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Report 1791: Delhi and Rajasthan

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2009

Trip Description: Trip report of ten days spent in Delhi and the non tourist areas of Rajasthan.

Destinations: Countries - India

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Day Tours; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 13: Background Information

photo by Michael

Pedestrians as well as trains use the railway lines for transport

We were planning a holiday to Bhutan. We would need to fly from Delhi to Bhutan so it made sense to take the chance to spent a few days in Delhi and see a very small part of India. We decided on rural Rajasthan and chose two bases - Mount Abu a hill station and Narlai a small village near the ruins of Kumbhalgarh Fort and the carved marble temples of Ranakpur. Both had the advantage of being well off the usual western tourist route.

We used Audley Travel in the UK to do all the bookings for us. Distances in India are huge so we decided to use overnight trains for traveling between places. We booked AC1 accommodation. This is either two or four berth. Being ‘elderly Europeans’ we were allocated a two berth compartment on most trains. Class 2 or 3 had curtains screening off the beds. There were ordinary coaches with seats only. You cannot reserve these and they are usually overcrowded with people in the corridors and hanging out of the doors.

Traveling by train is an eye opener. Trains are full and over flowing with passengers. Stations are busy with passengers, porters, hawkers and railway children who live on the platform and exist by scavenging and begging. There is always noise - announcements of train arrivals and departures. On long distance routes, time keeping can be poor and trains may be several hours late.

We were amazed by the number of people seen walking along the railway line. It seems to be a recognised route-way. The railway authorities try and discourage it but are fighting a losing battle. Many people are killed each day.

In Delhi we were booked into The Claridges Hotel - with colonial elegance and service. Cars were checked by security before being allowed in and we were met by a doorman in full uniform. There was a huge reception area with desks to sit at while attended to. Through reception was a large atrium with armchairs and tables with flowers and a beautiful marble floor. There was a grand piano, which was played at night. There was a tailor’s shop and craft shop and also a small bakery, which sold a selection of rolls, loaves and cakes.

There were pleasant gardens with tall trees and tables and chairs with a large sunshade. These were floodlit at night.

We had a standard room overlooking the pool area. On our final visit we were upgraded to a Club Room, overlooking the car park, which was very noisy at night when cars were being paged to pick up guests.

We ate in Pickwick’s in the evening, which had a varied menu with a selection of Indian, Chinese and western food (plenty of pasta). Breakfast was self service mix and match western or Indian.

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