As much as i've looked through trip advisories it would be amazing if someone could offer some first hand experience.
I am leaving for India next week. My trip allows me to spend 28 days freely traveling India. If anyone has any advice on what cities to add to my list, or to extend stays in particular places that would be great! also if there are any recommendations on where to stay in these cities that would be very helpful as well.
Mostly i plan to travel from each city to the next by train.
New Deli ( 2days)
Varansi ( 2 days)
Orchha ( 1 day)
Jhansi ( 1day)
Gwalior ( 1 day)
Agra ( 2days)
Jaipur ( 1 day)
Ranthambhore Nat'l Park ( 1 day)
Bundi ( 1 day)
Ajmer ( 1 day)
Pushkar ( 2 days)
Jodhpur ( 1 day)
It look like I have plenty of time to go somewhere else...so are there any places that you think i should go after? inbetween?
From your list I only visited Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Pushkar and Jodhpur.
If you're going to stay just one night in each place you're going to go crazy. I agree some places are not interesting for more than 1-2 nights but places like Varanasi are fantastic for longer stays if you like the local vibe (people stay there for months.. I suggest at least few days to absorb the atmosphere). So as a general rule I suggest visiting less places if it means it will allow you to stay longer periods in the chosen places. IMHO, India is about absorption much more than about sight-seeing and you will have a much more satisfying journey if you will allow such "absorption". Instead of adding extra places, I suggest to focus on places that are interesting for a longer time like Varanasi.
Hi! Agree with above, don't rush and spend more time in Varanasi. Also consider flying to Varansi if your budget allows. I'm assuming you've checked your train connections out? because there are now trains between Orccha and Varanasi that I'm aware of. Skip Jhansi, except as a train hub, nothing there you'll not see better elsewhere. If flying is something you can factor into your budget, flying from Varanasi to Khajuraho is worth it for the temples there -- also if you're into nature/wildlife, the Panna National Park is 20 mins from Khajuraho and worth a visit. At Panna, I've stayed multiple times at Ken River Lodge. Excellent nature place, but not for people who are not comfortable in nature. Very homey and friendly, especially for single travellers.
Sarnath is worth a day trip from VAranasi, where Buddha gave his first sermon. Also try to stay on the ghats, since dawn and evening there is wonderful.
Gwalior and Orccha are lovely, but not too different from what you'll see in Agra and Rajasthan. If you go to Orccha, the MP tourism hotel, right in the fort is worth staying at, if you book the Maharaja or Maharani suites. The other rooms are nothing special.
Consider stopping at Kaleodeo park on the way to Ranthambore especially if you like birds, the migration is happening when you are visiting, and the train stops there already. Hard to see a tiger at this time of year, so maximize your safari trips if you really want to see one. It's all luck, but now the park is very lush and green, so tigers can hide much easier and don't need to cool off in water as much as in the summer months. Khem Vilas is where I've stayed in Ranthambore, but it is expensive.
In Jaipur would recommend Jas Vilas, good value and excellent food. Also, if you change your plans and spend more time in Rajasthan, Udaipur is a great spot (Tiger Hotel is good value) and allows access to visit Chittorgarh, Ranakpur, and Kumbalgarh forts and temples. Also, visiting Jaisalmer, camping in the desert and riding a camel is always fun. Don't stay in the city though -- tourism, especially hotels within the city are destroying it. Have travelled extensively in India, and lately in Rajasthan, so if you wanted more info on an alternate routing, let me know and I'll cobble together a rough itin.
Have fun! India is fabulous! I'm heading to Nimaj near Jodphur later today, so won't be checking emails till Friday.
good to know that you have chosen India for almost a month long travel,because thats the minimum time required to explore a fraction of India.
However,since I am staying in delhi,and have stayed in varanasi for more than a year,I would restrict myself within these two places in terms of giving you some inputs.
Delhi:-frankly speaking two days aren't really enough to see Delhi.!! ( I have a feeling that ,you will extend your stay here).more over, it would have been great if I could get some insight on whats your idea of sight-seeing,shopping,exploring.you can send me a post reply .and send few inputs on the same so that I can provide some precise info to you.
anyway,for places to stay in Delhi,there are lot of options available, depending on your budget.There are five star hotels to Bed and breakfast with five star amenities to budget guest houses.In my opinion,BnB is a great option to have a comfortable yet luxurious ,safe and peaceful homely stay. The BnB's in delhi are famous for their hospitality and urge to go some extra miles in taking care of their guests...the reason is very simple,good reviews from guests mean good business for them !!!!
for your convenience I am sending you few links
www.vylodging.com (I know the owners personally,so added their link).
