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India Awesome India is one of the ultimate travel experiences. Surely no other country possesses the diversity and depth of this mesmerizing land. The engrossing culture is stunningly exotic and rich. The land varies wildly, from sweltering tropics to the unforgiving icy extremes of the mighty Himalayas. And the turbulent wake of ethnic variation, eventful history and political strife has led to an equally disparate people, filling every possible niche of human existence. India overflows with beauty and toil. The sights, sounds, smell and tastes will push your senses to their very limits. India as we know it was bo rn of the legacy of British colonial rule. Formerly a patchwork of feuding princely states, the subcontinent became the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. The independence movement led by world-shaker Mahatma Gandhi sounded the death knell for European colonialism around the globe, and the partition that accompanied the forced British withdrawal still drags on today. The largest democracy on the planet is barely holding together a most complicated nation, and the traditional caste system, although formerly outlawed, has ingrained the social strata. The miniscule elite's vast wealth is contradicted by overwhelming poverty. Age-old religious tensions are fuelled by fundamentalism and irresponsible elements in the political arena. Although immensely rewarding travelling around India is hard going. The nation grapples with widespread illiteracy, poor infrastructure and a distinct lack of services. Unless backpacking (and India is one of the most fascinating backpacking destinations), then flying is the only comfortable and practical way to traverse the subcontinent. The rail network takes most of the strain, but has seen slow modernisation. Car provides an acceptable alternative but take a driver, as the roads will test even the steeliest nerves. With a population of more than a billion, India is second to China as the most populous country on earth. Yet you will hear few investors referring to India as "the world's second-biggest market" with the same salivating optimism as with China. Business practices can be frustrating with corruption undermining what ought to be an industrial powerhouse. International hotel chains often invest in new properties only to have local partners sneakily edge them out. Standards inevitably slip and the result is that the quality of the hotels varies wildly. Star ratings are not always reliable and, relative to the rest of Asia, are typically inflated, so it pays to do your research before you check-in. Generally speaking Indian hotels are bad(some are horrendous!) but glowing exceptions do exist. A few prominent chains are fittingly represented and India's better heritage hotels possess a magic that you cannot get elsewhere. Despite the challenges and head-scratching contradictions, the country is laden with wondrous sights to captivate the visitor. It is liberally dressed with incredible temples and forts and inspired colonial structures. Spirituality courses through the nation's veins, not surprising as India gave rise to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Sprawling Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay) are traditional gateways but both are worth escaping for the jewels that lie within. Agra hosts the exquisite white marble Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and to the south are the striking spires of Sri Meenakshi temple in Madurai. The golden shores of Goa were first colonised by the Portuguese, then later by long-haired hippies, and although it is slowly heading upmarket it retains much of its original appeal. Rajasthan, though, is most visitors' highlight - Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaiselmer, Udaipur and Puskar provide an enthralling variety of palaces, forts, havelis and bazaars. The Indian climate is as diverse as the country itself, from the searing heat of Chennai (Madras) to the cool hill stations of Shimla. The seasons are loosely divided into the hot (February to May), the wet (June to October) and the most temperate season, the cool (November to January). With a slice of humour, adventurous travellers who are willing to invest a little time and effort will find India to be one of the pinnacles of travel. And the gentle, unflappable Indians, with their alternative outlook on life have the inane ability to make you laugh, or at other times, cry. More...

Visas

All visitors to India require a passport that is valid for 6 months. Visas must be obtained prior to arrival from an Indian Embassy or Consulate abroad and are issued for stays of varying lengths depending on the needs of the visitor.

Certain areas, such as the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Lakshadweep Island and Sikkim, have restricted access and special visas are required. Current information should be confirmed with your nearest Indian Embassy or Consulate.

Customs

The import and export of local currency is prohibited and local currency can only be converted back into foreign currency if exchange receipts are produced. Foreign currency cash amounts in excess of US$2,500 must be declared on arrival and the completed declaration forms must be kept for display on departure.

Visitors can take the following into India duty free.

  • Alcohol - 1 litre
  • Tobacco - 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco

Penalties for carrying or trafficking illegal drugs are severe.

Time

Indian time: GMT + 5 hours

Currency

  • Indian Rupee (Rs) - Check current exchange rates
  • 100 paisa (p) = 1 Rupee (Rs)
  • Notes issued: Rs500, Rs100, Rs50, Rs20, Rs10, Rs5, Rs2, Rs1
  • Coins issued: Rs5, Rs2, Rs1 and 50p, 25p, 10p, 5p

Tipping

Tipping remains optional but is common practice. There are two kinds of tipping in India: the usual optional leaving of a 10% tip for service provided and the form referred to as "baksheesh". In the latter case, a tip is given beforehand in order to ensure good service.

Banking Hours

Monday to Friday 10.00am to 2.00pm

Language

The national language of India is Hindi but there are also approximately 17 other regional languages including Punjabi, Bengali, Gujerati and Oriya (which are widely used in the north); Tamil and Telegu are common in the south and Urdu is largely spoken by the Muslim population. English is widely understood in major cities and tourist areas.

Telephone

The international dialling code for India is 91

When making international telephone calls from India, first dial 00 + country code + area code + telephone number

Local Telephone Codes

Agra 0562
Ahmedabad 079
Ahmedabad 079
Ajmer 0145
Alleppey 0477
Amritsar 0183
Bangalore 080
Bhopal 0755
Bogmalo 0830
Calcutta 033
Hyderabad 040
Jaipur 0141
Jodhpur 0291
Madras 044
Manali 01902
Mumbai (Bombay) 022
Mysore 081
New Delhi 011
Ootacamund 0423
Pune (Poona) 020
Shimla 0177
Surat 0261
Tirupathi 08574
Udaipur 0294
Varanassi 0542

Electricity

220-240V AC at 50Hz.

Standard sockets are small rounded 2 or 3 pin, therefore a universal adapter is an important travel item.

Water

Do not drink the water and avoid using ice cubes. Stick to bottled water and ensure that the seal is intact.

Health

Be aware that once outside major cities in India the standard of health care is low. Make sure that your health insurance is comprehensive and covers evacuation. Think seriously about being inoculated against, hepatitis A, polio and typhoid and also consider a pre-exposure rabies vaccination and anti-malarials.

It is essential that you check the current situation with respect to all potential health hazards and any vaccination requirements with your doctor when planning your trip.

International Airports

  • Calcutta
  • Cochin
  • Delhi - Indira Gandhi
  • Madras - Chennai
  • Mumbai (Bombay)

International Airport Tax

  • Rs150 on flights to neighbouring countries (i.e. Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka)
  • Rs500 to all other international destinations

Domestic Airports

India has over 80 domestic airports linking all regions around the country; some of the more popular destinations include those listed above plus the following:

  • Ahmedabad
  • Amritsar
  • Bangalore
  • Bhopal
  • Dehradun
  • Hyderabad
  • Jaipur
  • Madurai
  • Mysore
  • Pondicherry
  • Raipur
  • Shimla
  • Udaipur
  • Varanassi

Domestic Airport Departure Tax

None

Etiquette/Dress Code

Dress in India is mostly casual except in business circles. Women should dress with particular care and avoid wearing revealing clothes. Shoes should be removed before entering a place of worship or a home.

A handshake is an acceptable form of greeting in most circles, although Indian women prefer not to shake hands. A traditional way to greet someone in India is to say "namaste" - hands are placed in front of the body with palms pressed together as if in prayer and the head is bowed forward.

Diplomatic Missions

Many countries have representative offices and consulates in India.

Useful Sources of Information

Further information on Indian culture and tourist attractions:

  • Tourist attractions in India

Weather

India experiences a range of climatic variations across its vast expanse.

  • Monsoon - July to September when monsoon rains sweep across the country with daily torrential downpours and a high possibility of flooding making travel difficult in all areas except the northwest. Duration of monsoons may vary in different regions by several weeks.
  • Cool - The months from October to February are some of the best times to visit as the weather is very pleasant with minimal rainfall in most places.
  • Hot - March to June witnesses temperatures that can soar above average making the hot season unbearable and the hazy, dust-laden air can hamper views. Many people head to "hill stations" which provide a welcome relief from the extreme heat of the lowlands.
  • Cyclones - June to September can suffer from these fierce tropical storms, which mainly affect the east coast of India, cause high winds, intense rain and a possibility of tidal waves.

