Most times, people take buses and trains and wouldn’t consider hiring a car. It’s a little different in India, where car hire can be quite cheap. I once took a mountain car ride through treacherous roads for 10 hours and paid a fee of 70 bucks that I split with my friend.
Extras You’ll Get to See:
1. Kumbhalgarh Fort.
Here, you won’t want to stay the night unless you have lots of time to kill. You need about 2-3 hours to see the majority of the fort and you can hire a guide to teach you it’s history. This Mewar fortress is about 2 hours outside Udaipur (80 km). I didn’t spend time here, because Jodhpur is all about forts, and I was a little sightseeing out. There is a Hindu temple inside. It was built in the 15th century and people lived there until late in the 19th century. Pretty cool!
2. Ranakpur Temple.
Located in Desuri Tehsil near Sadri town, in the Pali district, this temple is closed to non-Jains before noon. We got there early and had to wait. Jains are quite strict, so you can’t take in ANY leather, not even your purse. Make sure you are very covered up and leave your shoes at the door. There are some smaller temples here as well called “sun temples”.
You could stay for lunch, but you really only need an hour. This was built in the 14th century by a Jain businessman out of pure marble. There are 1444 marble pillars holding this temple up, and no two have the same design! This is known as the most spectacular Jain temple.
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3. Dilwara Temples.
Just near Ranakpur, this was very cool to see. This is a Jain temple in a small village. Prayer is important on Mondays, so it’s quite packed then. This is 2.5 km from Rajasthan’s only hill station, Mt. Abu, and is a pilgrimage for Jains. There are 5 temples here.
4. Villages and Farms.
You’ll pass little monkeys, herds of cattle, and people is colorful saris and turbans. You can buy bananas on the side of the road and feed the animals if you wish, but the monkeys are a little feisty, especially the moms. You can also see the water-wheels drawn by horses or cows. We even saw camels walking down the road.
More Tips & Safety
Of course you need to show your driver on a map the exact places you want to stop at. The worst thing is to underestimate what the driver is worth, which will make him feel under-appreciated. If you take a long time touring temples, you need to discuss that with your driver. Keep in mind, he will be waiting outside in the heat for you! You can ask your guesthouse for help with a finding a driver.
It’s best to find a friend to share a car with. When I was getting a car from Dharmsala to Amritsar, I put up signs and got 5 phone calls with people who wanted to share rides! Saved me tons of money. This is definitely a good option to try. If you don’t want to work it out yourself, you can look for on various sites and do you research to see which tour you prefer.
Always make sure you let someone know if you are going alone. Call ahead to your hotel letting them know your arrival time; do this in front of your driver. He’ll know someone is waiting on you and that you have a cell phone. Sometimes if I feel uncomfortable leaving my purse, etc in the car while I tour temples I will take a photo of the driver’s license plate. I let him see me do it so that he knows I could find him if need be! If you end up taking a train or bus in India follow these safety tips.
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