Nicolien & Guido with Rattan, March 2015

The journey went very well. We did have some personal inconveniences, but Rattan helped us with that very well. The fact is that we ended up in a Delhi hospital on our first day. Rattan was a big help to us there. Later while we were travelling he arranged for extra medicine.  He did everything to take our worries off our hands. He took really good care of us. An excellent guy, for sure.

Although we knew beforehand that we would spend a lot of time in cars, it was disappointing, also because of Nicolien’s inflamed tooth. On our way we doubted whether to skip Ranakpur and Udaipur. Rattan advised us not to with good reason. We found these places very beautiful. We would recommend to allot at least 3 weeks for this route.

The first and last night we spent with Rattan and his family. This was very lovely and the room was also very comfortable. We can recommend it to everyone. It is much nicer than spending the night in a hotel. Here we had the best food and tea of our entire journey. The room was big, clean, tidy and had a wonderful bed. It was very valuable to join in with Rattan’s family, how very welcoming!

On the first day we spend with Rattan the Holifestival took place. We walked through the neighbourhood with his son (Heera). We visited his friends and acquaintances. That was really special. We received a warm welcome and had to eat and drink something at all the places we visited. Heera was very cautious and ‘protected’ us well. There were also drunks in the streets who were quite enthusiastic indeed. Fortunately, the neighbourhood was like a little village in which everyone knows each other.

We had not booked the hotels in advance. And a good thing too, because now Rattan could recommend us the hotels where he could spend the night as well. The first nights we agreed on the price ourselves. Rattan thought we didn’t handle that very well, so at the other hotels he negotiated on the price. Once we asked for another hotel, which was no problem.

Rajasthan is beautiful, but already very touristy. This area is wonderful for anyone who loves fortresses, palaces and temples. It is less suitable though for people who want to see the old India. Especially en route Rattan could show us beautiful things and put us in contact with the local population. For instance with a few men smoking near a well. One of these men told us he was not afraid of wild animals like tigers, but for people. Yet he invited us over for a cup of tea. These moments were the highlights of Rajasthan.

Another highlight was Rattan. What a dear, caring man he is. He took super care of us. Our conversations with him were lovely and we laughed a lot. But sometimes also seriously, and we learned a lot from him about India, its culture and Hinduism. He regularly gave us pause to think. Sometimes we disagreed and then he was receptive to our opinions and ideas.

During our trip we met another driver and another Dutch couple. This was really nice and we got along very well. The other driver was first-class as well.

We can recommend everyone to travel with Rattan or one of his colleagues. First think about what you want to see in India though. Next time we would like to travel with Rattan to the village of his birth in the north of India.