Carry a lightweight jumper as it can be chillingly cold inside air-conditioned buildings during hot weather.

Northern India

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot Season (March - June) 14 - 20°C 79mm
Monsoon Season (July - September) 15 - 20°C 300mm
Cool Season (October - February) 5 - 13°C 39mm

Himachal Pradesh, Punjab

Mostly due to its high elevation, the far north experiences milder weather than elsewhere in India and extra layers are necessary at all times of the year.

Waterproofs are essential during the Monsoon Season when rainfall is heavy.

The Cool Season can experience relatively cold weather with snowfall further north - warm clothes are essential at this time of year.

Best time to visit: The Hot Season when the weather is reasonably warm and rainfall is minimal - although waterproofs are useful. Warmer clothes are essential for the evenings.

Northeastern India

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot Season (March - June) 12 - 18°C 240mm
Monsoon Season (July - September) 15 - 20°C 451mm
Cool Season (October - February) 7 - 13°C 36mm

Sikkim, West Bengal

The northeast experiences high rainfall/humidity during both the Monsoon Season and the tail end of the Hot Season. Views of the lush hillside, famous for its tea plantations, can be hampered during these wet periods. Waterproofs are an absolute necessity and a few warm layers are useful too.

Best time to visit: Although it can be cold (especially during the evenings), days tend to be clear, fresh and dry in the Cool Season.

Northwestern India

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot Season (March - June) 24 - 38°C 11mm
Monsoon Season (July - September) 26 - 37°C 48mm
Cool Season (October - February) 12 - 29°C 36mm

Gujarat, Rajasthan

This region of India is predominantly dry and arid, with the Thar Desert occupying the far western expanse. The monsoon bears little or no effect on the weather and rainfall is minimal throughout the year.

The heat can be extreme and if visiting this area during the hotter months, lightweight clothes are best.

Best time to visit: The Cool Season, although it can get cold at night and warm clothes are necessary.

Many cities in Rajasthan are built around sacred lakes and these are at their best during the slightly wetter Monsoon Season.

Central India

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot Season (March - June) 24 - 36°C 20mm
Monsoon Season (July - September) 26 - 34°C 178mm
Cool Season (October - February) 11 - 26°C 17mm

Delhi, Madhya Pradesh

The temperature rises to oppressive levels during the Hot Season - daytime temperatures can reach the 40's(oC) and night-time temperatures can remain in the high 20's(oC). Pollution levels can also be alarmingly high during this time.

The Monsoon Season can begin as early as late June but generally the effects are not felt until mid-July. Rain tends to be intermittent but torrential. An umbrella is essential if travelling at this time as waterproofs would be too hot.

Best time to visit: During the Cool Season as days are warm, dry and pleasant, however nights can be surprisingly cold and temperatures can drop below 10 oC - take a few extra layers to pile on after the sun goes down.

Eastern India

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot Season (March - June) 25 - 35°C 112mm
Monsoon Season (July - September) 26 - 32°C 272mm
Cool Season (October - February) 18 - 29°C 47mm

Bengal, Orissa

The end of the Hot Season is quite wet and both temperatures and humidity are high.

The Monsoon Season suffers a large amount of rain and flooding is common. Humidity levels also remain high and the heat can get quite uncomfortable. An umbrella is essential as the weather is too hot for waterproof clothing, although sturdy shoes are a must.

Best time to visit: During the Cool Season when temperatures are quite pleasant and rainfall is low.

Western India

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot Season (March - June) 25 - 32°C 55mm
Monsoon Season (July - September) 25 - 30°C 482mm
Cool Season (October - February) 21 - 30°C 23mm

Maharashtra, Goa

During the Hot Season in western India, temperatures can rise above the average, although it does not tend to get as hot as in central India. Humidity is high and lightweight clothes are necessary.

Sturdy shoes and an umbrella are vital during the Monsoon Season as very heavy rain falls and flooding is commonplace. The hot, humid climate makes this rather an unpleasant time to be travelling in the west and the wearing of waterproofs extremely uncomfortable.

Best time to visit: Showers dry up during the Cool Season, making these months a far more agreeable time to visit.

Southern India

Season Average temperature Average rainfall
Hot Season (March - June) 25 - 32°C 101mm
Monsoon Season (July - September) 23 - 31°C 181mm
Cool Season (October - February) 23 - 30°C 118mm

Kerala, Tamil Nadu

The climate in southern India experiences only slight seasonal variations. Temperatures and humidity remain relatively high all year round. Rainfall is common at any time of the year and the Monsoon Season has only marginally more precipitation than at any other time.

Lightweight clothes and an umbrella are required throughout the year. A few extra layers of clothing may also be useful during the cooler months, as temperatures may drop slightly in the evening.

Best time to visit: The Cool Season and the beginning of the Hot Season are the best times to visit when rainfall is marginally lower.

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Hotel Supreme Mumbai

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India Travellers Tales

krishnan varma
09/08/2005
Stayed at:

Visited Taj-hotel provided golf cart for transportation; Agra Fort and most other sites. Tour guide recommended by hotel was very informative. Did shopping for wool carpet, handicrafts etc.


Anonymous
30/07/2005

Madras is a good starting point for visiting South India. Many shops and malls. Famous are the silks of Kanchipooram which are sold in Madras too.


michael labertew
05/06/2005
Stayed at:

Rickshaws and taxis in front of hotel can take you to more distant locations, otherwise shopping and dining is literally steps away. A fun upscale bowling alley and arcade immediately behind hotel, as well as movie theater 1.5 blocks away, make up somewhat for lacking pool, if looking for entertainment options.


victor bull
15/05/2005

Don''t hire a car in Chennai unless you have a driver with it, the traffic is mad. If there is an inch of space on the road, someone will claim it and rules of the road do not exist, unless its ''first come first served!''


jyoti prakash das
09/05/2005

If you are planning to visit the temple please procure entry cards well in advance or you may have to spend more days than you have planned for. A number to tourist attractions are available in and around Tirupati. The travel service at the hotel can assist you to organise tours.


peter barratt
09/05/2005

Went to the Wagah border post betwean India and Pakistan. Great fun !! Its about 30 Kms. Booked through the reception at the hotel. ost about 1000 rupees each.They run the tour every evening at dusk. Hundreds of people there. Singing, chanting etc. The golden temple is the main reason for visiting Amtitsar. We went on a Sunday and as you would expect it was packed. Got a TukTuk which was fun.We were the only westerners that we saw. Worth visiting the Food Hall where upto 30,000 people are fed every day for free.Just to see the process. Where they prepare the food and clean up all the plates is amazing. Worth going just to see that. The temple is quite small but beautiful surrounded by a moat within white ornate buildings. Just down the road within walking distance is the place where the British massacre took place.( Jallianwala Bagh) Being British I felt very uneasy here. Don''t think I would go again. As the only westerners we got a lot of hostile looks. As you would expect. I thought it was just a memorial garden but it turned out to be much more than that. In fact we got quite a lot of hostile looks at the Golden Temple as well as if we weren''t welcome there. It was the only place in India that I felt this and I was pleased to leave Amritsar. There were very few westerners that we saw and I''m not sure if they get too many tourists other than Indians. There aren''t any 5 star hotels there so that may say something. Eating out was difficult. We ate in the hotel for two of the nights and it was very good. The other place that we found was a Pizza Hut in Lawrence St (a 10 minute walk away)which was very good and the staff were so pleased to see us. As were the customers. We were quite a novelty. After 3 weeks in India a Pizza was great. There are a lot of internet places which are very cheap (25 rupees per hour) about 30 pence. You can also phone from these places and to the UK it was only 4 rupees per minute. At the time we were there we got 89 rupees to the pound.


