After watching “The Marigold Hotel” Film I was inspired, after all who wouldn’t want to follow in the footsteps of those intrepid pensioners to a land far away where people are so friendly, everything is so cheap and maybe spice it up a little by visiting other parts !!!
Asking around it was not long to find that there were others in the local expats club (The Phoenix Solos) which I attend who were interested in sharing this adventure as well as one lady from my home planet England and a couple from across the pond I had met on my travels to New England in The Fall of 2015.
The first thing to do was ensure this was a group keen to go, so after a meeting to go over prospective itineraries it was decided that we would book our flights (NO REFUNDS) and that way we were committed, or should have been, not sure what was most appropriate.
Let me explain, for travel to India you will need a visa this can be either an e-visa available on line or a visa valid for either 6 months or 12 months (both the same price so go for 12 months) which require passports and other paperwork being taken or sent to the Indian embassy via an outsourced company which in the past has been fraught with problems however I am pleased to say no problems experienced by any of us.
Be aware when you apply for a visa you must pay full price and if for any reason it is refused you do not get your money back.
I can recommend a very useful website http://www.skyscanner.net where you can search for flights and leave alerts to be informed of any drops in price of selected flights. I used them to book all our flights to and from India.
Having decided on Jaipur as our base for the “Marigold Hotel experience” I went to work on the internet with “Rough Guide” an excellent series of books for anywhere you want to travel and other sites to put together an Itinerary we would all be happy with and I will post the final draft later in the blog for you to ogle.
When choosing accommodation there are many websites now that will scan and compare hotels, guest houses and other forms of accommodation, however, when travelling in Asia I find www.Booking.com and www.Agoda.com my two personal favorites and it was from these I selected our places to stay.
A Tip:- select the city you want to visit and when the list comes up select for them to be listed in order of “Review score” then scroll down and any that are more than 7.5 in your price bracket – check all the reviews – location you want to be in – and book it.
A last minute change of plans saw us decide on a road trip around Rajasthan in an A/c coach with driver. After sending a lot of emails to people I found recommended on “Trip Adviser” and a follow up chat via Skype a fair price was agreed with Abdul, our driver to undertake all our road journeys whilst in Rajasthan.
THE ITINERARY FOR RAJASTHAN TRIP (19/10/2017 – 28/11/2017)
Day I - 2 (19/10/ - 20/10)
Meet at London Heathrow Airport TERMINAL 2 between 6.30 and 7.00 pm for Air India flight No. 112 leaving at 9.30 pm to Indira Gandhi Airport New Delhi.
and overnight to arrive after the flight at 10.40 am local time and will be met at the airport by two cars that will take us to The PREM SAGAR GUEST HOUSE where we will stay for the time we are in Delhi.
Days 3 – 7 (21/10 – 25/10)
The city of Delhi is full of amazing sights and smells and I have put together a range of places to visit.
Day 8 (26/10)
We depart Delhi in the morning after breakfast by 12 Seat A/c Tempo Traveler Van to Jaipur, a journey of 267kms which should take about four (4) hours to the RAIKAS HOMESTAY for one (1) night before the journey next day to Pushkar.
Day 9 (27/10)
We depart Jaipur after breakfast by A/c 12 seater Tempo Traveler Van with Driver to Ajmer, a journey of 130kms which should take about Two (2) hours to the HOTEL K C INN which is situated 15kms outside Pushkar, where the camel fair takes place.
Day 10 -11 (28/10 – 29/10)
Pushkar is famous the world over for its Camel Fair where traders come from all over India to buy and sell Camels and there are Camel Races and best dressed camel pageants.
Over the years, a fair has grown and we can enjoy the fun and afterwards we can retire a little away to the quiet of the hotel.
Day 12 (30/10)
We depart Ajmer in the morning after breakfast by Air Conditioned 12 seat Tempo Traveler Van to Jaipur to The Rawla Mrignayani Palace by lunchtime which will be our base for our time in Jaipur.
Day 13 – 27 (31/10 – 14-11)
Time to live The Marigold Hotel experience with all the sights and sounds the capital city of Rajasthan has to offer. I have put together a number of attractions and trips inside and outside of the city.
