It’s always nice to go on a journey to some place where the human intervention is really scarce. A split second decision can go either ways. Either some good things may happen or some worst things may! To me one of the great things happened, when I made such a decision. It is not any external force that made you make such decisions, but the passion that lies within.
There I am, coasting through the country roads of Rajasthan, where everyone wouldn’t normally go on a trip, let alone road trip… The journey started with a plan of breaching the borders of Thar desert! But after looking at the highly packed traffic and a small nap in the car on highway, kind of dampened our desert plan, so we decided to stop at the nearest city, which is Jaipur.
First pit-stop - Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur, Rajasthan. (05:50, Saturday 5th Feb 2011)
Nahargarh Fort, which lies on the range of Aravalli hills. From the fort you can view the entire city of Jaipur. You have to be there to experience it because I am a bit short on words to explain the feeling here. If you reach there before dawn, it would be great!
The nice way to begin your day, especially the weekend is to start it with rising sun! At 06:00 it was still dark and from the hilltop you can enjoy the view of sleeping beauty! Jaipur.
Some photos for your pleasure.
After had a little chat with our little chap sun we started strolling towards Jaipur. We had some food to kill our appetite and a quick power nap in the car for the restless souls! Then came the ultimate question! what next?
Google maps to the rescue… After so much of discussion on whether to Bikaner or Jaisalmer, finally we decided to sail towards the tiger reserves in Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan.
Another day another drive! we diverted from the national highways to the state highways, from where the real fun begun. Narrow roads but with hardly you would get stuck in traffic there.
Some country love for your eyes...
Second pit-stop - Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan. (17:10, Saturday 5th Feb 2011)
This forest also lies on the same Aravalli hills range. It is one of the Project Tiger reserves in India, an Indian Government initiative to save the endangered species. It is also best known for the fort which lies in the heart of the park, Ranthambore fort! The forest is named after the fort.
As we reached there late in the evening, we missed the last safari. So we decided to stay in the nearby motel/cottage/resort. Next day awaits for us, in the wild!
Second pit-stop (second session) - Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan. (05:20, Sunday 6th Feb 2011)
The day started early at 04:30. But getting the tickets for the safari was not so easy as it sounded. Hawkers everywhere, if you are not aware you maybe getting a ticket which is way overpriced than what it was supposed to be. We waited, waited and waited! After 90 minutes of waiting in a queue of 10 members, we got our safari tickets. ufff!
We were not aware of the online booking availability for the safari, that would’ve really saved some serious time for us.
Our safari vehicle is a diesel-powered canter van, there was a forest deputed guide to assist us in the safari. The forest is not one of the largest area wise but it's definitely among the densest. It has been divided into 5 zones (Zones 1-5). You can travel to only one zone per trip. We went to zone 3, which is packed with many wild animals as per our guide. We were eagerly waiting to see our dear friend tiger during the safari! But all we get to see is his/her footprints, a few spotted deers, sambar deers, crocodiles and some unknown birds. Unfortunately no sighting of our friend, tiger! The guide said that you may be able to see them mostly in the months of march-april. There are certain areas which are restricted for tourists/visitors to protect the wildlife.
So our second visit to meet our friend, tiger also ended in disappointment! But nevertheless it was a good ride through the forest. After the safari we ended up in the Ranthambore fort. Which lies some 700 feet above the forest! There are a few temples inside the fort.
Some pictures from inside the park:
Again came the eternally haunting question of what next!? This time we decided to sail back home! Suddenly this idea creeped up! why not hit the haunted fort of Bhangarh, after all it's on the way home.
Third pit-stop - Bhangarh fort and ruins, Rajasthan. (16:40, Sunday 6th Feb 2011)
Here we go… I will cut short to the brief and important details, as I covered this in detail in one of my earlier travelogue’s! Bhangarh is a once beautiful now ruined city in Rajasthan. There are only ruins remain now! Still it's a good place to visit. Don’t let the haunted tag stop you from visiting there...
Some of the ruins and remains in Bhangarh:
Time to head back! This time it was not so easy driving back, as the non-stop traveling (somewhere near to 1000 kilometers in two days) through poor roads and the hot sun, sucked out most of our energy!
Traveler Satisfaction: 90%
Nuisance: Apart from getting the safari tickets in Ranthambore we didn’t faced any major nuisance! No, no I would not include the poor roads in here, that’s the beauty of traveling down these country roads.
Word of wisdom: It was one hell of a tiring trip, so keep some food, fruits and enough water in hand, you won’t find many places to eat as you’re on your own! Oh I almost forgot get a car charger and make sure you have backup batteries for your camera/mobile/laptop.
Like I always say, if you love your journey more than the destination, these are the roads you must head to! :)