peter barratt
06/05/2005

We were in Khajuraho for 2 days. The town was perhaps the most touristy of all the places that we have been. We got pestered constantly and it was a relief to get back to the hotel. Went to Raja''s Cafe as recommended in the lonely planet,don''t bother. It said it was owned by a Swiss woman. Possibly a long time ago,dirty and grim.There didn''t seem like too many places to eat apart from the hotels unless you want the cheapest places. We were there for a short time so just ate in the hotel. It''s so cheap anyway, approx £2-3 for a main course at a 4-5 star hotel. I''ve been to India 5 times and found the safest way is to eat in the best hotels unless you are a backpacker. The overall cost is minimal. We went to the light show at the Temples at 7.30 pm. It lasted for about an hour but half that time would''ve been better. The temples are right in the town centre (its a very small town-a village really)I thought they were fantastic. Architecturally and visually. Mostly in very good condition.In a lovely park setting, a complete contrast to the town. You can easily walk around them in a couple of hours. We walked round the town in about an hour tops. Mostly small shops (tourist types) and tailors. You could get most things made here. I ordered a dress and blouse from the hotel shop before coming into the town. In the hotel there was no hassle I probably paid more but I was happy with the result. The rickshaw drivers were the most persistent of anywhere that I''ve been but probably the poorest I have seen. There weren''t too many tourists but it still doesn''t make it very pleasant to walk around with the constant hassle.


albert thambiratnam
12/04/2005
Stayed at:

Agra and in particular the Taj Mahal were beautiful. However, there isn''t much else to do in Agra so don''t spend more than a day here. Also don''t waste your money getting a guided tour for the day - the only attractions worth seeing are the Taj Mahal are perhaps the Agra Fort (if you haven''t already seen the Red Fort in Delhi).


albert thambiratnam
07/04/2005

Mumbai was stinky, dirty and on the whole we found it not to be the most interesting place in India. There are much nicer places in India to spend your time and money in. Ellora caves and Ajanta caves which are about 6 hours from Mumbai are beautiful.


stefan dorn
06/04/2005

Jaipur is a great place and a must visit for anyone going to India. It is worth taking a tour as there is many sights to see. I organised a tour through the RTDC, which can be booked at a couple of RTDC offices and RTDC hotels. It only cost 100 rupees for a half day tour and 150 rupees for a full day tour, both with an english speaking guide. I found a great vegetarian restaurant called "The Parantha Hut'' in the new city, which served clean and very tasty food (I went back several times).


james singh
31/03/2005

First time visit to Taj for my kids; 2nd time for me & my wife. Took early (06.00h / 08.10h) Shabtabdi Express from New Delhi station to Agra Cantonment, which was an on-time, excellent, fast (2+ hour) including breakfast & newspaper service in Executive Class (2X2 airplane style seating). The usual mob scene on arrival in Agra, with everyone offering guide and car services. We got lucky with Kumar, who spoke excellent English, was very knowledgeable, and low-key on sales pressure. He offered Rs150 to "any hotel" and on the way offered to do a full day tour for Rs650 including the current station pick up. We accepted, and enjoyed the tour. <br> <br> The highlight was the Taj itself, and the place was mobbed with tourists in the late afternoon/early evening. All the gardeners/groundskeepers were trying to be very helpful by showing off good photo sites and angles (and of course soliciting tips). You must pay Rs 25 video camera fee, and you are only allowed to take video from the gate area itself, approximately 500m away. Mobile phones and tripods strictly not allowed (check in facility available.) No photography allowed inside Taj Mahal itself.<br> <br> The next day Kumar took us to the abandoned city of Fatepur Sikri, which was beautiful. The major difference from my last visit (20 years ago) is the commercialization of the mosque and shrine there. There are so many, highly-aggressive hawkers, con artists, guides, etc. following your every footstep inside and outside the shrine as to make the visit distinctly unenjoyable. Save your shopping for New Delhi (either Janpath or Central Cottage Emporium). Prices in Agra a severely over-inflated relative to Delhi. Returned from Agra Cantonment on Taj Express (18.55h / 22.00h). Train was 10 mins late arriving (originates in Gwalior) and it was not obvious to tourists where to find the A/C chair cars on our reservations. Seating was 2X3 airplane style; meals & water available for purchase from the steward on board. Arrived approx 15 mins late at New Delhi Nizzamudin station to the usual crowd of taxi hawkers.


cristen haltom
24/03/2005

With regard to visiting the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort - I was traveling with two teenagers who kept wanting to grab my camera. Advice: Provide everyone with his/her own camera for recording these stunning these visual sites.


darius sagar
09/03/2005
Stayed at:

We had a car and driver from the Aurangabad Travel Syndicate for which we negotiated a price of 1600 rupees for Ajanta and a City Tour. The driver was excellent and the car of good quality. The driver knew where to take us and we had a trouble-free (and memorable) visit.


helene butcher
09/03/2005

Visited Golden Temple. Terrific. And the border crossing, great fun. Very good 1 1/2 hours entertainment. Arrived and left on Shatabdi Express. No problems. Used taxi''s and autorickshaws to get around.


steven alder
07/03/2005

We arrived in Agra by rail and picked a taxi at the station, we agreed to book the taxi for 2 days for Rs 1250 which included an excellent guide and took us to all the sights in Agra and Fatehpur Sikri, and of course a couple of factory shops making marble ornaments and jewellery, but we didn''t feel pressurised to make any purchases. There is a restaurant (Riao Restaurant) to the left as you exit the hotel, about 40 metres along the road (Rs 5 if you want to take the cycle rickshaw) which is quite good, but not much cheaper than the hotel restaurant, beer is not on the menu but is available (Kingfisher Rs 150).


richard jones
04/03/2005

If you are wanting to avoid the usual tourist hoards, stay in and go out around Anjuna and Vagator in the north of the northern part of Goa. Go and see the waterfall in dudhsagar national park.


rolf lind
26/02/2005

Rest Indigo just behind the Taj is a very hip bar downstairs and a great Italian inspired rest on the second floor. Ask for a table on the terrace.


dean chisholm
18/02/2005
Stayed at:

Do research on restuarants befor visiting, generally the quality in the tourist areas is poor, whereas good in the better residential areas in the south of the city. For good quality Indian fabrics try Fabindia in Greter Kailash I. Plus a few other good Indian houseware/fabric/clothing & book shops with an upmarket indian restaurant (Zaffaron.) The shops on this little garden square don''t pay rickshaw drivers commission, so prices are fixed & reasonable plus open to 7 pm.


raymond baillie
10/02/2005
Stayed at:

Khajuaraho is not the easiest place to get to, but worth the effort. We flew from Varanasi on Jet Air. The temples are wonderful. The Western Temples the biggest, but all three sites worth a visit. The Sound and Light Show held in the evenings at the Western Temples is well worth a visit. The town is small and can be a break from the multi-populated cities of India. The hawkers here can be a bit annoying. Raja''s Cafe just opposite the Western Temples is good and open later on in the evenings.


judith mehta
08/02/2005
Stayed at:

A good place to use as a base for a short stay in Mumbai since everywhere is easily accessible: emporiums, ''Fashion Street'' (just up the road), Chowpatty Beach, the maidans, etc. We''re not cricket-lovers, but the ground is opposite.


dr. sharma madan
05/02/2005

In the city of Taj, the important places for sightseeing are the Taj Mahal with its splendid glory, not far from the hotel and the Agra Fort bulit by the Emperor Akbar the Great, that served as capital of his Mugal Empire and is just a few kilometers from the hotel. On way to Delhi, there stands the Mausoleum (with the graves of Akbar and others) at Sikandra, about 10 kms from the hotel. On way to Jaipur, we went to visit the Fort and Gateway at Fatehpur Sikri, 35 kms from Agra, the capital city made by Akbar on Arawali hills, however, abondoned by Akbar due to brackish water in that region. In visiting these places we hired a car with a driver. This proved to be very useful for mobility required for visiting various historical sites.


edith fortier
28/01/2005
Stayed at:

I highly recommend the N block Cybercafe at Connaught Place and warn all to make sure that any ride, be it in taxis, cars or risckshaws is "direct and without shopping or emporiums".


diganta konwar
27/01/2005

I went to attend a conference, though it was my third visit to Mumbai. It''s a very nice place with good and friendly people. Best thing of this place is that you will never get lost, cause you ask any person, anywhere in Mumbai, about anything you will get the instant positive reply to that with a smile. Many places to visit, Essel world, Water kingdom, Elephanta caves, beaches, big malls with the theatres, planetarium etc and but for me the one day city tour was the best.


malini roy
26/01/2005
Stayed at:

The two major sights, Ajanta & Ellora caves were a delight. Ask the hotel staff for advice about shopping & eating as they have no ulterior motives (re. commissions) in giving information.


andrew searle
23/01/2005
Stayed at:

