#WPLongform, Indian animals, Indian safari, Indian trains, Indian wood furniture, photography, Rhanthambore National Park, travel
From Don, and Alison – thoughts and memories intertwined:
Once on board the train from Delhi to Sawai Madhopur, and into our First Class AC cabin two men stopped by to spray the cabin floor with perfumed liquid and mop it with a most filthy mop. First class AC on this train looked like an old-fashioned first class carriage on a British train, but with grotty bathrooms. Still, it was a whole lot better than the accommodation in the AC2 carriages, and it meant that we didn’t have to face the perils of driving on Indian highways after dark, an almost suicidal option.
We arrived at Sawai Madhopur shortly after 10:00 pm. Finding our way off the platform and onto the main street was a bit of a challenge, involving dragging our cases up a very long steep ramp and down an equally long and steep one on the other side of the tracks. There we found a large open space inhabited by people, cows, dogs and pigs. They all may or may not actually live there.
Once out onto the street I saw a jeep with its driver holding a card in his hands. As Don approached he said “Alison?” and we knew he was our driver from the hotel. We all bundled into the jeep and within a few minutes were at Tiger Safari Resort Hotel. The name implied a much grander place than we found when we entered the building, but our room was clean and comfortable and we soon fell into bed, with the alarm set for 5:30 am.
Next morning our driver arrived just after 6:30 and off we went after signing our lives away on the usual disclaimer form. We drove into Ranthambore National Park, a few minutes away from our hotel, and immediately began seeing the most amazing sights: a blue-winged kingfisher, a dead tree filled with dozens of green parrots, the remnants of an old gatehouse with a huge banyan tree in front of it, many crocodiles gliding silently across a large lake, dozens of spotted deer, two very cute owls, lots of white egrets, and langurs everywhere. I felt very enlivened seeing so much wildlife: this was the “Incredible India” I’d been wanting to see. Although we didn’t see any tigers that morning, there was still a chance we’d see some when we went back to the park in the afternoon.
This is a photo that I stole from a friend of a friend. At roughly the same time that we were at Ranthambhore National Park, Jane was at Bandhavgarh National Park. It’s a photo of what we didn’t see! 😦
Photo credit Jane Sepede. Thanks Jane.
Although our guides were unsuccessful in leading us to a tiger, what we did see was so exciting. Rumbling along in an open sided jeep, over rough tracks, we stopped often, to take in the landscape and the abundance of wildlife. We went out for two excursions, one early morning and another in the afternoon and each time were rewarded with the sights and sounds of native birds and animals in their natural habitat.
Female Sambal deer
Ringed green parrots
Green pigeons! I never knew there was such a thing as green pigeons.
Male Spotted deer, or Chital
Two tiny, but fully grown owls
Male Nilgai, or Indian antelope, commonly known, for obvious reasons, as a blue bull. The females are fawn in colour and look much more like what you would expect an antelope to look like.
Female Spotted deer
A very rare chinkara, or Indian gazelle
An egret fishing in the swamp fom the back of a sambar deer
The following morning we set off by car, braving the Indian traffic, to drive to Jaipur, and this is what we saw along the way:
A group of five ladies pounding on logs. The pounding loosened the bark so they could strip it off. The logs are then used for carving and making furniture. A very hard way to make a living.
The wonders of Jaipur and Diwali in the next post.
All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted.
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2015.
Lovely pictures Alison 🙂 Nature at its best! Sad to know about the facilities in the train, but glad you had good time at the National Park 🙂
Oh don’t worry about our comments about the train. We’re just being picky westerners! We were totally comfortable, and the journey went by smoothly and quickly, and it always feels so wonderful when you arrive late in a strange place and there’s someone there to meet you. We felt well taken care of.
Thanks for your comment re the photos. There really was so much to see there, even though we weren’t lucky enough to see a tiger. And we knew that that would be a pretty slim chance anyway. We had a great time.
Thanks for sharing. It all looks gorgeous.
Thanks Buzz. Great to have you commenting on the blog!
And yes, Ranthambore is gorgeous.
woah those ladies are pretty strong! i love the photo of the parrots perched on the branches ^^ they look like leaves
Oh yeah! They are strong! Most of the rural Indian women are strong – their life demands it.
The parrots are great eh? We saw them everywhere, but that was our first sighting.
Thanks for the like 🙂
Rahul Ranjan said:
Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My site addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail (email@example.com). I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!
Nice to “meet” you. Unfortunately neither your name nor your avatar link to your site. Perhaps you could give me a link here to your site so I may get to know you a little better. I look forward to seeing it.
Hello again! May I ask you which camera equitment you did use?
Hello again Chris. I have a bridge camera – it’s a Panasonic FZ150, with a 24x optical zoom, compact and comparatively light. I want to upgrade to a full DSLR but don’t want the extra weight. Still looking.
Anjali Dhingra said:
First a fall, I would like to tell you that you have done a wonderful task and write up seems to be amazing. Keep it up.
Ranthambore National Park:
Ranthambore National Park is one of the biggest and most renowned national park in Northern India. The park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, which is about 130 km from Jaipur. Being considered as one of the famous and former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, today the Ranthambore National Park terrain is major wildlife tourist attraction spot that has pulled the attention of many wildlife photographers and lovers in this destination.
Planning to there and experience it all by myself. If anybody is interested please let me know. We can plan something out. Between I found this great deal online. Check it out.
Alison and Don said:
Hello Anjali, and thank you for your kind words. I gather you want to go to Ranthambore and are looking for people to join with you for the above linked tour. It looks like a good tour and I wish you luck in your search.
Happy travels, Alison
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