Jewels of Rajasthan – Ranthambhore and Ramathra
My weekend trip with colleagues to Ranthambhore and Ramathra was an unforgettable experience. At the beginning we felt it was useless to visit Ranthambhore due to an uncertain Supreme Court decision to ban safaris in national parks. However, once we reached Ranthambhore the peaceful surroundings of the jungle, away from the noise and pollution of a city like Delhi, made us feel like we had made the right decision.
Our journey to Ranthambhore
Our journey started with taking an overnight train from Nizzamuddin train station in Delhi. It’s quite enjoyable to travel in trains to cover long distances especially in a group of 4-5 people. We had ample time to sit and chat till late in the night, albeit with one worry hanging over our heads – getting up at 5 am to alight at Sawai Madhopur train station! But fortunately we managed and retreated to the hotel to relax for a while.
The spotting game in Ranthambhore
Even though the safari was closed, we still had the chance to go into the forest in a jeep till the fort and temple located almost in the core area of the park. So that was a good, albeit alternative way to feel the jungle. We spotted crocodiles, snails, lots of monkeys and various species of birds. The view of the lake in the forest while climbing the steps of the fort was amazing. We could see into a far distance in the jungle from the top of the fort. The hoteliers near the forest were explaining that there were sightings of tigers even outside the park and they had preserved the footprints of tigers crossing their hotels at night.
After lunch we started our journey to the next amazing destination – Ramathra Fort. We hired an open jeep for local transfers, so it was quite an experience racing down the cross country roads through small villages whilst discovering the countryside. The sunset was amazing. The road at some point was submerged in a seasonal river. As we had no clue of what direction to take, we hired a local villager to show us the way in to the river. It was most thrilling experience I have ever had. Because if our car steered off the main road, it would go straight into the deep pit of the river! We reached Ramathra quite late as we were searching our way through the jungle. The sky was clear and beautiful once it was dark. We had travelled a long way on bumpy roads to reach our destination, so we were pretty happy when we did. The next morning was even more charming. We planned to get up before sunrise and reach the lake to see birds and the beautiful view. The lake near Ramathra Fort is actually a dam for irrigation, although it looks natural and spreads across almost 17 kilometers in the mountains and jungle. We saw many species of birds and wildlife with the help of binoculars provided by the hotel guide. The boating on the lake organised by Ramathra Fort is one of the highlights.
In the afternoon, we went to explore another charming destination, Karauli, before taking our overnight train to Delhi. The Palace of Karauli is a wonder for me. I had never heard much about it and it turned out to be one of the best palaces in Rajasthan I have ever seen. The paintings and colors inside are beautiful and well preserved. The small town of Karauli is very beautiful with temples in almost every corner of the streets. We craved for more time to see the town but had to leave for the Gangapur city train station to catch our train back to Delhi.
The journey back
What must be said about trains – although it is relatively safe to travel in first and second A/C coaches in Indian trains, you must take extra care of your luggage and ensure it is secure before you go to sleep. On the return train to Delhi, we heard loud screams of a lady in the next compartment. She lost her bag that carried all her money, cards and documents. Someone stole it and got down the train while everyone was sleeping. The night after that was quite disturbing for us all. Understandably, we could not sleep much throughout the night!
Contact Shanti Travel for mesmerising trips to Rajasthan.