Car and Driver Travel

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Car and Driver Travel

It's not cheap, but having a car and driver to yourself is highly efficient if you're short on time, as distances between points of interest are usually long, and direct trains can sometimes be hard to come by. You can hire a car and driver through your hotel or a recognized travel agent—hiring through your hotel is usually more expensive because the hotel will tack on a finder's fee. A car and driver should cost about Rs. 13 to Rs. 15 per km (½ mile), not including tolls. An extra Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 per day is usually tacked on for overnight trips. If you organize a car directly through the driver, it will be cheaper, but check the vehicle and driver out properly the day before you start.

Expect to spend about Rs. 5,000 for a thorough tour of the region from Delhi to Jaipur in a small air-conditioned car with room for three passengers, or about Rs. 6,500 in an air-conditioned larger vehicle that can carry five passengers. Know that because the driver has to return to his point of origin, you pay the round-trip fare even if you're going one-way.

Road Conditions

Aside from major national highways crossing through Rajasthan, the state highways are not in very good shape, and the going is slow: The Delhi-Jaipur Highway (NH-8) is well paved, but once you're off the highway the roads are full of potholes, and it takes a long time to travel even short distances. When calculating driving time, plan to cover 40 kph-50 kph (25 mph-31 mph) at best. That said, driving is an excellent way to see the Indian countryside and glimpse village life.

Jaipur is a five- to six-hour drive from Delhi on National Highway (NH) 8. This is a congested industrial road with a high accident rate, so prepare for a trying experience.

Road surfaces are rough in and out of Jodhpur, and the going is slow. Don't expect to average more than 40 km (25 miles) per hour. Udaipur is on National Highway 8, one of the better roads, which links Mumbai and Delhi. Again, expect your road speed to top out at 40 kph (25 mph).

A car with driver will cost around Rs. 12 to Rs. 15 per kilometer, or less if you opt out of air-conditioning. Get in touch with your hotel's travel desk or an independent travel agent for car-rental options—the latter is more likely to give you a reasonable rate.

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