INDIA
Infos about the trip

 

The trip has been devoted to the visit of the desert region of the Rajasthan, a visit to Agra for the wonderful Taj Mahal, to Khajuraho for the temples of the kamasutra and the holy city of Varanasi over that of Bombay where I arrived and left again. 

 

ITINERARY

Date Itinerary Transport Time

31/10/2002

Milan-Bombay

airplane

8 hours

1/11/2002

Bombay-Udaipur

airplane

2 hours

2/11/2002

Udaipur
Udaipur-Jodhpur


bus


7 hours

3/11/2002

Jodhpur

 

 

4/11/2002

Jodhpur

 

 

5/11/2002

Jodhpur-Jaisalmer

train

8 hours

6/11/2002

Excursion in the Thar desert

camel

1 day

7/11/2002

Excursion in the Thar desert
Jaisalmer-Jaipur

camel
train

1/2 day
14 hours

8/11/2002

Jaipur

 

 

9/11/2002

Jaipur

 

 

10/11/2002

Jaipur-Agra

bus

6 hours

11/11/2002

Agra

 

 

12/11/2002

Agra-Jaipur-Pushkar

bus

11 hours

13/11/2002

Pushkar

 

 

14/11/2002

Pushkar

 

 

15/11/2002

Pushkar-Jaipur-Agra-Jhansi

bus-train

15 hours

16/11/2002

Excursion to Orcha
Jhansi-Khajuraho

taxi-bus
bus

3 hours
5 hours

17/11/2002

Khajuraho
Khajuraho-Satna-Varanasi


bus-train


14 hours

18/11/2002

Varanasi

 

 

19/11/2002

Varanasi

 

 

20/11/2002

Varanasi-Bombay

train

34 hours

21/11/2002

Varanasi-Bombay

train

 

22/11/2002

Bombay

 

 

23/11/2002

Bombay

 

 

24/11/2002

Bombay-Milan

airplane

9 hours

 

TRANSPORT
Delhi and Bombay are well connected with frequent flights from the main European cities, for the first time I reached my destination with a direct flight from Italy. 
The transports network is capillary, but with the exception of the airplane you need a lot of time for traveling, with an average speed of 50 Km/hour, delays and mishap are the norm. 

Airplane 
Connects the main cities with rates a little bit lower to those European. Very long, scrupulous and boring the safety controls in the airports, in the cabin it is not possible to bring "free" batteries and for this I had to throw my camera spare batteries.

Bus 
Buses arrive anywhere, on the principal lines with booking you have the right to have a seat and generally the comfort is good, for the local lines often are used bus style school-bus and therefore the seats are quite uncomfortable. 
The style of guide is crazy and along the roads are seen quite a lot accidents, for this motive is unadvisable to travel at night. 

Train
India has one of the widest railway network of the world, the trains are always full and for long and the nighttime trips it's better to book some days in advance, usually a foreigners counter is present in the principal stations even if for bookings is always necessary to compile a form pointing out the number of the train.

Taxi-ricksaw 
In the cities you can move easily and economically with the ricksaws, a kind of 3 wheels car transformed in taxi; the drivers are almost always some scoundrels that look for in all the ways to rub the tourists asking very high rates or bringing the passengers to lodgings or shops from which they take commissions.

 

Climate 
In the period of my trip I have found a warm and dry climate to exception of Bombay, in the desert zones during the night the temperature goes down therefore it is advisable to bring a warm sweater.

 

Food 
The food was a good surprise, the cuisine is almost exclusively vegetarian, very spicy even if generally the doses of spices are acceptable in the tourists restaurants. 
The biggest problem is represented by the hygienic level, I usually tried to eat in the restaurants suggested by the guide or in the guest houses where I stayed but sometimes I have also tried the road-food; fortunately and avoiding raw foods or fruits already peeled I have not had any type of problem. Is necessary to check the bottles of mineral water very well because are often refilled with tap water and sealed again. 
The chai (Indian tea to base of water, milk, tea and varied spice) is sold everywhere, being super hot generally it is safe.