Varanasi:-hmm...now thats quiet a place I tell you !! and to know this city and to have a great stay,you have to be a bit relaxed yet cautious.everybody has their own reason to visit Varanasi ,from spirituality to pleasure,from shopping to leisure to exploration.
to stay in Varanasi, there are some fabulous and within budget hotels. and most importantly they are not aliens to visitors outside India.
you can also check,http://clarkshotels.com/,
www.hoteltemple.com/ (near river Ganges),
Varanasi is a beautiful place.the flavor of the city is "simplicity in complexity".people are helpful, fun loving,with a laid back attitude.there are lot of places to visit in Varanasi (popularly know as Banaras), one of them is "Sarnath".the best part is that,there is no hassles of street vendors or their commission agent inside Sarnath premises.then there is Viswanath temple,Ganga aarti,etc etc,
If you intend to stay near river side or near Viswanath temple Gadolia,be alert, as there would be a lot of street-shops and their commissioned agents as well as from hotels,art /craft gallery etc.their first and foremost concern is either to sell goods or may be get hotel booked by you to get their commission. A polite but firm "NO" would keep them at bay,but remember its always good to avoid any kind of heated arguments or confrontation with localites...be it India be it any other country.
To save time,money and energy you can opt for online travel booking.for delhi and Varanasi, you can contact me,I would be more than happy to help.([b]no dont frown,I am not a travel agent,nor I belong to any hotels or anything ).am just a traveler,who's here just for the travelers.
I hope the information are helpful to you.If you feel like contacting me you can send me a post reply.
Thank you everyone for you wonderful advice!!!
I am currently sitting and trying to re- outline my travels. I am very excited and at the same time a little nervous that I am planning to do too many things.
I have a question for anyone that has backpacked. when you are changing cities do you generally carry your bag with you the whole day until you find your hotel. Or do you come to that city find your hotel and then ask them to hold your bag until that evening.?!
Thank you again for all the wonderful advice!!
if the bag is not too heavy ,then carry it with you..;-)
jokes apart,since you intend to travel by train, there is an option of locker rooms in every railway station with a very nominal fees.you can opt for that to keep your bag but dont forget to take the locker room receipt.and after some nerve sensing of the particular city you are in at that time, you can think and decide of checking into a hotel.
If you care for a Indian meal with a Indian. joint family ie p
parents sons daughter in law grand child all complimentry pl do
Atithi devo bhav
I can see you have got already lots of suggestions.
Let me add my bit.
From the list of cities you have planned to visit , I would have deleted Jhansi,Gwalior and Orchha for sure. And Varanasi is quite far off from Delhi unless you are too keen to see the Hindu temples , ghats etc.
There is a nice hotel Arya Nivas in Jaipur , if you try , you may still find a room. Lots of foreigners on a budget tour love that place . Otherwise Jaipur is crowded, dirty and the tourist places are not well maintained.
Udaipur and Mount Abu are definitely worth going. Ajmer is again a very crowded city.
You can take a detour to the hills and visit Rishikesh , Lansdown - both are beautiful , amazing and very peaceful. The scenaries are worth a visit.
Take a hotel near Taj in Agra , if you go early in the morning around 6 to 6-30 am you will be able to see Taj in a more relaxed way before the crowd starts coming in .
What else. You can stop at Bharatpur on your way from Fatehpur Sikri to Jaipur
You can do all train bookings on line at irctc.com , that is the website of Indian railways.
And please check incedibleindia.org for loads of travel related info on India.
All the Best
Please do not use locker rooms in station. Firstly they open and close at odd times . If you are travelling in cities for short time , carry your luggage or check in a hotel first and keep luggage in hotel before you go out sightseeing.
Basically you may do one trip from Delhi up north Rishikesh etc , east Varanasi or down to Khajuraho etc. Then the other one will be Agra , Jaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar , Udaipur, Mt. Abu, Jodhpur , back to Delhi .
I am assuming you will stay in each city at least for a night and will need hotel accommodation.