Had to post again after a very exciting evening! As an added extra our guide, Raj, arranged for us to visit a retired Brigadier, whose family home, Khatlu Haveli, is now a hotel. It was featured in the TV programme ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’. He showed us around and told a few stories then took us up to the roof terrace, for gin and tonics and snacks. From there we could watch the kite flying which is a nightly event.
But the most exciting part of the evening was the journey there and back in tuk-tuks. It was slightly scary but exhilarating as we bombed through the city in convoy, amongst cars, motorbikes, coaches and even, at one point, elephants. All the locals were getting very excited as they were preparing for Holi, by building bonfires in the streets. The journey back was like Wacky Races, with the passengers in each tuk-tuk cheering each other on. This might have had something to do with the amount of alcohol consumed!
We would have loved to stay out until the bonfires were lit but we had to be back at our hotel for dinner.
We set off to Ranthambore National Park at 6.30am for our dawn safari. It was very cold to start with but soon warmed up. We saw antelope, crocodiles, lots of birds, wild boar and monkeys. The monkeys were shouting a warning and the guide thought a leopard must be near but we didn’t see one. We heard jackals.
Back at Sawai Vilas we had a late breakfast and then set off in our coach to Jaipur. We travelled for about 4 hours passing colourful towns and villages.
We arrived in Jaipur and had a look round the Pink City Palace and the Jantar Mantar Observatory.
We arrived at our hotel in time for drinks and dinner.
Tomorrow we will drive to the ancient capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort.
We had a relaxing morning, swimming in the pool and relaxing on the terrace.
After lunch we set off in 2 Canters (20 seater safari vehicles) for our safari drive through Ranthambore National Park. It was an amazing experience! The park is very close to our hotel. We had a 3 hour drive around the park.
We saw plenty of deer, many species of birds, monkeys and crocodiles. It was nearly time to leave when suddenly jeeps and Canters began racing to a spot by the lake. We could see a tiger in the distance!
Amazingly the tiger walked right up to us!
She continued past the vehicles and joined her cub.
For a while it was very quiet except for the click of camera shutters! We came back very happy.
Tomorrow we have another chance to see the tigers on a dawn safari ride!
We left Agra in our coach headed for Ranthambore National Park. It was a very long journey but we broke it up by first visiting Fatehpur Sikri, the ghost city. It was built by the third Mughal emperor, in the 16th Century, when he moved from Agra, to be near a holy man who blessed him with 3 sons. When the holy man died he returned to Agra and the walled city was abandoned.
We continued our journey, stopping for lunch in Bharatpur.
The Sawai Vilas are amazing. We even have an outdoor shower!
Tomorrow we have a relaxing morning followed by a safari!