Cost of tour in Rajasthan, India

Old Dec 6th, 2005, 07:53 AM
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Cost of tour in Rajasthan, India

Hello from a first time visitor to the forum. My partner and I leave for India very soon on our first ever trip there. We have booked 3 nights in Delhi but then plan to do some travelling. We would like (if possible) to do Amritsar (and the border with Pakistan) and Shimla, but the bulk of our time we would like to devote to Rajasthan. We reckon that we have between 7-9 days to see as much as possible of Rajasthan. We had thought of taking an overnight train to Udaipur and trying to fix it for a driver to meet us there and drive us back towards Delhi - covering Jaipur, Jodhpur, Agra, etc. Does this sound feasible to those with moe experience of these kind of trips in India? Also, if we are using a driver to do this kind of trip can anyone give an idea of how mcuh we should expect to pay (with or without accommodation being also organised)?

Many thanks in advance for your help and advice.

PS. Any other advice for a first-time visitor to India is also very welcome.
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Old Dec 6th, 2005, 04:32 PM
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I really think that four cities -- espacially with one as hard to get to as Udaipur -- in seven or eight days is pushing things a bit, as India can be quite tiring, even at this great time of year. All of your destinations (except Agra) are wonderful, and I'd hate to tell you to leave any of them out, but I really think that you should perhaps give up Udaipur and concentrate on the Jodhpur-Jaipur-Agra section. You could do this quite nicely without the expense of a driver, as the trains to this part of Rajastahan are excellent. We took a night train from Delhi's Nizamuddin Station at around 9 p.m., and arrived in Agra around midnight, spending the night at the Hotel Sheela, which is quite a pleasant hotel, and has one absolutely unique feature that makes it worth far more than the 450 rupees a night we paid: it's fifty metres from the entrance gate to the Taj Mahal. We were up at 5:20, at the ticket office at 5:50, in the monument at 6, and out again by 8 (by which time the crowds had started to arrive in earnest, and all the ambience had started to go out of the place). While there are a few other interesting sights in and around Agra, really, the Taj is all you really NEED to see, and if you can then check out of the Sheela and be on another train to somewhere by mid-morning, you will have used your time very effectively. You would do well to check the Indian Railways website (http://www.indianrail.gov.in) and their accompanying mapsite (http://www.indianrail.gov.in/testmap.html) to plan the next part of your journey -- we ended up staying a day in Agra and catching the night train to Jodhpur, but with your time constraints this would probably not be such a good idea for you. If you happen to do Agra on a Sunday, there's a great train that leaves Agra at 11:20 and gets to Jaipur late afternoon... that would be a fantastic solution; otherwise, the best I can see is one that leaves Agra at around 6 p.m. and gets to Jaipur at around 10 p.m. Maybe this is the time to use your car-and-driver.... to be honest, the less time you spend in Agra, the better.

If you spent one night and two days in Jaipur -- the absolute minimum in this wonderful city -- you could actually catch a rather smart train on the second night which would land you in a unique destination which is really worth a visit -- it's my favourite city in Rajasthan, and probably my favourite city in India. I am speaking of Jaisalmer; the train from Jaipur goes shortly before midnight and arrives at lunch time the next day in Jaisalmer. A couple of nights in Jaislamer is highly recommended (one of which should be used on a camel safari, sleeping in the desert in a tent), and, because the city itself is so compact, you could happily see it all in the afternoon of that first day and the morning of the second day, before you start on your camel safari; following that, you have two options for getting to Jodhpur. If you sleep well on trains (I'm sure you would after the camel safari -- those beasts are NOT made for human legs!!), the best would be the daily train that leaves Jaislamer at 2315, arriving in Jodhpur at 5:15 next morning. Otherwise, you could probably organise your desert trip in time to be back at the station for the 1530 train, which gets you to Jodhpur at 2150, allowing you a night's sleep in a comfortable hotel before you spend two days exploring this city. Then, finally, back to Delhi on another overnight train, and your week-and-a-bit is gone!
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Old Dec 7th, 2005, 02:05 AM
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From Delhi you may take the early morning train to Simla, arriving at about 6pm. there are several good hotels in shimla including the Oberois Cecil & Wildflower Hall, the once residence of Lord Kitchner the commander-in-chief. Viceregal lodge is a must see (closed MondaY?). Naldehra has a 9-hole golf course & very challenging, the hotel next door The Chalet is most beautiful property in our hills.You may now take the bus to Chandigarh & stay overnight before you leave for Amritsar. On the border, occupy the top rung of the stairs on the right, just next to India side gate, the view is great. Visit the Golden Temple & Palki sahib ceremony. Stay O/N at Mrs. Bhandaris guest House,10 The Cantt, old world charm, nice home made meals.Now you may take the o/n train to Bikaner. stay at Gajner Palace, you shall love it. Drive towards Jodhpur or Jaipur depending on availability of time at your disposal. The last destination on your plan could be Agra.
Hope it helps.
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Old Dec 7th, 2005, 03:31 AM
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Too much in too short a time, I think.

Jaisalmer is (was?) wonderful, though I wonder at the idea of a one night camel safari sleeping in TENTS!! How times change.

But it isn't a place on your original list. And to go there is time consuming.

I have only ever travelled in India by public transport and had loads of time to do it. Udaipur is out on a limb somewhat, but if you travel from there by car then you could probably do all the places you mention. But I would drop Jodhpur (though I liked it better than Jaipur) to give yourselves a less frenetic journey.

And if you do have a car, then you could go to a wonderful place that takes a lot of effort to get to otherwise. That's Mt Abu - popular with Indian honeymooners (it has a lake, etc) but the reason for outsiders to go is the unbelievably stunning Jain temples about 5km outside the town.

Happy travels.
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Old Dec 7th, 2005, 05:26 AM
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Thanks to you all for your helpful advice. We'll probably wait until we get to Delhi on Saturday (yes, this saturday! We have left this rather late ...) and check with our hotel travel desk to see if they can put a itinerary together (building on the good advice offered here). Thanks again.
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