3 Months in India, Any Suggestions?

#1

Hello everyone!

I want to DN India for 3 months (or more) and the country is huge so I’m not sure how to start planning this, maybe you guys can help :slight_smile:
My major concern is the internet, from what I’ve read it’s really bad - is that true?
What am I looking for:

  1. Spiritual oriented towns.
  2. Near (or in) some beautiful nature (doesn’t necessarily have to be near a beach)
  3. Decent speed internet. I can deal with unreliable internet that wont work all day long, but I can’t handle really slow internet.
  4. 1 month stay in each town.

What am I NOT looking for:
Big cities like New Delhi.

Time - can be anytime of the year.
Weather - I don’t mind hot weather, but don’t want below 0 weather.

Any suggestions would be highly appreciated, if what I’m looking for is even possible. Thanks! :slight_smile:

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#2

Hi @nahemnahem,
I am a localite and have been working out of India for some time now. Given how vast India is and the huge opportunities that are there for exploring, I try to work out of different places a few times a year. Here are few of the places I would suggest you to go and well as general info.

3 months seems to be a pretty decent amount of time to explore different parts of India. The big concern here would be Internet and the place to live. Usually the internet at hotels or airbnb’s would be a 2 to 4 Mbps line and you would need a 3G/4G connection around to make sure that you are always connected. Expect 4-8Mbps on a 3G/4G line. I always check http://opensignal.com/ before going to a place to make sure that the place has atleast a decent mobile internet coverage before going there. 4-8Mbps works out pretty good for me for working as well as skype. The latency is b/w 50-150ms which is pretty much the best you’ll be able to find. There would be cafe’s with good internet however coworking/remote working is still pretty new in India and it might be hard to find a decent cafe to work out from in most towns.

Coming to weather

There is a huge change is weather when you go from one place to another. You can pretty much go from cyclonic winds and rains in the south to hot and humid along the coast and snows in the north. I think the weather would be a big factor when you choose the place you choose to work out from. Oct to March is usually the best time to visit India, because the summers are brutal and then the monsoons lash the entire country for a few months.

Coming to places to work from

I would suggest 2-4 weeks at a place so that you can explore the place a bit and them move to the next place. There are a lot of different cities/places to explore so you’ll never run out of options if you get bored of a particular place.

Here are the different ones that I know about and the things you can do there:

Pondicherry

This was a french colony long back but has still kept its charm. Probably one of the most chilled out cities in India. It is also home to Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville which are great places to meditate and spend some time. There are also some historical temples and mangrove forests which make up for an interesting day trip. I went there a few weeks back and the internet and the accommodation is pretty decent there too. There is a coworking space which is coming up there which might work out if you want better internet and it was pretty cheap too. Best time to visit: Oct-March (try to avoid the monsoons)

###Pune
This is a pretty historic city, which is also a university town and has great weekend getaways to forts, treks, pristine beaches and adventure activities. It is also home to OSHO ashram and ISKCON temple both of which are great places to meditate and also offer courses in meditation that you can attend. The city is also a great mix of history and cosmopolitan culture. This is a pretty big city so has the obvious benefits of having great places to live and better internet. Best time to go: All year around especially in the monsoons

###Kerala (Kochi, Allepy, Kumarakom)
Kerala is also called God’s own country and rightly so. It is one of the best places to wind down and relax. It is also the ayurvedic capital of India where you can find places to meditate too. Probably one of the best places to visit in India with great backwaters and beaches. Best time to go: Oct - March (Except Dec since it’s monsoon)

###Rishikesh
Also called the yoga capital of the world and is the gateways to the himalayas. There are a lot of ashrams where you can do yoga and there is the International Yoga Festival which happens in march. There are also a lot of smaller places around that you can visit and there are adventure activities too like rafting, bungee jumping, ziplining etc. Best time to go: Year around except June - Sept (Monsoon)

###Dharamshala
Dharamshala is a spiritual dwelling in the north deep in the mountains which hosts a large tibetan community of Buddhists and the residence of the Dalai Lama. You can spend some time here in the buddhist monasteries. There are also places where you can meditate and do yoga. There are a lot of adventure activities like paragliding available here. Best time to go: Year around except June - Sept (Monsoon)

