Rajasthan/Varanasi, 25 days in March, Opinions??? - India Travel Forum | IndiaMike.com

Rajasthan/Varanasi, 25 days in March, Opinions???

#1 Jan 26th, 2006, 23:31
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  • Guinness is offline
#1
Hello everyone. First time poster, but long time lurker on the boards who has been steadily trying to digest the wealth of information on here! After many months of planning, I have come up with the following 'tentative' itinerary for an upcomming first trip to India...and I was just looking for some feedback.

First some background...I will be travelling with my wife, we are in our late twenties, early thirties, and have travelled pretty extensively before (Africa, China, SE Asia, etc...). Looking at a medium to high budget, but willing to splurge if nescessary. Anyways, here is what I've come up with...

Day 1...Arrive Delhi
Day 2...Delhi
Day 3...Depart Delhi...overnight train to Jaisalmer
Day 4...Arrive Jaisalmer
Day 5...Jaisalmer
Day 6...Jaisalmer
Day 7...Depart Jaisalmer...evening train to Jodhpur
Day 8...Jodhpur
Day 9...Jodhpur
Day 10...Fly to Udaipur
Day 11...Udaipur
Day 12...Udaipur
Day 13...Depart Udaipur...overnight train to Jaipur
Day 14...Arrive Jaipur
Day 15...Jaipur
Day 16...Jaipur
Day 17...Depart Jaipur...morning train to Agra
Day 18...Agra (day trip to Fatehpur Sikri)
Day 19...Depart Agra...overnight train to Varanasi
Day 20...Arrive Varanasi
Day 21...Varanasi
Day 22...Varanasi
Day 23...Fly to Delhi
Day 24...Delhi
Day 25...Flight Home

What do you think? Does this seem realistic, or are we spending too much time 'on the road'? Also, can you suggest anything else that we should consider a 'must see' attraction. What (if anything) could you suggest changing. Any and all opinions would be most welcome and appreciated!!

And again, thank you to everyone who has posted on here for being such a valuable tool in planning this trip...this site is awesome!

Cheers...
#2 Jan 27th, 2006, 05:36
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#2
Guinness

Welcome to Indiamike!!

Interesting journey - I would suggest that you engage a car with driver for the day journey from Jodphur - Udaipur. Visit the Jain Temple at Ranakpur with over 1000 pillars and the Kumblahgarh Fort with 32kms of walls. We found the day to be one of the highlights of our India trip.

Cost - 3500R for an air-conditioned car, booked through our hotel
Time - left Udaipur 7am - arrived Jodphur 5.30pm with ample time to see both spots and an hour for lunch.
#3 Jan 27th, 2006, 06:44
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  • dleeone1 is offline
#3
I made a different itinerary for you. See if it is worth playing with.

Day 1...Arrive Delhi
Day 2...Delhi
Day 3...Depart Delhi...fly to Udaipur Udaivillas (expensive)
Day 4...Udaipur rent car and driver
Day 5...JAISAMAND ISLAND RESORT
Day 6...JAISAMAND ISLAND RESORT (Can be shortened to 1 day)
Day 7...On to Ranakpur
Day 8...Walk to Kumbhalgarh (7 to 9 can be shortened to 2 days)
Day 9...Kumbhalgarh to Jodphur
Day 10...Jodphur
Day 11...4 hours to Jaisalmer
Day 12...Jaisalmer
Day 13...Jaisalmer
Day 14...car to Jodphur fly to Delhi then to Varanasi
Day 15...Varanasi
Day 16...Varanasi
Day 17...Varanasi Fly to Khajuraho
Day 18...Khajuraho
Day 19...car to Orcha
Day 20...Jhansi train to Agra
Day 21...Agra train in evening to Jaipur
Day 22...Jaipur Samode Palace (expensive)
Day 23...Jaipur to Delhi train in the evening
Day 24...Delhi
Day 25...Flight Home


This is a lot less train and the plane will only cost $400 per person using Jetairways a better Indian airline. An unadvertized special is 4 segments for $400 to be used in 90 days.

