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Delhi, Agra, Jaipur need advice on getting around

Delhi, Agra, Jaipur need advice on getting around

Feb 1st, 2005, 08:32 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Delhi, Agra, Jaipur need advice on getting around

My family and I are taking a 8 day trip through the Golden Triangle. I booked the Imperial hotel in Delhi, Rambagh hotel in Jaipur and Amarvilas in India. Now that I have the hotels squared away - I would like to arrange transportation from one destination to another. Is it easy enough to get a rented car with a driver for a week? Any idea on cost? or could a tour operator arrange the sightseeing and transportation? Thanks!
audiophile35 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 12:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Here are my thoughts:

1. I would not hire a car and driver for the entire trip, as you can do so locally as you need each day. You may not need or want a driver for every day, esp in Agra and Jaipur. Donít know your path, but I assume you are arriving into and flying out of Delhi. I would take the train from Delhi to Agra. You can also hire a driver but personally I am not crazy about the road between the two, and Indian trains are part of the experience of India; either way the trip is about 3 hours. It is an easy and pleasant drive of about 4 hours between Agra and Jaipur, and you can go to Fatephur Sikri on the way. Drivers have no problem being hired for a one-way trip. I would fly between Jaipur and Delhi (about an hour); this would work best if you can time fly out of Jaipur to coincide with your international departure (although you have to switch terminals and they are about 3 miles apart, you can take a taxi). You could also fly between Agra and Delhi, I would only do this if you either go right to Agra when you arrive from the US, or can connect from the Agra flight to your Delhi flight. An excellent Indian carrier is Jetairways, take a look at their website at www.jetairways.com. Indian Air is also acceptable (indian-airlines.nic.in), but I would take Jetairways over Indian Air. There is also a new carrier called Air Deccan, donít know anything about them, but it has received some good reccos on this site, take a look at http://www.airdeccan.net/airdeccan/home.asp. Website for Indian Railway Service is indianrail.gov.in, I find it a bit hard to use. I would make flight reservations soon, your hotel travel desk can usually Your hotel can get tickets for you for any train, let them do the legwork of standing in line, etc. First class is good and inexpensive by US standards, second class has more interesting characters. . . .

2. IMO, you do not need a guide for much of Delhi. The Imperial can arrange a car and driver for you to take you to the sights and wait for you. IMO, it is helpful to have a guide at the Red Fort, the Friday Mosque, and Hanumanís Tomb. You can arrange to do the first two together in a morning as they are in the same area; the guide could then take you to Chandi Chowk and leave you to your shopping and lunch. Hanumanís Tomb could be done in combination with a visit to Ghandiís cremation ground (where you donít really need a guide.) The Imperial can arrange this for you, others on this site may have particular reccos for guides. I have always used the Imperial and always found that they provided good guides, who are informed and donít try to talk you into shopping you are not interested in. In reality, you donít need a guide at Hanumanís Tomb, but it is helpful to get a basic understanding of Mohgul tomb and garden design, as you will see similar designs in tombs all over India, e.g. the Taj Mahal. The rest of Delhi is doable on your own. It is any easy walk from the Imperial down to Janpath and up past the Secretariat buildings to the Presidentís House (gardens open for a few days in February and March). There are several museums in the area around Janpath. It is also an easy walk in the other direction to Connaught Circus, passing the excellent Cottage Industries Emporium on the way, and other good shopping areas. Other places you can see yourself are Indira Ghandiís home, Nehruís home, the Craft Museum, and the Quintab Minar/Hauz Khaus Village. Get a good map of Delhi.

3. In Jaipur, it is helpful to have a guide to the City Palace, which is very large and contains many exhibits and a series of excellent ancient time measuring devices (huge). The Palace of the Winds is nothing but a facade, although you can walk up into it to see the street views, you can include this as part of the City Palace. You need at least a half day for the City Palace. You do not need a guide to the Amber Fort, as there is not a lot preserved to see and there is a small museum which has English signs. You can arrange a car and driver from the Rambaugh, and the driver can help you negotiate for the elephant ride to the top (prices may even be fixed at this point.) A picnic lunch on the ruins on the Amber Fort is a great way to take in the good views from its hilltop location. The rest of Jaipur is doable on your own with a car and driver.

