India: Day 8-Ranthambhore to Jaipur

One final safari for us before we headed back to city life.

We were up bright and early once again and surprisingly raring to go even before 6am in the morning. It was another cold start but we had wrapped up warm in preparation. This time we headed to Zone 2 and out guide told us we would head straight for the best known tiger spotting areas first and then work our way back. We drove for some time without any sightings but then we started to hear alarm calls and the driver sprang into action and began darting across the park. This was certainly the most exciting safari that we had done as there was a lot more energy to the experience. Our guide was able to smell fresh tiger droppings (not a pleasant smell!) And could emulate a tiger’s call.

We saw a bunch of deer, some wild boar, peacocks and birds buy nothing new despite our best tracking attempts. As we neared the end of the drive a car up front alerted us to a sighting and we sped forward a few feet to join them. As the had been several calls and signs of tigers the cars had all bunched up a little, we estimate that there are around 6 cars in each zone at once. There are large 20 seater ones but they seem very invasive and don’t have access to many of the routes.

The call from the car infront turned out to be a valid one and I watched as the big cat made it’s way into the dense shrubbery. However, it was not the elusive tiger that we had discovered, but the even more appearance of a leopard. It was a brief sighting of no more than a minute but it is considered a true privilege to spot one of these shy creatures. I don’t think anyone was fast enough to grab a photo but the memory itself is always more important.

We topped off our visit with sightings of an eagle that eats snakes and a couple of mongeese.

Breakfast back at the hotel was a paneer paratha for me and several cups of tea to warm up before starting the 4 hour drive to Jaipur.

Returning to the city after a few days of relative wilderness is a bit of an assault on the sense but a good one nonetheless. Jaipur is a happy medium between the chaos of Delhi and the more deprived feel of Agra. We turned up on election day again so there is a heavy police presence and locals have taken to the street to pray,celebrate and generally just await the result. It’s a big deal here.

We stayed at Dera Mandawa which is an old heritage building that used to be a grand house. If you have seen the Great Exotic Marigold hotel film then it’s like a very well maintained version of that. Our hosts had political status in the past and now run a ‘home-stay’ as a means to retain the building. It’s a magnificent building with modern facilities but all of the traditional features protected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day  Itinerary   Morning  Shared  Jeep  safaris  at  Ranthambore  National  Park   Jaipur   Fringed  by  the  rugged  Aravali  Hills,  Jaipur  is  the  capital  and  largest  city  in  India’s  northern  state  of  Rajasthan.  This  city   is  famed  for  being  India’s  first  planned  city  featuring  a  multitude  of  pink  terracotta  buildings  within  the  walled   historic  centre,  earning  it  the  nickname,’The  Pink  City’.  Jaipur  falls  within  the  Golden  Triangle,  a  popular  tourist   circuit,  which  includes  Delhi,  Jaipur  and  Agra,  and  serves  as  a  gateway  to  the  neighbouring  desert  cities  of  Jaisalmer   and  Jodhpur.  This  colourful  city  is  a  combination  of  tradition  and  modernity  and  offers  visitors  vibrant  bazaars,  lavish   palaces  and  ancient  temples.  The  salmon-­‐hued  old  city  is  home  to  the  opulent  City  Palace,  encompassing  an   impressive  assortment  of  palatial  structures,  sprawling  gardens,  courtyards  and  buildings.  Don’t  miss  the  fairy-­‐tale   splendour  of  the  Amber  Fort,  set  against  the  backdrop  of  the  arid  landscape.
Overnight:  Dera  Mandawa  Hotel       Central  to  most  of  Jaipur,  Dera  Mandawa  is  ideally  located  close  to  the  main  attractions  of  the  Pink  City.  Built  on  two   levels,  the  air  conditioned  hotel  suites  comprise  of  a  lobby  or  gallery,  a  study  and  a  bedroom.  The  accommodations   are  comfortably  equipped  for  a  relaxing  stay.

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