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First Time In India - Which Region To See?

First Time In India - Which Region To See?

Old Oct 29th, 2022, 10:28 PM
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First Time In India - Which Region To See?

My husband and I are hoping to go to India for a couple of weeks in April 2023. We will be flying there after spending a few nights at a Maldives resort.

It's a large country, so we really only want to explore one or two regions/areas for a couple of weeks. We're in our early 60s, and this isn't a backpacking trip or a budget trip -- we can afford good hotels. We like history, archeology, anthropology, art, hiking and good food. Given the country's recent history of the violence against women, we want to stay safe and always together or escorted if necessary.

Given that info, what area or areas should we consider for our first time in India?

Thanks!
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Old Oct 30th, 2022, 08:05 AM
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Well, two weeks will only give you a quick look at one corner of a large and diverse country, so you'll have to be selective. Most first-timers do the "Golden Triangle" - Delhi, Agra and a bit of Rajasthan. That includes the Taj Mahal, but it is also the most touristed area.

You might consider the northeast instead - start in Kolkata, take the "toy" train up to Darjeeling and finish with a look at Odisha (called Orissa when I was there). Or the northwest (still on my "should visit" list) with the train to Shimla and the Tibetan outpost at Dharamsala.

Or I was just reminded how much I liked Kochi, in Kerala. That was back in 2001, and it has gotten much more heavily touristed since then, but the crowds may still be in a Covid lull. You could spend a night or two on the backwaters and then go up into the Nilgiri hills and finish in Mysore. Further east there are the temple towns of Madurai, Trichy and Thanjavur, the Chettinad region and the former French outpost in Pondicherry.

I was in India in 2001 and 2010, traveling solo and mostly by train. However, I don't think I (female) would do that now. I'd probably opt for a small group tour or a car and driver recommended by the posters here. Might still do a solo train trip, but I do feel it's less safe than it was.

For my TR on the 2010 trip start here on Fodors: Thursdaysd's South Asian Sojourn - or go here for text plus photos (links at the top of the page): https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...20/into-india/

For the 2001 trip go here and start at "Into India": Travels Round Asia 2001 -- Wilhelm's Words
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Old Nov 4th, 2022, 03:53 AM
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a. April may be a bit warm for Rajasthan, though if you do sightseeing in the morning / evening, remain indoors during mid day, it should be fine. Rajasthan is spectacular with some of best hotels India can offer! Most of the Taj & Oberoi flagship hotels, including such fabulous ones like the Taj Rambagh Palace Jaipur, Taj Lake Palace / Oberoi Udai Vilas, Udaipur; Oberoi Sawaimadhopur or The Sujan luxury properties are all located in this region. There are a few experiential fort-palaces also located in Rajasthan viz. Chanoudgarh, some 90 mi south of Jodhpur and Shahpura Bagh. April is a great time to watch the tigers perambulating restlessly in the National Parks of India, for it is the mating season. Water sources are fewer and chances increase of sightings.
b. April is a great time to be in Kashmir. There is a thaw in the winters and a few days there will be very refreshing. One can fly into Srinagar and then exit from Leh (Ladakh). Between Srinagar >> Leh is about 12 hours in all but one can break at Kargil, where there are a couple of standard hotels with spectacular location on the river Kargil.
c. April is a great time to be in Sikkim and about 3 night at the haory Glenburn Tea Estate, near Darjeeling...spectacular!!
d. The Kumaon Hills will offer great hiking, where you stay at comfortably furnished village houses...in one such village there is no electricity and the good old petromax shall be your dutiful guide...great local cuisine and scenery.
e, The Deccan offers great destination in Hyderabad (Taj Falaknuma Palace), the Kabini, Wayanad and douth south towards the Backwaters. Kerala has some great sightseeing opportunities!
Happy travels!

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Old Nov 4th, 2022, 06:12 AM
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Kashmir?? What is the security situation now?

Even if security is not presently an issue, I would not want to visit an area where the Indian government is busy oppressing the population, however beautiful the scenery. There is hardly a shortage of areas in India worth seeing.

The OP has not given us a budget and there is plenty of choice in India at all price points. There is no need to stay at high-priced hotels if you don't want to. The only time I got sick during my last, six-week, visit to India was during my stay at the most expensive hotel of the trip.
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Old Nov 4th, 2022, 11:08 AM
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Hi NJ Gal---car and driver all the way. That'd allow you the flexibility to dictate pace and selection. The Golden Triangle has plenty to offer (maybe try visiting the Taj at sunrise) but some other places further west allow for 2-fer style visits to 'deep village India' (ie. the Bishnoi villages outside of Jodhpur). Jaiselmer is an absolute must-see for us. Suggest arriving there at night for optimal atmosphere.
Have a great trip whatever you decide!
I am done. the cobra
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Old Nov 6th, 2022, 09:44 PM
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OP: Kashmir is safe...we have done this just about a couple of months back

Last edited by Moderator1; Nov 7th, 2022 at 08:08 AM. Reason: deleted personal attack/political comment
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Old Nov 7th, 2022, 05:37 AM
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The security situation was certainly not good in June: https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...geted-killings

I doubt the non-Hindu inhabitants feel that they are not oppressed:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...-summit-india/

https://www.theguardian.com/global-d...-pulitzer-trip

Last edited by Moderator1; Nov 7th, 2022 at 08:09 AM. Reason: Deleted unnecessary personal comment.
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