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Suggestions for a trip to India?


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#1 Colin-M

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 21:02

Where to begin? It's a big country and there are so many options, but I'd appreciate some suggested places to visit.

I hope to have a chance to visit India in December. I will have maybe 10 days available, outside of visits to family up near Delhi. I don't have any preconceptions and am not desperate to visit well known destinations like the Taj Mahal or bustling modern big cities.

If you've been and have suggestions, or can recommend some good websites offering choices, please let me know.

Edited by Colin-M, 02 September 2012 - 21:02 .

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#2 Bjørn J

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 21:37

It's now many years since I visited India, but if I ever go there again the state of Rajasthan would be my first choice. Jaipur (the pink city), and in particular Jodhpur (the blue city) are spectacular places. But even better is to go further west, into the Thar desert, closer to the Pakistan border. I stayed for some time in a village called Jaisalmer, the most beautiful desert town I have ever seen. I took a camel ride out in the desert for a few days, a fantastsic experience.
But of course, if you don't like heat, sand and deserts Rajasthan is a bad choice :)
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#3 Jyda

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 21:44

I was in Rajastahn in Mars/April and second Bjørns' recommendation about Jodhpur and Jaipur. December shouldn't be that hot?
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#4 Anthony

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 21:46

Where to start with such an amazing country. I have visited it several times, on business and on holiday.

Since you will be in Delhi, it makes sense to visit the northern regions.

Do not neglect the Taj. It does have a lot of tourists, but is, IMHO, the most beautiful building in the world. And there are many interesting places in and around Agra.

Other places that still live with me include:

Varanasi (Benares) - absolutely not to be missed
Khajuraho
Udaipur
Jaipur
Fatehpur Sikri
Kumbhalghar
Deoghar.

I have not visited Jaisalmer or Jodphur, which many people love.

I have also travelled in the south, which is very different.

Please PM me if you would like to discuss anything.

#5 Anthony

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 21:49

My son took a three day camel ride into the desert. He still remembers it as a miserable experience.

Just shows, we all like different things.

Another suggestion - do read up on the history. It is far more complex than we learn here.
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#6 Bjørn J

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 22:24

Reading up on the history is a very, very good idea! And India has a fascinating history.
I'm sorry to hear your son had a miserable camel ride. For me it was a wonderful experience. We were 5-6 people plus two local guides, the ride went from Jaisalmer right west out in the desert. No accomodation, we fell asleep right on the sand dunes. Of course it was very uncomfortable, we had too little water, and basic, but tasty food. But it was a fantastic experience that I will remember all my life.
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#7 yunfat

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 23:30

If I had 10 years I would just scratch the surface of India, photographically speaking. I rank it as the most photogenic country on earth.

If you can get Netflix, watch historian Michael Wood's documentary, "The Story of India". Since you might have BBC streaming as well (I notice you live in the UK), you could also try that. I found it an excellent primer into the complicated and dynamic history that has created the country we see today.

In Delhi proper, of all the tourist sites, I liked the Jama Masjid and Humayuns tomb the best, but the action is on the street (any street, honest). People will tell you to go to the Red Fort, which is interesting architecturally and historically, but a dearth for photographs... instead go across the street to the Chandi Chowk. Get a rickshaw there (negotiate until you think the price is absurdly cheap, then cut that price in half, I never paid more than $2 an hour for my driver) and ride up and down the street over and over again and witness the orgy of things to photograph that will magically appear in front of your camera. No shit.

Try and work the Jama Masjid (mosque) at dawn, best light and the street vendors are too tired to fight aggressive street shooters like myself, caught incredible stuff at the Halal butchers surrounding the Mosque proper. On Sunday, a massive bazaar extends from the mosque to the Red Fort, possibly the best street shooting on earth, tough to do as a white guy though... if I didn't have an indian friend with me it to tell people to eff off it would have been hard to shoot, I was attracting a lot of attention (I'm pretty tall and pasty and stuck out). The begging is insane, learn to say the word "Nay", and don't let little kids grab you, or you may have to punch them to get them off. I'm not joking. One time when I was in an autorickshaw, a poor kid jumped onto my lap while at an intersection and I had to throw him out into moving traffic or more of his friends were going to pile in and beg the shit out of me, he couldn't have been more than 6 years old. Thankfully that was a one off, as I really hate throwing kids from moving vehicles onto asphalt.

Posted Image
D E M A N D by ~FreeBirD®~, on Flickr

That's me at the market in Old Delhi.

An then of course, there is Amritsar...

Posted Image
amritsar 3.2.074892e by artistwithlight, on Flickr

Posted Image
amritsar 3.2.074900e by artistwithlight, on Flickr

Posted Image
amritsar 3.2.075264e2 by artistwithlight, on Flickr

I don't even know how to describe that place, I had tears streaming down my face while I was shooting it was so beautiful... that has only happened to me in two places on earth. I would go there if I only had 10 days and one place to go outside of Delhi. I took the train, which was an experience in itself.

