Train from Delhi to Ranthambore

Jun 8th, 2006, 06:25 AM
  #1  
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Train from Delhi to Ranthambore

We are trying to decide wheter to take the train from Delhi to Sawai Madhopur for Ranthambore. Our other choice is to fly from Delhi to Jaipur and drive to Ranthambore.
What is the train like on this route. I believe it is called the Golden Temple Mail. How are the toilet facilities? Is the train comfortable? Is it usually on time?
Thanks for any information you can provide.
glsebs is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 09:09 AM
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We took the train from Sawai Modhopur to Delhi. It is also called the Golden Temple Mail train when it heads in that direction. We had a first class private a/c cabin. There were also cabins that seated 4. The seating could be converted to a sleeper and there was a working lock on the door. It was comfortable but the decor was sort of 1950's drab. There were outlets where we could charge our camera batteries and cell phone. The windows were filthy so you really couldn't see out very well. The toilet was reasonably clean - as I recall it dumped right out onto the tracks. The train left Sawai Modhopur pretty much right on time and arrived in Delhi about 6-7 hours later. A meal is included with the price of your ticket for this trip but since we brought our own food, we did not partake.
Craig is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 04:10 PM
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Definitely the train. The drive Jaipur-Rantahmbore is long. The morning train should be prefect for you - departs New Delhi station at 8 Am so if you are staying at a Connaught Place hotel like the Imperial which is 15 mins from the train station it is not even an early AM start. The train gets to Sawai Madhopur at 1 and from there to ranthambore is 45 ins to 1 hour. The train is ususally on time, chances of your Delhi-Jaipur flight being delayed are probably equal and its much easier to predict train traffic in India than road traffic (many highways are 1 lane). Toilets are OK, not great, tho on this journey you can minimize usage. We found it quite comfortable - as I said you go sitting, not sleeping as it is a day train so berths are fine.
hobbes is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 05:24 PM
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Craig:

Why did you bring your own meals? Is the food on the trains suspect? Do you remember how much you paid for the tix?

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 05:55 PM
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We took the train from Sawai to Delhi (came by train from Udaipur). We were in 2nd AC. Big comfortable seats with food trays and foot rests. They reclined, and you didn't even end up with your head in your neighbor's lap! Our windows were mostly clear, so we had a nice view. In this class, you don't get a meal. Sher Bagh had packed us sandwiches and soda, and we had snacks, so we didn't try the train food, but the food and chai vendors come up and down the aisles constantly!

I slept much of the way, spoke with our neighbors, and enjoyed the view. I found it very pleasant.

Bathrooms were not horrid, but of course even the best train toilets are not very nice. I took surgical gloves just for this purpose.

Our train left right on time (about 6:30- 7am, I think) and arrived Delhi pretty much on time as well.
lcuy is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 06:44 PM
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IMO you could do either, but it would depend on your itinerary. If you are going to spend time in Jaipur, which I would recommend, you could fly Delhi to Jaipur, spend 2-3 days in Jaipur and then drive down to Ranthambore. I disagree with Hobbes and find the drive very easy, about 3-4 hours over good roads with some great desert vistas. I have done it several times. (Train ride offers some great views too of course.) At the end of your time in Ranthambore, if you need to be back in Delhi, you could take the train from Ranthambore to Delhi thereby avoiding the need to drive back to Jaipur and fly to Delhi.

If for some reason you are skipping Jaipur entirely, then just take the train right to Ranthambore.

India trains for the most part run on time, and in winter you are generally better off taking trains IMO as fog delays at airports, plus the already overcrowded airport runway situation at Delhi can often lead to flight delays, so if you can minimize the amount you have to fly, this is preferable. Indian trains and train stations are an event in themselves and are part of the overall experience of traveling in India, IMO. The train trip is relatively short as Indian journeys go. First or second class are comfortable, I would go for first class if you can as it is the most comfortable and least crowded, I don't think the cost is more than about US$40 one way, but please double check this as I have not taken the train in some years. I also would have the hotel pack a meal, it is just easier and would be better quality food than you will find on trains (same as anywhere really, even European train food is mostly packaged stuff.) I have to laugh about the toilet comment, have you ever been in a bathroom on Amtrak??!!!


Cicerone is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 01:55 AM
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HT - the train tickets were $30 pp (February 2005). Sher Bagh had prepared a box lunch for us as we had been warned that train food is prepared to Indian tastes i.e. it is hot - I was also concerned about the quality - we were extremely careful about what we ate in India.
Craig is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 05:35 AM
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Thank you to all of you for your suggestions.
We are going to Jaipur after Ranthambore, so we would be doing the drive each way. Our tour agency has us flying to Jaipur from Delhi, driving immediately to Ranthambore for two nights. Then we are driving Ranthambore to Jaipur to stay three nights at the Rajvilas.
I am assuming the first class cars are air conditioned, am I correct?

glsebs is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 05:49 AM
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Our first class car was a/c but we specifically requested first class, a/c. Maybe someone else can chime in on this - doesn't seem to make much sense to have first class, no a/c. You will love Rajvilas.
Craig is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 09:00 AM
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I am even more convinced - take the train Delhi-Sawai Madhopur. I stand by my earlier post - road travel in India is unpredictable at best. It is impossible to predict delays. You will anyway get to see the sights while driving Ranthambore-Jaipur. We did this, Train to Sawai madhipur, our Delhi based car driver met us there, drove to Jaipur, then to Agra then back to Delhi. From Agra the fast train back to Delhi is another option. Trains typically have first a/c and non a/c - go a/c as non ac can be very dusty.
hobbes is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 07:01 PM
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Unless you are flying into Delhi and then immediately flying out for Jaipur I would also overrule your agent on this and take the train to Ranthambore. If you are staying in Delhi, getting out to the airport from downtown Delhi can take quite a while (assuming that is where you are staying, I would highly recco the Imperial if you want a hotel in the same class as the Rajvilas), then adding the time for check-in, security, then the drive to Ranthambore from Jaipur; door to door by train is definitely going to be faster by probably 2 hours if not more. What else does your agent have you doing?
Cicerone is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 05:57 AM
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A huge thank you to all of you who have answered my question and offered advice.
We have decide it makes more sense logistically to take the early morning train from Delhi to Sawai Modhopur and asked the tour agent to reserve the train. I am actually looking forward to experiencing train travel in India as this would be our only train ride.
In fairness to our tour operator, he thought because we had asked to stay in all the upscale hotels such as the Imperial, Vanyavilas, Rajvilas and such that we would not be comfortable on the train and would be unhappy with the toilet situation. While we like to stay in the "best" hotels, we are experienced travelers who have had to use some pretty awful toilets on many trips....not to mention, "going" in the "bush" in Africa.
We are very excited for our trip to India in January and are apprciative to you all for your help.
glsebs is offline  
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