Rajasthan Itinerary Check 21ish Days October/November

#1 Dec 27th, 2018, 13:52
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  • gpurcell is offline
#1

No flights or firm dates yet; just looking for a reality check on what I've put together so far.  I'm a 49 year old male; first time in India but a fair bit of experience with independent travel in Asia and the Middle East (3 months in south China/Thailand/Laos in late 1990s, 2 weeks Egypt in 2014, 3 weeks northern China 2016).  No real budget constraints but not extravagant.

I've read all the linked itinerary threads in the Rajasthan forum (great resource) and have come up with this:

Day 1: Land Delhi morning, fly to Jaisalmer.

Day 2: Jaisalmer (No camel safari due to allergies.)

Day 3: Jaisalmer

Day 4: Train Jaisalmer to Jodhpur.  Stay Jodhpur (Thinking the 7 AM train since the ON leaves at 1 and gets in at 5:45. )

Day 5: Jodhpur

Day 6: Jodhpur

Day 7: Car and driver, two days to Udaipar.  Stop/stay at Deogarh Palace

Day 8: Car and driver, stop at Ranakpur after noon.  Maybe Kumbhalgarh? Stay Udaipar

Day 9: Udaipar

Day 10: Udaipar

Day 11: Udaipar.  Udaipar to Bundi train, leaves at 6 PM.  (Could also do car and driver and stop at Chittogarh?)  Stay Bundi

Day 12: Bundi

Day 13: Car and driver (?) to Jhalawar.  Gagron Fort/Chandrabhaga Temples.  Stay Prithvi Villas (Extend a day if fair going on?)

Day 14: Train Ranthanbore.  Stay Ranthanbore.  Maybe evening safari depending on timing.

Day 15: Ranthanbore.

Day 16: Morning safari, Train to Jaipur. Stay Jaipur.

Day 17: Jaipur

Day 18: Bus to Mahansar.  Stay Mahansar Fort.

Day 19: Daytrip around Shekawati.

Day 20: Train (?) Mahansar/Churu to Agra.  Stay Agra. Would like to get in and settled early enough to see Taj in sunset.

Day 21: Taj sunrise and entry.  Go to Fatehpur Sikri in afternoon and then to DEL.  (Flight would leave at 2 in morning so full day).

Seems like the good bones of a schedule to me but it also feels a little bit "fort heavy."  In addition, I've also got four nights staying in three different former castles in the countryside and I wonder if that might be one stop too many.

Logistically, getting from Mahansar/Churu to Agra in a reasonable amount of time seems a little complicated.

21 days is nominal length but could expand or shrink a couple of days as needed.

#2 Dec 27th, 2018, 15:52
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  • vonkla is offline
#2
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Logistically, getting from Mahansar/Churu to Agra in a reasonable amount of time seems a little complicated.
The easiest way is to take a train from Churu to Delhi and from there another train to Agra.

If you plan carefully maybe the following is an option:
There is a weekly train from Jaislamer to Churu, see erail.
From there to Jodhpur and follow your original plan up to Jaipur.
From there to Agra, if you take a car visit Fatehpur Sikri en route.
#3 Dec 27th, 2018, 16:14
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Hi gpurcell.

Looking down your itinerary, I quite like it. (it's looking a little bit like my own itinerary in reverse, well sort of) You're not rushing anything, giving each place ample time
I also like the idea of flying all the way out to Jaisalmer at the start and then slowly working your way back to Delhi.

A car & driver from Jodhpur to Udaipur is a good option, you'll probably know there are no trains between the two. Stopping at Deogarh is also something I might be doing myself next year for my trip. Udaipur is getting a first visit from me, whilst Jodhpur a third. There are also a few other places that might replace Deogarh, but I need to research these some more.

Again visiting Chittorgarh between Udaipur & Bundi is something I'm doing to break up my own journey, it's probably a must, with your car & driver. If you just take a day trip there with say car rental from your hotel and return to Udaipur, it's wasting precious time.

I'd love to see Gagron fort & Gugor fort (further east) but these are heading off in the wrong direction for me.

I just noticed Jaipur doesn't get as much time as Jodhpur & Udaipur on your list, but that's fine, you did say you may have included too many cities with forts, but that's Rajasthan for you 3 forts in Jaipur - you can always skip one and do something else, Jaipur could keep you occupied for a fair few days.

