Travel from Gujurat to Jaisalmer

#1 Jan 28th, 2005, 13:29
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  • Noz is offline
#1
Hi peeps,

Can anyone tell me if I could travel to Jaisalmer from Gujurat without going through Jodhpur? As I would like to travel to Jaisalmer first and then back to Jodhpur, Jaipur and Udaipur and onto Delhi, it would be great to find a more direct route to Jaisalmer than through Jodhpur. I will be visiting Bhuj, Mandvi and Ahmedabad in Gujurat at the beginning of March.

Thanks Noz
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#2 Jan 28th, 2005, 13:37
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  • steven_ber is offline
#2
How adventurous are you?

Are long journeys in 2nd class unreserved train carriages an option?

Are you happy being the only tourist in remote areas?
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#3 Jan 31st, 2005, 10:43
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  • Noz is offline
#3

Women in Gujurat travelling alone

Hi Steve,

Well the answer is pretty independent and willing to go alone however since I posted my question I have been talking to a woman who recently travelled alone in Gujurat and told that she was really hassled alot. The hassling took the form of a lot of pawing by children and men and also her passport was stolen from the hotel safe so she gave it a really bad write up. I don't want to take one person's bad experiences as a guide but I am now considering looking for a travel partner for Gujurat, maybe on India Mike. I also found out that you can get a train from Bhuj to a town in northern Gujurat (can't remember the name something beginning with p) and then there are two buses - one to Bramer and then one onto Jaisalmer. I guess I could go to Udaipur first and then up to Jodhpur - this would just mean having to the train out to Jaisalmer and then back again going over old ground. What route did you have in mind and have you heard much about women travelling on their own in Gujurat?

Cheers
Noz
#4 Jan 31st, 2005, 11:08
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#4
Hi, Noz!

The only piece of information I have to offer on the "hassling" front is a report I read somewhere on this forum from one woman, who found that when she swapped her western clothes for some traditional Indian gear, the incidence of leering and pawing dropped off dramatically. Worth a thought if you don't find a suitable travelling companion. As for the stolen passport... well, I can't imagine that would have been any different if the woman was one of a party of football players; just bad luck.

Have you looked at the large-scale rail map on http://www.indianrail.gov.in/testmap.html? It shows only one railway line into Jaisalmer.....through Jodhpur. However, there would probably be buses from Samdari or Munabao, if comfort is not too much of a concern. For myself, I'd do the Jodhpur leg twice (maybe once overnight so that you don't have to look at the same scenery twice), and bad luck about the duplication, as the trains are fairly fast and fairly comfortable, and you won't (in 3AC or above, anyway) have six or seven people squashing into your seat with you, as can happen on buses.

Good luck!
#5 Jan 31st, 2005, 13:49
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From Jaisalmer there is (or was, I assume there still is) a bus to Barmer*, then on to Ahmedabad, which is your main junction for either the South or Gujarat. So, yes, it's doable, very much so even. Another time I came via Kota, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Udaipur to Gujarat and again Ahmedabad is your main connection. I hate A'bad by the way, no offense to any residents there, something to do with the traffic and general ambience. So make your connection and move on is my advice. Used to have a good railway restaurant by the way.

(*Come to think of it I got a jeep ride to Barmer but there's supposed to be a bus as well. Jodhpur would be way off anyway. Your "P" connection point might be Palanpur actually which seems to be some sort of junction right in northern Gujarat and has buses to Barmer and into Gujarat.)

As a solo male traveller and later as a couple I got through in that area perfectly. As a single female dress modestly and keep your wits about you as others said and you should be fine I guess (but don't take my word for it please). Gujarat in general is much less touristed so if you have trouble with coping alone and having to amuse yourself (with not a drink in sight, stock up before if you are so inclined) maybe head for another destination. Actually my nightly bus trip from Ahmedabad to Bhuj was something straight out of a David Lynch movie with a couple of psychedelic scenes, nothing very scary though. To expound:

Think massively packed train station at night with everything booked. Running around frantically with several travel agencies trying to catch a bus, in what is as I said a very hectic area to begin with. All "no sir, no maybe later sir, well maybe the next one sir," etc. Return to regular bus station to find some drivers are willing to take you aboard but you gotta really scramble for it as there's quite a queue. Make it onboard with the help of slightly nutty driver and his hunchbacked assistant. Crazy ride upfront of bus through a very dark Hindu Kuch or thereabouts with nothing around for miles to see. Sudden nightly chai and pee stop at some restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Have a few teas and some snacks, people offering arak (booze) in your coffee and not knowing what to make of it. Go outside to find out bus has gone. Told it's gone for a tire repair, hope for the best over the next half hour of waiting. Whole passenger crew staring you up, some of them half drunkenly, with the hunchback and some other crazies and deformed people hopping about and doing their own thing whatever that may be. Of course bus duly returns and after a continued crazy desert ride we get delivered in all due safety right where we wanted to be, with many greetings and tips for getting us on board refused etc.

Sounds like fun to you? It was, really! Great ride. If you have your doubts about it opt for the hotel room at night and the A/C coach in the morning.

