A Lifetime Trip

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Ranthambhore – The call of the wild

Ranthambhore – The call of the wild
I got a very pleasant surprise recently when my husband planned a trip to Ranthambore, along with his friend, so our two families could enjoy the trip as well as each other’s company. And, what great funit turned out to be!
Getting there – the enjoyable road trip
We started from Gurgaon early, around 6:30 am in a bid to beat the crazy rush-hour traffic. The drive was a smooth one with kids having lots of fun playing games on the way, in which we adults also joined in occasionally.

We took NH8 from Gurgaon towards Jaipur. It is funny how much the stomach rumbles when you are on holiday, doesn’t it? We stopped for breakfast at Bhiwadi. From there it was Alwar, Bikaner – Agra Road, Jaipur – Agra Road, Lalsot and finally SawaiMadhopur. The National Park is about 11 km from SawaiMadhopur which also happens to be the nearest bus stop and railway station.

Excitement building up – at Ranthambhore
It took us about 7 hours to reach Ranthambore as we had to make lots of stops with the kids along. The journey was as much fun in anticipation, as the actual destination I guess. That’s what happens when you are with friends! Time just seems to melt away!
We stayed at Hill View Resort there. It is a comfortable and clean place with decent service and facilities, and quite pocket friendly too! In any case, we were planning on being out most of the day.

We had booked the afternoon safari on that day. Here’s an important thing to note! One must make sure to book the safari in advance, to avoid disappointment of not getting permit at the last moment! The booking for the safari can be done online also after paying a nominal fee, which has to be paid in full once you reach the National Park.

So after a refreshing ourselves and a quick bite at lunch, we were back in a vehicle, rather on a vehicle! This time it was the open air jeeps, the perfect way to enjoy the jungle safari we were told, so that we could have unrestricted view all around. Each jeep had a driver and a guide, so we felt like royalty! Of course, we remembered to take hats/caps and insect repellent with us on our tour, thanks to the useful tips by others who had visited the place before us!
Jungle safari – Our first contact with wildlife
After paying the entry fees, at last we were on way our way – in quest of the roaring tiger, if we would get lucky to see it. On the way, we saw some langurs playing on the trees. They were swinging from one tree to another so fast, as if they were playing a game of tag amongest themselves. It was a so fascinating to watch- them play in their natural habitats. Our guide advised us not to feed the animals, after all they are wild animals and may have tried to harm us if we encouraged them (or irritated them) by feeding or interfering with them!

Further down we got a front – seat view of a lovely dance by a gorgeous peacock in full mood. The show lasted for about 15 minutes. We were totally mesmerized by the peacock. It seemed like the peacock knew that we were under its spell and did not want to release us!It looked proud and seemed tell its audience,“Take as many pictures as you can take while I am in the mood for it!”After finishing its performance, it gracefully disappeared into the cluster of trees beside the path we were on. Wow, what a magnificent show!

Along the way, the guide showed us common kingfisher, painted stork, Indian pitta and water hens near a watering hole. What a sight! We also saw spotted deer, sambhar, wild boar and jungle hare. Wildlife is truly amazing, especially up so close!
As it was nearing sunset, and we were also tired, we decided to call it a day, so that we could come back early the next day.
Day 2 of the safari – Mission Accomplished
The next day we started early morning around 5:30 am after rounding up the kids, so that we could catch the glimpse of the famous tigers of Ranthambore at the watering hole.And guess what?We got rewarded for our patience of waiting for about an hour! A tigress and her two cubs came along… what a glorious and unforgettable moment it was! The guide said that we were really lucky to have seen her. The forest officers had named this majestic tigress as Noor! Wow, we thanked our stars, since many visitors go back disappointed from the jungle lands!

The mother and her cubs stayed there for about 15 minutes drinking water and cooling down. The tigress was romping in the water playfully with her cubs with lot of growls thrown in. Our kids, otherwise a noisy lot, picked up the cues, and were so engrossed into watching the tigress and the cubs, that they became very quiet, in order to not disturb or distract the majestic animals during their playtime. There wasn’t much noise anywhere except for the clicking of cameras. We left the watering hole with palpitating hearts after the tigress had left with her cubs.

Shopping – yeah!

After we had a hearty breakfast in harmony with our upbeat mood, we went to Dastkar retail outlet for some shopping. They have a good collection of handmade cloth toys, bags, pottery and garments at reasonable prices, perfect for gifting as well as for souvenirs. They also advised us to visit the factory outlet for more variety. It proved to be true to the promise and we bought some beautiful flower vases, garments and souvenirs from there!

There are lots of colorful and irresistible shops also along the roads from where we bought some trinkets to take back home with us as cherished memories of our trip!
Gala evening

That evening our resort organized a bonfire for its guests with some live music and lots of yummy food. We all had lots of fun letting our hair down, dancing around the bonfire, singing songs and playing games! What a perfect ending to a perfectly fruitful day!

Heading back

The next day we started back home after breakfast so that we could make it in good time – to give us a head-start for the working week ahead. Needless to say, we will forever carry with us the picture of the thick mysterious jungle, the playful langurs, the dancing peacock and the frolicking tigress with her cubs in our hearts!

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