We spent two full days visiting the ''must-see'' sights of Jaipur and Amber. Once you are in the historical centre of Jaipur use a rickshaw or walk - the Palace of the Winds, the observatory and the City Palace Museum are all close together. For Amber hire a driver, and if it''s a fine day it is good to finish with a panoramic view over the city from the Tiger Fort. For a major tourist destination, the hassle factor from hawkers, guides etc. is refreshingly low. I don''t like shopping but even I was tempted by the wonderful Rajasthan fabrics. Jaipur is a real centre of craftsmanship - from cloth to inlaid marble - so do your shopping here, rather than in Delhi or Agra.


roxann dalrymple
23/01/2005
Stayed at:

Right next to the Suba is a great jewelry store. The food at Indigo is amazing. One of the best bars I visited in Mumbai was Olives on Thursday nights.


tom & kathleen roberts
18/01/2005
Stayed at:

Agra Fort well worth visit as well as Taj. Tourist (non-Indian) entry fees seem high compared to Indian fees. Rs.250 p.p. for Fort/ 350 for Taj.


rudy ng
16/01/2005
Stayed at:

Andheri and Bandara West would be 2 areas recommended for shopping. You would need to bargain as the offered price is always very high. There is a government sanction Emporium on the right of the hotel entrance (as you exit the main entrace). For business travellers, Suba Palace would be far if your clients are situated in Andheri or Woorley.


abdul majeed qureshi
31/12/2004

Mughal Empire Monuments were worth visiting in Delhi as well as Agra. Pahar Gung market is very interesting. For a very tasty chicken, lamb or goat tandoori meat visit KARIM Restaurant near Nizamuddin tomb in Delhi.


keith beach nillofur beach
30/12/2004
Stayed at:

Since we like to walk it was nice to find that the hotel was close to the Pink City, City Palace, Hawa Mahal, many bazaars and other attractions. We also visited Rambaugh Palace, Statute Center, the Historical Museum and played golf at the Rambaugh Golf Club. Neros Restaurant in downtown Jaipur is highly recommended. The food and service were both very good. We visited Agra Fort as the sun was setting so we had a great view as the city lights came on. When not walking we used person rickshaws, auto rickshaws and taxis. Auto rickshaws seemed to be the best value as long as you negotiated the price before you took off. The hotel or other locals were willing to give us a ball park idea of how much it should cost to get from one location to another.


bruce evans
30/12/2004
Stayed at:

Udaipur is an interesting little city with less hassles than many other places in India. Don''t miss the Monsoon Palace & lunch at the Garden Hotel Restaurant owned by the Taj Group.


ilyas patel
21/12/2004

Very noisy busy town. Lot to see. You need a minimum of one full day if not two to take in the main sites. I would recommend arranging prior to arriving in Jaipur some kind of organised tour of the city. If arriving by train or bus have transportaion arranged prior to arrival otherwise you will have hords of rickshaw drivers offering hotels, city tours etc. Beware of rickshaw/taxi drivers taking you on a tour of the city, as they will tend to take you to shops and stalls where they receive large commision. If buying goods from Jaipur such as jewellry try to always buy from goverment approved shops where prices are fixed and quality is good.


rochana lowton
18/12/2004

I did a prilgrimage tour, first shopping in Mumbai, train journey to Varanasi, then by road to Chanderwar, Gorakpur, Lucknow, Kaunpur, Agra, Jaipur, Brindavin, Rishikesh & Delhi. Some hotels were good with catering with hotwater and heating in the room, most were not. Nearly all hotels only providing minimum bedding even the temperature was below 4 degrees at night.


suresh shandilya
07/12/2004

Jaipur in India is a place worth visiting if you are on a tour to Rajasthan. Amber fort, City Palace, Museum and Hawa Mahal are a few places to mention. There are many good eating places for Indian cuisine like L.M.B., Nataraj, Chokhi Dhani. I would like to advise all foreign visitors to have their tour organised by good tourist company.


marilyne garneau
21/11/2004
Stayed at:

A little tip for those who think about hiring a driver to go to Rajasthan (or elsewhere) from Delhi. We hired a driver (through Akshat Tours & Travels) for 26 days and we had a wonderful time (no problems at all, except for a flat tire once). Before we left, we made it very clear -and had written in our contract- that we wanted a very flexible itinerary and that we would choose our own hotels and our own restaurants during the whole journey. If you don''t want to get frustrated, this is probably the best thing to do. We have met many travellers in Rajasthan who had also hired a private driver through various agencies, but with a package tour formula: they could not choose their hotels (and often felt they did not get what they had paid for), they were taken to shops and factories where they did not want to go and most of all, they could not change their itinerary. Many of them were really frustrated, so better know before you leave...


donna miles
20/11/2004
Stayed at:

Alibaba Klaypot restaurant across from the hotel was very good, reasonable price, although the beer was expensive.


michelle bennett
29/10/2004

My suggestion is to NOT go to Old Delhi between the hours of 8 - 11 am and 5 - 7pm. I tried to get up to the mosque for a sunset - well traffic was a standstill and the mosque closes prior to sunset for prayer...get the right info and do some research - this will save precious time and save frustration - listen to the drivers - they sometimes do know best...however much we try to think otherwise.


prasanna rao
28/10/2004

We did a lot of shopping in a one stop shop called Panneri in Andheri. If you are the fan of Indian dresses and you have a wife who likes plastic money then you will find the designs & prices of Indian dresses at exceptional value in Mumbai. Mumbai is a place to eat a lot of different kinds of food, we found that eating outside of Le Meridian was value for money. If you have limited time avoid going south to the heart of Mumbai as the traffic is a pain anytime of day. If you have a connection flight to catch and need a place to spend the night or evening in a relaxed atmosphere then Le Meridian is the place to be.


sonia bubar
25/10/2004
Stayed at:

Visit Prince of Wales museum. I ate in 3 very good restaurants : Khyber, Mahesh Lunch Home, and Status. Found Bombay to be very interesting, but shop alone. If a tour guide takes you to a shop, you may be paying up to 30% more. Take time to shop before you buy big ticket items like carpets and jewelry.


marc biefnot
24/10/2004
Stayed at:

We had a great time in India around the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur). We travelled by train, which was fine in sleeper class (upgrade possible on the train!) and by tuk-tuk within the city (know your fare and stick to your destination, as drivers can be quite cunning). When the Metro is finished, Bajaj will be very near a line. A good place for food in Delhi is the Embassy restaurant on Connaught.


kevin sweeney
16/10/2004
Stayed at:

The Ellora and Ajanta caves are a site to behold. The history, detail, and labor that went into creating them is amazing. After seeing these caves I believe many travellers would recognize that they leave a lasting impression, similar to the Taj Mahal. On the Ellora caves, make sure to venture into the hill side above the caves. You''ll find numerous caves that are not on the official tour gide, with streams of clear water running thru them. Incredible.


glenn williams
09/10/2004
Stayed at:

We visited Gandhi''s memorial and Emperor Humayun''s Tomb (the very, very impressive predecessor to the Taj Mahal) in New Delhi, then hired a vehicle for a one-day round trip tour to the Taj Mahal in Agra (it''s well worth the trip, but if I had to do it over again I would overnight in Agra to really soak up the splendor of the Taj). Our most unusual experience was riding a camel-drawn cart from the parking lot of the Taj to the main entrance. I''m glad I wasn''t sitting near the camel''s backside because it sure was stinky. We flew to Madras (Chennai), where we toured a silk farm, then shopped at several stores specializing in silk clothing. We ended our stay in southern India by visiting friends in Vellore and Tiruvannamalai. Something I didn''t expect to see was a monkey walking unattended (or otherwise) through a hotel lobby. And no, the monkey wasn''t checking in, I think he was checking things out. Nobody seemed alarmed, and nobody said anything; I guess that''s just the way it is in India --- wonderful, exotic India!


christiane & uma benedict buchet
29/09/2004

Visited Mirik near Darjeeling, specially the Kagyu Monastery of the late Bokar Rinpoche and stayed at the Jagjeet Hotel. Staff was friendly, did everything possible to make stay pleasant.


timothy farrell
25/09/2004
Stayed at:

Mt. Abu is a good place for travellers to relax and escape the Rajasthan heat. The Jain temples are quite wonderful. Also visit Jaipur House for a great meal and view.


peter brann
17/09/2004
Stayed at:

