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Author Topic: India  (Read 1034 times)

Calvin Becker

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India
« on: October 13, 2011, 08:05:13 PM »
Hi all

I'm in the process of planning a backpacking trip around India at the end of the year (late November - mid January). This will be my first trip to the subcontinent and I would like to get some botanising done on my travels. I would appreciate any advice from forumists as to what there is to see and where?

Thanks
Calvin
Plant pathologist (in training)
Johannesburg/Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Pascal B

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Re: India
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2011, 09:06:07 PM »
Calvin, to give some suggestions a rough itinerary would be helpful, India is a big country......

Calvin Becker

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Re: India
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2011, 09:13:53 AM »
Hi Pascal

My itinerary will probably be something like:
Fly to Mumbai from South Africa. After spending time in Mumbai, make my way down the west coast to Goa and then inland to Bangalore and possibly a bit further south into Kerala. From there I would make my up/across to Chennai and over to the Andaman Islands from Chennai. Back to the mainland at Chennai and make my way up to Hyderabad then to Kolkata. I would then like to head over to Delhi and see the Taj Mahal and then over in Rajasthan (Jodhpur/Jaipur/Udaipur) and finally back to Mumbai to fly back to South Africa.
Plant pathologist (in training)
Johannesburg/Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Pascal B

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Re: India
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 01:23:16 PM »
Well, personally I would not spend more than 2-3 days in ANY major city in India (noisy, filthy) but I suggest during your way down to Chennai visit some of hillstations in the Western Ghats where the British retreated from the heat of the plains. These higher altitude places have a rich flora (although your are not visiting at the best time of the year as the flora in the south is "monsoon-active"). Most plants in the Western Ghats flower at the end of the pre-monsoon heat or during the monsoon, flowering starting from end March. Hillstations like Mahabaleshwar, Ooty, Munnar etc... Some you have to travel a bit inland but busses are cheap to take and most places have cheap b&b because you are not visiting during the tourist season. If you want you can even hire a taxi for a day, it would cost you between $20-30 but be prepared to haggle. There is a new highway going from north to south more inland which you can take a bus or travel by train and stop at some of the coastal cities and make short trips inland, the Western Ghats are never far away. Calicut would then be the most southerly city to go to and then go to Ooty. I would prefer Indian trains over buses by the way..

Being the most Southerly hillstation on your route you can then travel from Ooty to Chennai and can even take the old railway in the direction of Chennai which goes through stunning landscapes. Any of the national parks in the Western Ghats are worth a visit, most are visible on Google Maps, only some are not accesible to foreigners and need government permits. Andaman & Nicobar Islands I have never been but I can ask a friend of mine at the Singapore Botanic Garden where to go to, she has been there to research Zingiberaceae but as many parts of the Island (and the culture!) are protected I am not sure how easy it is to get around. Kolkota has a decent botanic garden but that is about it, if you have the time to travel a bit further I would suggest to go north to W Bengal and explore the area around Darjeeling in the foothills of the Himalayas. Take the train to Siliguri and then the bus to Darjeeling. Rajasthan I have never been so can't comment on that, it is a dry state so you have to go there for architecture and culture rather than plants. My fieldwork has been concentrated on the Western Ghats and Sikkim/West Bengal, I am not a city person..... ;)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 01:27:31 PM by Pascal B »

Calvin Becker

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Re: India
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2011, 01:01:03 PM »
Thanks very much much for your advice Pascal. Tickets were booked this morning and so the planning can now begin! :)

Any guides on Indian flora that I could get hold of either before I leave or once I arrive?
Plant pathologist (in training)
Johannesburg/Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Pascal B

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Re: India
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2011, 02:25:13 PM »
Pff...., that is a difficult question. Indians are not really great in publishing fieldguides and most states have their own flora's published, none are suitable to bring with you as a backpacker. For the area around Mumbai you can try and get hold of "Flowers of Sahyadri" by Shrikant Ingalhikar (ISBN 0043943894). He also made a second fieldguide but I can't find the little book at the moment. You can also check this website for pictures: http://www.flowersofindia.in/

 


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