India with a tourist

Discussion in 'Asia' started by aanswer, Aug 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. aanswer

    aanswer Silver Member

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    I was born in India, but have never lived there. Just family vacations, weddings, etc. This year, I'm traveling with a friend who has never been to India for 2 weeks to India in October (Oct 1 to 15). We don't have anything specific planned, except the following:

    October 7th to October 10th: Wedding.
    October 11th to October 14th: Goa

    So -- we have October 1st to October 6th to roam around the country. Here's what I had in mind:

    October 1st: Land in Mumbai, explore Mumbai for 2 days.
    October 3rd: Fly to Jaipur and explore the area for 2 days.
    October 6th: Day trip to Agra and then drive down to Delhi.

    Is there a way to better way to make use of the time? I'd like to make sure we cover the touch-points -- tourist attractions, culture, etc.

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Sounds like you have it covered, however I'm not sure 1 day is enough time for Delhi AND Agra. Sometimes it takes that long to drive between the two. That said, I've done a day trip to the Taj Mahal from Delhi before (RT) but it was a VERY long day. Obviously the Taj Mahal is the must-see of the area, but nearby Fataphur Sikri (spelling?) is also worth a visit.
     
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  3. aanswer

    aanswer Silver Member

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    We're definitely not covering Agra and Delhi in the same day. My hope is that we can drive from Jaipur to Agra in the early AM, view the Taj Mahal and then drive to Delhi. We have some time scheduled in Delhi to take a look at local surroundings.

    And thanks for all your India planning help (this and AA miles) :)
     
  4. Fredd
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    Fredd Gold Member

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    We're planning our first trip to India in January. We know the hazards of trying to cover too much ground in too little time but we still want to see different parts of the country. We're arriving / departing DEL.

    Our party will total four or five. We realize the fifth person (adult niece of the other two family members) may complicate issues somewhat for private cars and drivers. We don't intend to drive ourselves at all.

    Between recommendations of others and our own research so far we've come up with this possible itinerary:

    The morning after our arrival we tour Jaipur and Agra for three days before overnighting in DEL.

    We fly to Bangalore and spend two full days (comments on this vs. Mumbai are welcomed.)

    We fly to Goa and spend two full days.

    We fly back to Delhi and spend two full days before flying home.

    I welcome suggestions. :)
     
  5. chris550

    chris550 New Member

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  6. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    When you say driving, will it be you driving or will you have a professional driver/taxi?

    Driving from Jaipur, seeing Agra all day, then driving to Delhi possibly after dark can all add up to a lot of hecticness. I would suggest spending the night in Agra and driving to Delhi the next morning.

    Frankly, Mumbai and Delhi are just big mostly-boring cities. There is nothing to explore in Mumbai for a normal person. :) I would cut down the time there and see if I could include Khajuraho somehow. You can get flights to/from Delhi as well as Mumbai. This will be a unique experience. You can do it in 1 day and, as in Agra, I would suggest spending the night there.

    BTW Khajuraho is famous for 1000 year old temple complexes with explicit erotic sculptures. I don't know what kind of friend are you traveling with and if such a trip would be mutually comfortable. (The temples survived the Islamic period only because they were taken over and covered by the forest, only to rediscovered during the British period.)
     
  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I absolutely would not try to do Agra and Delhi in the same day, especially if you are driving in to Agra that morning.
     
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  8. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    It is a pretty old thread :)
     
  9. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Oops! Nevertheless, anyone going to India today should still not try to leave Jaipur, see Agra, and drive to Delhi all on the same day. Indian transportation has not improved that much since this thread was started. :)
     
  10. paladinua

    paladinua Silver Member

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    @Seth -- do you think Delhi to Agra and back is do-able, or do you recommend an overnight in Agra?
     
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  11. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Speaking not for Seth but just myself, the answer is: Both!

    Delhi to Agra and back on the same day is certainly do-able, especially if you limit your Agra experience to the Taj Mahal in the middle of the day.

    OTOH there is more in Agra and around. Depending on the season, one might not want to experience the burning stones of the Taj complex at high noon. :) In fact, even if the temperatures are kind, some people swear by the experience of viewing the Taj Mahal in moonlight. Plus, night driving is never a good idea in India.

    So, if you can manage it, an overnight stop in Agra is recommended. Besides, unless you have an important midnight event to attend, :) what is so attractive about rushing to Delhi just to sleep there?
     
