in the months of Feb-Mar, most of the roads may be closed and hence flying to into Leh is the only option. But then again, Leh generally acts as a base station and you have number of places around (which are 1/2 days trip abd back to Leh) like Pangong Lake, Tsomoriri Lake, Nubra Valley, Zanskar Mountain Range for trekking etc...
Manali-Leh journey even though is a back-breaking road journey but the best journey I had ever had...some breathtaking views from all green Homachal Pradesh with waterfalls etc to different colours of mountains to desert to snow...
I am little unsure on the availability of roads for these trip during these months. So, please research before going...
Dhamshala, Shimla, Kullu-Manali should be fine...
Nov 15, 2012 7:05 AM
10hey alice, i read somwhere that your budget is £1500. that means that you will depend on trains for most of your travel. in that case, covering north, south , east, west may not be possible. some of the train journeys take 24 hrs or more. this could be the most important aspect of your planning. do your research on either irctc.co.in or makemytrip.com and then decide on your itinerary. it is better to see a few great places and have a great time than rushing around trying to tick all the boxes :-) also check if leh will be accessible during that time. do come back to delhi for holi if you can, it is nothing you will ever experience anywhere else. check out this blog - http://blog.india4gapyear.com/#home. it has useful info on some of the places in India with contributions from different travellers.
Nov 15, 2012 6:43 PM
11Jodhpur - I hated it at Jodhpur too. There's only the fort to visit, from there you can see the patch of blue building. That is about it. I think 2d1n is more than sufficient.
Jaisalmer - Camel safari ranges from day trip, 2d1n to as many as 5d4n. I did a 2d1n in july, but was told that i could see more desert flora and fauna if i have opted for 3d2n or 4d3n. Alternatively, you can also do camel safari at Bikaner for a less touristy option. There is also the Kani Mata rats temple to see at Bikaner.
Also, do factor in plenty of time to travel between places because transports get delayed all the time and sometimes it's difficult to book train or bus tickets.
Nov 15, 2012 10:28 PM
12For Goa,North Goa is the party and drugs place to be,with the usual crime to go with it.Be careful up here.
South Goa,you can still find parties,but they are smaller,Palolem and Agonda are great.Must advise that Vasco is a dirty,crime infested,coal export kind of place.I have never in 10 years heard advice to go there.Just a heads up.
Nov 16, 2012 12:08 AM
13I do agree with people referring to Jaisalmer and Pushkar as tourist traps, but they're one of the nice tourist traps! ha... and especially for a group of young girls, first trip to india (which is the way I visited them) you probably won't care.
Regarding the camel safari, yeah it is a little silly and well... safari-like... but you will still love being in the desert having dinner and singing around the camp fire. But the novelty wears pretty fast, I wouldn't do it again and I wouldn't have enjoyed more than an overnight thing. My group visited a couple of villages on the way which was fun. I bought a bunch of hair clip things and gave them out to the girls, which they loved. They'll be eyeing off your jewelery and other goods though, so keep an eye out.
Otherwise I'd highly recommend doing a horse trip ride (if you do ride) outside Udaipur. The hotel I stayed at Hotel Kumbha Palace is great value (I think I had a triple room for 500 INR) and really nice family place run by a dutch lady and her husband. They run Krishna Ranch and offer rides in the country just outside the city which was really pretty. Southern Rajasthan is so beautiful!
Also not far from Udaipur, Kumbulgahr fort is worth a visit for a night or two (not sure how affordable the accommodation is). It's really quiet, but the countryside is worth exploring.
Bundi may be a good replacement to Pushkar as it is a lot closer to the west coast if you end up flying out of Mumbai, and also just worth a visit in its own right...
Nov 17, 2012 3:40 PM
I've reworked the itinerary, cut quite a few places out on your advise so we get to spend longer at those places we do visit.
I've mainly left out the south-east (Chennai, Pondicherry, Hyderabad, Maduria) and Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Was that a good decision?
So here is the new itinerary if any wants to comment? ... (i've looked up all the transport and can get trains/buses between all of them and we are getting one flight from Kolkata to Mumbai)
DELHI 2 days
AMRITSAR 4 days
DHARAMSALA/McLOUD GANJ 6 days
MANALI 4 days
SHIMLA 5 days
back to DELHI 1 day
UDAIPUR 4 days
PUSHKAR 3 days
JAIPUR 3 days
AGRA 1 day
VARANASI 6 days
KOLKATA 5 days
MUMBAI 4 days (here for Holi - is this a good place to spend it?)
GOA (9 days - don't know specific places yet)
back to MUMBAI to get flight.
How does that sound? better?!
Thanks so much!
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