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India- starting from scratch watch

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    So i'll be travelling to india next summer- around 4 weeks. In July.

    I'm literally starting from scratch. I have no idea where to visit or things. I'm wanting to see a mix of tourist sights, cultural things, local markets, and religious spots. Also i love to eat and travel like a local.

    Realistically i have a budget of £800 when i'm there. There are two of us travelling together.

    Is it possible on this budget?
    July=monsoon- will this be a problem?
    Where should i visit? Sights/areas?
    Anything else?
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    (Original post by Missy Sara)
    So i'll be travelling to india next summer- around 4 weeks. In July.

    I'm literally starting from scratch. I have no idea where to visit or things. I'm wanting to see a mix of tourist sights, cultural things, local markets, and religious spots. Also i love to eat and travel like a local.

    Realistically i have a budget of £800 when i'm there. There are two of us travelling together.

    Is it possible on this budget?
    July=monsoon- will this be a problem?
    Where should i visit? Sights/areas?
    Anything else?
    Well, £800 is definitely enough - I could travel in India for three to four months on that!

    I've only been to three places in India but I'd recommend them all;

    Delhi - lots of poverty but also lots of history and culture and markets. The Red Fort is an absolute must (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), as is the depths of Old Delhi. Then there's a Jain temple with a bird hospital attached, and in New Delhi there's India Gate (a massive war memorial arch) in the middle of a nice park, and the National Museum. There's loads of markets all over Delhi, and Hindu and Sikh temples and shrines, and loads of places to eat.

    Agra - the Taj Mahal - I thought this was absolutely breathtaking. It really is stunningly beautiful; the artistry is simply amazing. It has an interesting museum attached to it as well. Agra Fort is another UNESCO World Heritage Site which is well worth visiting.

    Calcutta - not very many tourists, which I liked. The Indian Museum is old fashioned in style but the content is very interesting (I particularly liked the Cultural Anthropology, Egyptian, Indian paintings, Birds and Mammals sections), and the Victoria Memorial has lots of modern Indian history in, and is a historic building in itself. Calcutta is in West Bengal so they're especially fond of sweets, if you like them. There's lots of religious festivals here as well, like there is everywhere in India.

    Elsewhere else that I've heard are worth visiting;

    Goa
    Mumbai
    Pondicherry
    Jaipur
    Varanasi
    Darjeeling
    Amritsar
    Lucknow
    Mysore
    Pushkar
    Udaipur
    Ladakh
    The Buddhist caves of Ajanta
    Chittorgarh (fort complex)
    Corbett Tiger Reserve
    Great Himalayan National Park
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    Defo go to Chandigargh. Amazing place to shop (sector 17), eat, cinemas, water parks etc.

    PS: really good five star hotel 'The Taj'
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    You could easily do Delhi, Agra, Jaipur & Varanasi in 4 weeks. You could possibly do it in two weeks if you seriously rushed, but that's only if you want to rush & you think there are other stuff worthwhile seeing instead. Personally this is what I would do, and if you have any free time then visit somewhere nearby. The thing is, you want to travel like a local (which I highly recommend too, it's an experience in itself) so you need to take trains which means huge ass delays and very slow speeds.
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    July? Look out for the rain.

    I was distinctly underwhelmed by the Taj...and Delhi is a hole - dirtier than anywhere i have ever been. There's no denying it's a facinating country to travel though and some of it is absolutely incredible. The Taj didn't cook my goose though.

    I'd head north in July, up towards Ladakh and Kashmir (situation depending). The scenery is stunning, the trekking is pretty unique and it is a little flavour of Tibet. I could spend months up there. On the way up you have Amritsar (Golden Temple and Border Closing Ceremony) and Dharmasala (Dalai Lama)...and the adventure sports / Israeli / hash capital of the region (Manali) nearby too.
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    Ive just come back from a month in Goa, however in monsoon season Goa effectively shuts down as its all beaches. If you do decide to go there out of monsoon seaon though i would definitely reccomend Palolem beach. I seriously doubt I will find a more picturesque beach.
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    (Original post by brabzzz)
    I was distinctly underwhelmed by the Taj...and Delhi is a hole - dirtier than anywhere i have ever been. There's no denying it's a facinating country to travel though and some of it is absolutely incredible. The Taj didn't cook my goose though.
    Sure, Delhi was very dirty, but I didn't think it was any dirtier than any other place I went. It remains one of the most colourful and endlessly fascinating cities I've ever been to. About the Taj - I can't see how anyone can remain unmoved by it, personally. But I guess if you're not that keen on historic buildings in general, then you won't appreciate it as much as someone who is. Though saying that, my boyfriend isn't half as interested in history as I am, but he still loved the Taj Mahal, because he loved the craftsmanship in general and carving and inlaid jade etc.
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    So i was thinking maybe 3 weeks doing agra,varanasi, delhi, then either jaipar/jaisalmer...
    Then 2 weeks somewhere down south- not goa though it's too expensive thanks...maybe kerala?
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    Sounds good, bear in mind it takes a freaking age to go from north to south so look into budget flights. I'd also agree with brabzzz about northern India, you should definite read into it & see if it's somewhere that interests you. The trekking scene up there is like nothing else, and not all that touristy (compared to the likes of Nepal...). Cheap as chips too, even for India!

    FHS old buildings aren't for everyone. Personally I love all that tourist stuff, museums, old ruins, grand palaces, but I have met people who despise it :p:
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    Right, see i would like to have a chance to see south as it's so different from north and central..

    Where would be reccomended in north and where in south?

