Leaving in Jan 2012
Start at Calcutta (this is not optional to change as we are ending an organized trip here)
Overland to Vernasi (any suggestions)
Overland to Khajuraho Temple (suggestions on where to stay and transit to/from)
Overland to Agra
Overland to Jaipur
Overland to New Delhi
Possible trip to Rishikesh (start of Ganges River)
Possible trip to Manikaran (the hot springs)
Probable return flight to US from New Delhi
Please feel free pick this apart and let me know your thoughts and any ideas on other places that are close and of interest, transit options, hotels/food, or alternate routes. We are also willing/able to take short internal flights if more feasable.
Thanks for any/all assistance!!
If u like skiing/snow boarding then u can add Kashmir in your itenary as u can find best slopes there...
How much time do you have? I enjoyed all the places you mention, though I didn't visit Manikaran. In addition, I would suggest you visit Bodh Gaya in between Calcutta and Varanasi - Bodh Gaya is where the Buddha reached enlightenment and contains a great variety of Buddhist temples. En route from Varanasi to Khajuraho, you could try Bandhavgarh National Park for tigers, then visit the palaces in Orchha before heading on to Agra.
I did something similar to this route in reverse in late 2005 and the sticking points transport-wise were the leg between Bandhavgarh and Khajuraho (6 hours in a taxi - there was no other decent way), and again I had to get a taxi between Bandhavgarh and the train station at Umaria. All other legs were done via bus or train or autorickshaw. It's possible that the transport options have improved in the last 5.5 years.
To clarify - my comment about the transport options possibly having improved is solely in relation to the 2 legs I had to do via taxi. The railway system in India is excellent and great value for money. I wasn't so keen on the buses but the rail network is so extensive that you may not need much bus action.
The destinations you have chosen are wonderful and magnificent.. Jaipur, Agra, Pushkar, Udaipur, Ranthambore, Haridwar, Shimla, Manali, Kullu are few surrounding destinations which are also worth visiting… well your trip sounds really exciting -snip-
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Thanks for all the info! I dont get online here often but really appreciate and will use any/all suggestions. We are planning for 4 weeks for this leg of the trip but can possibly extend to 5 weeks....still working out the details.