Sunday, June 10, 2018

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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