A Travellerspoint blog

Ranthambhore National Park to Jaipur - Friday, 15 Feb 2013

Day 11 - Friday, 15 February 2013 - Ranthambhore National Park / Jaipur

Huge thunderstorm last night - the loudest thunder I have ever heard and driving rain. Maybe it was so noisy because we are in a tent and there is not much insulation in the roof. On the bus for the trip to Jaipur. As we left the hotel, all the staff lined up along the drive to say goodbye - plus the elephants. How special was that. I have never experienced such attentive staff - ANYWHERE! They even brought my washing in off the makeshift clothesline I had constructed on the back deck of our tent.

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We arrived at Rambagh Palace, Jaipur at 12 noon and were greeted with leis and the paint on the forehead thing. The palace is magnificent. This is where Gayatri Devi was the third wife of the Maharaja of Jaipur. We had a quick sandwich lunch on the verandah outside the restaurant and then went to our room.

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It is fabulous - huge and sumptiously decorated, with a large dressing room and bathroom.

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Then we went in the bus to the Old City where all the buildings are pink and visited the magnificent World Heritage Jantar Mantar observatory with its massive sun dials and other astronomical devices. We also visited the City Palace museum where they have the clothes displayed of the king who was 275kg. They were huge!

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The things you see on the street!

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Another rickshaw ride through the old town bazaar and called into a gem shop. Very nice jewellery but we didn't buy anything. Another couple bought a lovely necklace of semi precious stones- rubies, emeralds, sapphires and yellow sapphires. It was gorgeous.

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Back to the hotel and dressed for dinner at a palace with a Royal Family. Had a guided tour of the small palace (now a hotel) and then had dinner under a roof outside, in near darkness. Very difficult to see what you were eating and it was all a bit too spicey for me!

A few people are not too well in the tummy region. So far, we are fine - fingers crossed!

Posted by gaddingabout 23:20 Archived in India Tagged park national jaipur / ranthambhore Comments (0)

Ranthambhore National Park - Thursday, 14 February 2013

Day 10 - Thursday, 14 February 2013 - Ranthambhore National Park

Up at 5.15am and over to reception for tea and biscuits before our early morning safari at 6.30am. Neville and Margaret and Barbara and Phil and I all squashed into a jeep while the rest of the group went in a bigger vehicle. The roads are disgusting; potholed and bumpy - a thousand times worse than Masai Mara in Africa.

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We drove around until about 10am and saw two types of deer (spotted and plain), lots of lovely birds, including an Indian magpie that is so friendly, it sits on your head or very close to you; wild boar, crocodiles, lots and lots of peacocks, monkeys but no tigers.

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Returned to the 10 star tents and had a late breakfast. The others were already back and hadn't seen a tiger either so we took a photo of a tiger on a postcard and pretended that we had seen one, but after a very short while, owned up that we hadn't.

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What a wonderful site greeted us on our return to the hotel.

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As it was Valentine's Day, when we arrived back in our room, the boys had made it up beautifully to suit the occasion. Very romantic.

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We showered and walked to the top of the observation deck to view the complex from above the canopy. More photos of the outside of our 10 star tent.

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At 2.30pm back on the 4WD for another tiger hunt. We drove over the mountain and back again. The road was dreadful; a thousand times worse that this morning's road. We didn't see much wild life at all, not as much as the morning, but we did see a mongoose and a snake bird, that sits in a tree near a water hole and waits for snakes to come to drink. Didn't see a tiger either but the other group did and they were estactic, as you can imagine. They came across a mother suckling her cub, right in the middle of the road. We were so jealous! Just as we headed off on our afternoon safari, we had a flat tyre. The spare was also flat, so another vehicle gave us their spare - bald as anything! So, off we went into the jungle for four hours, with no spare tyre, bald tyres and no radio contact. They write movies about things like that and it usually doesn't end well.

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Dinner was a very special occasion in an open courtyard in the centre of the hotel with a big open fire in the middle. Lovely. The Valentine's Day theme was carried through to the dessert and there were red roses and hearts on the table. Very lovely evening.

The bed is divine.

Posted by gaddingabout 22:17 Archived in India Tagged park national ranthambhore Comments (0)

Agra to Ranthambhore National Park - Wed, 13 Feb 2013

Day 9 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - Agra / Ranthambhore National Park

Had a sleep in and a very leisurely morning in this very lovely hotel and were on the bus by 9.30 am. Visited Fatehpur Sikri Palace, one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India.

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Went to the 19th century ITC Palace for lunch.

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It was a beautiful location and most of us bought some Indian puppets from a man at the front door.

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We then arrived at the Bharatpur Railway Station for the train trip to Ranthambhore National Park. The railway station was a typical Indian railway station with people everywhere, squatting and lying all over the place.

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We all climbed up one set of stairs, crossed over the tracks and walked down the other side.

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We then made our way right along the "platform" - dirt, rocks and cement until we reached the end of it where we were to board. We had tickets with seat allocations.