YOU ARE ABLE TO BOOK A PRIVATE TAXI FROM THE HOTEL WHICH IS VERY REASONABLE WHO WILL TAKE TO WHERE EVER YOU WANT TO GO (PLUS A FEW OTHER PLACES*)HE WILL WAIT FOR YOU WHILE YOU ARE SHOPPING OR WHATEVER. BOOKED A TOUR TO TAJ MAHAL THRU TOUR DESK AT HOTEL AND IT WAS VERY GOOD-TRANSPORT IN 4WD-VERY PROFESSIONAL/FRIENDLY. *CRAFT/HANDICRAFT SHOPS


denise flynn
16/09/2004

Beware the prepaid taxis! We got one from the train station to the hotel and the driver offered to collect us the next morning, bring us on a tour of the sights - including an English Speaking guide - and return us to the hotel and ultimately to the train station at which point we would pay the agreed fee of Ruppees 650! Unfortunately though we couldn''t understand the guide and really he used us as an opportunity to learn English! When collected to be brought back to the train station the guide met us in our hotel demanding we pay him for his services as a guide and demanding we visit more shops with him so that he could earn commission on the sales! Only after this, and subsequently meeting the driver did we cop that the job was a nixer and so we had major hassle trying to escape from both the guide and the driver!


andré wiederhold
01/09/2004

I was a bit disappointed of Elefanta Island. Wonder if it has deserved its status as World Heritage Place. The place is really dirty and seems to be more a picnic place for Indians. However the monkeys were cute and the boat ride is interesting and gives good photo shooting opportunities of the India Gate and Taj Hotel. The water pollution on the way and at the shore of Elefanta Island is incredible.


andré wiederhold
29/08/2004

Recommend to go to Sheratons Bukhara restaurant, with fabulous central asian and indian bbq food. You can even ask to go into the grill room and they give you a cook hat, so take your fotos! Bill Clinton was also dining in this restaurant.


naomi franklin
18/08/2004

Do not go to Delhi in the summer! Go up to the mountains. Big mistake. The weather never cools down even at night. It is very polluted. Be prepared for scammers at every turn. In our first three days we fell for a number of scams, including people at the railway station pretending to be government officials with forged ID. Everyone wants your money at every turn, it really was truly exhausting. One good restaurant in Delhi restaurant for Hotel Ajanta in Paharanj.


carol luly
28/07/2004

The texiles of India are amazing, even if, as a foreigner, you would never wear a sari. They are wonderful decorating accents to take home and use creatively. A good place to find them and other things is the Central Cottage Industries Emporium but it is nearly impossible to get there if you are using street transportation--everyone takes you to the place with a similar sounding name where they earn a commission just for dropping you there.<br> <br> On this trip, I wanted a guided city tour so I used the hotel''s travel service for safety and convenience. I booked an aircon car, driver and guide for a reasonable price and we spent a couple of hours driving by to look at a few sights.In spite of paying for the tour, I ended up at an expensive, well-mannered but high-pressure shop selling carpets and jewelry. After getting his commission, the guide left and the driver took me around to a few other places that I wanted to visit. When booking tours, it probably makes sense to specify up front that you do not want to go to such places, then be prepared to be insistent and refuse to get out of the car if taken to such places.<br> <br> The Central Cottage Industries Emporium is a good place to shop if you don''t have much time or you want to learn about quality and prices before heading out to places where bargaining is done. The State Emporium was rather disappointing but would have been OK if I had been wanting a specific thing that they had in quantity.


walter buehrer
25/07/2004

The Museum of Western India (former Prince of Wales Museum) is always a wonderful experience. Especially its collection of miniature paintings is worth seeing.


marie normoyle
04/07/2004
Stayed at:

I took a tour from Mumbai to Kathmandu with a company called the Imaginative Traveller which was absolutely brilliant. The guides were excellent and it was brilliant value for money. I would advise anyone travelling to India for the first time not to start their trip in Mumbai. The trip from the airport was shocking- nothing but slums coupled with terrible smells, loads of stray dogs etc. Delhi would be much less intimidating.


usman malik
02/07/2004

For shoppers a must stop is the Govt. owned Cottage Emporium about a 10 min walk from the hotel and showcasing Handicrafts from all over India. The prices are a little more expensive than the smaller privately owned shops lining Janpath Street(provided you are good at haggling at the smaller shops) but the quality is guaranteed so you are assured of not being taken for a ride.<br> <br> A nice not too expensive restaurants is the Standard Cafe located on the first floor adjacent to the Regal Cinema 5 min walk from the Hotel. Try their Tandoori Platter! Taxis and Auto Rickshaws are easily available from outside the Hotel, but try to get an idea of the fare (to your intended destination) from the Hotel so you can negotiate effectively.


jeffrey leman
13/06/2004

A couple of great restaurants nearby are Spice Route in the hotel Imperial, and the Blue Elephant at the top of the Intercontinental. Also just south of Delhi is a great Muslim restaurant, Karims...An absolute must!!


kim benjamin-stowe
24/05/2004
Stayed at:

If you want to visit Agra to see the Taj Mahal it is worth booking with India Tourism or arranging to hire a car with other parties. Many companies offer tours to Agra which is rather expensive.


gildas potin
20/05/2004

With the hotel, we rented a taxi to visit differents historic sites in Delhi. After, we travel alone, by our-self. It''s very pleasant to go to Varanasi. The Alka hotel (it seems, it''s not on your list), is a very good hotel, with view on the gange! I recommend it! Visit Sarnath, close to Varanasi! We had the lonely planet and the guide du routard, which give very good address of restaurants and hotel! We stay after one night at the Clark''s hotel at varanasi and one night before to go back to France, at the Imperial hotel at Delhi! of course, the price are not compare to Ajanta hotel!


keith heston
09/05/2004
Stayed at:

The Mysore palace is well worth the trip, but you have to check your camera once inside the gates, so leave it behind. The sellers in front of the palace are some of the most agressive I''ve seen in India, and will swarm you with postcards and hand-carved boxes as you walk to and from the palace (and they get really bad if you buy something, with others literally running from their stalls to try to sell you something else). Haggling is worth your while, since they cut their prices from a start of 950 rupees for one box to 3 boxes for 500 rupees, which is quite a good deal.


stephen taylor
14/04/2004

Delhi - interesting but frustrating city. Old Delhi worth a visit if you have the energy! Worth taking a rickshaw around the bazaars there. Beware of touts at all tourist sites. Some are good and worth the money many are worthless. The one we had at the Taj Mahal was not very good at all. The one we had at Fatehpur Sikri was very good. Worth the money. Don''t hire one until you have listened to them for 5 mins or so and know if they know their stuff. The guide at the National Museum in Delhi was very good and would not accept any money for his tour. Good Indian restaurant in Sheraton Hotel. Go to Agra by train. The 6.30am express executive class is great, a big surprise with breakfast and a newspaper.


tommy malmberg
08/04/2004
Stayed at:

The owners run tourist business as well, so they could make taloir made trips round India at very reasonable prices. We have travelled by car provided by hotel to Agra anf Keoladeo National park, which worse seeing especially before March, so driver was at our disposal for 3 days and it was not expensive. There is a very good Indian restaurant round the conour from the hotel, recommended by the owners.


kalai pillay
29/02/2004

The Taj Mahal is absolutely worth the trip to Agra. If the major cities of Rajasthan (Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur) are also in your itinerary, you can skip the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Make sure you are at the Taj as early as possible.


ruby ashton
24/02/2004
Stayed at: Nanu Resort Goa

Rear gate onto quiet beach. Very few beach sellers and none aggressive. Free sunloungers from beach restaurants. Bicycle hire outside gate - also plenty of cheap taxis with charming drivers. No other hotels nearby but plenty of beach restaurants. Small village with internet facility. Very friendly local people. Nearest large town Margoa very noisy etc. but also small resort up the beach with plenty of shops, banks etc. Best visit - Spice Plantation - really interesting and very beautiful.


stefan harfich
22/02/2004

What to say about the Taj Mahal? It is of course one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. But don''t forget the other places, like Agra Fort or Sikandra.


bharat patel
20/02/2004
Stayed at:

Good bar/restaurant with music - go to commercial centre ''The Buzz". Luxury hotel for drinks, cocktails, food and grand decor go to Imperial hotel. Good reasonable speed internet cafe two doors down from bajaj and some small shops and eating places within walking distance.


