India Journals

India for the Clinically Insane

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A January 2006 trip to India by chaseshishorse

Hotel Bhairon Vilas Photo, Bikaner, India More Photos
Quote: How to survive in India on $30, a bottle of aspirin, a pair of flip-flops, a guidebook, and five servings of naan per day.

India for the Clinically Insane

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Overview

ganesh Photo, India, Asia
Quote:
Ah, India. It's absolutely just as crazy and overwhelming as you've heard. Swimming with people, noisy, hectic, fascinating, and unlike anywhere I'd ever been before. A trip to India is a balance between insanity and calm, between frustration and delight, between riches and poverty, chaos and pristine order.I traveled for a month and kept only to Northern India—Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan, Maharashtra—and I still ran out of time.Imperatives:The Taj Mahal surpasses every expectation. Don't let the touristy-ness drive you off, or the insanely aggressive touts who try to sell you things. This is something you simply have to see before you die.Jodhpur, the Blue City, is ...Read More
Quote:
Located adjacent to the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute (which is handy—you can hop over after a day spent in Delhi's lung-clogging traffic,) and a couple of kilometers from Connaught Place. The neighborhood is nothing to write home about, but the staff is incredibly helpful and friendly—it is family run. Rooms are simple, and clean, with hot water. The beds are hard, but that's par for the course in India. There is free internet connection, which is a rarity, and a decent in-house restaurant. The setting is peaceful nice patios in front and back where you can sit, or eat dinner. For an extra fee, they will arrange to pick you up from the airport, which I strongly recommend—they can also arrange car to...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 2, 2006

Yatri Guest House
3/4 Punchkuin Rd.
New Delhi, India 1100055
+91 (11) 23625563

Hotel Pearl Palace

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Hotel

Hotel Pearl Palace Photo, India, Asia
Quote:
There are cheap, super nice, and comfortable rooms. The owner, Mr. Singh, is very accessible and always working on improvements. The rooms have painted ceilings, TVs, and fairly comfortable beds. Our room had a balcony and cost only 350 Rupees, about $7 or $8 . Internet is available downstairs (though in a cramped little room) for (I think) 50 Rupees an hour. Stamps are also available, along with laundry service; drop-off in the morning, pick-up after 3pm.The rooftop restaurant looks out over Hathroi Fort and has unique wrought iron tables and chairs, all designed by Mr. Singh, in the shape of different animals. There is a decent menu, but don't believe them (or anyone else) when they s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 2, 2006

Hotel Pearl Palace
Hathroi Fort
Jaipur, India 302001
+91 (141) 2373700

Devi Bhawan

Hotel

Quote:
Devi Bhawan is a peaceful oasis in the midst of the Thar Desert. It is located slightly outside the city, near the military base. Our room was $22, which included a shared porch, comfortable beds, and a bathroom with an actual shower (including shower curtains). The hotel is green and lush, with a swimming pool (the water was actually quite cold while we were there–no idea what it’s like during summer), gardens and fountains, a gazebo with a swing, and the list goes on and on. The hotel restaurant is in the garden and has an excellent dinner menu. The thalis are especially good. Internet is available in the lounge for a fee (less than 50 rupees per hour), which also has books, magazines...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 15, 2006

Devi Bhawan
Ratanda Circle, Defense Laboratory Road
Jodphur, India
91 (291) 2512215

Deoki Niwas

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Hotel

Quote:
Deoki Niwas is serviceable and generally okay, but it’s no great shakes. Rooms are plain and average, and seemed to tend towards mugginess which the air- conditioning did nothing to dispel. Not worth the $40 we paid.The location is nothing special. It’s on a shabby street nowhere near anything. One thing it has going for it is a great view of the Fort on the hill, especially from the rooftop restaurant (which is fine, but also nothing special).Bathrooms are the typical Indian variety. No shower curtain, just a drain in the floor, water sprays everywhere. The sinks drain through a tube that stops above a floor drain, so if there’s a lot of water, it just overflows the drain and gets...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on March 15, 2006

Deoki Niwas
Opposite Krishna Ghat Prol
Rajasthan, India 345 001

Hotel Bhairon Vilas

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Hotel

Hotel Bhairon Vilas Photo, Bikaner, India
Quote:
First things first, don’t stay at this hotel. Really, don’t. It was AWFUL. It looks cool and all, but don’t let it fool you, it’s horrid in almost every way.Admittedly, it looks like it’d be a fun place to stay: colorful walls, troughs of flower petals, vintage clothing and old photos hung on the walls, a garden and dining terrace, and a great location right across from the Fort.But otherwise? Suckfest. The website claims you can pay by credit card, but you can’t. The room had no hot water, the fan wasn’t actually wired into anything, the TV didn’t work, the beds were hard, dinner took 3 hours to arrive during which time we were endlessly harassed by the performers (a boy danced ar...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on March 15, 2006

Hotel Bhairon Vilas
next to Junagarh Fort
Bikaner, India
+91 (151) 2544751

Karni Mata Temple

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Attraction

Karni Mata Temple Photo, Bikaner, India
Quote:
Yes, it's a temple of holy rats. It's going to sound weird, but really, it's completely awesome. Try not to be rat phobic, they're well-fed and well-behaved.This temple, in the town of Deshnoke less than an hour South of Bikaner and on the road to Jodhpur, was built in dedication to Karni Mata, an incarnation of Durga who was notable for dedicating her life to serve the poor. The story goes that she attempted to bring the dead child of a storyteller back to life, but could not because Yama, the god of death, had already reincarnated the spirit. She became so angry that she swore none from her tribe would fall into Yama's hands and would instead temporarily inhabit the body of a rat, before b...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 15, 2006

Karni Mata Temple
NH 89
Deshnoke, Rajasthan
09898467264

Meherangarh Fort

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Attraction

Meherangarh Fort Photo, Jodhpur, India
Quote:
Jodhpur's fort is up on top of the hill, looming over the old city, most of which is painted with an indigo wash, a color used initially to indicate the Brahmin caste, the adopted by others for its cooling and insect-repelling effects. The fort itself is awesome. First of all, you have to pay to get in, and you know what that means? Nobody hassling you to give them your money! Second, the current Maharaja established a trust to administer the fort, so it's very well-maintained and has an excellent, in-depth audio tour. Sure, you feel like a dork wandering around with a keypad thinger hanging around your neck and headphones on, but everyone is equal in their dorkery, so you're not, like, the Lo...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 8, 2006

Meherangarh Fort

Jodhpur, India

Haggling How–To, and How!

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Story/Tip

Quote:
First off, get used to being seen as an ATM. Very few people will talk to you without wanting you to buy something or pay them for some service, particularly in the tourist areas. Even if they start out asking your name and where you’re from, they’ll usually get to the hard sell sooner or later. When dealing with touts: SHOW NO WEAKNESS. If a tout speaks to you, ignore him unless you want a good long hassle. Mirrored sunglasses can help, as well as pretending you don’t understand whatever language with which they’ve addressed you. They will try several languages (these guys have it down to a science), so make up your own if you feel like it. Certain cities have more aggressive touts than other...Read More