The only part of your trip I'm not keen on is after Jaipur. You go all the way north to Mahansar Fort, then south east to Agra, back up to Delhi. It's a bit zig-zaggy But it's what works for you

So you're going late next year? Plenty time to get over the hurdles - IRCTC being one (If you are using trains). Register now to get it over with.

Cheers
#4 Dec 27th, 2018, 16:43
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Hi gpurcell,
Some ideas for the Udaipur - Jaipur leg of your itinerary.

Take a car from Udaipur to Chittorgarh and visit the fort in the afternoon, this will take several hours.
We stayed at Fort Haveli, a few hundred meters from the entrance.

Next day to Jhalawar, by car about 5 hours.
Also by car to Bundi and from there by train to Sawai Madhopur, the rail-head of Ranthambore.
#5 Dec 27th, 2018, 20:17
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If you plan carefully maybe the following is an option:
There is a weekly train from Jaislamer to Churu, see erail.
From there to Jodhpur and follow your original plan up to Jaipur.
From there to Agra, if you take a car visit Fatehpur Sikri en route.

I hadn't thought about doing this back from Jaisalmer but I did notice that train as a possible option for getting there.  If the timing is right I could take the train from Delhi to Churu, see Shekawati, and then head to Jaisalmer (I think there are also some options to train to Bikaner and thence to Jaisalmer.)  I'll poke into doing it both ways---thanks for the suggestions!

Since I'll be using miles to fly to India I'm not sure how precise I can be in my arrival.  I'm also wanting to ease into India a bit so the question I'd have would be if Shekawati is a good place to do that.  Jaipur/Fatehpur Sikri/Agra is clearly a better option than Churu/Delhi/Agra however since  I could also add a quick visit to Abhaneri if I did this and still see Fatehepur Sikri on the last day.

#6 Dec 27th, 2018, 20:35
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#6

Looking down your itinerary, I quite like it. (it's looking a little bit like my own itinerary in reverse, well sort of) You're not rushing anything, giving each place ample time
I also like the idea of flying all the way out to Jaisalmer at the start and then slowly working your way back to Delhi.

Thanks!  After many years of planning itineraries I have a few rules of thumb I like to follow to hit a pace I approve of like absolutely minimize single night stops and be very judicious in using overnight trains.  So my only single evening stops are two of the rural forts (Deogarth and Prithvi) and Agra.


A car & driver from Jodhpur to Udaipur is a good option, you'll probably know there are no trains between the two. Stopping at Deogarh is also something I might be doing myself next year for my trip. Udaipur is getting a first visit from me, whilst Jodhpur a third. There are also a few other places that might replace Deogarh, but I need to research these some more.

Yes, I also have Ghanerao as a possibility in that area (as well as all of the lodging possibilities around Kumbhalgarth).  Really gets into the question of whether, given the rest of the itinerary, Kumbhalgarth and/or Chittorgarh make sense.


I'd love to see Gagron fort & Gugor fort (further east) but these are heading off in the wrong direction for me.

This area appeals to me because it looks like it is truly off the tourist track, there is an intersting place to stay, and potentially the fair that is on November 11-13.  If that lines up with my plans I'll need to cut a day somewhere (or bump out my trip a bit) to add a day in Jhalawar.


I just noticed Jaipur doesn't get as much time as Jodhpur & Udaipur on your list, but that's fine, you did say you may have included too many cities with forts, but that's Rajasthan for you 3 forts in Jaipur - you can always skip one and do something else, Jaipur could keep you occupied for a fair few days.

Yes, cuts have to be made and in balancing time in the big four Rajasthan cities I kinda felt Jaislamer, Jodhpur, and Udaipar needed three nights.


The only part of your trip I'm not keen on is after Jaipur. You go all the way north to Mahansar Fort, then south east to Agra, back up to Delhi. It's a bit zig-zaggy But it's what works for you

I don't love this part of the itinerary, that's for sure.  Like I posted above, I've played around with hitting this on the way to Jaisalmer instead of flying or just spending one night in the area then heading back to Jaipur for the second night for the much better connections to Agra.



