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Ran out of room! After that, it’s down to the south to live it up in Kerala and spend some time relaxing on the beach. We’re looking at Trivandrum or Cochin for a few days, then heading about 3 hours away to Kumarakoam to hang out on a houseboat.
After a week in the north tromping around, it doesn’t matter too much what we do, as long as it’s relaxing.
Any suggestions you have would be much appreciated.
I did the “both North & South” thing… it’s tough on a short amount of time. Kerala is beautiful, but I enjoyed it because I was with a friend’s family. It’s also very different then the north.
If this is your first time— stay in the North, go to Aggra & Jaipur. My friends went, I saw their pictures, and I was mega jealous, ya know? It’s really gorgeous— just be careful. I found the south to be MUCH nicer than the north. Everyone tries to take avantage of your money, but the south were a lot nicer about it-hahaha.
Aggra & Jaipur seem to be a lot better for sight seeing & exploring. Kerala (Cochin in particular), and it is beautiful, but on a different level. It’s a working city, less “touristy” stuff. I mean, you can still find touristy stuff, it’s just not as spectacular as in Aggra.
Just make sure you don’t hire street cabs/taxis. Make sure you hire cars from a hotel, etc. Or take the rickshaws. I found it interesting that an Indian friend i stayed with only takes family hired cars or rickshaws— the latter due to the fact there are no doors and you can leap out at any point. Scary but true.
Good luck & have fun!
It depends on how you are travelling, if you go by slowtrain, airplane, etc.
I just read below: Delhi ? Agra ? Khaujuraho ? Varanasi. I think this is an awesome itinerary. You only need a day in Agra, maybe 2 in Delhi, 2 in Varanasi, with a super early boat ride down the Ganga river, one day in Khajuraho. Then hit ths south, go to the beach, escape winter, relax!! Things don’t always go as planned there so just try your best to get around. As for taxis, I never had a problem with any taxi, but you have to bargain hard. Try “Bahote Menga” (very expensive) then ask for a “student discount” and laugh!!
Happy & safe trails!
If you are going to Agra, you may want to go to Fatehpyr Sikri as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatehpur_Sikri – It’s a few hours drive but quite worth it.
I would choose Jaipur over Varanasi. Jaipur has beautiful places and there is more political history associated with Jaipur: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaipur
Varanasi is a holy city. The Ghats are in Varanasi are famous: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varanasi
Let me know if you have any questions.
Definitely Jaipur !!
Pack tons of shorts,my husband practically lived in them.Also hand sanitiser and loose candy to give out.Maybe also loose change like pennies since everyone asks if you have change but dont give it out freely since you may have a million people following you.Beggars will try to stick close to you,just ignore and move on.Remember most of their ailments are fake !!
Well for one a 3 hour away trip tends to take longer due to unreliable state of transport (I read somewhere that the rail minister was doing a better job now but allow for delays) and the bad state of some roads (again might have changed since I last visited).
If you had to choose between Jaipur and Varnasi. Jaipur closer to a desert type climate but I’m told they have some amazing scenery out there (you could walk away with some stunning pictures of landscape and such).
Varnasi more of a touristy type place there are tonnes of temples and stuff you can visit and some great souvenirs you can pick up there.
hope that helps
oh and in case no one’s told you if you visit a temple you need to go into it bare feet (or with socks if you don’t mind ruining them) as its a Hindu tradition to walk bare feet on holy ground.
As per my view it’s better for a outside tourist that he enjoy his time in places with most facilities & sightings!
So, Rajasthan’s the best places compare to Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) because of some bad low & order cond.
U can visit Jaipur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur(Voted as best haritage destination of this year!).
U can go to south then, starting from Goa> Kerala> Bangalore. Add some hill stations to ur list like Munnar in kerala, Ooty & Kodaikanal in Tamilnadu.
If u go this way then it’s a ‘Nirvana’ experience 4 u!
Enjoy! And ask if any doubt’s there!
as much as I hate it when people say “you should only focus on one – either north or south” its pretty true for India! but if you are dead set on it, Go to Delhi, Agra and Varnasi. I’d say spend only a few days in delhi and only 1 in Agra
- they are both crappy to tourists (shitty expensive hotels, difficult to get around for the real price, etc) and could very well leave a bad taste in your mouth. Varnasi will be crowded, hot/humid but a real sight. You could easily spend 3-5 days in Varanasi, but if you want to get more of India, head to Orccha or Khajaraho either on your way to/from Varanasi. Jaipur is ok.. but not the best in Rajasthan in my opinion. For the south, i’d say fly into Kochin and possibly out of Trivandrum if you can. Take a house boat from kochin down kerala and then head to Varkala beach (or another beach) from there. The south is beautiful, the pace is slower and not as hectic as north india.
New York City
only 1 week in each??? that will be VERY short.
There is daily flight Delhi → Agra → Khaujuraho → Varanasi
as well as car, bus, and train connections….
