Whenever I used to think of Rajasthan picture that came to my mind was of majestic forts, beautiful palaces, colorful festivals, golden sand dunes and adventurous camel rides. But a visit to Ranthambore changed it. Rolling hills, valleys and plateaus intercepted with forest streams and romantic water holes full of life with rare wild life is added to the list.
A group of 8, driving from Delhi to Ranthambore in 2 cars – Alto and Esteem
Route we followed: Delhi – Gurgaon – Jaipur – Dausa – Lalsot – Sawai Madhopur – Ranthambore
With a good mix of Silky smooth highway roads and narrow bumpy village roads we covered the distance of around 460 kms in 10 hrs (with breaks). People in their colorful gears busy with daily chores, birds and animals roaming around freely and a maze of road side dhabas offering spicy food – all made our drive worth remembering. We took some of the best shots of the trip on our way.
We decided to stay in a not-so-costly hotel in Sawai Madhopur. Gathered some information about the park and its wildlife from locals and decided to go on an early morning safari the next day.
The safari is arranged in huge canters that can accommodate 20 – 25 people at a time. One has to be really lucky to get the tickets at one go due to great demand of these topless useless mini trucks that intrude the privacy of animals as much as the picnickers who are least interested in wildlife.
Unlike many other National parks I have visited, Dudhwa, Bandabgarh, Kaziranga to name a few, the Ranthambore is plagued by ever-increasing popularity of “thoughtless tourism” which leads to more and more invasion of insensible picnickers, making the park a noisy cafeteria, and leaving the wild lives more fragile striving for their privacy.
Disappointed with the experience, we decided to explore the place on our own the next day. Drove to Ranthambore fort on our small Alto, halting at few places where we sighted good variety of birds that included woodpeckers, babbler, magpie, bee eaters, varieties of pigeon, peacock and peahens and many more of which I don’t know the names.
The avian population in this “Tiger Reserve” makes it a bird lover’s paradise and a photographer’s dream. One can hear the ‘tok tok’ of a woodpecker peeping out of the thick of the branches, a magpie flying past as you try to capture it in your camera… The ceaseless musical bird calls enchanted us as we drove further deep.
Climbing the heights of the Ranthambore fort gave us a good chance to view the landscape from above. Rolling hills, valleys and plateaus intercepted with forest streams and romantic water holes provided a memorable impression of a deep green jungle and its rare wildlife.
On our way back we visited small cottage industries and shops on the outskirts of the park that provide employment to the local ladies and offer us a good chance to take back souvenirs as memories of our trip.
And thus came to an end, our Rocky Ranthambore trip.