Sunday, June 10, 2018

Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Trip through Panicker's Travel (2 of 2)

Also read: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Trip through Panicker's Travel (1 of 2)

Agra - Jaipur - Mathura trip starts at 6 am from Panicker's Karol Bagh office. We got up at 4 am and started getting ready. The bus departed Panicker's office sharp at 6 am. After a 2.5 hours drive, there was a breakfast stop over at Hotel Highway Prince. Panicker's had arranged a special breakfast menu for Rs.125 each. We finished our breakfast and departed to Jaipur. We saw Birla Mandir, Jantar Mantar, Maharaja Palace, Museum and Amber Fort in Jaipur. The night stay was arranged in Hotel Red Fox within the city. We reached the hotel by around 6 pm. The buffet dinner at the hotel costed Rs.200 per head. The stay was very good. We went to bed at 8.30 pm, as the next day trip starts at 5 am.

The day 2 of the Agra - Jaipur - Mathura trip started at 5 am sharp. The travellers had a quality 3 hours of sleep during the bus ride to Fatehpur Sikri. We had a stop over at a private venue where Panicker's had arranged the breakfast. They charged Rs. 100 for the breakfast, but had a number of items in the menu. Then, we covered Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Taj Mahal during the day.

The day temperature was very high - mostly 40+ centigrades. Each of us would've had 4+ litres of water every day.

In the evening, we were taken to Mathura, specifically to the Mathura Temple. The places around the Mathura Temple appeared as-if they belonged to the Independence era. There was absolutely no signs of development. We then headed back to Delhi. On the way back to Delhi, we witnessed dust storm on the highway. It lasted for about a minute and then, it started raining. Though the dust storm lasted just for a minute, it looked disastrous. We reached Delhi by 9.45 pm and checked-in to Hotel Sonil. We ordered dinner at the hotel and went to sleep. 

The next day, Delhi sight seeing trip started at 9 am. So, we had enough time to sleep. We reached Panicker's office by 8.45 am. The bus departed at 9 am, sharp. The quality of the Delhi sight seeing bus was somewhat average. They had a super cool luxury bus for the Agra - Jaipur - Mathura trip. We visited Qutab Minar, India Gate, Lotus Temple, Indira Gandhi Memorial,  Parliament House, Gandhi Museum, Rashtrapati Bhawan and Red Fort. The lunch was served in Tamilnadu Tourism Hotel. We wrapped up the day with a visit to Birla Mandir Temple. We were brought back to the Panicker's office by 7 pm. We finished our dinner and slept early. 

On the last day, we woke up a little late, had our breakfast and started packing our luggages. We reached airport by around 1 pm. We finished our lunch at the airport. Our flight was at 4.30 pm. So, we had a lot of time to kill. The kids spent bulk of the time in wandering around and by going up/down the travelators. We reached home by around 8.30 pm and cherished the memories of the trip.

Those 5 days taught me some critical words in Hindi, such as Bhai, Bhayya, Kitna, Udhar, Idhar and Lao. You can simply survive with these words. We had a very enjoyable trip to Delhi, Agra & Jaipur. The kids had more fun than the adults. We are now geared up to make yet another North India trip.

Also read: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Trip through Panicker's Travel (1 of 2)

Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Trip through Panicker's Travel (1 or 2)

For nearly 10 years, I was postponing our  Delhi/Agra trip for the simple reason that I was not proficient in Hindi. Recently, a friend of mine said, she did a Delhi / Agra trip through Panicker travels (not to be confused with the Chennai Paniker Tours and Travels). I started doing some research and found that the reviews were very positive. I had never done a group package tour before, so I wasn't sure if that would work out for our family. I was afraid that we had to wait everywhere for other group members to return back to the bus after the sightseeing. But, my friend assured that Panickers maintain the timing in all the places and it is convenient even for families with kids or elders. That gave me some confidence to proceed with the booking.

I planned a 5 days itinerary - reaching on the 1st day, 3 days of sight seeing and returning back on the 5th day. Some monuments are closed on certain days, so I checked their availability before planning the trip. We chose Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon for our travel. I booked our flight tickets in Indigo Airlines. I went to Panicker Travels office in Prince Plaza, Egmore to book the 3 days sight seeing package and accommodation. They had a 2 days "Jaipur- Agra - Fatehpur Sikri - Mathura (Golden Triangle)" package. This package included an overnight stay at Jaipur. And then, I picked the 1 day Delhi tour package. I also asked Panicker's to arrange the Delhi stay for my entire trip. They helped with that. In finished the planning 2 months in advance.

In the last few years, we had check marked the usual destinations such as Ooty, Kodaikanal, Wayanad, Tanjore, Pondicherry and Coorg. Our May outings are normally with the extended family, which includes 10+ people. The kids in our family were too excited about the trip (actually, about the flight travel!). We got warnings from our friends and family members to cancel the trip - because of the sandstorm in Delhi. However, weather forecast was normal and so, we didn't cancel the trip.

Finally, The D-day came. We boarded the Indigo flight from Chennai Airport at 11 am and reached Delhi by 2.30 pm. We booked Ola Primes from the airport. Our first surprise was the CNG fitted SWIFT Dzires. The trunk space was hogged by the CNG cylinders. There is absolutely no trunk space in those cars. We ended up literally squeezing into the car, with all of our luggages. Our accommodation was arranged in Hotel Karat, Karol Bagh. When we checked-in to the hotel, we were surprised. It appeared like a budget hotel and was not so clean. We were too hungry. So, we headed out to finish our lunch at Hotel Southern, which was nearby. The food at Hotel Southern was very good, also it was very clean. We ended up having all of our meals during Delhi stay in Hotel Southern.

After finishing the lunch, my brother & I went to Panicker Travel's office, which was also in Karol Bagh. We requested them for a hotel change. Initially, they had charged Rs.1.5K for a room. They charged us another Rs.1K to upgrade to Panicker's guest house, which was nearby. I was surprised that they did the hotel change, without making a fuzz about it. We then switched from Hotel Karat to Panicker's Guest House. We spent some time taking rest in the hotel. Then, we had our dinner. We slept early so that we can wake up early the next day.

Also read: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Trip through Panicker's Travel (2 of 2)

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