I would do that, 2 days in Delhi, 1 in Agra is PLEANTY, 1-2 in Khaujuraho will be stunning, 2-3 in varanasi will leave you wanting more.
YOUMUST wake up at 4:30 or 5am one day and hire a SUNRISEPRIVATEBOATTOUR on the Ganges in Varanasi, one of the best things I have done in 4 trips over 8 months spent in India… see the city wake up from a boat, amazing!!!
New York City
You will fly to Trivandrum or Cochin? soounds good, Kerala has nice weather, beauty, wonderful people, and stunning interior…
Cochin has a unique air, Trivandrum less so… Kanyakumari is great also, if you go to Trivandrum, I would see Kanyakumari (the tip) if Cochin, I would do Kerala Backwaters/houseboat stuff…
It is difficult to advise on such a choice. I might even say skip Agra and do Jaipur and Varanasi. Agra is only the Taj. However Photo Traveller has given sound advice.
If you really want help deciding, you’ll have to state the parameters on which you would evaluate such a choice. Else, both destinations have strong merits.
I was in Northern India for seventen days in 2005 with my Aikido group. We visited Dehli, Agra and Varanasi. I would pick either Dehli, or Varanasi, if I was only going to one since they are larger cities and there is more activity and more to see.
As a Buddhist I would go with Varanasi, but it really depends on how much you want to see the Ganges while you are there.
Have a great trip!
It’s been a long time since I was in India, but I would definitly go to Varanasi over Jaipur. Varanasi made a bigger impression on me, throngs of people including holy men bathing in the Ganges, the burning ghats, and winding streets and temples. Jaipur seemed like more of a city, but colorful, and good for shopping.
It really depends what kind of person you are , if you think you can handle millions of people in small area , small roads , noise bad accommodation etc. you should go to varanasi . Although above applies to all indian cities its particularly so with varanasi. But at the same time varanasi is one of the oldest cities and has many old hindu temples . If you were not turned off by what i wrote about varanasi than since you are going to Agra i would recommend that you also try too add mathura in your plans .Mathura is Krishna’s birthplace and has many historic temples . Have a nice trip , i hope you like India.
New York City
if this is your first visit to india, i would recommend Jaipur over Varanasi
and DEFINITELY go to Fatehpur Sikri if you’re going to Agra anyway… (it’s close, even on the way back to Delhi)
just don’t get taken for a fool by all the “factory tours”
Just say NO to shopping in or around Agra.
just DON’T do it.
There’s plenty of shopping in Jaipur
I’ve never been to Varanasi, but I did visit Jaipur and it was my favorite of the three cities of the golden triangle. Be sure to visit the old observatory if you go to Jaipur.
We visited both Fort Cochin and Trivandrum and liked them both. Trivandrum is great if all you want to do is laze around on the beach. I got an amazingly good massage just off of Kovalum Beach for $5 in 1998. We did a little side trip to the canals of Kerala from Fort Cochin and went to one of the dance performances there as well. We also took a harbor cruise in Fort Cochin. The food was fantastic in Fort Cochin.
Would definitely choose Jaipur over Varanasi. Jaipur with its beautiful forts is a much more interesting place to visit than Varanasi which is known mostly for its temples. So, visit Jaipur, the pink city of India.
I solidly vote for Jaipur. Also take Immodium AD and get a scrip for Cipro from your Dr. This is one country where eating in McDonald’s is a good thing, plus their spicy chicken sandwich is very good. Better sanitary standards. If you know any locals they will direct you toward places to eat that are OK. Also, drink only bottled water. Ask for Bisleri. It’s branded,like asking for a Xerox. Everyone will know you want bottled water.
One last piece of advice for westerners, learned the hard way, “When you come to India leave yourself at home.”
India is tough for westerners, but I can’t wait to go back this fall.
Leave any preconcieved ideas about india at home and be prepared to discover a side of yourself you may not have realised. Most of my time in dehli was spent in an emergency operation and recovery in vasant vihar. So my trip to Kerala never eventuated. For a great experience of the Ganges River I suggest Haridwar where the Ganges first flows from the mountains.A holy place and lots to explore and experience.From here you can go to Derahadun and up into the Hill Stations.We spent lots of time in Mussoorie.A hill station town 8500 ft up in the Himalayas. beautiful people. Breathtaking scenery and a place i regretted leaving.
Sincere thanks to you all for the fabulous responses on my question. It has been really, really helpful. Now that I’m into the detail planning, I’m beginning to understand why people keep saying, “only 2 weeks?!” :)) It’s just so vast and there is just so much to see that I’ve had to ruthlessly prioritize.
We’re going to stick to the golden triangle in the north and try and wrangle a day trip to Fatepur Sikri as well. Much as I’d like to do Varnasi and Khaujuraho as well, I think it’d be too stressful to do it all at once.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the week down south. We’ve settled on a really nice sounding villa in Varkala to recharge our batteries for the final days. Can’t wait!!
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