I am a bit lost about India. So huge, so fantastic, so many places to see, yet I have such limited resources (in time, mostly).
My wife and I are planning a trip to north India this September. So I was looking for some advices on where to go/what to do (and of course if what we are planning to do is feasible or not!).
So, the facts:
- arrival date (estimated): around Sept 1st.
- planned stay: 3 weeks, maybe 3.5 weeks.
- planned trip: we thought of flying to Mumbai, then going through Delhi and ending in Kalkotta (from there we are flying to Beijing).
The big questions then start to arise... will we be able to cover this distance in 3.5 weeks (and get a grasp of India, of course)? If so, what places are a must? Any special tips & tricks, advices, etc?
Thanks a lot in advance...
First of all welcome to India , the country of colors and festivals.
As you visiting in Sep the weather will be great in most part of the country. 3Weeks looks like a decent time span to visit places.
You can make a plan like below ( assuming u will be taking flights mostly ) -
1. Mumbai ( 2 days , visit Gateway of India , CST station world heritage site )
2. Close to Mumbai u can visit "Ajanta & Ellora Caves another world heritage site ( Max 2 day trip )
3. Move to Gujrat here u can plan Gir national park - Asiatic Lions , Rajkot Fort , ( 2 Days visit )
4. From Gujrat - Move to Rajasthan
Udaipur - City of Lakes and forts and beautiful Jain temples. ( 2 Days )
Chittorgarh - Great fort - http://www.chittorgarh.com/ ( 1 day )
Jaisalmer - Called as the Golden City ---- Beautiful desert with huge fort. ( 2-3 Days )
Jodhpur ---- City on the way to Capital City jaipur --- Again nice huge fort ( 1 Day )
Jaipur ---- Capital of State Rajasthan ---- City with great forts and also if u like can do Hot air Balloon rides. ( 2 Days )
5. From here u can go to Punjab - Amritsar where u can see the Golden Temple. ( 2 Days )
6. Way back Visit Taj Mahal in Agra. ( 2 Days )
7. New Delhi - India Capital ---- visit Red Fort, Kutub Minar and other places.
8. U can then taken a flght back to Kolkata.
I am sure other people will have more stuff to add.
Enjoy the max
India is perhaps the only nation that has a checkered yet glorious history. The varied cultures woven into oneness present an awesome canvass of ages that have witnessed the rise and fall of mighty empires, each leaving its permanent mark on it. World fame Ajanta and Ellora are the two ancient sites that need no reference. They vividly indicate the highly developed state of art and culture that remains unsurpassed by the modern civilization. Be it, the Taj Mahal, or the beautiful forts and castles of Rajputs and Mughals, you will get the flavor of everything only here, in India.
There is so many historical places but, I suggest you Udaipur, which is the Venice of the East, is integral to Rajasthan, a state with a rich cultural heritage of palaces, lakes, traditional arts and crafts, and distinctive architecture that are major attractions. Here, adorning the banks of Lake Pichola and standing witness to the historic City Palace, The Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur captures all the romance and splendour of a royal era.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
thanks for the tips, very interesting!
One question that remains, though, is whether it is possible (in terms of the time I have) to go by train from Delhi to Kalkotta. The only (main) reason for doing this complete west-east trail is that our flight leaves from Kalkotta, so I thought that there were "must-sees" between Delhi and there (I am positive there are, but I haven't seen any reference to it so far).
It all comes into making a decision and choosing between two options:
1) focusing more on the north-west, making Agra the easternmost place we visit (and then change our flight, of course), thus spending our whole time there; or
2) spending a decent amount of time there but take a train heading Kalkotta, stopping on the way and then taking a glimpse of the north-east.
Fellow travelers... what do you think?
There are very good high speed trains between Delhi and Kolkata and the distance can be covered in overnight time. However if u want to stop in between, Varanasi would be the most appropriate stop as it is one of the holiest cities of India. If u r interest in visiting some Buddhist site then, of course u could also consider Sarnath, Bodh Gaya, etc. All these places have good onward connections to Kolkata.
U said u also want to have a glimpse of the 'North East', which will not be feasible considering ur time frame. The area East of Kolkata is generally referred to as the "North East".
thanks for the info, and thanks for the clarification of the "North East" concept. Due to my ignorance (sorry for that ) what I was referring to was the area close to Kolkata.
Varanasi does look interesting. I am aware that because of the little time I have it is impossible to see a big area of India -and I am not planning to, since I want to come back!. It all came in the end to the question of a "pearl" that I would need to see east of Agra (and that would justify leaving from Kalkota). And by what it seems, Varanasi is that very interesting spot. I am not a religious person myself, so no motivation on a personal "religious" side, but what I am interested in is the cultural consequences (the way people live, eat, behave, etc) of religion.
I am getting a better image now on what to see.
Is Kolkata itself an interesting place (as to plan some days to see)?
You can see quite a lot of North India in 3 weeksn, but you have got to pick the places you really want to see and leave out the rest as you just wont get the chance to see everything. I have been to India many times and the 1st time I went I didn't actually realise how big India was. The travelling time between each place is really long and you don't want to spend your whole trip being tired and travelling all the time all because you have tried to pack too much in 3 weeks. Its better off to take it a little bit slower.
I would suggest something along the lines of:
Fly into Delhi (not Mumbai as it is just too far to travel from Mumbai to Kolkata in 3-3.5 weeks!!! Trust me, I have done this trip. Indian trains and buses are constantly delayed, cancelled and generally unreliable so not only do you have to leave time to actually travel that large distance you have to leave yourself extra time just in case)
Then to the Golden Triangle
(Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) -
(Delhi - a couple of days, Agra, 1/2 days to see the Taj then go as apart from the Taj its not really nice, Japiur - a couple of days)
Then I would go to Pushkar for a few days as this is already quite a bit of travelling and I would definately leave a few days aside for Pushkar as everyone I have ever met has fallen in love with the place.
I would also suggest Galta - Bharatpur - Fatehpur Sikri as they can all be visited in the space of one day, pref on the way back to Agra.
From Agra I would suggest getting the train to Varanasi, this is one of the top places to go in India and when you are there you will see just why!
From varanasi you should start making your way back to Kolkata to get your flight, leaving you time to stop off before or after for a few days in another location.
Hope this helps