Public transportation in north India

Dec 5th, 2008, 08:38 AM
  #1  
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Public transportation in north India

I am planning a trip to north India - New Delhi; Naggar, Himachal Pradesh; Manali, Himachal Pradesh; Jaipur; Udaipur; Jaisalmer; Khajuraho; Varanasi; Agra.

Please advise how can I travel between the cities (night trains, night buses)? And how to reserve them?

Thank you
HE3HAlO is offline  
Dec 5th, 2008, 01:55 PM
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My son lives and works up in Dehra Dun and he usually takes the night trains around to other cities.We have done the buses when we went last year to Agra,Jaipur,Delhi,etc. and personally, I prefer the trains as they are more restful and comfortable.

Some of the busier trains need to be reserved ahead of time so be aware of that-ones like Jaipur to Delhi.You can reserve a day or two ahead at the train station or use a travel agent there.
dutyfree is offline  
Dec 5th, 2008, 02:21 PM
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Where can I find trains schedule? I can not figure out if there are some trains between certain cities, if there are night trains, how long it is going to take to get there, how much are fares.
Please advise.

Thank you,
Gala
HE3HAlO is offline  
Dec 5th, 2008, 03:29 PM
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For night trains make sure you book a berth otherwise you will get a seat. There are usually 4 berths per cabin so you will not be alone.

I personally only book first class on trains and rarely take overnights because I cannot sleep well on trains. Some of your destinations may be better reached by flying and then you can sleep in a real bed at night.

I have never taken a bus.

Indian Railways has a website www.indianrail.gov.in/
Jaya is offline  
Dec 5th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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If you send us your proper schedule we might be able to help you.

You're planning a trip to India but it seems you haven't done the most elementary research. I can't help thinking that maybe you should start your planning this way. Get a map. Buy a guide book. Go to Google Search.

Let me say the crucial words again.
Go to Google Search. Make SOME effort.

dogster is offline  
Dec 5th, 2008, 04:11 PM
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go here too

www.seat61.com/India.htm
dogster is offline  
Dec 5th, 2008, 06:12 PM
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Providing your itinerary would be VERY helpful as well as when you plan to be there (winter? summer?).

On further thought I would suggest you not do busses as night. Partly for security and partly because you will not get a minute of sleep on a bus on Indian roads. Driving roads at night is not the safest thing to do. Roads are poorly lit, if at all, and there are vehicles and other things on the road that don't even have lights so road accidents can happen easily.

So if you give us more info on your trip we can better advise you.

Jaya is offline  
Dec 8th, 2008, 11:57 AM
  #8  
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Thank you everyone for help!

Here is my detailed itinerary:

1/17-1/18 – New Delhi
1/18-1/19 – night train(?) Delhi – Jaipur
1/19-1/20 – Jaipur
Then I am a little confused, since I would like to see the most beautiful rural scenes in Rajasthan (road to Ranakpur & Jodhpur). However, I can not figure out is it between Jaipur and Jaisalmer or Jaipur and Udaipur, or Jaisalmer and Udaipur….
Depends on it I would choose my next destination; nevertheless I would like to visit all.
Then something like this:
1/20 – Jaipur ro Jaisalmer via this beautiful road
1/20-1/23 – Jaisalmer, including one night in the desert
1/23-1/24 – night train(?) Jaisalmer - Mt. Abu
1/24 – bus or a taxi Mt. Abu to Udaipur
1/25 - Udaipur and Dungarpur
1/25-1/26 – night flight(?) Udaipur/Dunagarpur - Khajuraho
1/26 – Khajuraho
1/27 – bus(?)Khajuraho - Varanasi
1/27-1/28 – Varanasi
1/29 – flight Varanasi – Agra
1/30 – bus or taxi Agra – New Delhi
1/31 – New Delhi
2/1-2/2 – night train(?) New Delhi – Naggar/Manali, Himachal Pradesh
2/2-2/3 - Naggar/Manali, Himachal Pradesh
2//4 – bus(?)Naggar/Manali, Himachal Pradesh to Amritsar
2//5 – night train(?) or flight Amristar to Ranthambore National Park (or some other park with tigers safari)
2/5-2/8 – wildlife safari
2/9 – train/bus(?) National park to New Delhi
2/10 – flight New Delhi – Katmandu, Nepal

Please give me advise about my plan. I believe I covered the most interesting and beautiful; parts of north India, except Kashmir area.

If you can please advise regarding transportation between the cities above and regarding the safari. I read there are some trips on elephants as well as on the car. I could never find the prices nowhere. I would like to see tigers, leopards, rhino, elephants. Please advise

Thank you,
Gala
HE3HAlO is offline  
Dec 8th, 2008, 05:12 PM
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You need to do some more research and decide which of these places you really want to visit, so that you can spend more time in them. You're spending almost all your time traveling, NOT a good thing to do in India. Have you read the trip reports here? Spent time with a couple of guide books? If you really intend to see all these places in one trip you need to extend the trip. I'm exhausted just looking at this itinerary.

Have you followed up with the web sites already suggested? seat61.com will tell you what Indian train travel is like, and www.indianrail.gov.in will give you the timetables you need. Stay off the buses if at all possible, trains are both more comfortable and safer. Definitely stay off the roads at night. The best way to get from Agra to Delhi is by train.

thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 8th, 2008, 05:38 PM
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This looks like one of the tourist group itineraries. You will go to many places, but hardly remember any of them.

