With our first month of Asia and Everest Base Camp in the books, we set our sights on the country I have been most anxious about visiting - India. I've heard that it's a love or hate it kind of place and my expectations are tempered enough to land on either side, but without question I am going to go into it with an open mind. Luckily, Jenny has been taking the lead on research and planning for this one. She has been incredibly enthusiastic about India since we started thinking about this trip 4 years ago, and I am grateful that she has taken the reins on navigating this chaotic place. I can tell you what I do know about what we have in store for ourselves this November, although things will most likely turn out quite different once India has chewed us up and spit us back out a few times.
We decided to nearly a full circle around the country, splitting the next 6 weeks about equally between the north and south. First up is Delhi, mainly because it was by far the cheapest flight option coming from Kathmandu. From what I've heard of Delhi it probably isn't the best introduction to the country, but I'm excited to be thrust into a 25 million person city after navigating through small mountain towns for the last month. From Delhi, we will ride a train to Udaipur followed by Jaipur. Udaipur is probably the northern city I am most thrilled to be visiting, known as the Venice of the East. Nepal has been a beautiful place to visit, but very little man-made beauty such as this. The latter half of November will take us to Rishikesh, Agra, Lucknow, and Varanasi, all very different places with something unique to offer. Cramming all of these northern cities in just a month will be challenging, especially with such long travel times in between them. I have some trepidation about the sheer amount of time we will be on board trains, here's to hoping we used to it.
The most difficult part of all this planning was simply narrowing down the spots that were most important to us. We really wanted to visit Manali, Amritsar and Darjeeling, but their out of the way location just made it impractical for us, especially if we were going to cover the whole country in six weeks. I think the route we chose will make our lives a little easier getting around and not spending a third of our time aboard trains. Although, based on how much I love The Darjeeling Limited I very well might love our train time. Anyway, we'll see how much of the plan we stick to and if anything changes come December, I suspect it's going to be one crazy ride.