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A week in Rajastan

Norwich England
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A week in Rajastan

Hi! I am HUGELY impressed by the knowledge of many of the contributers to this site, and so I am posting my own small problem in the hope of getting some sound advice. I am flying to Delhi at the end of October, to spend three days in the City, followed by a day and night in Agra, an overnight train to Varanasi and a night or so there. I will then fly to Rajastan (probably on Wednesday 2nd November), and have a week (flying out of Delhi on the morning of 9th November) to explore. I am particularly interested in seeing Udaipur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Jodphur, but am flexible as to which way round I travel and how long within that week I spend in each place. Can anyone suggest a suitable itinary to maximise my brief time there, particularly taking into account my inward flight from Varanasi (no particular airline booked yet)? Thanks in hope!

spain
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1. Re: A week in Rajastan

HI! i am peter from spain and my best city was jaiur its great and i was staying in a house hotel known as umaid bhawan hotel and its was great family runed hotel made my stay very comfortable and the travel agency from the hotel i had rented a car with a driver for a week to go to jaipur -udaipur-jodhpur-jaselmer and back to jodhpur to fly back to new delhi so this will be the best way as u can see all these cities in one week and fly back to delhi in time so i thing the url of the travel agency is www.welcomerajasthan.com so happy holidays !

Sydney
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2. Re: A week in Rajastan

I travelled to all of these places in Rajasthan by train, so I am no expert on the air routes.... this idea is just to start the discussion rolling. Obviously, you won't have a great deal of time for train travelling trying to see four cities in seven days!

You can't fly to Jaisalmer, so you're going to have to train it there from Jaipur or Jodhpur. Also, Udaipur is a bit of a pain to get to by rail, as it is on "old" narrow gauge tracks.... you have to choose your times and routes with a little more care going there.

So I'd first fly Varanasi-Udaipur and at least get the hard journey over and done with. Then fly to Jodhpur, from where you can catch a train to Jaisalmer in a few hours( I think we left early morning and were in Jaisalmer about lunch time).

You can travel on an overnight express back from Jaisalmer to Jaipur, so you won't waste a day in travel. From Jaipur you have lots of options to get back to Delhi.... probably your best bet would be to fly back just in time to make your connecting flight out.

So your extremely rushed itinerary might look like this:

Wed 2: Varanasi-Udaipur.

Thur 3: Udaipur.

Fri 4: Udaipur-Jodhpur.

Sat 5: Jodhpur

Sun 6: early morning train to Jaisalmer (half day in Jaisalmer).

Mon 7: Jaisalmer. Overnight train .

Tue 8: Arrive Jaipur.

Wed 9: Jaipur-Delhi and change planes.

Frankly, if I were you I would try to start this itinerary a day or two earlier.... you don't need a day in Agra, for instance, so perhaps you could gain an extra day this way: on your third day in Delhi, take an evening train to Agra, stop at the Hotel Sheela (which is fifty metres from the entrance gate to the Taj Mahal), get up VERY early, see the Taj between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., and then have breakfast at the Sheela and be on your way to Varanasi by 9 a.m. It might be worth flying that bit, so that you could be in Varanasi by lunch time on the day that you would normally have been hanging around Agra. I assure you, apart from the Taj, there is nothing much to keep you in Agra, and with Varanasi waiting.... well, I wouldn't waste a second!

The important times to be in Varanasi are at sunset and at sunrise, both of which should be spent on or near the Ganges. While I loved the place well enough to spend two nights there, you could, I guess, get away with one night. Certainly, you would find it hard to cut any of the Rajasthan destinations out of your itinerary; if you do have to sacrifice one, I don't know which one I'd choose.... except that I definitely wouldn't leave our Jaisalmer, which is quite magical.

With so many flights being necessary, you might investigate the Jet Airways or Indian Airlines passes, and the deals on Air Sahara.

Norwich England
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3. Re: A week in Rajastan

Thanks guys. It's all useful info. My biggest problem now seems to be to get from Varanasi to Udaipur, as there are no direct services on the airlines that Alan suggests, and the Delhi - Udaipur leg seems to leave either exactly at the same time as the inbound Varanasi flight arrives or shortly beforehand! TYPICAL! I guess that's the problem with trying to see too much in such a short period of time ... the travelling can take so long. Ah well, back to the drawing board!!! But thanks again, and any other suggestions are more than welcome.

Bangalore, India
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4. Re: A week in Rajastan

Nick,

I don't think a week is enough time to get to all of the cities you mentioned, especially Jaisalmer, which is the furthest most far-flung destination on your list. I would narrow it down to 2 or 3 cities at the most.

Also, the annual Pushkar Camel Fair officially starts on November 8-15, but there is still plenty to see there in the days leading up to the actual fair. If I were you, I would go to either Jaipur or Jodhpur for a couple of days and then head to Pushkar. Ajmer is close by to Pushkar and is the site of a very important muslim saint and is worth visiting.

Norwich England
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5. Re: A week in Rajastan

Thanks once again ... I was particularly hoping to link up with you two guys as you have impressed me so much from previous threads. So, I have some big decisions to make over the next few days, but perhaps I'll get stuck into the rail/flight timetables and let you know what I decide to do in due course. You help is much appreciated, thanks

Sydney
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6. Re: A week in Rajastan

You won't like me for saying this, but if Udaipur is proving a pain to get to, you could choose it as the one to leave out. I loved the city, and I had two of the best meals in all of India there, but if you are seeing Jodhpur and Jaipur, then Udaipur won't be so different from these that you'll not forgive yourself for missing it. Certainly your itinerary then becomes easy: Varanasi-Jodhpur (2 nights); Jodhpur-Jaisalmer by train (2 nights); Jaisalmer-Jaipur by overnight train (1 night); Jaipur-Delhi also by overnight train.