###Other places to consider (don’t have great meditation places though)
Goa - Great beaches
Gujarat - Rann of Kutch, Daman and Diu
Rajasthan- Jaipur, Jodhpur (Great historical places)
Agra- Taj Mahal, Agra Fort
Vrindavan - Holi in March etc
Hill station in South India: Munnar, Ooty, Kodaikanal etc

Also wanted to add a shameless marketing plug here. I have felt that India offers a lot of great experiences and is probably one of the best places in the World that you can explore. We are making a gateway for nomads/freelancers to explore india and experience inner self. However is it very overwhelming and very hard to break into India. We help you manage your place and work, so that you can see what a wonderful place india is without sweating out of the complexities.

Also, since the country usually only gets tourists rather than travelers, a lot of the tourism industry here is based around making a quick buck rather than giving you a complete experience. I am starting a small company with a friend of mine with the goal of providing a great experience only for DN’s. What we are trying to do is to be like a guide and a friend here in India whom you can rely on for everything. We won’t be offering ready-made packages but more like very flexible experiences, where you can choose what you want to do, where you want to live and we take care of everything, from ensuring great internet (under the constraints that are here in India), finding and vetting out long term places to stay to make sure that they are good enough, finding out coworking spaces and cafes and getting better deals there, getting reliable travel and adventure options which don’t cost you a fortune and give you a great experience and also help you get settled in the country.

India is a celebration of all your five senses and we want to make sure that you enjoy it to the fullest.

Do let us know if you have any more questions. I’ll be happy to help you out and do let us know if you are interested in having us organize your trip.

Cheers

9 Likes
#3

Hi!
Wow thank you so much for your reply, I can’t even describe in words how much I appreciate it :slight_smile:
I will definitely look into those places.
Other people also recommended me: Wayanad, Chandigarh and Mysore - can you tell me your opinion please?

I would also like to receive more details about the organize trip you’re offering.

Thanks again!
Yuval.

#4

Karan gave a good summary. I spent 2.5 months in india last year, mostly in Kerala/Goa. Wifi is an issue, but if you are not doing alot of video calls you can get by. South Goa (Talpona beach) is paradise, but places to stay are closed outside of the Nov-Feb busy season. You basically get a mile long beach to yourself; its a bit hard to get to though. All over Goa there are yoga/meditation places, but we were only there the few months of high season, so not sure how many of those are open the rest of the year. Kochi is cool enough, and the backwaters are very cool, but it is very hard to get alcohol in all of Kerala so be warned if that’s your thing. Mysore is somewhere we really didn’t like. There are about 3 square blocks of western style yoga studios in a subarb type area and the palace is nice, but the rest of the city is like any other hectic Indian city and we saw some horrific treatment of half starved supposedly “holy cows” throughout. Also, its very veggie, getting even eggs was difficult there.

One place not on Karan’s list is Hampi. Its well worth checking out, the ruins are amazing and its a big hippy scene. It wasn’t really my thing, but we met people there who visited and just stayed for months they loved it so much. Its very touristy though.

1 Like
#5

Thanks!
I’m not really looking for alcohol and/or parties so that’s not an issue at all.
About Goa - besides the nice beaches are there any other pros to the area? I lived by a beach my whole life so just being by a beach doesn’t really excite me that much… unless it’s an exceptional beach or has other interesting things around :slight_smile:

#6

Pretty much just beach :wink: Talpona is an exceptional beach, and the way busier Palolem/Agonda are nice beaches, but if you aren’t looking for beaches, I would skip goa. You may prefer the hills? I didn’t go to Rishikesh, but my girlfriend spent 2 months there while I went to Nepal, and she said it was amazing for yoga/meditation etc

#7

Yes, I’d prefer mountains and nature :slight_smile: again, unless it’s a heavenly beach haha…
Rishikesh sounds and looks amazing, I will definitely visit there.
Basically I’m looking for places where I can still work online (websites stuff, no video/skype calls) and keep doing spiritual stuff like meditation/yoga.
I don’t really care about coworking places unless they’re my only option to do work online. About meeting DNs and travelers - again not my main interest, but it could be a nice bonus if I meet nice DNs where I’ll be :slight_smile:
From the recommendations here it looks like there are definitely places that would be exactly what I’m looking for, so that makes me happy and excited to visit India!