    Is the rain going to ruin things? I went to thailand during monsoon and it didnt cause any issues, just the odd rain fall- heavy but brief followed by sun...
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    The rain shouldn't be too bad -I wouldn't prioritise Goa and Mumbai sometimes suffers quite badly with flooding. I would suggest doing Delhi for a few days with a day trip to Agra, and then I'd recommend Daramasala and McLeod Ganj (where the Dalai Lama lives). Amritsar is worth seeing on the way down to Rajasthan. You should then have time to get down to Kerala, where I'd definitely recommend Kochin, but you should look into transport - you may want to see if you can fly back straight from somewhere in the south.
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    Doesn't it cost a fortune to fly into one place and out of another?

    I'm not fussed about goa- but would love to visit kerala. Also, would love to visit a nice beach-without rain if poss...
    and do a jungle visit?
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    (Original post by Missy Sara)
    So i'll be travelling to india next summer- around 4 weeks. In July.

    I'm literally starting from scratch. I have no idea where to visit or things. I'm wanting to see a mix of tourist sights, cultural things, local markets, and religious spots. Also i love to eat and travel like a local.

    Realistically i have a budget of £800 when i'm there. There are two of us travelling together.

    Is it possible on this budget?
    July=monsoon- will this be a problem?
    Where should i visit? Sights/areas?
    Anything else?
    Make Delhi your base city, because you can just go basically anywhere in India from there. There's a lot of historical monuments to see and also visit Connaught Place in the centre, its brilliant. Go to Parathe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk, it will be a good experience.

    You can easily get the state of Rajasthan, there's a lot to see here. Go to the cities of Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur.

    The Taj Mahal is in the city of Agra which is in the state of Uttar Pradesh, this is again easily accessible from Delhi. You wrote you want to see some religious spots, well go to Varanasi. This is also in Uttar Pradesh.

    You could also to the state of Uttarakhand, its got some really beautiful towns like Nainital and Mussoorie.

    The best way of getting around is trains. These are, despite what you may have heard or seen, a fantastic way to get around. There are a lot of airlines these days in India, a lot of low cost ones, so maybe you could check them out but I would recommend trains. The best airlines in India are Jet Airways and Kingfisher although these are pricey. Air India/Indian Airlines go to more destinations than any other. A good low cost airline is SpiceJet.
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    Whereabouts would you like to go in India? Its a vast country and places to visit are far and wide so you would need to get around by flying or driving (hiring transport, not driving yourself!) The summer months- Jan- April are extremely hot, but around September is when the monsoon season starts so July is a good time to visit.

    Mumbai is cooler, as it is nearer the coast. Its good to get a feel of the culture, food and see where the home of Bollywood is!

    Delhi is a must see. It is dirty and will be a culture shock but hopefully you can see past it. Visit the Lotus temple, it is beautiful. Lajput Nagar, Connaught Place and Chandni Chowk are great places to go for markets and cheap shopping. A rickshaw to these places only costs about 50 rupees if you are in the centre of Delhi. The Olympic stadium would be worth visiting if it is open to the public when you go in Nehru place.

    Of course you must see the Taj Mahal while in Agra. Apart from the red fort there is not much else to see in Agra so I would recommend taking a day trip from Delhi to see these 2 sights. It will take about 5 hours but will work out better economically.

    I would recommend going north to Amritsar to see the Golden Temple. It is beautiful and you can even sleep overnight in it! Unfortunately Amritsar itself is quite dirty and you wouldn't want to be around the city itself. But Amritsar is not far from the India/Pakistan border. Everyday at 5pm they have a changing of the guard ceremony which is fantastic! Beware though- security is tight. You can only take small bags with you and take your passport. You may get a good seat if you show it to security!

    Otherwise the golden triangle is very popular with tourists- encompassing Delhi, India, Jaipur. Jaipur has the pink palace which really is stunning! Its worth booking that before you go out there though. 800 should be enough for your trip, everything is relatively cheap out there.

    Luton airport fly to India and often have great deals on flights to the capital, Mumbai with EL AL Israel Airlines. Its worth taking a look at the website: http://www.london-luton.co.uk/en/book/

    Claire
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    You could have picked any country in the world and you choose that hell hole? Unreal.
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    I'd definitely go by train, rather than flying. Yes, it takes a long time in comparison, but you said you wanted to travel like a local, and over long distances this is as local as you can get! It's far, far cheaper, too - I remember a 22 hour journey from Agra to Calcutta cost only about £2.80, and the train from Delhi to Agra was only £1.50! In both cases that was in the cheapest possible class, but I'm sure the classes above are very cheap as well.
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    Thanks guys, your all being so helpful

    So i'll fly to delhi and spend a few days there. then do a day trip to agra. Then travel to jaipur and varanasi and amritsar.

    Then go to mumbai. Anywhere else near mumbai worth visiting? Any fab beaches that are ok to visit end of july time?
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    (Original post by Missy Sara)
    Then go to mumbai. Anywhere else near mumbai worth visiting? Any fab beaches that are ok to visit end of july time?
    the weather in Bombay in July is really bad because of the rains.
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    You should definitely visit Kerala. It's a breathtaking state with incredible natural beauty- ideal if you love nature. I was born in Kerala, but moved UK. I was stunned by some of the sights when we went there for holidays last July. It's truly incredible.
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    One thing I found with travelling is that while it's great to plan things and know places you will want to see, my best experiences have come when you let things happen naturally when you get there - perhaps you meet a cool group of people who are off to Kerala, so you go with them instead of going to the Taj Mahal .. whatever it is, make a vague plan but expect 50% of it not to happen.

    Also, India is huge, and 4 weeks is only enough to see a few places in great detail... keeping the number of places down means that you get more out of each location and spend less time sitting on awful trains or buses for 12-24 hours at a time. Travelling in the 3rd world can be exhausting, i'd say try to spend 3-4 days minimum in each place you go to. That gives you up to 5 areas to visit in 4 weeks (if you take into account 1 day travel between locations).

    James
 
 
 
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