Travel in India
Travel in India and Tibet.
Every week in the shop we seem to have delightful conversations with our customers about India and several families have been inspired by our photographs to go there - so I'm starting to compile what I hope will be a helpful information guide. This is it; I'll keep adding to it. There's already quite a lot of descriptive writing and photos in our blogs.
We have plenty of experience of travel in certain parts of India and are always happy to offer advice and share our knowledge and contacts. We have been many times to Ladakh and Rajasthan in particular. Mostly we are interested in getting to the less visited places.
The nuts and bolts of travel in India is deciding where you want to go, how long you've got, how you want to get around and where you want to stay. Finding your own way around in India can be part of the adventure but it can also be hot, tiring, slow and frustrating.
How to travel: train, drive or fly? What level of hotel/guest house comfort do you want?
We make most of our internal Indian travel arrangements with Ramesh Wattal of Welcome Travels in Delhi. I always ask Ramesh to make arrangements when we need train tickets and a car & driver.
He is usually the best bet for internal flights.
For hotels I'd recommend checking out the options on booking.com or similar sites. Ramesh can sometimes get better deals but the main advantage of working with Ramesh for all these arrangements is when you need to change dates - that can be easy for Ramesh but a headache for you.
What level of hotel comfort you want is a very personal choice. I'll mention a handful that aren't necessarily brilliant but tick my boxes in one way or another. You can take a look online; bear in mind that places can change.
I'd always recommend trying to do a little less than you might want but that will depend on your energy levels, how you get on with the heat or altitude and how deeply you want to engage.
Thinking of it as a once in a lifetime trip might tempt you to try do everything but the reality is that if you like India you'll want to go again. It's always there and giving yourself a bit more slack in the itinerary is generally a good idea if you want to be receptive what to each day offers. Having said that I usually find myself trying to do as much as possible and tempting the patience of my travelling companions.
In Rajasthan north of Jaipur there is an area called Shekawati with scattered small towns and villages famous for the havelis built towards the end of the 18th century by rich Marwar merchant families. Havelis are rather grand town houses and the ones in Shekawati are renowned for their painted murals. The families that own these houses no longer live in them but some are managed by a caretaker and can be opened for you.
Nawalgarh is one of these small towns. It's about 5 hours drive from Delhi and 2 hours from Jaipur. Rajesh owns a small guest house called the Tourist Pension. It's delighful and Rajesh is a superb guide for the town and area. His night-time walking tour of the market is an absolute delight and an experience you wouldn't have without him. I've written about Rajesh several times including this blog: Green Lotus Quilt & a Homestay in Rajasthan. Here's link to his website: Tourist Pension.
I like the idea of a soft arrival in India and making your first journey from Delhi to Rajesh's Homestay can be an excellent way to start your journey. There is some excellent sight seeing in Nawalgarh and the surrounding area.
In Delhi itself, hotels are expensive. They always have been. Over the years we've tried several and gradually dropped quality as prices increased. There is 5 star opulence of course if you want it. My favourite hotel, a small art deco gem with a brilliant restaurant called The Broadway closed during Covid and hasn't reopened. Ramesh tends to book us in to the Siddharth which is dull but has excellent buffet breakfasts and a pool. Finding somewhere near a Metro makes sense unless you retain a car and driver. That can be a good idea but Delhi traffic jams slow you down, except on Sundays.