Ranthambore, the wilderness extraordinaire! Everyone knows it as a well-known Tiger reserve in Rajasthan in India. But it is much beyond that. We were there last week and we will tell you why!
We did not plan this trip. It just happened when we realised that 26 Jan was falling on Tuesday giving us a long weekend. Thinking about where to go, Jaipur was the first choice. The famed Jaipur Literature festival had advanced their dates to last week of January from first week of February. Going to Jaipur suited us fine. But, we did not want to spend all four days in Jaipur. That was when Ranthambore happened. We had missed going there twice when we were in Jaipur previously.
Googling for details and Checking out for Safari dates online led us to Tigerwalah – a fantastic site with all details on Ranthambore. The fact that Anurag also conducts safaris in the park made us more excited. Excellent review on Trip Advisor helped too. We picked up phone and called up Anurag. In the first call itself we knew that we have found the guy. Promptly, Anurag sent all details and we booked a room in “Machli”and safaris.
After a wonderful day in Jaipur Literature Festival, we left for Ranthambore. An excellent drive through yellow fields of Mustard led us to Sawai Madhopur, the nearest town to the park. (Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size)
Anurag was on the phone guiding us to his place. Manoeuvring through dusty roads along wheat and mustard fields lead us to his cute little place aptly named “Machli” after the tigress who made Ranthambore get its fame. Machli is not a resort. It is an intimate farm stay. A three acre oasis among the hordes of resorts along the way to the park. Quietude of the place is only disturbed by the sounds of trains which pass nearby. A simple elegant architecture, with a lovely lawn welcomed us. Anurag received us and it looked as if we are coming to our own home! A banker who chucked his job for love of wildlife, Anurag and Deshbandhu – who was a techie – built Machli to fulfil their passion. How they built this is a story you should listen from them!
A homely lunch done, we hop onto the Gypsy along with Anurag. We are also joined by another couple Pauline and Anish from Mumbai. Hansraj, the naturalist is also on board. We reach the entrance of the park in five minutes. Hansraj, completes the formalities and we enter the park.
Ranthambore is not like other parks. It has a fort – one of the largest in the country and a UNESCO World Heritage site – inside the park on a hill. The temple of Lord Ganesh at the foothills of the fort is revered by locals who come there to worship. There is no entrance fee for going to temple. The drive from entry point to Ganesh temple is around ten minutes. It is at the start point of Zone 3 to which are going today.
The landscape of Ranthambore consists of rocky hills and deciduous forests. The rocky outcrops adds the charm to the landscape. Being a private game reserve of erstwhile Maharajahs, the park is fortified with entrance gates. These gates and fort walls add to the charm of the park. Join us as we explore the “Wilderness Royale” of Ranthambore.
While we enjoyed the beauty of the surroundings, Hansraj pointed to a rock at a distance. “Magarmach” he said. We looked in the direction of his finger and this is what we saw…….
We now started looking at the birds…….
Hansraj asked Tika Ram to stop the gypsy. He could see vehicles on the other side of the lake in another zone. He could sense that something was likely to happen soon. He then shouted “Tiger” and asked us to look at the distance where the vehicles were parked. We could see contours of a tiger hiding behind a tree. Hansraj could smell a chance of seeing the tiger. He said that the tiger is waiting for its prey – deer – to walk closer to it on the bank to pounce upon it. He was excited as it would be a golden chance to watch tiger killing a prey.
We were excited too as a pair of deer started walking on the bank towards the tiger……….
As we waited, we were treated to some lovely scenes of wilderness you can ever get to see…….
Did we get a chance to see once in a lifetime chance of tiger killing a pray in wild? Did “Lightning” strike? Wait for next post………
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