Edited by yunfat, 02 September 2012 - 23:33 .


#8 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 05:00

I have been to India nine times on business. Just when I thought I understood the place, I realized there was no way for an outsider to understand it. You could really go anywhere, It is that amazing. But, it is really a street photography game. If you can't photograph people without asking first for any reason, you are lost.
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#9 Fons Baerken

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 07:09

One doesnt often suggest the south of India like Madras and area Madurai, Kerala etc
i went north south east west by train and buses back in 1973/74
and particularly liked the south, very different country.

#10 Colin-M

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 20:27

I was in Rajastahn in Mars/April and second Bjørns' recommendation about Jodhpur and Jaipur.

Thanks Jyda and Bjorn.
Friends & family have also done the desert trip and said it was quite special.
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#11 Colin-M

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 20:32

I have also travelled in the south, which is very different.
Please PM me if you would like to discuss anything.

Thanks for the offer Anthony.

One doesnt often suggest the south of India like Madras and area Madurai, Kerala etc
i ...particularly liked the south, very different country.

Thanks to both of you for this recommendation.
My daughter's been to Kerela a couple of times and it sounds wonderful.
I do like the sound of the green and fertile landscape with lush vegetation, as a contrast to some of the popular preconceptions of India.
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#12 danishmishra

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 21:06

I think I am a bit of an expert on the issue. Well to begin with, for first two days roam around Delhi and 'acclimatise' your belly to indian cuisine! Since you only have ten days, and its in December you are planning to visit my country, I would suggest spending it in Rajasthan. You can skip the scorching sun of summer and enjoy some lovely sights. Rajasthan is what west generally associates India with. Lots of colour, cheerful people, children on the street, holy and street cows, abject poverty, disparity of wealth, and some spicy cuisine! If you plan carefully you can cover Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Chittor (all in Rajasthan) in about a week's time. Do not spend more than one day on Agra, its three hour by road from Delhi and really only Taj Mahal is worth seeing there (and once you are in the compound, it should not take more than two hours to scan the entire tomb). If you start early in the morning, around 6ish, on the very same day you can cover Fatehpur Sikri as well. So there you go, ten days spent on photographing bit and parts of north west India. I am sure it would satiate your photographic appetite.

Now some kind soul suggested that you visit Benares (my hometown). Well that is a very apt suggestion indeed but I think you are short on time to cover it. Benaras needs atleast a week on its own. There is just too much to take in.

In between, I would be in India during that time. I spend my time between Delhi and Bhopal (again a lovely city), so ring me up when you are there. If I am in Delhi around that time, I would be more than happy to show you around. I will PM you my number.

PS: You might want to get some vaccinations done, just in case. But don't freak out if you miss on it, you can easily get everything done there.

Edited by danishmishra, 03 September 2012 - 21:08 .

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#13 Colin-M

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 21:22

That's very kind of you Danish.

Some of my family are interested in Buddhism, so have been to Varanasi a few times.
It would be good to have a local contact and you & I have discussed some of our images in the past.

I will keep you posted nearer the time (hopefully I'll have the vaccinations by then too!)
Namaste
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#14 Colin-M

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 21:31

Hi Yunfat, thanks for the really comprehensive reply. Your sample images are quite persuasive too.

My son visited Amristar last winter and was really impressed when he asked a couple of students for directions and they took the day out to make sure he got to see some of the really interesting parts, then took him to some good places to eat. He's still in touch via Facebook.

I really hate throwing kids from moving vehicles onto asphalt


If Dallas was looking for a strapline to promote this new area on Nikongear, I think we may just have struck gold!!!
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#15 yunfat

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 21:48

Delhi traffic... when I watched this footage later on in the night I almost puked... I should have been holding on with both hands.



#16 Anthony

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 23:10

I'm sorry to hear your son had a miserable camel ride.


I think he has had too soft an upbringing, my fault.

#17 Dallas

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:08

What a terrific way to get the Travel Zone going! This is exactly the kind of material I was hoping to cultivate on this new part of the site. Thank you so much to all those of you who have shared so much information with not just Colin but the rest of us who yearn to travel this globe. I'm really looking forward to seeing more posts like this, as well as possibly some shared travel opportunities that members can do together.

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#18 Anthony

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 10:10

Benaras needs atleast a week on its own. There is just too much to take in.


True, but travellers rarely have the luxury of so much time, and we have to compromise. Sometimes the best is the enemy of the good.

#19 armando_m

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 17:14

This thread is very timely !!

I got invited to spend a month in Delhi, it is a work assignment, but I'm sure I'll have time to look around, dates are around Oct/Nov

Regards,
Armando 
 


#20 Colin-M

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 21:32

Well done Armando.
Look forward to hearing more about it.
Colin
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