This is based on your convenience and your medium to high budget.
#4 Jan 27th, 2006, 07:53
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#4
I like your (the first) itinerary - looks like a pretty good pace, seeing lots of things but lots of days where you're not travelling, so you won't get too tired out.
The trains are great too and I wouldn't skip them, part of the fun!
#5 Jan 27th, 2006, 13:02
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#5

reasons for second itinerary

For some of us the farther from the large polluted cities we are the happier our experience. I have thrown in some tranquil places to go. Certainly Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi, parts of Jodphur, and especially Agra are polluted cities. Look for the thread on coughs and pollution.

The original itinerary has more than 50 hours on a train under the best of circumstances, that maybe more train fun than they need. Maybe settling for the 13 hours with itinerary 2 would suffice.

Driver and car can be had in Udaipur for $32 a day including 500km. The advantage of a driver is you get a guide and an interpreter and someone to watch your stuff while your touring. Basically he is a help whenever you need him. Many middle class Indians either fly or use a driver, it is just convenient.
#6 Jan 27th, 2006, 22:23
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  • ononotu is offline
#6
Guinness,

We basically did the same trip as you have planned with a couple of exceptions. We did it over Christmas this year and ours was as follows:

Day 1...Arrive Mumbai
Day 2...Mumbai
Day 3...Fly to Udaipur
Day 4...Udaipur
Day 5...Udaipur
Day 6...Car & driver to Jodhpur with stops at Ranakpur Temples and Kumbhalgarh Ft.
Day 7...Jodhpur
Day 8...Car & driver to Jaisalmer
Day 9...Jaisalmer
Day 10...Jaisalmer
Day 11...Jaislamer then Overnight train to Jaipur
Day 12...Jaipur
Day 13...Jaipur
Day 14...Car & driver to Ranthambore National Park
Day 15...RNP then Car & driver to Agra
Day 16...Agra then overnight train to Varanasi
Day 17...Varanasi
Day 18...Varanasi
Day 19...Varanasi then Fly to Mumbai
Day 20...Mumbai
Day 21...Fly home

I towed around my kids (8&9) and did not believe the pace to be too hectic. Nice overview of Mumbai, Rajastan, Agra and Varanasi.

I would recommend the following based on what you have said.

1) Stay at the best place you can afford at the beginning and end of your trip (in Delhi).
2) Stay at Heritage hotels as much as possible.
3) Try to fit in the Ranakpur Temples and Kumbhalgarh Ft.
4) If you want to try to see a tiger and enjoy wildlife and the outdoors try RNP. Go on a morning jeep ride and skip the afternoon dusty cantor ride.

Have fun!
#7 Jan 27th, 2006, 23:19
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#7

Thanks for your replies...

...now you have all got me considering hiring a car and driver for the journey between Jodhpur and Udaipur (so I can take in the Ranakpur Temples and Kumbhalgarh Fort). Seeing as I hadn't really considered this option before, how difficult is it to find/hire a decent, safe, reputable driver?

In past travels in Malaysia and Malawi I have been treated to some, let's be charitable here, 'interesting' rides...but now that I'm a little older, I'm a little apprehensive about giving road travel a go in India. Also, where should one go to arrange a driver (dleeone1 suggested hotels???), how much should a journey Jodhpur to Udaipur cost?

Oh yeah, one last question...when we are touring on route, do we just leave our bags with the driver while we are walking around??? Obviously we will be keeping all of our important/more expensive stuff on person, but I usually travel with some pretty expensive camera stuff as well...

Anyways, thanks again for all your help...Cheers!
#8 Jan 28th, 2006, 16:21
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#8
For the journey Jodhpur - Udaipur, I'd suggest asking your hotel in Jodphur to give a price for a car (indicate airconditioned if you want it) with a reliable driver. Your hotel will known the local scene and have a reputation to live up to.

As I indicated in my previous post, we did Udaipur-Jodphur and the journey cost us 3500R for an airconditioned car with driver. As the journey took all day, the charge included the driver's overnight in Jodhpur and return journey to Udaipur the next day. Make sure to ask for the fully inclusive charge.

As for leaving your goods with the driver - we always take important documents and valuable items with us but had no concerns about leaving our other goods with our driver. The hotel recommendation also gave us confidence in the honesty of our driver.

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