India (and Nepal) Itinerary

07.March 2009

Itinerary

map_of_indiaIndia is a place that has facinated me for many years. I am, at the same time, excited to finally be going, and terrified of what it holds and how I will react.

Ten weeks is not very long to spend – we have friends that spent 6 months in India alone! So we have limited ourselves to the north for this trip.

A few weeks ago we went to see a talk about trekking in Nepal put on by a local, Vancouver Island fellow. Since seeing that, and reading more about our friends time in Northern India and Nepal, we have pretty much decided to add another two weeks to our time here in order to see a little of Nepal also.

For this itinerary, I’ve dispensed with the route planning and moved more toward creating a list of places that we would like to see. Primarily because it’s difficult to know what the best route might be – although I think we’ll start at the northernmost part simply so that as we move south we can ditch the cold weather gear that we’ll have toted since the beginning – this should be the start of the warm weather!

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So, here are the places we’d like to visit, in no particular order. If anyone has any suggestions as far as the best route through these, please feel free to comment.

  1. New Delhi – as in any city, there will be plenty to see and do here.
  2. Agra – home of the Taj Mahal, need I say more?
  3. Jaipur – the ‘Pink City’. Known for textiles, jewellery, gems and precious metals.  It’ll be hard to keep with the ‘no shopping’ edict here.
  4. Jodhpur – the ‘Blue City’ and home of the Meherangarh Fort.
  5. Varanasi – India’s holiest city and the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus. Here, the  sins are washed away and the dead attain salvation and freedom.
  6. Amristar – home of the Golden Temple and close to Wagha (where the Indian/Pakistani border closing ceremony is held).
  7. Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj – home of the Dalai Lama and breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
  8. Shimla – India’s largest hill station and home to the Jakhu, or ‘monkey’ temple.
  9. Jaisalmer – a desert town straight out of ‘Arabian Nights’. Here we hope to take part in a camel trek.
  10. Pushkar – the lake here draws pilgrims in Oct/Nov for soul cleansing. Along side, the annual camel fair and markets draw thousands…camels as far as the eye can see!!
  11. Ranthanbore National Park – a chance to see tigers perhaps?
  12. Kathmandu – the capital of Nepal, this is a recent addition to our itinerary. We will come here to see the Himalayas and move on to Pokura where we hope to take in a 5 or 6 day trek.
  13. Udaipur – the ‘White City’. People flock here for a relaxing, lakeside retreat. Pretty and calm – sounds like an oasis.

It doesn’t matter where we go in India, I’m sure that we will be overwhelmed, challenged and exhausted. I’m also sure that we will be equally stunned, dazzled and amazed.

Regardless, I will have realized my dream of one day visiting the world’s largest democracy and seeing it in all it’s glorious action.

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11 Responses to “India (and Nepal) Itinerary”

  1. Taylor Davidson Says:

    Great choices: last winter (07/08) I went to all those places except 5, 8, 11, 12 (unfortunately didn’t go to Nepal).

    I loved Udaipur, Mcleodganj and Jaisalmer, but then my reasons may not apply to you :)

    Trains are pretty easy between all of those places; beware about flying through Delhi in the winter (frequent massive weather delays). Dharamsala is an overnight bus ride from Delhi (and I ended up making a friend on that trip); Amritsar is a simple train ride from Delhi (and make the side trip to Wagha and the border festivities, it’s worth it); the trains through Rajasthan are easy and also linked by buses, pretty easy travel to work out on the day / a day in advance. Remember there is no need to schedule everything out days in advance, everything works out…

    You might like my further thoughts on traveling in India, my interview with Erica.

    You might be interested in talking to Anil about his recent trip to India…

  2. Glenda Says:

    Karl can give you advice about India when we get together… he would also recommend Goa… just for the colour of the sand on the beach.

  3. Anil Says:

    Taylor gave me some helpful suggestions before my first trip to Delhi last year, I recommend his suggestions!

    I’ve been to the north and south of India and I can say that it is one of the most culturally dense places I’ve ever been. There is something interesting on literally every street.

    India can be a bit overwhelming since it’s so crowded, different, and active – but don’t be intimidated! I find that Indian history has made Indians a very adaptable people and will embrace you if you do the same. Ask around, research, etc. and jump right in!

