7 day holiday at Kumbalgarh and Udaipur, Rajasthan in October 2016.
I have covered this trip in a series of 3 blogs. The first one covering pre departure preparation and Day 1. The version you read has been edited and cut to size by my wife.
Pre departure preparation
Decided to take a week-long vacation during Puja Holidays to coincide with school holidays of our kids. We have a Club Mahindra Membership. In July 2016, we booked a 6N 7D stay that was to commence on Monday, October 3, 2016. Got a studio apartment – they do have a 1BR apartment – and we are eligible for it in our time-share. But as it always happens with Club Mahindra, getting reservations for the first choice of place almost never happens and if it does, you never ever get the room of your choice. Once the booking was confirmed, booked flight tickets through Indigo from Chennai to Udaipur. Chennai to Mumbai, leaving Chennai at 8:50 AM. About a 90-minute stopover at Mumbai and continue to Udaipur. Scheduled to leave Mumbai at 12:15 PM. Also booked a Myles – self-drive car for a week. This is the first time we are experimenting with a self-drive car option. Relatively new concept in India – Zoomcar and Myles offer. Booked a Toyota Etios. Cost us about Rs.13,000 + fuel for a 7 day usage.
For those leaving Chennai, by morning flights, standard word of advice – leave with adequate time on hand. The line for check in at Indigo and security check is usually long. The ground staff of Indigo at Chennai are very efficient. They complete the check in – real quick – without making you feel rushed. Indigo airlines left Chennai at 9 AM, 10 minutes behind schedule – which is unusual for Indigo – which is usually on time. (By now, you would have guessed I am a fan of Indigo). Thankfully, an uneventful flight. Reached Mumbai at 10:45 AM.
The behaviour of security check staff in Mumbai Airport seemed wierd. The staff who was frisking randomly asked a few of us to get our wallets scanned by the x-ray machine – and that too after we reached the frisking point! So, make a trip back to the beginning of the machine, drop your wallet in a tray. And then their shift ended and they left abruptly, leaving us waiting without a word till the next set came to take over their place. And the next set of guys did not want to have our wallets scanned by the x-ray machine! Go figure! Uniformed men!
Then we noticed that the gate number on our boarding pass did not match the one on display. The general attitude of the staff manning Mumbai Airport was apathy bordering on rudeness. Even Indigo Airlines staff at the gates were downright condescending.
The flight to Udaipur also left 15 minutes late. Hmmm…what is it with Indigo?
I had spoken to Mr Bharath who is the Myles Franchisee at Udaipur. When I booked Myles, the website had mentioned that the pickup and drop point is at Udaipur Airport. But when I contacted them on Oct 2, 2016 (Myles does not think it necessary to send either an email or text message of where to pick up the vehicle. It is your responsibility), Mr Bharath told me that they do not have a pickup point at Udaipur Airport and that I have to find my way to their pickup point at Udaipur City. However, Mr. Bharath offered to come and pick us up for a Rs.500 fee. Readily agreed. Thought it sensible to have him pick us up for that extra bit rather than take Uber and try and find the place.( Don’t know who pulled the wool over our eyes – Mr. B or Myles.)
He came and picked us up in the Etios that we had rented. Took us to the city centre. Gave us ideas to plan places that we could visit and general sense of road conditions. The Etios that we got was a well-functioning car. However, not a very clean car. Recollected a saying – if you have lower expectations, you will be happier. Thought of alternatives. Having to rent a car every day from Kumbhalgarh vs having a car at your disposal. The difference was night vs day. Actually, a good car. Lots of leg room. Could easily take two mid-sized trolley bags in the boot without any complaint and responded very well to ups and downs on the way.
A very good vegetarian restaurant at Udaipur, Rajasthan
On Mr. Bharath’s recommendation, had lunch at River Rock Restaurant, Udaipur. It is walking distance from Sukhadia Circle. When we reached there at 3 PM on a Monday afternoon, we were the only customers. Had a creepy feeling as my daughter said – but decided to pay heed to Mr. Bharath and ordered North Indian spread. One of the best food that we have had. Very tasty food. They checked with us about how much spice we liked and the food was made as we wanted it. Very hospitable and warm service. Definitely, will recommend the restaurant to anyone visiting Udaipur. I will rate it a 4.5 on 5. Google map marker to the Restaurant.
Left Udaipur for Kumbalgarh at 4:30 PM – google GPS assisted drive to Udaipur. The first 23-odd km included a 11 km 4-lane highway. I have not yet figured out how to configure it – but google always provides me with what it considers the shortest distance and we end up taking many inside rutty roads. I guess if we had asked around we may have gotten on to the 4-lane earlier. We were forewarned by Mr Bharath that the 4-lane will end and we will travel about 50 km on a single or 2-lane road. SH and MDR roads are badly maintained. You will negotiate pot holes every 800m to a km.
But it was quite a scenic road – mountains on one side, with a river / stream flowing on the other. It had rained quite a bit the previous fortnight. At one point we motored across a lake overflowing on the road draining onto the river. Stopped mid-way for tea in a roadside shop. We were treated to very good tea and played with a friendly dog, kids were delighted. The shopkeeper and another guy gave us ideas on what places to visit when we stay in Rajasthan. Told us that the road will widen from a 1-lane road to a 2-lane road in about 3 km. It did. A world of difference. Could travel much faster than before. Reached Club Mahindra, Kumbalgarh at 6:30 PM despite the stopovers.
First Impression of Club Mahindra, Kumbalgarh Fort
Check-in at Club Mahindra, Kumbalgarh was real smooth, real quick. In fact, I had to ask the front desk executive, “is that all?” Took all of 7 minutes – including the time it took us to have the welcome drink. A very well designed tasteful room. A large room with a sofa-cum-bed that serves as a comfortable kid’s bed (a standard feature in club Mahindra). An added surprise was the large in-built window seat, that my son claimed for himself. Wonderful! A little kitchenette included a microwave, basic crockery and cutlery, and an electric kettle. It also has a tiny table with two small benches (the rexine cushions that made fart sounds was a source of great amusement for the kids). We have been to many Club Mahindra properties, with rooms big and small. This was one of the best designed ones we had been to. The resort has a swimming pool – all of 4 ft deep – ideal for those like me who knows not how to swim. We ordered room service. Roti – subzi – dal and rice – will rate the food a 3 on 5.
Retired after a long day to a Carlsberg.