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Going on a medical expedition to the Himalayan range in June. I'll have some time in Delhi and have heard of Varanasi (Benares) before. I have not been to Delhi or Benares before. Has anybody been to Varanasi? Did you do an overnighter? How did you get there from Delhi? Air? Ground?
Any other places I shouldn't miss?
TIA
 

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Stay out of the river!

Definitely hit Agra if you can. The Taj is amazing! It's pretty easy to rent a car with a guide cheaply. I didn't hit Varanasi but I did most of Rajasthan. It's an amazing place!

http://tipiwhenua.com/IndiaAlex/index.html

Here's a bunch of unlabeled photos. If you see something you like let me know and I'll tell you where it was.
 

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Hey Babak,
I was in Delhi a year ago and flew to Varanasi for a few days. If you have any particular questions I may be able to help. While we were there we also visited Sarnath for a few hours.

I have some random photos at http://www.colmgavin.com/gallery/India2005/index.html
On the bottom of the list on the left you can click Varanasi.
No particulars, I have about 8 days in Delhi so I'm looking for something to do and Varanasi popped up. Where did you stay? Would you stay there again? How was the street scene?
 

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Stay out of the river!

Definitely hit Agra if you can. The Taj is amazing! It's pretty easy to rent a car with a guide cheaply. I didn't hit Varanasi but I did most of Rajasthan. It's an amazing place!

http://tipiwhenua.com/IndiaAlex/index.html

Here's a bunch of unlabeled photos. If you see something you like let me know and I'll tell you where it was.
River? No way...


Agra is definitely on the list as is the Red Fort. Sadly it'll be in the midst of the sweltering heat of the summer, but alas...
 

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Don't forget the city with the hotel from Octopussy... (Udaipur I think)

The hotel is surrounded by water on all sides...

 

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No particulars, I have about 8 days in Delhi so I'm looking for something to do and Varanasi popped up. Where did you stay? Would you stay there again? How was the street scene?
The Ganges river and all the ghats that line the edge of it is very picturesque and is worth seeing. However, I'm not sure I can describe the rest of Varanasi using politically correct terms ;) We stayed in a small hotel by the river called "The Ganges View" (http://www.hotelgangesview.com). I remember that it was only about a 5 minute walk to a nice (German?) bakery for breakfast. I would definitely stay there again.

Another thing to consider would be a tour around Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur (although I couldn't afford to stay in the "Octopussy" hotel in the middle of the lake). I found these cities had less hassle and less pollution than Delhi/Agra/Varanasi.

You can do Agra and the Taj Mahal on a day trip from Delhi with an express train. It leaves Delhi in the morning and returns later in the day. If you have the time I would recommend spending the night in Agra so you can see the Taj at sunrise. Very impressive and not crowded. Outside of the Taj and its gardens though, Agra itself isn't worth seeing. Although it does have its own Red Fort.
 

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That hotel looks great, I'll book a couple nights there. How many days would you spend in Varanasi if you went back, more than two nights?
 

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We spent three nights in Varanasi, but I think that was one night too many. Two would be fine. If you just wanted to get there, see the place and then leave, you could do it all with just a one-night stay, but it would probably be a bit rushed.
Sarnath is sort of a suburb of Varanasi, so you could also drop in there for a few hours as well if you are interested in Buddhist things.
 

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Another vote for Udaipur as a must see. The town around it is spectacular as well.
 
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