    I’ve written a number of things on India: http://tinyurl.com/8st3sz or if you have specific questions feel free to send me an email and I’ll help as best I can.

    The same goes for Turkey and Germany, two places I’m *very* familiar with.

    Have fun in India, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

  4. Damien Says:

    Thanks for this post, Gillian. We haven’t started planning our India visit yet, so your post is a great starting point for our research and planning. I would like to visit Nepal too but Kara is not as keen. Don’t know if we will make it there, but I think it would be cool. Don’t know if you have your India visas yet, but it was a pretty easy process that we got done while we were still in California. I imagine the process is pretty similar in Canada. Good luck!

  5. Dawn Says:

    Just a note about the visa….I don’t know where India falls on your itinerary, but, the visa is good from 6 months from date of issue, not the day you get there. So depending on where it falls in your itinerary, you may need to get it abroad. This may take up to a week for a non-national, and not counting Indian holidays, which they will be closed for. So just some food for thought. We tried to get ours in Bangkok, but there was Ghandi’s birthday-closed! Ended up getting it in Kuala Lumpur, but it took over a week. The people in India are wonderful, you will enjoy. Have some chai! :)

  6. Trotter Says:

    Ten weeks! I wish I had ten weeks off during the next three years… ;)
    Hope you have a great experience!
    Blogtrotter

  7. Beau Says:

    Have you looked at any of the tour companies in Nepal for your trek? We’ve been starting to look for some to use when we’re there Octoberish. Just wondering if you’ve heard anything. Also, we met a couple in our travels from London. They said that taking a little plane ride around Everest out of Kathmandu is a must. I can only imagine what kind of photos that would produce! I noticed a comment about Visas. Meggan and I just received our visas which are multi entry good for a year, not sure if it would be the same for Canada or not.

  8. Erin Says:

    Pokhara is lovely. I stayed at the Hotel Peace Plaza last year, and had a double room with private bathroom, balcony, and cable TV for $7 USD per night (sweet-talked the owner down a bit). Lovely staff, and an internet cafe downstairs. Try the Be Happy restaurant for cheap, good food, and be sure to rent a boat for a paddle on the lake.
    http://www.hotelpeaceplaza.com/src/about_us.php

    In Kathmandu, the Kathmandu Guest House is a must! Rooms range from $2 (seriously, and they are perfectly adequate!) to $60, they have storage, an onsite restaurant, lovely gardens, wireless internet…plus, the place is an absolute haven in the madness of Kathmandu.
    http://ktmgh.com

    Have fun! Nepal is amazing.

  9. Gillian Says:

    @Taylor and Anil: I have checked out both of your sites – lovely pictures and descriptions…I will be visiting them again as India gets closer!

    @Glenda: I can’t wait to hear about it (and your most recent trip) next weekend!

    @Damian and Dawn: We’re planning on getting our India visa in Turkey. I have read a few interesting posts about the process – hopefully we can learn from their experiences!

    @Beau: I haven’t checked out trekking companies. We are thinking of only 4 or 5 days. Friends did it last year without a guide/company. They say there are many ‘teahouses’ to stay and eat at and that it was not a problem.

    @Erin: Thanks for the recommendations – always good to get recommendations from those that have been there!

  10. Akila Says:

    Gillian, I don’t know if you read comments on old posts but . . . if you go to Ranthambore, you should seriously consider staying at Sher Bagh. It is expensive but, IMO, one of those places that is absolutely worth the expense. What most hotels don’t tell you about Ranthambore is that a limited number of vehicles get to enter the park each day. There are two types of vehicles: open air trucks that hold about 20 people and open air jeeps that hold 5 people. There is a VERY limited number of jeeps that are allowed entrance each day but Sher Bagh has enough jeep slots open each day that you can easily get in. We took two jeep safaris and saw a tiger on each safari; the second day, the tiger stood next to our vehicle for almost 20 minutes. In addition, the Sher Bagh tents are absolutely amazing and the food is wonderful. It was the highlight of that trip to India.

    We go frequently to India because most of my family is there so if you have questions, feel free to let me know.

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