Add what you want to see and do in each place - not just names of cities.

It will help you to know if you really NEED to go to the place and whether or not you are allowing too much or too little time.

You may end of shaving off a place or two this trip. Delhi alone can use up 3 to 4 days.

Change bus/taxi to train for getting between Delhi and Agra. You should take the "Shatabdi Express" train. It's only 2 hours versus 4 to 6 hours by road.

Khajuraho to Varanasi might be better as a flight of 45 minutes versus severa; hours by road.

Add more detail to your itinerary and reply back.
Jaya is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 08:42 AM
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Thursdaysd, Jaya,

Thank you for advises.
Actually I’ve spent a lot of time on the research after I came up with this schedule. I read many forums, feedback from other travelers, travel info, travel books about India.

I am planning to spend almost a month in India. I believe it is enough just for north India. I spent around 2 days in each city. I have a list of items I want to see in each city. I do not think there is a need to present it here. From all attractions I definitely choose these cities.
I did similar trip last year in China. My itinerary works. I can not sit still in one place and spend hours looking on one building.

Nevertheless, I still have questions and please advise me if you can:

1. In some forum I read about the most beautiful rural scenes in Rajasthan (road to Ranakpur & Jodhpur). However, I could not find this road on the map. I am not sure if it is worst to include to my itinerary. Please advise.
2. I would prefer to travel at night, and then I can save on hostels. I believe night trains first or second AC class would be a solution. I still a little confuse about trains schedule – I could not figure the schedule for the certain cities from the websites you’ve sent me. I guess it is my fault, but I did not find these websites user-friendly for me . Many travelers were telling they had reserved the trains right there. However, I am going to a high season and would prefer to reserve at least some thing from home.
3. Also the fares, travelers were telling that trains are not expensive. Nevertheless, websites fares show one ticket @800-900 rupees, which is not that cheep….
4. I could not find any information regarding safaris (tigers, leopards, rhino, and elephants). I’ve sent requests through their websites and did not get any respond. Please advise if you know anything.

Thank you again for your help and advises!

Gala
HE3HAlO is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 09:08 AM
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'Nevertheless, websites fares show one ticket @800-900 rupees, which is not that cheep….'

800.00 INR = USD $16.27

Your missing stretch of road is between Udaipur and Jodhpur.

Beyond this - I'm saying nothing.
dogster is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 09:15 AM
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Last year the road between Agra and Jaipur was one big construction site and horrible! To go from Ramthanbore(sp?)to Delhi we had to take a train to Jaipur and then because the train was late and we missed the connection-a horrible 5 hour bus ride.
Do be careful in India-even though you are booked with tickets you can completely lose the reservation when the first train arrives late(their fault). You would expect them to rebook you but they do not and you have to stand in line and buy a new ticket.They give you back a small fee-think about $10 on a first class ticket.Its ridiculous!
dutyfree is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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"I spent around 2 days in each city." First, if you include transport time, I'm not sure this is true. Second, like dogster, I've said all I'm going to.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 10:11 AM
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Thank you, All!

As I understand I do not need to make any reservations for trains in India and play by ear. If I will miss one of planned attractions, then too bad for me…

In this case please clarify the following if you know:

1. Should I book any hostels or only the first one? And then book one after I will enter to the city?
2. Are night trains that bad, even first class, that I will need to have some rest from them?
3. Would you advise me to take this road to Ranakpur & Jodhpur or I can skip it?
4. If I have a time limit which one should I choose between Mt. Abu and Dungarpur?
5. What would you advise me to choose between Naggar/Manali and Amritsar, if I have limited time?
6. Did anyone visited safaris?

Thank you a lot!
HE3HAlO is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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Yes you need to make reservations or you will be jammed into the cattle car for hours with nowhere to sit. I would not even consider anything less than 2nd class on any train-sleep car on night trains and "club car" during the day. There is a mass of population everyday on the trains so if you don't book on the more popular runs you will not be able to get on.

I don't know how much you have traveled but "budget" and hostel have a different meaning when traveling in India.
dutyfree is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 02:22 PM
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I was going to say something about "budget" travel in India and then hesitated. Since Dutyfree brought it up, I will second what she has said.

You SHOULD know which hostels you will be staying in ahead of time so you have a chance to research them.

First class trains in India are not all that glamorous. It's not like flying first class.

What you haven't said is if you are male or female and if you're travelling solo or with others?

If you are female and travelling solo, I would avoid overnight travel... period.
Jaya is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 02:31 PM
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"If you are female and travelling solo, I would avoid overnight travel... period." I am a solo female traveler, and I rode a number of night trains in India, both AC1 and AC2 classes, with no problems whatsoever. (Ukraine and Siberia, however....) I would absolutely NOT plan to be on the roads at night, though, regardless of sex and number of travellers.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 02:37 PM
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That's just me. I tend to be more conservative with night travel in India. Nothing SHOULD go wrong on a train overnight, but you have to have your wits about you and not leave any valuables exposed where they can be taken if you fall asleep.
Jaya is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 03:04 PM
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Well, on Indian trains all my valuables other than electronics (e.g. passport, ATM card, tickets, etc.) are in my money belt, either on me or under my pillow. My main pack is locked and padlocked to the strap hanging under the bunks. My day bag is locked and in the berth with me. I definitely fall asleep!
thursdaysd is offline  

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