|Subject: Re: India|
My husband has written a long travelogue about our trip to India in 1997. We returned to south India in 2000/2001 for eight weeks, but he did not get around to writing this trip up. I would be happy to send it to you if you are interested.
We did not visit Calcutta, but we did spend about 3 weeks in North India travelling around (mostly by train). The best time to visit the northern plains is definitely in winter, from October to about March, I would think. Delhi can be quite cold in January. However, I imagine Calcutta would be less cold. I have no idea what the best time for reduced airline fares is; I would think you should avoid the Christmas holiday season. Indians take their holidays mostly in the summer, so trains and buses would be crowded then.
We had few health problems on either trip, although I did get food poisoning from an ice cream while in Ootacamund. We tended to stick to vegetarian meals on both trips. We ate at people's homes and at local restaurants.
As far as safety goes, I have always felt India is one of the safest countries to travel in. Of course, there are areas in the larger cities that one should avoid, but for the most part, although people will pester you (both for money and to sell you services), particularly in the north, there is very little crime against foreigners. Things may have changed since Sept. 11, but I would doubt it. We have travelled over a good part of the country by train and local bus and have never had a problem with personal safety. India is a wonderful and fascinating country, and the people are for the most part extremely friendly and hospitable.
Ann Widdowson Victoria, BC