#8

Hi! have you considered Bangalore. I am from Spain, but I did visit Bangalore many years back and I loved the city. Infact, hoping to go again soon.

1 Like
#9

@nahemnahem
Wayanad: it is a typical south Indian hill station, though a bit secluded. Has a few touristy places (waterfalls, lakes and small treks). Mostly homestays are there in Wayanad and forget about getting a broadband connection. You might be able to get a 3G/4G signal however it might be very spotty.

Chandigarh: It is a regular city in the North. Though it is one of the better ones in terms of cleanliness and is a little well organized. Has a few touristy places like gardens and lakes but nothing much to do other than that. If you had to choose a city to stay in the north, I’ll probably chose Chandigarh

Mysore: This is more like a weekend getaway from Bangalore. Has a nice palace and a zoo and a few gardens. Worth a visit during the dussehra festival for a day or two

Goa: @jdmcwalter is pretty much spot on. South Goa has good beaches and north goa is pretty much where you party. Nothing special with the beaches though.

Kerala: I would really recommend spending some time in Kerala. There are a lot of places you can visit and it pretty much depends on what all you want to experience. Maybe start at Kozhikode then go to Wayanad for a weekend, then go and enjoy a few weeks in Kochi, Kumarakom and Allepy (this is where the backwaters are ) and maybe spend some time in Kollam and visit the beach at Varakala which is really great. And they fly off to the next destination from Thiruvananthapuram. You can include more places or remove a few depending on how you want to do your trip. Most of these places would have good 3G/4G coverage.

Hampi: This is a nice place too. Has some great architectural ruins and probably a good weekend or extended weekend getaway. A few things which I don’t like about hampi though is that it is pretty far from any big city or airport plus it might be a bit hot there all year around. It also mostly has very basic hotels and homestays which might not be ideal for working for extended durations.

Bangalore: I used to love bangalore till a few years back. It was probably one of the best big cities in India with great culture and weather. Sadly urbanization has pretty much killed the city in the past few years and it’ll only get worse in the next few years.

@nahemnahem: for you it looks like a stay in South India for a couple of weeks to a month (Kerala and Pondicherry) and then spending some time in the hills up north in the Himalayas, around Rishikesh and Dharamsala makes sense.

You should be able to work there and spend time meditating or doing other activities too.

Internet situation is manageable in these places with multiple sim cards and wifi hotspots. You can look for cafes or hotels with Internet but usually having a mobile connection as a backup makes sense. The cost for data has come done in the past few months too. You can get 1GB of data for $1 and there is one service provider offering 1GB of data free every day in 4G till 31 March 2017, though getting their SIM cards is a battle in its own.

India is opening up in the past few years and it is possible to work from here however there are a lot of variables in play and the big problem is that even a small miscalculation can ruin your stay here especially when you want to work remotely.

Feel free to ask any more questions that you have about India in general.
(@nahemnahem: just sent you a DM on nomadforum, feel free to reach out to me there)

2 Likes
#10

Thank you everyone for your recommendations!
@karan25991 - I will send you an email!

#11

If you like nature, head for the Himalayas, either in Northwestern India with hill stations like Dharamsala or Manali and also Rishikesh or Northeastern India with Darjeeling. All of these places also have a spiritual side, Rishikesh and Dharamsala much more so than the other 2.

It is hard to beat Srinagar nature wise, but both getting there and getting internet are major problems. Can’t even have 3G via SIM card cause Kashmir is blocked. Maybe in a couple of years the new railway will change things. Similar for Leh and the whole of Ladakh.

Mysore was already mentioned and it’s so much more than just a day or weekend trip from Bangalore. In fact it is a good base for daytrips, e.g. to Bylakuppe, Shravanabelagola, Belur/Halebid or a weekend in the Western Ghats. See this page for more inspiration under Mysore. Mysore itself is also a really nice, walkable and livable Indian city and that’s a rare thing indeed.

Hampi is great but internet is a problem. It’s a spiritual center as well.

For beach cities that have more to offer than just sand and water try Puri and Mamallapuram. Puri is a big spiritual center.

Bodhgaya is the center of the Earth as far as all 3 major schools of Buddhism are concerned.

