INDIA - Mountains, Temples & Hill Stations

Hi - just booked on to this trip which will be my second trip to India and as a keen Travel Photographer I'm so excited to have the chance to visit this colourful, mystical region that's been on my list for many years. Anyone else going on this trip?

Hi there, I'm on this trip (8th October departure). It will be my second trip to India as well. Very much looking forward to it. Laura

Hi LauraR - oh, that's a shame, I won't get to meet you as I'm on the 29th Oct trip - booked that date as we will get to see the crazy Diwali Festival on our first day there - I assumed it would put the departure date in the title as it asked when I posted it - will try and add the date to avoid confusion. Hope you enjoy

Hi - just booked on to this trip (29th Oct) which will be my second trip to India and as a keen Travel Photographer I'm so excited to have the chance to visit this colourful, mystical region that's been on my list for many years and the chance to witness the Diwali Festival on our first day will be very exciting if not rather busy busy! Anyone else going on this trip?

Hi Floydhead, being there for the festival sounds great. Hope you have a great trip. Laura

Thanks for the photos DJ :)

I'm booked on this trip leaving London on 8th October. It's my first trip to India and I'm very excited about it. Is anyone else booked on this trip?

Conact LauraR who is above you on the list (also posted on 29/2/2016) - she is on your trip

Hi Floydhead
Me and my wife are also booked on this trip the same date as you.
Also our second trip to India. Had no idea about the Dewali festival. What an added bonus. Looking forward to meeting you soon.

Hi Pinhead - I'll look forward to meeting you, my name is Paul but I'm a massive Floyd fan & friends say that's all my head is full of - hence the tag - curious as to "Pinhead"? What are your names? Look up Amritsar / Dewali on YouTube - its gonna be crazy but as a keen photographer also an amazing photo opportunity as it seems the pilgrims all dress in their traditional attire and look very colourful and smart. I've been once before to Rajasthan & Varanasi and loved it so I'm very excited about seeing the northern area. All the best - Paul

Hi Laura and pnbry, I'm booked on this trip on 8th October. Its my first time to India and somewhere I've been wanting to visit for a long time, so am really looking forward to it. Laura, as this is your second trip, have you any particular advice for a first timer? There's lots of advice on the exodus website but maybe one thing you wished someone had told you before you went?

Hello Paul
My surname is Pinner so I used to get called pinhead at school. My wife is Janet and I'm John, We've already heard all the jokes about the reading books. Like you we have been to Rajasthan and Varanasi, and also like you we're big Pink Floyd fans.
I've looked at a couple of the you tube videos It's going to be a special first night .Can't wait
John

I'm on 8th October departure too. Like Julie, it's my first trip to India so any advice and information most welcome. I'm actually making my own way there so I will see you all in Amritsar!

JulieL - if you've not been to that part of the world before it can be a bit of a culture shock, so many people and total chaos on the roads and in the cities but I loved it. I've travelled all over SE Asia and one bit of advice is that I always take Bimuno TravelAid probiotic tablets, they are not a drug but are designed to increase your stomachs immune system - after 10 years in many countries where you'd expect to perhaps get a jippy tummy I've only ever been ill once whilst many in the groups I've travelled with have lost days through upsets etc. I can't promise they will work for you, maybe they are just a Placebo type effect I don't know but they work for me and at £20 its worth a try

My wife has used probiotics with great success. I would add always use hand sanitiser before you put anything near your mouth

Hi John & Janet - understand how you got your name, kids can be cruel at school my surname is Thwaites so my pals had lots of fun abusing it with untold humorous versions. Glad to hear I will be with some fellow Floyd fans - excellent! I forgot about the advice of a Hand Sanitiser - that is VERY VERY important advice Julie L, even if only handling money or touching a hand rail etc before eating as our delicate western stomachs can't deal with the bugs that the locals have grown immune to.

Thanks for the advice re probiotics Floydhead and also about the hand sanitiser or hand gel as I call it, pinhead. I used it round South America but I still use it here, particularly if I am eating with my hands! Might make me sound a bit faddy I know but I started when we had all those flu scares.
Can I ask what may seem like a daft question? How easy is it to buy stuff over there? I'm just thinking of long sleeved cotton shirts or tunics. Anything I see seems to be made in India and it sounds a bit like coals to Newcastle! Having said this I don't want this to turn into a shopping expedition! I'm just wondering how much to take, I don't want to be overloaded with stuff. Any ideas anyone?

Hi Ginnyhm
You will have no problem buying clothes at great bargain prices, as you mentioned every thing you see back home seems to be made there anyway, and great fun if you like to haggle, but cheap enough anyway if you don't like haggling.
Only problem you might have is how much free time you get for shopping, as its an organised trip and you have to keep to the itinerary, but with everywhere staying open till late you should manage to get a bit of shopping in.

I have to admit I don't remember as it was nearly 10 years ago now, I wouldn't think they'll be many western style clothes on sale outside of the big cities but I would think that at the tourist hotspots there will be T shirts aimed at tourists. Have a great trip - its an incredible country

Hadn't noticed these extra posts. Hello fellow 8 October travellers :) I'll start a new post so that we don't take over Floydhead's thread for the later departure!

Have a great trip on 29 October! I'm off to the 8 October thread...

Can any one give me some advice on pre trip reading and best travel book for this trip please

Hi MaggiB - I have the Micheal Palin DVD (& book) of when he did the BBC "Himalaya" series back in 2004 - on Disc 1 / Episode 2 he covers Amritsa, Macleod Gunj and Shimla and I thought it was a great insight of where we are going. The whole series is excellent and gives you an overview of the culture of that region in general. Re books in general, I always use the Rough Guide series of books or Lonley Planet BUT the problem with India is it such a vast country that the books are 2" thick and actually only small fraction" of the book covers the area we're going to so you end u taking a thick heavy book with limited coverage - it's a shame they haven't divided the country into North, Middle & South and done a book for each area. Are you on the 29th October trip?

