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Review: Rajasthan Royals

Escorted Tour - Coach

Tour of Rajasthan

  • By SilverTraveller dick-ripper

    3 reviews

  • Feb 2011
  • Wife

61 people found this review helpful

We had an interesting 16-day trip with Voyages Jules Verne round NW India in March. This was mostly by coach, with a party of 22 plus a guide and a leader. As we had lived in India in the late 1960’s, it was interesting to see how the ‘New India’ is emerging.

Our first day was doing a tour of Delhi, in cold wet weather. Not the best conditions to see this great capital city! It divides into Old Delhi, the Moghul part, and New Delhi which is a legacy of the British. The unintended high point was a journey on the metro, in the rush hour! It is an excellent metro, but at that time incredibly packed with people. We were stuffed into and out of the train, with virtually no control of our movements! We got to know a lot of friendly people at close quarters!

We travelled to Agra by train. The fort and the Taj Mahal were of course the main attractions. The Taj was as beautiful – and cleaner! – than I remember in 1970. It was apparently cleaned up for the Olympics, and kept that way.

Next we proceeded via a bird sanctuary, containing more birds than I have ever seen at one location, then to Ranthanbore where we viewed the National park twice. It is beautiful and varied, and contains tigers – invisibly, so far as we were concerned. But we did see a leopard, as well as numerous sorts of deer and other animals.

Onwards to Jaipur, the ‘pnk city’. The fort may be accessed by elephant ride, but an elephant had a disagreement with another, resulting in two tourists being injured, so we gave that a miss! The Amber Fort is very impressive, as is the city palace museum. Perhaps even more interesting was the old observatory, dating back to 1730 and with ‘instruments’ built entirely of stone!

Next to Jodhpur, and yet another very imposing fort. This was the seat of the Rathore rulers of Rajasthan. Then to Jaisalmer, the most Westerly point of our journey and fairly near the border with Pakistan, from which it is separated by two double fire fences with an electrified fence between. Tensions between the two countries are plainly quite high! I ‘enjoyed’ an evening ride on a camel into the desert, where we were entertained by dancers and a musician.

On to a delightful ‘heritage hotel’ at Jalore. This is the local ‘big house’, that had fallen into disrepair but has been splendidly restored by the present owner, to the great benefit of the village. But the beds were hard on our old bones.

Finally, Udaipur. A picturesque setting with two lakes, and we took a boat ride to a restaurant on one of the beautiful islands. We also spent time in a shop-to-end-shops, a wholesale centre where we were offered practically anything – and bought some of it!

The trip concluded with an overnight train journey back to Delhi, which was reminiscent of French ski trains – 4 bunks per compartment, more or less comfortable. After another day in Delhi, we caught the 3.30 a.m. plane back to England, collecting our car which promptly suffered a blowout due to a broken front spring! Not the best ending to a good trip. Fortunately, we had collected a strong young grandson at the airport, who was a huge help in changing the wheel.

Looking back, at first sight, India seemed little different from my memories of 1970. But as we travelled around, the New India became apparent; some impressive roads busy with huge trucks, many new industrial areas, electricity everywhere, and hotels [old and new] of a good standard. The Old India is still there, of course. Poverty, frightening electric wiring, ‘interesting’ shops, some terrible potholes…

I cannot speak too highly of our Voyages Jules Verne leader and guide. The leader was a typical forthright Ozzie, who took infinite care over our arrangements. The guide was an ex-Guards captain with an encyclopaedic knowledge and enthusiasm for Indian – and indeed military – history, and a great sense of humour [once he got used to mine!]. As with all our previous Voyages Jules Verne tours, our companions were all ‘nice people like us!, which made for a pleasant and successful holiday.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 3 Comment(s)

  • ESW
    almost 7 years ago
    Train travel in India is an eye opener. We also used the train back to Delhi from Udaipur. Being ‘elderly’ we were allocated lower bunks. Prospective travellers do need to be aware that sexes may be mixed in the compartments.

    We avoided the elephant ride and having read your story about elephants in Jaipur I think we made the right decision... We also avoided camels too for the same reason.

    It is definitely getting out into the country areas to see the old India.
  • Gary-from-livefreedietravelling
    over 7 years ago
    Thank you for this review and it seems you had a lot of travelling within India just to capture some of the sights. Perhaps having visited previously made the journeys less difficult and it is always an odd feeling revisiting a place with your memories being jerked frequently by the change.

    My partner and I toured India for 6 weeks recently and were overwhelmed by the sensual assault that is pure India. I did write a blog post for my sons website so wont repeat it here this time but if it interests you could visit this link http://www.livefreedietravelling.com/travel/extended-itinerary-for-touring-india/

    Again, thanks for the post

    cheers

    Gary
  • chrismse
    over 7 years ago
    Sounds like an amazing trip I would love to visit India and you make it sound very exciting.