All these places might get boring after 2 weeks so I would recommend halving your time spent in each place.

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#12

Thanks for the recommendations! Seems like nomading in India could be amazing but has to be planned properly.

#13

I’m American, but the family’s from Calcutta, and I’ve traveled and worked all over India. Welcome! It can definitely be done, but it poses its own set of challenges.

Notes:

Darjeeling was a little touristy for my taste; I’d recommend heading further north into Sikkim, Nepal, or (if you can afford the insane visa fees) Bhutan. NE India is wild and beautiful, but expect it to be a very difficult place to work online Darjeeling was difficult enough last year; wifi’s almost always down, and 3G’s rarely running fast enough for me to push files to a server. It wasn’t a dealbreaker for me because I mostly work with a VPS for a dev server, so I can handle ultra low-bandwidth situations without too much pain, but if you were planning to do a lot of scheduled Skype calls, anywhere in the mountains will be a challenge.

Dharamsala and Manali had much more reliable internet connectivity, and were both beautiful. Dharamsala is the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, and though the Dalai Llama doesn’t do personal appointments for an audience any more, his influence is everywhere. There are English conversation workshops where you exchange stories with refugees, documentary screenings, cooking classes, yoga, meditation; it’s a nice little tourist town, and a good base for trips into the mountains.

If you’re not too allergic to cities, I love Calcutta. Just built an apartment here, so I’m planning to use it as a longer-term base for travels around S. and SE Asia. Calcutta’s a good location if you’re thinking about Darjeeling / Sikkim / Kalimpong in the mountains or the temples along the coast down to Puri or Vizag, and there are regularly cheapo flights to Bangkok or KL when you’re heading out. It’s a major city, so there’s everything from yoga to meditation to Crossfit and MMA classes here.

Contrary to popular advice: I’d avoid Varanasi. Everyone does it, everyone thinks it’s going to be very spiritual and cool, everyone gets ripped off buying hash in those tiny lanes, everyone does the boat ride and sees the burning ghats, everyone dies in the insane heat. Everyone in that city seemed to be razor focused on squeezing as much money as possible from any traveler (Indian or not) they managed to catch there.

If you have Indian friends, get them to get the SIM cards for you. It’s a serious pain otherwise, and 20 minutes will turn into 20 days. You’ll likely want one for your phone, and one for a 4G hotspot. Most major providers have them, and they’re cheap. GIO, Vodafone, and Airtel are the main companies you’ll see for 4G, though there are a ton of other players in the market.

Welcome! Eat a ton of biryani.

Dave.

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#14

Hi Dave, thanks for the awesome advice!
I’ll soon be heading home after 9 months of nomading and will start planning my trip to India :slight_smile:

#15

I lived 8 months in Gangtok in ~2010. It has all that you’re looking for, but it can get very cold and snow in the winter. They had 3G internet even back then, no power outages (at least not in Gangtok town), the tap water was potable and the town was clean. It doesn’t feel like most of the rest of India. There is also a Buddhist monastery in Rumtek (about an hour’s drive). The entire town has views of the Kanchenjunga mountain and the excursions to Nathu La (border with China) and Pelling have breathtaking natural scenery.

#16

I second (or fourth) Rishikesh - it’s a super relaxing place to look around, get some work done, and explore. It’s got lots of cafes, yoga classes galore, beautiful nature - it’s easy enough to rent a moped and explore the surroundings or go hiking. A few cafes have a strong enough connection to do website stuff (like the German bakery).
Also want to suggest Bundi - a tiny, charming town in Rajasthan that may get a little boring if you stay for a month but is a good place to get some work done.
*Wifi was really hit or miss everywhere so I’d suggest hotel shopping for a few days whenever you land in a new location to make sure they have strong enough wifi in the hotel/in cafes around the hotel for you to work before committing to a place longer term. Have fun in India!

#17

Rishikesh has everything you are looking for and, as @whirledover mentioned, has many many cafes suitable for extended laptop work. I’ve been to almost all of the places mentioned in this thread, and Rishikesh fits your criteria significantly better than those others. Get a Jio SIM card for very good & cheap 4G. However, for perfect weather/temperature, Rishikesh is best in March and October/November. Outside of those months may be too hot/cold for your preferences.