p k agarwal
17/02/2004
Stayed at:

I have been to Varanasi several times before being I am also Hindu from Northern India. I like tamples and Ghats of Holy Ganges. In the Hindu Mythology, it is believed that if some body takes the holy bath in the river ganges, then he washes off his all the evils and makes himself thorough clean mentally.


apu bagchi
08/02/2004

Victoria Memorial, Tagore''s birth place, Eden Garden and marble palace are worth visiting. Oberoi Grand has a good restaurant - Gimlet in the Bar is a must! Taj has got lovely restaurants as well.


michael douglas
31/01/2004

I have been to Mumbai 2 times now and have eaten at a great restaurant called "Something''s Fishy" in the M.I.D.C. area of Chakala. Selection varies from Seafood, Chinese, Indian and more.


shailesh madhu
04/01/2004

Best thing to do is to hire Toyota Qualis (A/C)with driver, these range from approx 1,500 IRS-2000.00 IRS for a day, it is a lot better and comfortable than the local taxis especially if there are up to 9 people in your group! Eating at Macdonalds was the safest for me although you can dine at local joints. There are also many international chain restaurants like Pizza Hut, Subway etc. Shopping is good at a place called fashion street, but barter with the market stall owners, if they ask for 250.00IRS, start your bidding at only 70.00 IRS-120.00 IRS, then start to walk away and they''ll soon chop prices to what you are prepared to pay!!There are plenty of places to see, but your driver should be aware of these and show you the sights appropriately!!


manjinder samra
28/12/2003

The elephant boat ride is worth it to get away from Mumbai for the day and the infamous chowpatty beach is worth a look at night when all the local families come out.


apurba das
20/12/2003

Taj is closed on Friday''s and does not allow video camera''s beyond a certain point. Take disposable show covers from a medical store if possible - the ones they tie on for Rs 10 each is quite unhygienic. In Fatehpur, be sure to see Sikri first if arriving by late noon - it closes at 5 pm. Fatehpur monuments are open longer into the night.


pamela mahon
16/12/2003
Stayed at: Amar Hotel Agra

Agra is not a place for beginners. The whole town seems to be out to get the tourists and if it weren''t for the Taj Mahal I would recommend avoiding it. Our first experience was walking to a restaurant at 10:30pm and being followed constantly by rickshaw drivers who wouldn''t accept that we preferred to walk. When we found the restaurant closed we gave in and took a rickshaw downtown. He refused to stop at a Pizza place we saw saying it was closed when obviously it wasn''t and took us to a restaurant of his choice.<br><br> The prices were so inflated (especially considering that it was a grimy, empty place) that it was ridiculous. We stood up to leave and the owner said "ok we''ll give you a 30% discount". We said forget it and he said how about 50%, but we decided to leave and finally forced the driver to take us back to the pizza place we originally saw which was open. Getting from A to B was always a struggle with drivers who were always ducking into carpet or handicraft places so that we could "just look not buy". The hard sell was so overwhelming and omnipresent that the effect was a desire to buy nothing and to just get the hell out of there.<br><br> The Taj Mahal however is superb, the most beautiful building I have ever seen and probably worth the aggravation of the town.


jorge a. perez ramirez
18/11/2003
Stayed at:

We were lucky enough to run into quite a few excellent people and hotels along the way: Dev Raj Ajmer--tour guide, driver. He took us all over Rajestan to places we didn''t even know to go. His # is: 9829281366 or email him @ devrajajemera2001@yahoo.com and tell him Ellen and Alberto told you about him. In Jaipur we stayed in the Umaid Bahwan. Also excellent place. Very clean, accomdating staff, beautifully painted rooms. The restaurant was not so great, but the hotel itself was fabulous and inexpensive! They have a website--just look it up. In Bikaner we stayed at the Baharan Guest House. This place is WONDERFUL as well. Clean, big rooms, some with TV. The food is to die for! The family that runs the place is just terrific and sooo nice! Email me for the number--I don''t have it handy right now.


amy adams and mali shrinivas
30/09/2003

Agra is a fun filled day that requires patience and adventure when driving on the road to the Taj Mahal! We rode elephants on the way and saw a lot of countryside villages. Also the shopping in Delhi is fabulous!


nigel doran
28/09/2003

Try the Indigo restaurant and bar, just around the corner from the Taj. Need to book. Stylish and happening with great cocktails, food and service.


nicole leering / agnes de ree
18/07/2003
Stayed at:

We took rickshaws all the time. Most people know the area, so it is cheaper and faster to take the rickshaw.


cathrine armour
21/05/2003

I was working, so the connections in the room were very convenient. Restaurants were convenient.


peter emberley
20/05/2003

Travel exclusively with car and driver.


cathrine armour
20/05/2003
Stayed at:

I was working, so the facilities in the room were very convenient ie: internet, phone. Everything was at the hotel and I had no reason to leave for anything.


bernard rousseau
03/05/2003

Lake Palace in Udaipur, excellent hotel.


steve orme
02/05/2003

Once the main sites are visited, little of interest to the ''site'' seeker, although the general atmosphere of the place is truly exciting.


rizwan gohir
26/04/2003
Stayed at:

Basically asked taxi drivers and hotel staff are important source of info.


ron sargent
23/04/2003

Kolkata is much more than all of the bad labels stuck on it. Generally, it is a very typical big Indian city, but it has plenty of character and things to do and is a great hopping-off point for many great East Indian destinations. The restaurant scene is quite good as well.


ron sargent
19/04/2003

Lots of fun to be had wandering around the old bazaars of Old Delhi.


robert callaghan
11/04/2003

Delhi can be a bit of a culture shock for westeners but overall we were determined to give it a try and enjoy ourselves. The Obeoi Maidens Hotel was great but as it was some way outside Delhi we ate out very little in the evenings as this would have meant getting a taxi there and back. <BR><BR> We visited Agra and Jaipur through a tour operator and had a driver with an air conditioned car on an all inclusive package. This was good value and the local hotels were geat; the only dawback was that the drivers would insist on taking us into craft shops which we did no want to do. <BR><BR> Charging foreigners 750 rupees to visit the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort when Indians are charged 20 rupees is extortion of the worst kind. If that happened in the west there would probably be riots. The squalor and begging was very distressing not to mention the touts who pestered us continuously. However, we had a truly enjoyable time and many memorable expeiences.


heike tueselmann
08/04/2003

the hotel is not really central located and you always have to haggle with the riksha-drivers or taxi drivers. Inform yourself in the hotel about the "normal" rates for the wished drive and do not pay more - rather less! Transport itself is even in the night no problem.


stuart barry
06/04/2003

Although not noted as a tourist destination a 2-3 day stay in Mumbai is an interesting experience. This hotel is well placed for a walk to local shops and museums, or there are plenty of cheap taxis outside that will take you on a tour. They are cheaper than the hotel tours and they cover some more interesting areas.


rajesh ramaswamy
21/03/2003

Could not travel much.. but Mumbai is Mumbai. Unique in its own special way.


sam leighton
21/03/2003

Chennai is a busy crowded city, and the hotel is located close to the center of town. Good shopping center close by, and good restaurant connected to the hotel.


tom mullins
13/03/2003
Stayed at:

I have been in India for 3 months and the Ivory Tower was a vacation for me. I will not tell you about places I will visit, but rest assured, this was a good trip.


philomena lin
11/03/2003
Stayed at:

The Indian Restaurant at the Oberoi Hotel is terrific, especially for Tandoori Chicken, the best ever. The Bukhara Restaurant at the Maurya Sheraton is very popular, best to have a reservation if you do not want to wait in line.


david tomaszek
03/03/2003
Stayed at:

A bit far from downtown of Bombay.


nicole fende
26/02/2003
Stayed at:

New Delhi is wonderful. Be sure to visit the Red Fort, Janpath Market, and take a trip to Agra.


yogesh sood
25/02/2003
Stayed at:

Visited New Delhi and Bombay during this trip. Stayed at Park Royal in Delhi and Maratha Sheraton in Bombay. Both are excellent hotels with great service and cleanliness.


kate williamson
25/02/2003
Stayed at:

Juhu is quite a way out of Mumbai so this is not a suitable base if you want to spend time living in the heart of the city. It is however an easy (and interesting!) half hour train ride from Santa Cruz in to town. Taxis are reluctant to drive out here "on the meter" so negotiate hard!


