We have a rough plan to go by train from Delhi to Kochi in 6-7 weeks starting mid-september. We were planning on: Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Jaisalmer-Varanasi- (maybe Kolkata or Darjeeling-) Mumbai-Goa-Bangalore-Mysore-Kochi. And, of course, wherever we happen to stop along the way.
Are we trying to do too much? Will we be rushing to get through it all?
Any advice at all for planning an itinerary in India?
Ta very much!
Dehli - 2 days
Agra - 2 days (including Fatephur Sikri
Jaipur - 1 day
Jaisalmer - 5 days
Varanasi - 4 days
Darjeeling - 4 days
Calcutta - 3 days
Mumbai - 3 days
Goa - 10 days
Bangalore - 1 day
Mysore - 2 days
Kochi - 3 days
That's about 40 days taken care of, with another 12 days for travelling and random stops you may not have planned, and it would take you to 7 weeks. So, yup, looks like a good trip. Two towns that you are missing out on - Hampi (the highlight of the south) and Udaipur (the most beautiful town in Rajasthan). However, you may find that sitting in the monsoonal rains is not your idea of a tropical Goan vacation and this part of your trip might be cut down a bit, leaving you more time to add these two places, or spend more time on the places you've picked. Though the odd person does have glowing reports about Bangalore, most tourists use it as nothing more than a transit point. If you decide to cut something out, I would say make it Calcutta and Darjeeling - not only because it's out of the way, adding alot of travel time, but also because in the two weeks of Oct that I spent up there, I had a 20 minute glimpse of the mountains amid the grey clouds of the monsoon.
So other than that, the only advice I will add is to be flexible. India takes time, not only physically and transportion wise, but also mentally. While you may enjoy travelling around quickly from site to site, you may also find yourself exausted and overwhelmed by the place and wanting to take things real slow. So be flexible in your itinerary, and leave several day free for whatever might come your way. Itinerary are good, because you want to have an idea of where you are going, but they need to be very changable for India.
Degolasse has posted a nice itenary for you and i agree with most of it. Also if you are coming down near Kolkata then you can contact me if you need any help with sightseeing or just want to meet over coffee/tea.
rajatkothary at gmail dot com
Yes, that is a very manageable itinerary. I've done this in around 7 weeks but crammed in a bit more. The only thing I would suggest is to go to Varanasi from Agra then to Jaipur from Varanasi - it just makes more logistical sense.
Theres very little left for me to add!!!
Depending on what you want to see culture/architecture each city holds a lot....so try to list out what u wanna see in each city
Udaipur in Rajasthan is an oasis if you headding there do see the jain temples n try to spend 1 night in the ranakpur forest.
How do u plan to travel between these cities? Hire a car/taxi trains ??
Indian railways has a website so you can book online if u wanna!
Be prepared for a cultural shock!!
To avoid a dodgy belly avoid ice (as it may not be made from bottled water)
In cities like delhi to avoid being ripped off by taxi drivers most busy parts hav prepaid taxi booths run by the police
just to add that in place of Darjeeling, you can visit Gangtok or Pelling in Sikkhim which is near Darjeling for more fantastic views of Mt Kanchenjunga...you might be unlucky if clouds are always there...i got fantastic view once in two visits..
Heres the link to the Indian railways site :- http://www.indianrail.gov.in/
While in cities, always try to take taxis from pre-paid booths and avoid people who crowd around you offering to help. Go for Travel Help desks in airports and railway stations should you need any.
Thanks for giving such detailed answers. We'll take your advice and add Hampi and Udaipur, and leave off Darjeeling and Kolkata. (and then from what I hear, change all our carefully laid plans within hours of arriving anyway ) Sounds like Darjeeling's better at another time of year.
As for what we want to see: EVERYTHING!! Architecture, culture, religion, festivals, markets, tigers, holy rats, houseboats, north, south, ...food!! As you can see, I'm getting a bit overexcited.
Especially interested in bumping into some Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, getting some cooking lessons, and sampling every dish that's unfortunate enough to cross my path! Any tips? (Yes, I solemnly swear I will only eat piping hot food from busy places!)
My best advice for food is to head to local busy spots and ask for a Thali. A Thali is a big ass plate that will have some rice, chapati, dal, a couple different curry or vegetable dishes and sometimes some yougurt. It's sometimes all-you-can-eat, different every single time you order it, and the cheapest meal you could ever buy. Its an excellent way to try many different dishes and never have to decide what you want. It's also usually safe because it's the restaurant's daily special with a high turnover. You can also usually order off the menu where you will find and unlimited amount of fantastic dishes. My favorites were Butter Paneer and Malai Kofta.
I believe Degolasse has answered hellomaya's queriers most effectively. I am really amazed at the way Dego has described the Indian thali. Describing with such intricate details clearly tells that Dego has seen, explored and followed india to the core. Hats off to Dego.
thanks Arif. Indian food was definitly one of the highlights of the country,.