4. In Agra, it is helpful to have a guide to the Fort and very helpful to have a guide for Fathephur Sikri. The hotel can help arrange. You will need a car and driver for Fatephur Sikri as it is about an hour out of town. You can hire a driver on a bicycle rickshaw to get to the Fort (a very fun way to see the city, not sure the guide would be crazy about this part). IMO you do not need a guide to the Taj, as if you understand Moghul tomb design (hence the guide at Hanumanís Tomb) you donít need much explained and can just admire its beauty. Although your location is excellent for seeing the Taj without having to go inside and pay the huge entrance fee for foreigners, do try to see it at sunrise, mid-day and sunset, as it is different at all hours of the day.

5. A mobile phone which will work in India would be very helpful to contact guides and drivers, as you then have some flexibility to meet them at different places or change your schedule. In a place like Jaipur when you might want to wander the shopping areas along the city wall for a few hours, this is great to then call the driver and have him meet you. Most hotels will rent you one, or you can buy one in India, but IMO you are better off buying a tri-band mobile phone in the US and getting international roaming from your carrier. (You can also buy an unlocked phone and get a SIM chip in India; do a search for this.)

Cicerone is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 01:30 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Sorry part of my message was missing. With regard to air travel within India, you can usually make a reservation via the web and even pay by credit card via the web, and the travel desk at your hotel can issue tickets. The airline may also be willing to mail tickets to your home, or have them delivered to you at your hotel.
Cicerone is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 05:40 AM
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Cicerone - Thank you! your post was very useful as I finish making my plans.
audiophile35 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 01:35 PM
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We did a similar trip in Dec/Jan 2003 and hired a driver the whole time. The trip to Jaipur is very long, I think the flights are a great suggestion. We flew JetAirways to/from Goa and they were a good airline.
We worked with Neeraj Srivastava at Rajasthan Tours, his office is located in the Rambagh Palace. He could definitely help you with drivers/tours locally in Jaipur as well as your other destinations. He arranged a great driver for us, Bana Singh. We were with Bana for an entire week and he was great.
I definitely recommend a stop at Fathephur Sikri and Agra Fort.
We enjoyed having a guide at the Taj. Our guide took us over to a gate that was less crowded and we barely waited in line to get into the Taj on New Years Day (it was packed).
adc123 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 04:18 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 142
Just a note to say that a guide at the Taj can be helpful in that they know the best spots to stand for the very best pics and if this is a once in a lifetime, then it is worth it.
Fenno is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 10:13 PM
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adc123 & Fenno. Thank you both for your suggestions. We will take a flight to Jaipur. I think that is smart! Also will get guides in Agra & Jaipur
audiophile35 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 10:56 PM
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Get in touch with a good local travel agent with the expertise, resources and experience to handle local travel services.

Your hotel can also arrange these through their own tour desks/conceirge.

My suggestion would be to hire a good experienced local guide with whatever pvt car rental you organise to save you trouble with directions and local culture, history & other related details.

For the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur triangle tmy suggestion would be -

DELHI - pvt car with driver plus guide for all local tours & sight-seeing.

DELHI-AGRA - Can try the train if you wish to brave the local atmosphere. Otherwise get a one way car transfer with guide for full day with drop off at your hotel in Agra.

Agra - your hotel in Agra can arrange a pvt car with guide for all local tours plus a one way transfer to Jaipur with sight-seeing included enroute.

Jaipur - arrange the travel services locally with your hotel in Jaipur.

Jaipur-Delhi: suggest to take a flight as surface travel can be tiring & fairly long.

rickshawdriver is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2005, 09:27 PM
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Thank you for your advice rickshaw driver.
audiophile35 is offline  

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