So you're going late next year? Plenty time to get over the hurdles - IRCTC being one (If you are using trains). Register now to get it over with.

Yes, definitely need to do this!

#7 Dec 27th, 2018, 20:42
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Take a car from Udaipur to Chittorgarh and visit the fort in the afternoon, this will take several hours.
We stayed at Fort Haveli, a few hundred meters from the entrance.

Next day to Jhalawar, by car about 5 hours.
Also by car to Bundi and from there by train to Sawai Madhopur, the rail-head of Ranthambore.

I played around with this a bit but rather surprisingly to me the rail options from Jhalawar (Ramganj Mandi) to Sawai Madhopur are pretty compelling--must be one of the main lines.

#8 Dec 27th, 2018, 20:44
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You could drop Jaipur and give that day to Bharatpur bird sanctuary plus fatehpur sikri. It would be a nice change of pace. Also after visiting Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur, Jaipur would not feel special.
#9 Dec 27th, 2018, 22:19
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Originally Posted by gpurcell View Post I played around with this a bit but rather surprisingly to me the rail options from Jhalawar (Ramganj Mandi) to Sawai Madhopur are pretty compelling--must be one of the main lines.
If you comfortable with a unreserved passenger train then train 69155 leaves from Jhalawar Road at 11:24 / Ramganj Mandi at 11:40 and reaches Ranthambore at 16:29 / Sawai Madhopur at 16:15.

If you are not comfortable with the above, back track to Kota and then take a train to Sawai Madhopur.
#10 Dec 27th, 2018, 22:32
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Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post You could drop Jaipur and give that day to Bharatpur bird sanctuary plus fatehpur sikri. It would be a nice change of pace. Also after visiting Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur, Jaipur would not feel special.
Yes, I've definitely considered the idea of not going to Jaipur at all. There seems to be quite a split on doing this across the posts I have read.
#11 Dec 30th, 2018, 11:42
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Ok, great stuff--the erail site is great!  I've got tickets from the US to Delhi on hold.  I think I can do the following to start my trip:

October 26--Arrive Delhi @ 2AM, taxi to Delhi Cantt for the 7:05 AM train to Churu.  Get in about noon, stay in Churu

October 27--Go to Mahansar, stay Mahansar.  Local train might be interesting but taxi/bus also

October 28--Go to Fatehpur Shekawati, stay there.  Again, local train or taxi/bus.

October 29--Tuesday train to Jaisalmer leaves at 15:25.


This all looked pretty good to me until I realized 27-29 are the first three days of Diwali 2019.  Any ideas what that will be like in these small Shekawati towns?  And would I be making a mistake to be on a train on the third night of Diwali and getting into Jaisalmer around midnight?



#12 Dec 30th, 2018, 13:28
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#12
Diwali is 27 Oct. You'll be fine. If you could arrive in India, say 24, even better as you could be in a larger town by 27morning - either jodhpur or Jaisalmer would work well. Jaipur usually gets quite busy on Diwali, I think I wrote something here on IM , will try to share the link when I can.
#13 Dec 30th, 2018, 13:44
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#13
Your itinerary looks great. You mentioned allergies, however, so beware of severe air pollution following Diwali. Especially avoid Delhi at that time.
#14 Dec 30th, 2018, 13:45
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I like to be in Jaipur for the festival, but the smaller towns of Orchha and Mandu were just as nice in there own way. I imagine the experience in any shekawati town would be similar to them, lots of dressing up, maybe a procession or two in the streets, dancing, acrobatics. I can't remember If I spent the first three days in Orchha or the last three...

Personally no, I wouldn't want to trade the third evening of Diwali for a train ride. I usually work my plans around Diwali and make sure I'm settled down on that day, but if doing that messes with your plans.... it's really your call
#15 Dec 30th, 2018, 23:29
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If you comfortable with a unreserved passenger train then train 69155 leaves from Jhalawar Road at 11:24 / Ramganj Mandi at 11:40 and reaches Ranthambore at 16:29 / Sawai Madhopur at 16:15.

If you are not comfortable with the above, back track to Kota and then take a train to Sawai Madhopur.

Ah, thanks for the heads up on the Jhalawar Road station.  There's some trains direct from there to Sawai Madhopur that aren't all unreserved!

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