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Tips for an Amazing Road Trip Through Rajasthan India
In July 2010, my boyfriend and I arrived in New Delhi and after three days of exploring the capital, we decided to spend our next two weeks in India by traveling through Rajasthan by road. We set out on a road trip through the northwestern part of the country. We went to the nearest travel agency and hired a car and driver to take us to this exquisite region on the next day. Our itinerary included: Agra (the location of the Taj Mahal), Bikaner, Jaipur (known as the “pink city”), Jaisalmer (known as the "golden city"), Jodhpur (known as the “blue city”), Pushkar, Udaipur, and a stop we didn’t plan, a day at the Jodhpur hospital! Looking back, it wasn’t the destinations that made out trip unforgettable but the process of actually getting there.
Types of Rajasthan Road Transport
The assortment of transportation that we saw while on the roads is incredible. Besides cars (which were mostly the Indian Tata mark that even we were driving), there were camels and donkeys pushing wagons, trucks and busses completely loaded with people with some people holding on unbeknownst to me how from the outside! There were bicycles, motorcycles, and there were guys pulling passengers on their cycle rickshaws.
Experience of Driving in Rajasthan
Rajasthan, sometimes identified as the "Desert State of India" is like an exotic beauty in a vast desert. The region is colorful, diverse, and beautiful, and a road trip is a remarkable way to take it all in. The most difficult part of a road trip through this region is the long distance between cities, which took us an average of six hours each! Although this allowed us to make stops whenever we wanted and really get an appreciation of the wonders of this region. We drove past sand dunes on the Thar Desert, green valleys that seemed to appear from out of nowhere, different bustling communities between cities, and saw historic forts high up in the mountains. The region clearly has a very rich culture and heritage. And might I add, the roads are in pretty good condition, with none of the potholes I've gotten used to in New York City. The only thing that may hold you up while on the road is maybe a cow that's standing in the middle of the road or the amazing sight of a caravan of camels walking one after the other. Both are pretty amazing to see and will stay with me forever!
Tips For When Your're Driving in Rajasthan
- Do not drink the local (tap) water - There are different types of bacteria everywhere and by drinking the local water, your body may not be used to it and may react very negatively. Mine did and I didn't know it until a couple of days later when I ended up in the hospital completely dehydrated and fainting, I actually caught an intestinal bug!
- Do not go to local restaurants that use local water - Seriously, beware. I learned this the hard way! I consider myself to be pretty adventurous and give anything a try so when we found that the tourist restaurants closed for the night when we decided to have dinner after 8pm, our driver warned us about the risks of eating at a local restaurant that cooks with local water. We ignored the warnings, invited our driver to dine with us and had an amazing feast for something like a total cost of $5. I was fine following the restaurant but the next day started to feel really weak, and the day after, I wasn't able to hold down any food at all, and on the third day, I couldn't get out of bed and when I did, I fainted! My boyfriend carried me to the car and we drove to the hospital where I spent the entire day and was on antibiotics for the next two weeks!
- Rest stop restaurants for tourists close at 8pm - Please stop for dinner before 8pm. You don't want to go through what I went through! If you find that tourist restaurants are closed, do not go to a local one. In case, bring some snacks along that will carry you over until breakfast.