Day 28 (15/11)
In the morning after an early breakfast we will depart Jaipur by A/C 12 seater “Tempo Traveler Van” with Driver to Fatehpur, Shekhawati about three (3) hours to see the Cenotaphs, Stepwells, Painted Havelis and Mansions the region is famous for.
After lunch we proceed on to Bikaner (2-3) hours – if time allows there is a camel breeding farm just before which is open between 3pm and 5 pm.
Check in to Tanisha Heritage Haveli – Evening at leisure
Day 29 (16/11)
After an early breakfast visit Junagarh Fort & Lalgarth Palace.
Enjoy a packed lunch on the way to Jaisalmer, a five (5) hour drive, to arrive before sundown to catch the sunset on The Golden Fort.
Check in to Hotel Tokyo Palace. Evening at leisure
Day 30 (17/11)
After breakfast there will be time to explore the Old Fort and visit the museum and Jain Temple and take a walk through the back streets of Pat won Ki Haveli & Kothari Haveli.
After lunch to the abandoned village of Kuldhera and on to Sam Sand Dunes where the adventurous can enjoy a camel ride.
Back to Hotel Tokyo Palace. Evening at Leisure
Day 31 (18/11)
After an early breakfast we leave for Jodhpur via Pokhran five (5) hours Total to reach Jodhpur by afternoon
Check in to Hotel Jee Ri Haveli.
Sights to see Mehran Garth Fort (It is said only the gods could have built it), Jaswant Thada & Umaid Palace.
There are also colorful Bazaars around the old clock tower. Evening at leisure
Day 32 (19/11)
After breakfast a daylight look around the fort and then we set off on a drive of five (5) hours via the beautiful Temples of Ranakpur and on to one of the famous Hill Stations at Mount Abu.
Check in to Mount View Hotel
Evening visit to sunset point / Nikki Lake
Day 33 (20/11)
After breakfast a visit to Dilwara Temples and Brahma Kumari Ashrams.
After lunch leave for Udaipur three (3) hours
Check in to Rang Niwas Palace. Evening at leisure*
*Stroll on the lake front or take in a folk dance show at Baggar Ki Haveli
Day 34 (21/11)
Udaipur Discovery – The City Palace – Old City –Seheliyon Ki Badi Lakes – Pratap Memorial & Haldi Ghati
2nd Night at Rang Niwas Palace. Evening at leisure with a chance to catch the sunset from Sajjangarth, see Shilpgram where Folk Arts & Crafts are on display, catch a Sound & Light Show at the Palace or just stroll the Bazaars.
Day 35 (22/11)
After an early breakfast, we head off on a long (6.5 hrs) drive to Sawai Madhopur close to The Ranthambhore Wildlife Park with stops for lunch** on the way.
** Via Chittogarth Fort, but only if time allows
Check in to Hotel Rajputana Heritage. Evening at leisure
Day 36 (23/11)
Early Breakfast and start to the day with the first Safari starting at 7.00 AM
The Second Safari starts at 2pm and should finish around 5.30pm. Evening at leisure
A Safari have been booked in a Jeep with a Maximum of six (6) occupants with three in a shared Jeep at a cost of 2950 Rupee (42.50 euro) each for morning and afternoon safaris as per preferences already received.
Day 37 (24/11)
Early breakfast again today as it is a day of driving (6-7 hrs) with adequate comfort breaks and lunch which will bring us to Agra home of the Taj Mahal.
Arrive late afternoon/ early evening and check into the two Guest Houses
Coral Court Homestay
Evening at leisure and maybe take in The Taj Mahal at sunset
Day 38 – 39 (25/11 – 26/11)
We will enjoy the sights of Agra with visits to Taj Mahal, Baby Taj and Red Fort as well as local outlet famous for its marble carvings.
Day 40 (27/11)
After breakfast in the morning we will depart Agra for the 224 kms drive to Delhi which should be about 3 hours where we will have the rest of the day to catch up on last minute shopping or sightseeing.
The Hotel Aura will provide us with our last night accommodation where you can enjoy the facilities of the wellness center with Jacuzzi & Spa.
Evening at leisure / Farewell Dinner.
After breakfast in the morning a car will take those that are leaving to the airport by 11.45 am in time to catch their return flight to London Heathrow via Air India flight 111 which leaves at 2.45 pm