bal rane
24/02/2003
Stayed at:

Been there for work, not sightseeing. The place called Payal opposite the hotel gives excellent veg food.


paul winter
23/02/2003

Get out of Mumbai as quickly as possible! It''s very polluted and expensive by Indian standards. Flew over to Bhavnagar in Gujarat and back to Mumbai from Diu using Indian Airlines and Jet Airlines. Both seemed efficient and friendly. Don''t forget to reconfirm even international flights as over-booking is common. Be prepared for long waits at airports due to vigorous security checks. Allow minimum 2 - 2.5 hours when leaving Mumbai. <BR><BR> Local transport in Gujarat very crowded even by Indian standards, poor roads in many places and private buses only to major destinations - all timetables in Gujarati script. Taxis can be hired for long distance trips - just ask around bus station or taxi stands - haggle for a discount. Palitana Jain temples, Sasan Gir Lion Reserve and former Portugese enclave of Diu worth a visit.


linda weeden
23/02/2003
Stayed at:

Mumbai (Bombay) is a very interesting place with lots to see and do. The hotel is right by the Gateway of India where lots of tours can be taken from. I visited Elephanta caves which is 1 hour away by ferry and really enjoyed but prepare to do some walking up very steep steps and down slopes, oh and watch out for the monkeys who have very canny tactics on how to ambush you for food. <BR><BR> A very busy city full of hustle and lots of noise (especially car horns). A good place to eat which is not far from the hotel is a place called Leopolds, great food and very clean and always busy no matter what time of the day you go. We travelled by taxi which was a good way to get around and not expensive but always ask how much before your journey begins because they don''t always use the meter.


john kalia
20/02/2003

Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Chennai, Northern India by car - recommend jeep type. Jet Airways Delhi to Chennai good service and new aircraft.


naoya koizumi
15/02/2003
Stayed at: The Park Kolkata

Kolkata, exciting city!


sujit maitra
15/02/2003

I took car from the hotel to have Hyderabad city sight seeing. Also went to Film City. Service of the driver was excellent.


gillian cull
06/02/2003

Lots of touts pressure visitors into organised tours or hiring a vehicle and guide. It is perfectly possible to get around yourself but hiring a driver may be less stressful than negotiating with dozens of taxis. <BR><BR> Khan market is excellent for browsing in bookshops and escaping the tourist whirl. Spice Route restaurant in the Imperial Hotel on Janpath is superb.


kohler otto
06/02/2003
Stayed at:

I could find myself about what I had to do in Mumbai. I was there for Indian classical music. The papers were quite shy to give list of concerts. The next times I will seach for places from Switzerland on internet.


barbara s. loeding
01/02/2003
Stayed at: The Park Chennai

Chennai itself is not the greatest destination--go south to Mamalapurum and then on to Pondicherry.


barbara s. loeding
29/01/2003
Stayed at:

Hire a driver for at least one day. If you like the driver, ask him to drive you down to Agra for one day. Don''t go to the shops the driver recommends--they will pay him 30 percent, which is added to your purchase price.


barbara loeding
26/01/2003

Hire a driver (ask at the hotel for the driver named Umed who is married to the American woman) and you''ll like Jaipur more because you will avoid some of the aggressive touts. Also, travel outside Jaipur to the wonderful town of Samode and to the small villages to the north.


barbara loeding
24/01/2003
Stayed at:

Allotted only one day to Mumbai because we wanted to explore outside large cities. Hired a driver from travel agent next door to hotel and visited museum, waterfront, Taj Hotel and Phillips Antiques to get flavor of city.


jeevak parpia
25/12/2002

Jaipur is a great place to visit.


sircar sumit
24/12/2002

We visited Agra, Udaipur, Bombay, Goa, Coimbatore, Ootacamund and Calcutta. Standout hotels were Udai Kothi in Udaipur (fantastic value for money) and The Residency in Coimbatore (as good as five-star hotels in the U.S. Holiday Inn in Ootacamund was a disappointment. It has a fabulous location but they haven''t kept the property in good shape--corridor ceilings were leaking and maintenance was spotty. However, the service was excellent, including arranging for a taxi to take us around town and down to Coimbatore for our flight to Calcutta.


guy peters
06/12/2002
Stayed at: The Park Kolkata

If you like books, Oxford books is right next to the Park Hotel and has a good selection.


elizabeth kinsella
04/12/2002
Stayed at:

Agra was a tale of two cities. Old city dirty, overcrowded, polluted - we''re killing this planet. The other side of the coin, the clean serenity of the Taj and other monuments, Agra Fort etc. An assault on all senses - both good and bad. <BR><BR> If you want to eat - the restaurant at the Howard Park Plaza is excellent & Pizza Hut isn''t bad either as a rest from spices.


richard kinsella,
03/12/2002

Flew to Delhi, did a little sightseeing, moved onto Agra, where we stayed at the Howard Park Plaza, where the staff were excellent and the food too! Onto Ranthambhore, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmerand back to Delhi. We used trains planes and automobiles. I''d recommend the Ajit Bawhan in Jodhpur - super hotel and staff, and the Gorbandh Palace Hotel in Jaisalmer.


shanthikumar pararajasingam
02/12/2002
Stayed at:

I did not do very much in Mumbai....I spent the first day in Mumbai.. had dinner at the renowned Kamats veg restaurant..in Colaba..must say that there is a shop there..Diamond Rose...that sells very good salwar kameeze, a type of indian clothing..


simon manning
20/10/2002
Stayed at:

This hotel offers a shuttle service to and from airports but you need to arrange it in advance.


michael hill
13/10/2002

Mumbai represents the very best and the very worst of India. Chaos, poverty, but wonderful people.


sue milner
23/09/2002

If possible try and get a meter taxi to the airport, it will save you money.


susan milner
22/09/2002
Stayed at:

Taxi and private car touts are in abundance at the train station, negotiate a price for the day and get the driver to take you all over.


mukta das
21/09/2002

Mumbai is definitely an exciting city - but as a female on my own, I didn''t feel very safe going out in the evening.


nicole forrester
21/09/2002

The train near the station is not safe for women at night. If you have to take the train and are foreign you might be most comfortable in first class where it is not crowded.<BR><BR> I recommend going to a restaurant near Indian Gateway called Leopold''s because it serves good food with large portions... western and eastern...


david ku
20/09/2002
Stayed at:

If you are in India for business, other hotel might have better locations. The restaurant isn''t bad at all. The price is, like anyone would expect, really high for Indian standard.


mukta das
20/09/2002

Delhi keeps changing, big buildings go up, roads gets wider, and taxis are getting more comfortable. I still feared for my kidneys riding around in the back of them, but no longer for my life!


hiroko ito
31/08/2002

Train station is only 3 minutes walking distance and convenient, but you should avoid the rush hour. Autos are always in front of the hotel and I had no problem to go anywhere with the meters.


nokman mokhtar
12/08/2002
Stayed at:

Location is good esp. for shopping tourist.


chin chao yang
15/05/2002
Stayed at:

Old ahm is relative dangerous place, too old.


darsan dihal
08/05/2002
Stayed at:

The place visited was very pretty. Taj is the prettiest thing I every seen. The resturant slide your credit card then came to tell you that you have a decline card. One evening I went to this resturant next the hotel. After eating, I tried to pay by credit card. I tried two cards and my companion tried two cards. I was told all four card decline. I told me credit card where I will travelling, so that they would not get alarm when they see all these foreign charges. I have a high credit limit on my cards, so does my companion. But I later learn the Indians tactics, they want cash, Instead of tell me stories, they should ask for cash, I would have pay with cash. The food was delicious and cheap. But playing games is too much.


darsan dihal
07/05/2002

The place was filty, hot and traffice was so hard to get around. In all the best time might be in the cool months. Beware of taxi drivers, auto drivers or anyone on the street. They are out to part you with your money. Beware. Ticket at the train station is a big hassle. Tourist office is of big help, but if you have a problem, they cannot solve it. The lines are hard at the counter. The ticket agent tried to get 100 rupees out of me, by tell me I gave him less. What a bull. I counted infront of him and he tells me it is incorrect. What a sham. Beware. In other words, beware of everyone. I am still awaiting to meet some one in India who is friendly and not want to part with my funds. <br><br>Love to learn the culture and visit some homes. I was planning in giving some family support. But I decline due to my expereince. Beware. Don''t belive what they say. I will definetly go back to India. This time well prepare. Bewarrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeee.