Bangalore, India
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7. Re: A week in Rajastan

Alan...do you really recommend Jaipur over Udaipur?! I haven't been to Udaipur yet (I'm going in November) but many friends have told me they were less than impressed with the state/conditions of the monuments and palaces in Jaipur but were very impressed by those in Udaipur and Jodhpur. Just curious what your reasoning is....

And HEY! That's not fair to mention the 2 best meals you've ever had and then not give the details! Spill it!

And Nick, another thing to keep in mind is that while of course there are all these great cities and monuments, etc in all these places, but some of my most remembered and enjoyable moments here are in the small towns and rural villages...the deserts and the jungle forests...and sometimes after the hustle and bustle of the big tourist areas, you NEED that break so you can regroup and relax before heading onward. Consider staying in a smaller town along the way, if you can. I know you have limited time, so you might not be able to.

Norwich England
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8. Re: A week in Rajastan

My trouble is the kid in a sweetshop syndrome ... I want to have a taste of all of them!!! And anyway, travelling in India is supposed to be part of the fun, isn't it?!!! I have listened to your suggestions, and (pandering to my inquisitive nature) have now proposed the following:-

-Arrive late on 26th October

-Delhi for four nights (Ahuja Residency)

-Sunday morning flight to Varanasi and stay for two nights (Scindhia Guest House)

-Tuesday morning flight to Delhi and train to Agra (I'm trying to reserve Hotel Sheela but they say they're full and are trying to get me to stay at the Sheela Inn ... any suggestions?!)

-Wednesday morning express train to Delhi and afternoon flight onwards to Udaipur. Stay Udaipur for two nights (Hotel Kumbha Palace)

-Friday afternoon flight to Jodhpur and stay overnight (Haveli Palace Inn)

-Saturday night, overnight train to Jaisalmer

-Sunday night overnight train to Jodhpur and straight on to Jaipur

-Monday night stay in Jaipur (Umaid Bhawan)

-Tuesday night train to Delhi and fly out early hours, utterly exhausted!!!

You'll think I'm mad, I guess, but I suppose I'm hoping to see as much as possible for future visits. The flights and trains should all be prebooked, as will the hotels, so hopefully no waiting around in stations etc.. During days in the cities, and once the tourist thing is exhausted, I can always hire a driver and get out into the counrtside and villages. Do you think it's possible??? Am I ABSOLUTELY MAD?!!!

Sydney
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9. Re: A week in Rajastan

Wow! My head is spinning just from reading that itinerary! What amazed me is your choice of hotels: you see, when we were in Varanasi we stayed at Scindhia Guest House (loved it!). In Agra we chose Hotel Sheela (I can't imagine a better choice regardless of the price -- NOTHING is that close to the Taj gates!); in Jodhpur we stayed at the Haveli Guest House (great! The view from our window was out of this world!); in Udaipur we chose the Khumba Palace (couldn't be happier); and, finally, in Jaipur we stayed at Umaid Bhawan, which was our one luxury stay (it may be budget priced -- or at least, it was a year ago; I think it has raised its prices lately -- but it comes on like a four-star hotel; and they upgraded us to a suite which had a bathroom bigger than most of the bedrooms we stayed in!). ALL of those hotels are in your itinerary.... what are the chances of that happening???

You are doing most things right, but you are doing one thing wrong, and you MUST fix this. You are going to Jaisalmer for HALF A DAY!!!! Believe me, it's worth much, much more than that.... I'd cut out Delhi rather than sacrifice Jaisalmer. You simply MUST work out at least an extra 24-hours there. Why, arriving at lunch time (maybe later if the train is delayed), you will just have time to walk around the old city, but you won't have a chance to go into the dunes, and this is an experience not to be missed. If you stay at Shahi Palace Hotel and go out with Setan, he will take you to an area NONE OF THE OTHER SAFARIS GO TO.... you will spend most of the day and not see another tourist. The dunes, when you arrive, will be pristine and like something in another world. You can sit there and watch the sun sink over the horizon, and you could just as well be on the moon. This is one of our best experiences in all of India (as much as I hate camels!), and it would be a great pity to miss out because of time constraints. Cut down on Delhi.... the smog may well kill you in under four days anyway ..... and add the time to Jaisalmer.

Shahi Palace is the only place where we stayed that you haven't already booked in for!! (except for Delhi, where we spent two nights in a budget hotel at $US15 per night); it's a strong -- no, make that VERY strong -- recommendation. The visit to the Barna school and Setan's family is worth the journey out there just by itself. But at present you are travelling for 16 hours for a visit totalling about eight hours, and I really can't see that this is a good use of time. You can get back to Delhi any time -- every international flight stops there. But Jaisalmer can't stay the way it is now for very much longer.

Sydney
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10. Re: A week in Rajastan

Oh, and I forgot to answer Turleyhead; no, I don't recommend Jaipur over Udaipur, they are both great. Udaipur is more spectacular just to wander around in, but Jaipur has that beaustiful centre of town with all the pink buildings..... we filled a photograph album with each of them! The only reason I suggested leaving it out was because of the travel/sightsseing ratio; I found Udaipur a bit of a pain to get to, and NickFoz has such a limited time available!

I'd tell you more about the meals, except that I remember the name of neither establishment. As with all our meals in India, nothing was planned.... we just stumbled onto places and said "let's try it". One of these was a hotel which had a dining room overlooking a wonderful temple which was floodlit.... we chose it for the outlook, but stayed on to cheer the food. The other restaurant was also chosen for its outlook.... looking over the water in a large parkland area, and we had a lunch so nice that, when we finished, we ordered a whole new course, which was equally as fine.

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