 

Dangers & annoyances 
Before departing I was quite worried about safety seen how much I read about, really with the normal precautions you can travel very safe; is necessary to pay a lot of attention to the baggage in the station and places very crowded, on the trains it is worth the punishment to tie the backpack with a chain to the special supports. In the most tourist centers you are often boarded by persons that with the excuse to talk with you after a little bit they propose varied cheats. Often (above all who travels alone) it is to face enervating situations: delays, changes of time and/or journeys to the last second and varied cheats but this is India!!!

 

Costs 
India is absolutely a convenient country, for transports, lodgings and food you spend really few money. The is changed to good rates, the TCs are almost changed anywhere with rates generally slightly more favorable in comparison to the cash; the credit cards are quite diffused for payments in shops and restaurants even if increases of 3-5% are generally applied; in all the middle and big cities ATM are found for the withdrawal of cash. To buy something it is always of obligation to bargain but without exaggerating I have often seen tourists to insult poor sellers for a few discount not given.
Average Costs (1 ~ 47 Rupee):
lunch or dinner in a restaurant= 100-150 Rp
double room with bathroom in a guest house= 200-250 Rp
train: II class berth for  600 km= 215 Rp
a trip in a city with a ricksaw= 20 Rp

 

Lodgings 
I lodged exclusively in guest houses and small hotels generally choosing rooms with private bath, the comfort of the rooms was better than I expected, has never happened me to see strange animals in the rooms or in the baths. 
Almost all the lodgings have a restaurant and laundry service, usually you can also bargain a little bit on the cost of the rooms. 
The places where I stayed: 

Udaipur 
Lalghat Guest house: near the lake, the bed was of stone but quite comfortable; double room 200 Rps. 

Jodhpur 
Haveli Guest house: one of the best I tried, finds really under the Fort and from the rooftop-restaurant the sight is fabulous. Attention to go to the right one considering that there are quite a lot copies; double room 200 Rps. 

Jaisalmer 
Hotel Paradise: inside the fort; single room with common bath 100 Rps. 
To avoid the Sagar Guest house considering that the owner chased me after I refused to take his tour. 

Jaipur 
Hotel Karni Niwas: considering that other pensions were full I have chosen this place that at the end has revealed discreet; double room 200 Rps. 

Agra 
Hotel Kamal: next to the Taj Mahal, quite bleak room; double room 120 Rps. 

Pushkar 
Hotel Venus: in the principal square of the village, there is a good restaurant. Out the village there is a new wing with nice rooms and swimming pool but uncomfortable to reach; double room 800 Rps with breakfast. 

Jhansi 
Hotel Veerangana: room without hot water but it was the only available in the city; double room 200 Rps. 

Khajuraho 
Hotel Marble Palace: the best lodge I tried in India; double room 150 Rps. 

Varanasi 
Shanti Guest house: just above the cremations-ghat, from the rooftop-restaurant the sight is very beautiful even if there are some steep staircases; double room 175 Rps. 

Bombay 
Gulf Hotel: in the Colaba zone, of good level even if my room was minuscule; single room with common bath 250 Rps. 

 

LINKS

http://www.indianrail.gov.in/

Official site of the Indian railways, essential to travel with the train

http://www.seat61.com/India.htm

How to travel with train in India, info about bookings, classes and pass

http://indiamike.com/

Independent site about traveling to India, with a forum

http://www.india-travel.com/

Varied tourist infos

http://www.rajgovt.org/raj_discover.asp

Varied tourist infos about Rajasthan

http://www.pushkarfestivals.com/pushkar-fare-dates.html

The dates of the Camel Fair

http://india-tourism.com

India tourist office in Europe

 

 

Copyright 2002 Giuseppe Ruperto. All rights reserved.