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The train was a little bit late and when it arrived we all rushed on and Claire helped up find our seats, all scattered throughout the carriage. The trip lasted about four hours and stopped at several stations along the way. We arrived at Ramthanbhore in the dark and were transported to the Oberoi Vanyavilas in open top safari trucks.

We couldn't see much in the dark, but we were shown to our 5 star tents and they are simply beautiful. 5 star nothing - these tents are 10 star at the very least!!! The ceiling of our tent is material and has tigers and golden stars on it. It is so special.

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It has a huge bathroom at the back with a hip bath in it. It is wonderful. We had a lovely dinner and by the end of dinner, Jamshed and the bus with our luggage had arrived, so I had a very relaxing bubble bath and into bed - finally.

It feels like we are in Africa.

Posted by gaddingabout 21:41 Archived in India Tagged agra/ranthambhore Comments (0)

Agra - Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Day 8 - Tuesday, 12 February 2013 - Agra

Up at 5am for a 6.15am start to see the Taj Mahal at sun rise. It's quite cool and foggy and we walked 600m from our hotel to queue up at the front gate for a 7am opening. We have a view of the Taj from our gorgeous room.

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There are hundreds of people here - men and women in separate queues. A lot of security, understandably. There is a huge entry gate and Yogi told us to walk slowly along the centre of the black line and then as we reached the doorway, there it was, the Taj Mahal. It is beautiful, really beautiful.

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There are people everywhere. Yogi took us on a guided tour and then we had some free time to wander around. There was quite a heavy fog when we arrived at 6.45am but by the time we had spent a couple of hours wandering around, the sun had come out and we took a lot more photos outside.

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Back to the hotel for a late breakfast. Made my own birecher muesli and had eggs over easy. Yum!

Back on the bus and visited Akbar's Mausoleum at Sikandra and the Agra Fort. We were then going to visit the Baby Taj but the bus couldn't fit under a construction bridge across the road, so we had to back up and do a úie' in the middle of all that traffic chaos, which was a feat in itself!

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We popped into this amazing place for lunch. It was lovely.

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So back to see the Taj at sunset. There didn't seem to be as many people there but there were still thousands. We sat for an hour or so, just taking in the general scene and watching the colour change on the Taj as the sun set. Walked back to the hotel and down loaded some photos on to face book and sent emails. Nice surprise - the internet is free! Had a couple of G & T's and decided to have room service, which was lovely.

Next day we weren't leaving until 9.30am so we could have a sleep in and a leisurely morning.

The end to a perfect and very busy day.

Posted by gaddingabout 16:37 Archived in India Tagged agra Comments (0)

Orchha to Agra - Monday, 11 February 2013

Day 7 - Monday, 11 February 2013 - Orchha / Agra

Up very early - 5am, bags out at 6am and on the bus at 7am for the bus ride to Agra - 100 kms. The road from Orchha to Gwalior was absolutely unbelievable. Potholes, gravel, bitumen and everything in between. It took us 11 1/2 hours to get from Orchha to Agra with a stop in Gwalior to visit a magnificent fort.

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Phil gave some Indian kids a gold kangaroo at Gwalior Fort and within in minutes, the younger one had sold his - for a profit, I hope!

Phil with kids who  had just received the Award of the Gold Kangaroo

Phil with kids who had just received the Award of the Gold Kangaroo


They then said to me, while pointing at my hair 'kungi, kungi'. I thought they were commenting on my grey hair because you don't see many Indians with grey hair. They usually put henna in it and it comes out a revolting orange/red colour. However, 'kungi, kungi' bascially translates as ýour hair is messy, tidy it up!' You see, Indians like to keep their hair slicked down and freak out if one hair is out of place, so my spikey hair troubled them quite a bit.

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The road up to Gwalior Fort was steep and windy and there were heaps of carvings in the walls.

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Stopped for lunch at a magnificent palace hotel, with delicious food and beautiful gardens. This place never ceases to amaze me. You will be driving along in the middle of nowhere and then all of a sudden, up pops a set of imposing gates, we drive through and right before your eyes is a magnificent oasis.

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The trip from Gwalior to Orchha was a bit better (comfort wise) and faster and even became a bit boring. The morning trip along the goat track was much more exciting and adventurous.

Arrived at Armavilas Agra Oberoi hotel at about 6.30pm and we had to be ready for our dinner reservations at 7pm. Our bags arrived at 6.55pm. Talk about a quick change! We quickly dressed and raced downstairs for our authentic Indian Taili dinner. Phil and Graeme decided to eat in the other restaurant which offered a more international cuisine.

Our taili meal was great, not too spicey at all. Four of us shared a bottle of Indian white wine, a very nice Chenin Blanc.

Discovered that the internet was free so did some emails and facebook stuff and went to bed but couldn't get to sleep because I knew we had a 5am start the next day.

This hotel smells DIVINE!!

Posted by gaddingabout 00:22 Archived in India Tagged / agra orchha Comments (0)

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