Thanks Floydhead, very helpful.
I think you can download just a part of the Lonely Planet guidebook, although I've yet to try.
We are going 8/10 - couldn't do the later date as it clashed with a wedding!

I agree with Floydhead about the Michael Palin DVD being enjoyable - this will be my first visit to India so I'm glad to hear that this DVD gives a pretty good insight into the area we're visiting. I don't know if you've been with Exodus before but i find the tour guides to be both knowledgable and helpful. I've got a copy of Michael Wood's 'the Story of India' from my local library and will dip into relevant parts before going.
I'm on the 8th Oct trip too. Its quickly getting nearer!

Thanks JulieL. I am looking forward and stressing in equal measures - about everything from evisa to what clothes I need.
Never been with Exodus before so it's all new! But exciting!

Thanks JulieL. I am looking forward and stressing in equal measures - about everything from evisa to what clothes I need.
Never been with Exodus before so it's all new! But exciting!

I posted my last comment on the other 8 October thread which Laura started. As she said, maybe we should all migrate there? Thanks for the info on reading and the DVD. I've got my e visa which was quite straightforward but like Maggi I'm wondering about packing, how much, washing stuff en route etc etc.....long sleeve or short sleeve?!!! I've never been to India, travelled with Exodus or done a long trip without my husband so it's all new territory to me too!

I can't find this new thread!

Hi Maggi, I found the thread for 8th Oct on page 2 just a few posts down. Hope that helps

....and you will find it Maggi, I hope!

Thanks ladies

Only just over 2 weeks to go - very excited now! If anyone going would like to meet up at Terminal 4 after Check In to say Hello over a beer or two I will be in The Bridge Pub/Café in Terminal 4. I will be wearing Grey Craghopper Trousers and will have a small Grey Rucksack with a Red Luggage Label attached and I'll be the one with a beer in my hand! Look forward to meeting you all!

hi paul
yes, not long now. We are flying from brum, so wont be able to join you fort a beer at the airport, but sure we can make up for it when we get there. see you soon

Hi John,

Look forward to meeting you and Janet and sharing a few beers with you too - if you find yourselves in departures at T4 search out The Bridge and I'll buy ya a beer!

See you in 2 weeks

Paul

Hi! I'm here already on 8th departure. Currently staying in hotel near dharamsala. Great trip so far.....you won't be disappointed! Julie

Hi to Floyd Head, Pinhead and all on 29th October. I'm Nick, my third India trip (but first on my own) and sounds like the best, especially the first day in Amritsar. Thanks to all for the tips, but especially the beer in T4 after check in. Only exchange rates are a puzzle at present, on other trips we were advised to take dollars, but this time Exodus say it makes no difference, just take sterling. But how much, e.g. for one person?

Hi Nick
We were in India two years ago, and took sterling with us and had no problem changing it. so will doing the same this time.
See you very soon
John & Jan

Hi Nick - good to hear from you - look forward to meeting you in T4 in The Bridge pub. Can't advise re money, that all depends on how much you like your beer, having said that it is a wee bit hard to come by in India although I have a keen nose to search out such beverages - we managed last time! Seriously though, I'm probably going to take £300 although I have an extra week tagged on the end and I would think there are ATM's in Delhi. Can't believe its only a week away - soooooo much still to do before then! See you next week - Paul

Hi - in reply to your queries re money I would guess you will need at least £300 and I think it's pretty easy to change sterling. I just used ATMs but they are unreliable. There are several at the airport when you arrive but you need to put the card in and then immediately pull it out before proceeding. Also keep your wits about you with how many thousand rupees you need, the current rate is between 700 - 750 to £1. Kingfisher beer is pretty easy to find, spirits and wine less so. It's getting cold at night in Shimla so take a down jacket and/or fleece. Have a great trip, I did and we had a great group!

Thanks to all for comments on currency. 10 and 9 years ago I took £500 (in dollars) for two of us, so I reckon my intended £400 for one will more than allow for any subsequent inflation in costs or my appetites. Don't trust ATMs abroad after a couple of bad experiences, but previously found the guides and/or hotels can arrange it with no trouble. Talking of guides, my sister has been on this trip and says the two guides (we get one of them) are the best she has ever experienced. See you in the Bridge, though I'm trying to cut down on the booze a bit! Nick

Hi Nick, your £400 sounds about right, after I Posted I thought maybe £300 is not enough so thought about that figure would be about right. Re the Guide, after reading all the Reviews which mentioned Phillipa and how good she was I phoned Exodus and was told she would be doing our trip which is why I picked this date - hope we have the same good experience, it definitely helps to make a good trip a great trip if you have a good Guide. Look forward to meeting you in The Bridge on Saturday - I will more than likely be wearing a black T shirt and will have a grey Daysack which I will put on the table or next to me if I'm at the Bar (I could always wear a Pink Carnation??? - second thoughts, maybe not!). Bye for now

We had Philippa on our trip and she was great, she knows so much and is very capable. I think you will be having her husband Jeremy on your trip, who is equally good I believe. The trip is very much their own and it is they who make it, I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Final comment. I agree the India Rough Guide or Lonely Planet are too bulky. Maggie B was right, you can
send for individual chapters from Lonely Planet, but I found this too late. So what I've done is print the Wikipedia entries for all the main places we visit (except Agra) and this gives all the info I need - about 60 A4 sheets and at minimal cost. Nick

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