Wasn't Bhuj obliterated by the earthquake btw? Has it been rebuilt? It was such a lovely town, very mellow atmosphere too. I don't know what happened to Gujarat after the last years' communal violence though and how it is there now.
#6 Jan 31st, 2005, 15:17
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  • Alan D is offline
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Five or six years ago we took a direct state bus from Jaisalmer to Bhuj. It left Jaisalmer in the afternoon and arrived in Bhuj the next morning just as dawn was breaking.

It was a bit of a marathon journey. As we were the only foreigners on the bus people zeroed in on us and we had quite a few friendly question and answer sessions, which passed the time through the wee small hours. I only remember nodding off to sleep on the the last 50 K's before Bhuj.

I'm a bit surprised to hear that your friend was hassled in Gujarat. We've always seen it as a very hassle free place and we've visited the state three times now and travelled extensively in it. Other travellers we've met (amongst them some solo females) have not mentioned this either. Of course, we're a couple in our sixties so we wouldn't get that kind of attention anyway!
#7 Feb 1st, 2005, 13:07
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EDIT NOTE (December 2005) - The metre gauge track from Gandhidham - Bhildi - Palanpur is now being converted to broad gauge, there will be no trains on this section till the conversion is completed in April 2006.
------------------------------------------------

Bus may be better, but I'll give you the train info and you can decide for yourself.

I've been to Gujarat twice and never got the impression that it would be a difficult place for a woman to travel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noz I also found out that you can get a train from Bhuj to a town in northern Gujurat (can't remember the name something beginning with p)
As suggested by machadinha, the station you're thinking of is Palanpur.

I will list trains in both directions in case anyone else is thinking about travelling in this area.

Trains no longer go to Palanpur from Bhuj, you would need to gat a train or bus to Gandhidham (59 kms).

Bhuj - Gandhidham

Train 112 Bhuj 08:20, Gandhidham 09:45.
Train 4312 Bhuj 11:05, Gandhidham 12:15. (Tu, W, F, Sa.)
Train 9032 Bhuj 18:30, Gandhidham 19:40.
Train 166 Bhuj 19:45, Gandhidham 21:15.
Train 9166 Bhuj 20:30, Gandhidham 21:40.


Train 165 Gandhidham 05:05, Bhuj 06:40.
Train 9115 Gandhidham 07:00, Bhuj 08:15.
Train 9031 Gandhidham 08:35, Bhuj 10:00.
Train 4311 Gandhidham 13:20, Bhuj 14:45. (Tu, Th, F, M.)
Train 111 Gandhidham 14:50, Bhuj 16:25.


Gandhidham - Bhildi/Palanpur

Train 458 departs Gandhidham daily at 23:00 and gets to Bhildi at 06:20, then Palanpur at 08:00. (this train has Sleeper class (SL))

Train 456 departs Gandhidham daily at 07:20 and gets to Bhildi at 15:15, then Palanpur at 16:50. (this train has Sleeper class & First class (not air con)(FC))


Train 455 departs Palanpur daily at 10:00, gets to Bhildi at 11:13, then Gandhidham at 19:40. (FC, SL)

Train 457 departs Palanpur daily at 19:10, gets to Bhildi at 20:20, then Gandhidham at 04:20. (SL)


Palanpur is on the main Ahmedabad - Jaipur/Jodhpur line.


Bhildi/Palanpur - Samdari

There is a metre gauge line from Bhildi to Samdari, I have heard that trains on this line can be busy, these trains have only 2nd class unreserved carriages, (they start in Palanpur and all trains are daily)).

Train 4SP Palanpur 07:05, Bhildi 08:45, Samdari 14:10.
Train 6SP Palanpur 12:30, Bhildi 14:00, Samdari 19:50.
Train 2SP Palanpur 23:00, Bhildi 00:30, Samdari 06:15.

Train 5SP Samdari 22:00, Bhildi 04:30, Palanpur 05:40.
Train 3SP Samdari 12:40, Bhildi 19:30, Palanpur 20:45.
Train 1SP Samdari 03:30, Bhildi 10:15, Palanpur 11:30.


Samdari - Barmer

You can get trains from Samdari to Barmer (going the other way, you can get trains to Jodhpur, Jaipur & Delhi)

Train 4059A Samdari 08:28, Barmer 10:50.
Train 1JB Samdari 10:40, Barmer 13:25.
Train 3JB Samdari 21:05, Barmer 23:55.

Train 2JB Barmer 05:00, Samdari 07:40.
Train 4JB Barmer 14:35, Samdari 17:15.
Train 4060A Barmer 18:00, Samdari 19:58.
Last edited by steven_ber; Dec 15th, 2005 at 05:13..
#8 Feb 2nd, 2005, 19:34
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#8

Thanks for all the help

Hi all and many thanks to you for your very comprehensive replies. I certainly will take some time to go to Gujarat given your helpful suggestions and I am wearing salwar kameez already which does cut down on hassling a great deal. That and a pair of dark sunglasses!

Cheers
Noz

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