Destinations - India Wild Life

Ranthambore Rendezvous 1 – Wilderness Royale!

Written by Poorna & Brinda

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)

Ranthambore

The Yellow expanse of Mustard fields on the way to Ranthambore from Jaipur is a treat to eyes.

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

Entrance gate to the park. The reception is on the right side of this gate where one has to register the names and get permit to enter the park for safari. 

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.

Ranthambore

The landscape of Ranthambore is what makes it special. Its rugged hills, dry deciduous forests and huge water bodies makes safari through this park very exciting.

IMG_2743-001

We drive along. This is a common road to go to the fort and the Ganesha temple.

Ranthambore

We now enter the fort through one of its gate. These structures add beauty to the rugged landscape.

Ranthambore

Hamir Kund – A small pond next to the entrance gate

Ranthambore

Few minutes into the drive, you are treated to this fabulous scene of Ranthambore fort on a hillock with a lovely valley next to it.

Ranthambore

We got our zoom lens active and clicked the lovely picture of the fort.

Ranthambore

Along the way we were treated by this nice picture of langurs……

Ranthambore

Some speed breakers along the way……first sight of Sambhar dear.

Ranthambore

After driving for few minutes, we reach Jogimahal Gate which is the entry point to Zone 3. This is also the final point to which people without safari permit can come to visit the fort and temple.

Ranthambore

As we start our drive, the first stop is at this gate. Looks surreal and straight out of ghost stories. An old fortified gate with a huge banyan tree in the foreground with its aerial roots, it was a fascinating sight. This gate became iconic when a wildlife photographer clicked a tiger peeping through one of the windows on its wall! This picture became very famous.

Ranthambore

Driving through the gate, we see the first water body. Padam Talao  as it is known, is a huge artificial lake built by erstwhile Maharajas to store water inside the park. The setting of the lake with ancient structures around makes it very picturesque.

Ranthambore

….like this small tomb…..

Ranthambore

…..or these hunting palace of Maharaja on its bank……

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…….

Ranthambore

Three crocodile sunbathing in the afternoon!

ranthambore

……and the lonely dude on the rock!!

We now started looking at the birds…….

Ranthambore

Painted stork

Ranthambore

Ducks.

Ranthambore

A darter on the rock….

Ranthambore

The “Snake bird” spreading its wings and getting ready to fly.

Ranthambore

A parakeet perched on a branch

Ranthambore

Brahminy Duck

Ranthambore

This was a fascinating landscape and this is what Jungles are made of. Look at the colours!

ranthambore

We continued through the forest….

Ranthambore

The watch tower type structures scattered in the forest continued to be interesting…..

Ranthambore

Suddenly, Hansraj asked driver Tika Ram to stop. “Tiger” he said pointing towards the pond. We could see the tiger masked in the shadow. It was walking on the other bank and within seconds vanished into the bushes. We drove ahead and waited for the fellow to come out into the open. But to no avail. We moved ahead…..

 

Ranthambore

On the way, we were treated to this beauty! Spotted owl in meditation!

ranthambore

.…..And this spotted deer. We liked this one as the lighting was perfect.

Ranthambore

We reached Malik Talab. This was a “wow” moment. Buzzing with wildlife amidst pink coloured water in afternoon, this was like a scene straight out of movies like “Avatar”. There were Spotted dear, Sambhar deer and wild boar in plenty.

Ranthambore

With afternoon sun and shadow, this is how the left side of the lake looked like. Notice the wild boars having gala time in water! Also notice the vehicles parked on the bank.

Ranthambore

This was how the right side of the lake which was lit up brightly looked. Pinkish water with dry trunks all-around makes this lake a pretty sight

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…….

Ranthambore

Wild boar having fun

Ranthambore

Joy ride for the bird!

Ranthambore

A bird on a branch

Ranthambore

Coochie coo!

Ranthambore

Rufus Treepie. You will find them everywhere!

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………

Please Share

We hope you liked this post and enjoyed reading it. Please share it among your friends by clicking the buttons below. Our aim is to share our experiences to inspire you to travel more!

About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Comment