This is a summarized take of our five day trip through three cities in Rajasthan.
We spent five days in Rajasthan during the first week of October. The trip booked by myself (no travel agent). I used makemytrip.com for flights.For staying I used hotel website (after comparative analysis from makemytrip for rooms). Emailing and calling up hotels ensured I got a good rate. I used tripadvisor and other reviews extensively to choose the places I wanted to stay at, eat at and go to.
Getting around Rajasthan:
Bangalore to Jodhpur flight.
Jodhpur - Osian - Jodhpur was by a taxi
Jodhpur - Udaipur flight *
Udaipur - Bangalore flight.
*We could have done Jodhpur - Udaipur by car but it is an eight hour drive. We did not have the time or want (due to Ashvin's car sickness) to find a taxi for it. I have heard that it is not a bad ride. The roads in rajasthan are pretty decent unless it is after monsoon when they can get a bumpy due to potholes.
Overall – great experience, saw a bit of everything. Would love to do Jaipur and Jaisilmer but was happy we did not try to add any more cities. With kids I’d recommend people limit it to three cities maximum. We met another family that were doing Delhi –Agra-Jaipur-Jodhpur-Osian-Udaipur-Delhi in one week and I must say I had not seen sadder wearier travellers.
Jodhpur - one night.
Stayed at : Taj Hari Mahal Booked the rooms from their website.
Other Hotels Reviewed:
Umaid Bhavan - too expensive.
Raas - did not find enough reviews on it. Taj seemed to be a safer bet.
Ziplinning at Mehargarh fort. By far my favorite thing that I did in Rajasthan.
Evening entertainment at the Taj - very nice Rajasthani puppet show, magic show and traditional music and dance. High quality and nicely done.
The kid’s play area at the Taj Hotel - games and chocolates that the kids really enjoyed.
Swimming pools that the pigeons flocked at. There seemed to be guy whose only job was to shoo them away.
Trip to the old market. I guess I am not a foreigner enough. Growing up in a small town in Bihar we had plenty of markets like that - crowded and dirty. Places where you can get cheated and groped if you are not carefull.
Used autos. Could have used the hotel taxi but we had short trips and autos worked. The auto drivers also give you a business card so you can call them to take you back if you want.
Osian (75Km from Jodhpur) - two nights.
Stayed at : Osian Resort Camps (they picked us up and dropped us back to Jodhpur)
Other places reviewed:
Reggie’s Camp – seemed a little too targeted towards grown ups.
Camp Thar – Not open till Oct 15th ( we were there early October)
Camel ride to the sand dunes. The boys buried themselves in the fine soft sands and never wanted to leave.
Good, homestyle Rajasthani food (lots and lots of ghee - clarified butter)
The cook walked us through the huge farm - the song "Along the fields of barley" kept playing in my head.
This camp was not high end like the Taj - entertainment in the evening was average but the people were great, the tents nice and there was plenty of sand to the kids to enjoy. By far my favourite part of the trip.
Nothing here. We really enjoyed it. There was another family that came by and the kids wanted pizza and were disappointed by the absence of anything but vegetarian Rajasthani food. My kids on the other hand gobbled up the parathas and kichdii and learnt to love ghee and jaggery.
It was all inclusive so camel rides and jeep safari ensured we saw places around the camp.
Udaipur - two nights.
Stayed at: The Sheraton. Nice hotel. Got an amazing deal from their website (something to the tunes of Rs 5000 per night for club rooms). The hotel was nice but really really pricey as far as food was concerned - even more expensive than The Taj. Club room perks were very nice.
Other Hotels Reviewed:
Lake Palace – too expensive
There are many other properties in Udaipur but after discovering the great deal at Sheraton I did not look. Most high end hotels are really expensive in this town so shop around a little.
Dinner at Jag Mandir (in the middle of the lake, next to Lake Palace). You have to make reservations and there is a cover charge of about Rs 2700 per couple. The amount easily gets used up if you decide to have a drink with dinner.
Dinner at Fateh Garh palace resorts. Were invited there by some friends and it is a really nice hotel. The view from the hillside looking onto Udaipur was perfect to say the least.
View from Karni Mata Mandir - the line to get up there via a cable car is very long but we thought watching the sunset, seeing the lights turn on in the city below and then visiting the temples where the rats run free was worth it.
Half day horse Safari with Krishna Ranch. Ashvin (4) who rode with our team leader got bored two hours into it. They were nice enough to send him and my nanny back and Ankit and I spent around four hour roaming the outskirts of Udaipur on our horses. Great little walk though a local village was a treat when we stopped for a break.
Crowd at the city palace.
Trash around the city.
The driver of the pre-paid cab I picked up at the airport was nice. I got his card and used him for the next two day - I'd call, he'd show up, we'd go over the rate for my plan for the day and go with it.