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  12. paladinua

    paladinua Silver Member

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    Thanks Aktchi -- I don't think its so much an attraction of rushing back to Delhi just to sleep there, so much as we're going to be taking a quick trip (about 72 hours), and some of the hotels I looked at were on the pricier side without the ability to use points (I don't have Club Carlson points, in fact, I don't think I've ever darkened a Radisson's door).

    That said, I may have to revisit the strategy, and make it an overnight, given your comment of viewing the Taj Mahal in moonlight... we're going all the way there, might as well truly experience it.
     
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  13. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    Many people prefer to see Taj at sunrise, and some want to view from the other side of the river. Taj is closed on Fridays. The entrance ticket to Taj also allows you entrance to the Red Fort the same day. You might find a starwood property in Agra, but definitely Radisson Blu is in Agra.
     
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  14. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I agree with Aktchi. It can be done but I wouldn't unless no other options existed.

    We took the train from Delhi to Agra early on Friday morning, saw "everything else" in and around town on Friday, spent the night and saw Taj at sunrise Saturday morning. Then we drove back to Delhi Saturday afternoon.

    Regarding hotels, get away from properties affiliated with a western chain and your options increase dramatically.
     
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  15. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    The Taj in the moonlight used to be a legendary experience for generations. I am speaking from old childhood memories when we used to live in an adjacent city.

    In this day and age, when everything is affected by real or threatened terrorism, the procedures have become appropriately complex. Do some googling and see if it would work for you. If so, you'd obviously want to choose the full moon night. If not, I am sure that early morning experience is nice enough (although this too needs an overnight the night before, like Seth did.)

    Basically, you just want to avoid a time when it is raining or the sun is very hot. :)

    I understand that the accommodations may be overpriced. Agra is a dumpy city, but the Taj is so famous that they can get away with overcharging. Indian web sites like MakeMyTrip or Expedia.co.in may have better prices.
     
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  16. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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  17. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    We didn't do the Taj by moonlight, just sunrise.
     
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  18. paladinua

    paladinua Silver Member

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    Thanks all -- have some serious googling to do on the logistics, but leaning toward heading to Agra upon arrival (planning to fly into DEL), stay the night in Agra, then up to Delhi for the second and third nights (then home).

    Aktchi - thanks on the accommodations recommendation, I haven't used "MakeMyTrip" before.
     
  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Unless you land during the day at DEL (most from US/EU arrive at night) I'd wait until daylight before heading onward.

    We arrived ~9pm at DEL and spent 2 nights in Delhi. The first was just acclimation/sleeping off the flight. Then we did a full day tour of Delhi hitting 5 major sites. Slept again and then the following morning were on the 6am train to Agra. Full day in Agra seeing stuff other than the Taj, one night in Agra, Taj at sunrise and then back to Delhi by ~2-3pm in a car.
     
  20. paladinua

    paladinua Silver Member

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    We're looking at connecting via LHR, arriving at 6:20am. We'll miss the train unfortunately but wondering if heading out via car (looks like the Yamuna Expressway cuts the drive to 2-2.5 hours) the day we arrive, then back the following day, and exploring Delhi.

    Essentially I'm toying between two options:

    Day 1 - Arrive, hire a car to Agra
    Day 2 - Taj in the morning, car back to Delhi afternoon, evening around Delhi
    Day 3 - Delhi
    Day 4 - Early flight out

    Or:

    Day 1 - Arrive, explore Delhi
    Day 2 - Depart for Agra on 06:15 Express train
    Day 3 - Taj (to finish off), return to Delhi
    Day 4 - Early flight out

    Both options seem crazy, but, which seems less?
     
  21. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    How functional do you expect to be coming in off the redeye flight? I'd be pretty annoyed to get off the plane and get right in to a car, I think.
     
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  22. paladinua

    paladinua Silver Member

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    Fair -- I suppose it depends if I get the upgrade or not! Looking at plan b - arrive, then head to Agra first thing Day 2 (first full day). The plans are gelling, just not solidifying yet (still a month out, hah!)
     
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  23. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    How was the trip ?
     
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  24. paladinua

    paladinua Silver Member

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    It was great! 74 hours on the ground, got to do a "driving tour (not me driving!)" of Delhi, including Old and New on day one (we got the upgrade so arrived well rested). Took the train to Agra on day two, and got to see the Taj at sunset -- words can't really do it justice. I'm working on a trip report but probably will be a bit.

    Thanks for asking by the way!
     
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  25. LAM

    LAM Silver Member

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    There is nothing like the Taj at sunset. My favorite picture I took while in India is of the Taj at sunset from across the river. The light was exquisite. The blown up photo sits in a frame in my living room to remind me of that trip.
     
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