| Delhi, Agra, Rajahstan
from the China 2004 Travelogue)
This is a report of a 10 days
trip across northern India (Delhi, Agra, Rajahstan), which we started
and finished in Delhi. I was arriving from Hong Kong, while my wife
Shirley and her sister Sara came from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). For this
trip we rented a car (Toyota Qualis) with a driver. Time was indeed
limited and it took some rushing to cover all locations
in 10 days. I would have liked to spend some more time in Jaisalmer and
perhaps visit the Bharatpur bird reserve. Overall it would have been
better if we would have added two or three more days.
Driving across Rajahstan turned to be less tiring and
stressful than I had expected. I think a major factor was that we had
our own car + driver and the driver shielded us from the local people,
acting as a translator and negotiator in addition to drive us around.
Having said this, I can recommend to everybody our driver
Mukesh - reliable and always friendly and helpful. He can be booked
through the Yatri house guesthouse in Delh (address below)i. The person
with whom you'll make the deal, Sanjay, the owner of the guesthouse and
of the cars, is also a very reasonable person.
We stayed in cheap to midrange hotels, paying
and 2000 Rs
per night; on average around 1200 Rs. The cost of the meals varied, but
was relatively low. For transportation we spent US $460 for the car +
an additional 960 Rs
for using the A/C (which led to a higher fuel consumption and wasn't
originally booked). The entry fees were quite expensive, compared to
the overall price
level in India. The ticket to the Taj Mahal was 750 Rs for instance.
/ Exchange rate (December 2004)
1 Euro = 1.32 US $
1 Euro = 10.27 HKD (Hong Kong dollars)
1 Euro = 57.9 INR (India Rupees)
1 Euro = 51.7 THB (Thai Baht)
The cheap dollar (all the above currencies were more or less tied to
the USD exchange rate) made our holiday less expensive. For current
the Universal Currency Converter.
phones / Prepaid GSM cards
We bought an Airtel GSM prepaid card for 875 Rs with 370 Rs of call
time on it. For this we had to give our name and address (we gave them
the hotel address) to the shop owner. The day before Shirley had bought
another Airtel card, for 540 Rs, which we couldn't use because it
needed to be activated (the second card was activated in the shop).
Coverage was good - we had a network in most places where we were.
Internet access is cheap and available everywhere in India.
A bit fresh at night and in the morning, but quite warm during
the day. The more we drove to the west into the Thar desert, the warmer
and more sunny it got. In western Rajastan we needed A/C in the car
during the day. Very foggy and poor visibility in Delhi and Agra. No
I took the usual set of tropical vaccinations (polio, tetanus,
diphteria, Hep A + B, typhoid). I didn't take any anti-malaria pills
(not even as a standby medication).
VISA / Entry
A visa is necessary for nationals of most countries. I got
mine at the Indian consulate in Munich. Quite
expensive at 50 Euro.
In India I felt safe all the time. There were no accidents and
people didn't try to cheat us (well, they asked every now and then a
too high price, but we didn't accept their offer.
We used a car + driver, paying US $460 + 960 Rs for the A/C for 11 days
in a Toyota Qualis. Mukesh, the driver, is friendly and reliable and
can be booked through the Yatri guesthouse in Delhi (address below,
contact Sanjay, the guesthouse owner). Driving across Rajahstan was no
problem, as most roads are in good
conditions and top speeds of 110 km/h are possible when the road is
empty, which is the case in the western part of Rajahstan.
This is the plan for the trip to India:
||20:40: meet in Delhi airport, transfer to
||leave in the morning for Agra; arrive
check in the hotel. Afternoon
and evening visit the Taj Mahal and Agra (option: sound & light
show at Taj Mahal)
||visit the Agra fort in the morning, in the
transfer to Jaipur. Visit the ancient town of Fatehpur Sikri on the way
to Jaipur. Check in in the evening at the hotel in Jaipur.
>>Option: stop at the Bharatput
the way to Jaipur
||Jaipur city sightseeing: Maharaja City
Observatory, Hawa Mahal multi-layered palace
||Jaipur - Jodhpur
||arrive in Jodhpur by 1pm, check in at the
Sightseeing of Jodhpur in the afternoon
>>Option: stop at Pushkar near
||Jodhpur - Jaisalmer
||sightseeing of Jodhpur in the morning,
lunch, arrive in Jaisalmer late afternoon. Check in at the hotel.
||sightseeing of Jaisalmer, a beautiful
||Jaisalmer - Bikaner
||arrive in Bikaner by 1pm, check in at the
Sightseeing of Bikaner in the afternoon
||Bikaner - Mandawa
||afternoon sightseeing of the Shekawati
||Mandawa - Delhi
||Delhi sightseeing in the afternoon. Sarah
fly to KL/Singapore in the evening
||Delhi sightseeing. Alfred flies to