So our india adventure is finally underway. I want to be honest in that both of us have very mixed feelings about this trip. While we have had a decent amount of good feedback from other travellers when discussing India, there were plenty with significant reservations too.
When compared to South Asian countries it is simply another step down. I never travelled in a country with 1.4 billion people. And while estimates are always vague, it is true that ONE IN FIVE Indians live in extreme poverty (less than US$2 per day). Our route of travel touches some of the poorer areas.
Viewed globally, c30% of all exteemely poor people are Indian – c220m in 2013 (about 3x the number of German citizens). The number today is closer to 250m given strong population growth (50k Indians are born per day while only 15k die = +35k per day or 13m more p.a.). All quite mind-blowing. 👳🏽♂️ 🇮🇳
Our plan for India
Given Laura returns home already end of March, we decided to focus on the North with Udaipur, Jaipur, Agra (and the Holi festival), Varanasi and Amritsa. There is space for a little more. Afterwards i will continue solo to the Himalayan Sikkim region for hiking and visit my good friend Yash in Mumbai.
Arriving in New Delhi
All fine at the airport and easy connection to the city via metro. From there we took a tuk tuk to Sarai Rohilla station. What a ride! Delhi is clogged up, dirty as hell, everyone honks like mad (and to no avail) and within a 30 minute ride we had our mirror scratched and scratched a car while overtaking. Safe travels!
The train to Udaipur we were after had a long waiting list (a common system here whereby you buy a ticket hoping for drop-outs). So we listened to advise to try another train on another station. An intercity train got us there.
This journey alone was memorable. Only men on trains (95% or more) and public toilet outings are normal – i saw to guys relieving themselves in a short period. Sad amount of details visible from our train window 🥒💩👳🏽♂️🙈.
In general very much like we are used to. However, from 100,000 it diverges as India uses ‘lakh’ for that and puts the commas differently (1,00,000). Ten million are referred to as crore and written as 1,00,00,000. So 20 lakh are 2million and 5 crore are 50million. Not too hard.
First overnight train ride on the Mewar Express
Our tickets to Udaipur got confirmed immediately as we arrived at Hazrat Nizamuddin station and so we had time for a first meal. Curry it was to the liking of both of us. Tasty.
I have to say though that the infrastructure at the train stations is very minimal. Especially when considering the number of travellers. Best you do your shopping in advance and / or use one of the apps that gets you food delivered into the trains.
While waiting we met a young Indian from Agra. He was heading to Amritsar and gave us a few tips for our journey.
Soon it was time to board. We had the whole cabin to us. The beds are pretty comfortable be it that my legs kept sticking out 🙄. Constantly some guys kept running up and down selling snacks, soft drinks and tea. But it was all good and comfortable.
We slept well and only woke up around 7am to get ready to leave the train Udaipur. First overall experience very good. Now a quick tea at the station (5 Rupees) and off to the hotel…
Train travel – main classes explainedSL – Sleeper class: 3-tier sleeper. It has 3 berths: lower, middle and upper. (There is side lower and side upper too) Non-AC.