After Delhi, we needed a more tranquil spot to relax. I was in charge of the itinerary for the India part of the trip and I had picked Udaipur as our next stop. It is in a region called Rajasthan, which is very popular with tourists because of the number of impressive forts and monuments. We took an overnight train from Delhi that took about twelve hours. There are many different types of classes on Indian trains ranging from 1st class where you have air conditioning and an assigned berth in either a cabin of two or four, to Unreserved/General, which is basic and fits as many people as possible. There are several options in between these two ends of the spectrum depending on the train.
Since it was our first train, we decided to take 1st class. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a photo of our cabin but I will say, don’t imagine it like 1st class on a plane or Western style train. The only real difference between 1st class and the next class called 2AC is that you have a compartment with a sliding door. In 2AC, the beds are exactly the same but there are no doors separating any of the berths; it is all open. Even in 1st class, you don’t get to pick your berth but we were lucky enough to be assigned a two-berth cabin so we were on our own. This gave us some time to spread out and re-organize our packs. We knew we wouldn’t be riding 1st class again so we just enjoyed it!
Riding on the trains in India is pretty interesting because of the people watching. At each stop local vendors get on to sell you coffee, tea (chai), food, water etc. They go up and down the aisle shouting whatever they are selling, usually in both Hindi and English. Tiny cups of chai cost about $0.20. They are too sweet for me since I like my coffee and tea black but sometimes I buy them because when in India… Steve really enjoyed seeing the rural and agricultural areas outside the city so we decided to change some of our future trains from overnighters to day trains so we could see more of the countryside.
There is also a service called e-catering that lets you order food from local restaurants and have it delivered to your seat while your train is stopped at a station. That didn’t work out for the ride from Delhi to Udaipur but we will try in on a future train.
The ride was really shaky and neither of us slept much. We got into Udaipur at 7am and before we had even exited the station we had already been approached by tuk tuk drivers asking us where we were going and where we were from. We tried to negotiate down the 150 rupee price quoted by the first driver to 100 rupees but he said it was too low and walked away! That confused us because everything we had read beforehand had said to always haggle, counter with about half of the first offer to start and end up somewhere in the middle. In the end, we paid a different driver 150 rupees (only about $3) to get us to our hostel and later on found out that was a good price!
When we got to our hostel, called The Hostel Crawl, our plan was to leave our bags with reception and get some breakfast while we waited to check in. But, when we got there, no one was around. I had read online in the reviews that other people had waited on the rooftop terrace before or after check in and the staff didn’t mind at all so we decided to head upstairs. Once we reached to top, we were greeted with the most amazing view of Udaipur, Lake Pichola and the surrounding hills! This was exactly the oasis we were looking for after our busy Delhi experience.