chitrabhanu dasgupta
18/04/2002
Stayed at:

This was our first visit to Singapore as a family and we were quite impressed. The city was clean and had enough points of interest. Getting around was easy - using cabs and public transit and food and shopping were cheap and plentiful.


salahuddin mohd ali
12/04/2002
Stayed at:

One word of caution though, if you want to do shopping at the roadside stalls, beware. Once you start to flash your notes to buy items, you will be swarmed in by beggars, shoe shiners, pedlars offering their wares. They will keep on tagging you and I had to hurry up to my hotel very quickly for a little bit of privacy. Learning my lesson, the next time around I only visited the proper shops. And for India souvenir items, please visit the government sponsored emporium CCIE just opposite the street from Suba Palace. Thay have items at reasonable prices, and the most important part was that you can browse through with privacy.


gerald pepper
12/04/2002
Stayed at:

In my opinion other travellers should avoid a travel agency called "Bridge the World Tours and Travels". Despite the current political situation in Kashmir (especially close to the boarder) they will try to sell you a trip there including accomodation on a boat house. If you really want to go then get advice from your embassy before handing over any money.


tim wood
20/03/2002
Stayed at:

Be wary of taxi drivers. Drivers tend to want to take you to shops you don''t want to go to. Also insist on acting as a guide and then ask for payment for the privelage.


sandy moodley
10/03/2002

We found the taxi drivers to be very untruthful, and basically con-artists waiting to prey on innocent tourists. This hotel was ridiculous for the price paid and the service received, it should be avoided at all costs.


tim sarson
24/02/2002
Stayed at:

Delhi is not so difficult to enjoy as people sometimes make out. Pollution is down on a couple of years ago, the monuments and history are spectacular (but the Red Fort is a little disappointing inside), and there is a big city buzz that''s missing in other nearby towns. Recommendations: - Qutb Minar complex in the Southern suburbs - The massive Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) in Old Delhi - Rodeo Bar on Connaught place for cheap drinks and cocktails - Shoe shining (and ear cleaning!) services on Connaught place. Worth it for the cheap prices and the fascinating sales patter.


kirsty mchugh
07/01/2002
Stayed at:

Be prepared to be stared at if you are a young female with a friend or two - we found walking the market in Delhi at night a nightmare because lots of men began to follow us and we actually had to change directions several times. We took a tour from Delhi to Jaipur and then to Agra. We planned it too quickly as we paid 110 sterling pounds each for the 3 day tour and im sure if you shop around and barter you could save half of that. Agra is a definite must see becuase the Taj Mahal is fantastic - if you have time Jaipur was nice but not necessarily a must - we found 4 days enough time because we got a bit bored of the monuments after 3 days of them and the streets started to seem the same. If I were to visit india again I would want to travel far south and explore the other regions instead.


dharit anjaria
02/01/2002
Stayed at:

No self-driven cars available.


shanthikumar pararajasingam
18/12/2001

Mumbai is a nice place. There are many tourist spots to visit. I would recommend the gateway of india and elephanta island tour as a must for visitors to Bombay. For foreign tourists, the Mahalaxmi and SiddhiVinayaka temples are good ways to see a beautiful Hindu temple and obtain these powerful deities'' blessings. One should definetly visit Juhu Beach by night where the atmosphere is filled with fun and games. The Hare Rama and Hare Krishna temple is also a good place to visit. I got around by taxi very often and never took Auto Rickshaw. Anyway, the auto is never allowed into the city centre. I hired a taxi for about Rs.700 per day where the driver will take you on a tour to places and also recommend the good restaurants and stores where items can be purchased at a good price. I would recommend the restaurant at hotel vihar( nxt. to hotel midland). Sheetal is a good store where all types of clothing can be purchased.


lam le ngoc
02/12/2001
Stayed at:

Situated near the tourist office, don''t hesitate to cross the road and ask for good advises or extra services such as car rental and city tour.


lam le ngoc
30/11/2001
Stayed at:

Almost all the major hotels of Agra are nearby which is convenient as the hotel sole coffee shop does not offer an exciting menu. The Taj Mahal (and the Taj Ganj area) is within walking distance, if you are able to ignore the cyclerickshaws saying hello all the way.


david kirk
22/03/2001

Take a taxi tour of the sights on Mumbia. Ensure taxi A/C with English speaking driver. Retain driver + taxi for whole tour or vist. Daily rate of approx. Rs.1200.


gerald houseman
06/01/2001

IT IS IMPORTANT TO USE TRAVEL AGENT SERVICES WHEN POSSIBLE ANYWHERE IN INDIA. THE UNCERTAINTIES OF TAXI CABS, AUTO RICKSHAWS, AND SO FORTH, ARE FAIRLY GREAT; USE OF HOTEL OR TRAVEL AGENT TRANSPORT FACILITIES IS RECOMMENDED WHEREVER POSSIBLE. BECAUSE WE KNOW THERE CAN BE PROBLEMS WITH THE FOOD IN INDIA, WE TEND TO STICK TO FIVE-STAR HOTELS FOR EATING, EVEN IF WE DO NOT STAY IN THEM. IT WORKS OUT FOR THE BEST. IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO BE DISCERNING ABOUT BOTTLED WATER, WHICH IS SOMETIMES PACKAGED IN UPSETTING (LITERALLY UPSETTING) WAYS. WE HAD A DRIVER FOR MUCH OF THE TIME WE WERE IN INDIA, THOUGH OUR BUDGET DID NOT ALLOW FOR AN AIR-CON CAR. HAD WE HAD SUCH A CAR TO USE, IT WOULD HAVE SAVED US, WE THINK, FROM CHEST CONGESTIONS WE DEVELOPED, ESPECIALLY FROM BOMBAY. WE STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT INDIA IS A WONDERFUL COUNTRY TO VISIT; DO NOT LOOK FOR THE DOWNSIDE BECAUSE IT IS CERTAINLY THERE, BUT THE BEAUTY OF THE COUNTRY, ITS TEMPLES, ITS PALACES, AND INDEED, ITS PEOPLE, IS TRULY OVERWHELMING. WE HOPE TO RETURN TO INDIA AGAIN AND AGAIN.


ian ainsworth
04/01/2001

Recommended restaurants; Niros, Copper Chimney and Chanakya all on MI Road. <br><br> Best tip - hire a taxi for a whole day cost about Ruppees 500. Get the driver to take you to the Amber Fort and Nahar Garh Fort, which has excellent views over Jaipur. Also visit Gaitor on outskirts of the city which houses the excellent marble tombs of the local rulers. If you go on organised tours you'll be taken to lots of expensive tourist shops, so best avoid this.


jacques eijkens
17/12/2000
Stayed at:

far from the center of bombay but close to the airport. taxi is the only way of transport no restaurants i the surrounding. free hotel taxi to airport is perfect.


kenneth barley
22/11/2000
Stayed at:

This was our second visit to Delhi - and may be the last for awhile. The pollution is so strong and the traffic difficult for getting around. Other sites in the country are more amenable. We also stopped by the "Delhi Tourist Bureau" on Connaught Circle - marked on maps and were taken in some very unfortunate ways that leave a bad taste for future trips to India. Why should one have to put up with this kind of behavior in a place that lists itself as an agency of the city? Very discouraging. If India wants to increase the tourist trade they will have to do something to correct that type of operation.


norman lyon
28/10/2000

INDIA would not be INDIA with out its unique way of life. The LONLEY PLANET guide book is invaluble.


alan o'beirne
28/09/2000
Stayed at:

I got around by using the hotel car which was extremely expensive, and the most infuriating thing about it was that the driver would always go on about how much so and so tipped them. They have to learn that the service must be given irespective of a tip.


srinivasan ravindran
20/07/2000

New Delhi most impressive. Lovely, stately buildings, wide streets, red sandstone. Old Delhi chaotic, crowded but interesting. The Red Fort is worth a visit. Qdup Minar quite spectacular. We travelled by A/C car - worth the extra money.


chris lakin
07/01/2000
Stayed at:

A good place for an overnight stay. Quite near to the airport and you can go for a pleasant walk on the beach.


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