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Car hire in India -- Narendra Kumar and hiredriverindia.com

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Mar 26th, 2011, 02:33 PM
  #1
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Car hire in India -- Narendra Kumar and hiredriverindia.com

Hello all,

First of all, I should say that I spent a lot of time reading this forum while planning my trip to India, and the advice I picked up was really helpful!

I wanted to share a recommendation for the car/driver hire service we used --- www.hiredriverindia.com, operated by Narendra Kumar. After much research and making requests for quotes from several established tour operators, I decided to go with Narendra and we could not have been more pleased with the outcome. A few points:

I was looking for just a car with driver, having already made all my hotel bookings on my own. Some tour operators seem to prefer booking an entire package tour for you, but Narendra was happy to oblige with just a car and driver.

Narendra himself is a driver but also has relationships with other drivers to handle additional volume. (His own reputation has grown to the point where it seems you have to book him several months in advance.) The driver he assigned to us was named Mr. Swaroop Singh and he was wonderful. He has 12 years of experience as a professional driver and was just excellent.

The car (Tata Indigo) was clean, in great shape, and very comfortable.

They were very prompt at responding to e-mails and we were able to arrange everything in advance. Narendra even took the time to have tea with us at one of our stops where we happened to be in the same place at the same time, just to make sure we were having a great time.

(Not related to the company, but): We did find it very useful to get an Indian SIM card for our cell phone and buy some minutes so we could get in touch with our driver that way. The card and way more minutes than we needed were only 200 INR.

Hope this is helpful for anyone considering hiring a car with driver in India!
jiramonkey is offline  
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Mar 26th, 2011, 03:12 PM
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Can you tell us a bit more about your India trip? Was it your first trip to India? Where did you go. Was it all with a car and driver or did you mix in some flights and trains?
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 12:13 PM
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Sure! This was my first trip to India. All travel was by car, no flights or trains within India this time. The itinerary was:

New Delhi (2 nights)
Agra (1)
Gwalior (1)
Bharatpur (1)
Jaipur (2)
New Delhi (1)
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for the additional information. That was a fast-paced trip.

Did you feel like you had enough time in each place? Did you feel like you spent too much time in the car? We had our first trip to India in Nov/Dec and spent lots of time in a car.
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Apr 26th, 2011, 07:54 PM
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Yes. I did feel like it was too rushed and we spent too much time in the car. If I were doing it again I would set up shop in Bharatpur and use that as a base for day excursions, and not stay overnight in Agra or Gwalior at all (however, it was convenient to stay in Agra as we went to the Taj first thing in the AM before it got crowded).
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Oct 8th, 2013, 08:13 PM
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I want to add my two cents about Narendra to highly recommend him specifically (and hiring a driver generally), because he really made our trip very memorable. I should add that I am long overdue in posting something. Our trip was a couple of years ago now. I only just recently emailed him some photos that I should have sent him a while back, but I let unrelated personal matters delay me. Exchanging emails with him reminded me that I really wanted to post a review about him.

In any event, Narendra Kumar's contact info is: www.hiredriverindia.com; phone 00919811322567; email [email protected].

My partner originally somehow found him online--possibly here on Fodor's, she can't remember. I've never visited any country or city with a hired driver (it sounds so Upper East Side--which we are NOT), but I HIGHLY recommend seeing India this way and would do it again in India.

As two young women, it made us feel much safer. As some might know, people can be rather forward in India proposing to help or scam you, but as soon as Narendra would appear at our side, people would leave us alone. However, with him by our side, we also got to have exchanges with locals that we wouldn't have otherwise had. Also, it was important to me to throw a little color during Holi (we happened to be in Agra), and Narendra celebrated with us; However, he also kept me from getting in over my head. He also bought us little packets of "less toxic" color/i.e. not the color from the street vendors which he said we shouldn't buy.

We traveled all over the place: Delhi to Agra to Orchha to Khajuraho back to Orcha then a train to Varanasi (sadly we parted ways with Narendra at Orcha) then back to Delhi (then a week in Nepal where we worked with a trekking company there). (Yes, we squeezed in a lot, but we didn't know when we'd get back to India again; No, we didn't really spend enough time in each place, but we knew that when we booked everything and chose to do it whirlwind style nonetheless.)

Narendra was ridiculously kind, joking and laughing with us along the way on our road trips (he nicknamed me Clicky because of my shutter finger); he shared homemade baked goods from his wife and told us about his family; he took us to a quiet garden from which you can see the Taj Mahal off the beaten tourist path; he made arrangements for us to sleep at a hotel for just a few hours when we got sick and had many hours to kill before our long train ride to Varanasi. He was just very thoughtful, attentive and kind.

Narendra made arrangements for another driver to meet us in Varanesi. I have to admit that person was perfunctory and "did his job," but wasn't warm like Narendra. We definitely felt the difference. Again, we were squeezing a lot into a short amount of time, but I can't even remember the name of our driver in Varanasi--there just wasn't a personal connection. Narendra treated us like family or very good friends.

If we ever get to go back to India, I will plan my trip so that we at least see Narendra, but more importantly hopefully get to travel with him again. I would trust him to take me all over the subcontinent if he was willing!
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Dec 8th, 2013, 11:40 AM
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What kind of experience did you have getting the sim card?
Seems like many people describe it as a big hassle, forms, ids,
wait times etc. Trying to decide whether to buy a cheap unlocked phone and sim card for upcoming two month trip in India. Also wondering if the bureaucratic hassle of buying one in India can be avoided by getting one from here one line (onesim.com and other sources. . )
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