I am staying in India for 9 weeks in Patiala, Punjab, and then will have 2 - 2.5 weeks to travel around with a friend. I am arriving in Patiala in early february and will stay there until early april. I will be doing my backpacking during april, and my backpacking will start and end in Delhi. I have a few questions for those familiar with india:
1 - how cold is it in patilia (punjab) in early february? I am from canada so its not a big issue, i just want to minimize the amount of bulky winter clothes to bring
2 - from what i understand, the worst thing to do is rush your first trip in india. so, due to my limited time constraints, what do you suggest? Obviously I want to see as much as possible, but I don't want to be over ambitious and ruin my trip either. I prefer to see small towns and the natural beauty to the cities, but I want to see culture too. Any suggested 2 - 2.5 wk itineraries?
3 - originally, i had been thinking about seeing himachal pradesh and ladakh, but i hear Leh may be closed due to snow. Can anyone give me advice on this? Is Ladakh/Himachal recommended in april? What are the temperatures like, what clothes would I need?
4 - should I bring toilet paper?
5 - i am fairly young (19), what can i do to protect myself from touts and whatever india throws at me? i have been to china and it wouldn't be the first time i've encountered this stuff, but any past experiences suggestions would go a long way
6 - any specific advice on avoiding illness?
7 - for the locks on sleeper trains: i understand you lock your back to something, is there anything preventing people from rummaging through your stuff? what size lock should i bring?
Thanks a lot guys. I realize that I have a lot of questions and if you can answer any of them it would be awesome.
i dont know much about punjab... but i think travelling in India in April could be unpleasant, cos of the heat...technically april is just the start of summer, but that itself would be blazing , especially in places like delhi.
Since u are here from feb, maybe u shd try and travel around feb itself....
Not sure about Leh... but a trip to himachals, and probably a trek is a must do!!!!! and its one of the best places to go in April...
Locks.... u can purchase them when u are on a train itself, and it is certainly less expensive to buy them here.... the lock and chain come together.... toprevent people from rummaging thru ur stuff ( which people dont do , unless they are thieves ) lock ur zipps together....
toilet paper isnt an issue in big cities... not sure wht kind of place patiala is...
have fun... if u have any more qns..shoot
How about Delhi - Agra (1 day to see the Taj, Agra Fort), then an overnight train to Varanasi, a day or 2 there, and then Darjeeling and onto Sikkim for some trekking. There is a large Tibetan/Nepalese community around here so it feels very different from the rest of India and is much quieter and hassle free. You can then fly back to Delhi from Bagdora. The scenery in this part of the world is fantastic and trekking in the mountains along the Nepalese border. April is a good time to be in this area from what i've heard and read.
thanks a lot for the input, guys, it goes a long way.
any suggestions on how to charge a digital camera in a hostel? leaving a camera plugged into the wall while you sleep is probably not the best idea. any solutions?
Ideally, it would be great if you could do your travel before your stay 9-week stint in Patiala. I don't know how much of an option that is for you. With regard to your trip to Leh/Ladakh, that actually might be a possibility in April. I'd also recommend you check out the following website: www.indiamike.com.
Hope this helps,
Thanks for the input. Unfortunately I can only travel in April, it is not at my discretion to choose. The website www.indiamike.com doesn't seem to work for me; maybe it is just my connection.
So far, my plan is as follows:
start in agra > varanasi via overnight train > lucknow via train > nainital (any suggestions on going from lucknow to nainital or anywhere in uttaranchal from uttar pradesh?) > corbett park > hardiwar, rishikesh, mussorie or dehra dun > nahan > shimlah > sarahan > delhi (via chandigarh)
This is probably too packed for an itinerary, but I mainly want to go from Varanasi to Shimlah in 2.5 weeks, and this seemed like a feasable route. Any suggestions? Right now I am thinking that I may have to skip uttar pradesh, as I plan on coming back later and it adds a lot of time and will be very hot.
Try www.indiamike.com again. Sometimes the site gets pretty clogged cos it has a lotta members on it. I just read your iterinary. I don't know you if you should necessarily stay in Agra. I mean do what you have to during the day and do the overnight trip to Varanasi. Any particular reason you picked Shimla as opposed to any other place in Himachal Pradesh? My recommendation would be going to Dharmshala in Himachal. Leh/Ladakh also seems like a good place to visit at the time of the year you plan to travel. I know it kinda messes with your iterinary a bit but is worth considering.
I don't know you if you should necessarily stay in Agra. I mean do what you have to during the day and do the overnight trip to Varanasi. Pranav
What is wrong with staying in Agra? I know its not the most attractive city (except offcourse its fantastic moghul architecture) but is that a reason for not spend a few days there?
I guess my opinion is kinda biased since during my visit there, they did not have the Taj Mahal open in the evenings. I think they only started that a year ago. For me, personally, that would be my only incentive to spend a night. I'd probably devote more time to Delhi than Agra.
I live in Delhi, so close to Patiala. Answers to your queries are as below:
a. Patiala will be pleasant in early February. May be warmer at later part of the month. You may feel hot as you are from Canada.
b. As you have less time and you will travel at the beginning of summer, my advice is to explore the Himalayas. It will be pleasant to cold, depending where you are going. You can explore Himachal Pradesh, especially, Kinnaur valley, it's beautiful. Also you can go to forest at the foothills of the mountains. Ofcourse, you can see Delhi, Agra and Jaipur in 4-5 days, though these places will be hot to very hot during April- May.
Temperature will vary, but in upper ridge, it may be around 5 degree centigrade.
Leh will be closed.
c. If you aren't habituated to use water, please carry toilet papers, you can buy in India also.
d. Please speak to government travel offices to get a fair idea, though always they are not that knowledgeable. But Himachal Pradesh state tourism department is better than others. There are touts of course, but keep your eyes open.
e.Take precaution against cold and high altitude sickness, careful of drinking water, particularly while travelling. Don't eat cut fruits etc from road side. Use mosquito repellant, can be bought in any pharmaceutical shop in India.
d. I don't foresee that you are travelling by train extensively. So, don't bother about the lock. If necessary, buy one at railway station.
Please let me know in case you need to know anything further.