It started over post lunch casual chat and in few minutes we concluded to travel to Ranthambore National Park, five hours journey from Delhi via Train. It was Wednesday 23rd Feb and we decided to travel on 25th Friday evening. Unlike other trips this was completely unplanned.
Three of us Anurag, Angsuman and me, divided different works like Train tickets were to be booked by me, Hotel was to done by Angsuman and other part was on Anurag's account.
|The Gang :- Anurag, me and Angsuman|
Accidentally all of us were super occupied with work on Friday and plan of leaving office at 4:00 PM did not work out. We could catch metro from Gurgaon at 5:40 PM and arrived Nizamuddin Railway Station just 10 minutes before the departure.
Train journey from Nizamuddin to Ranthambore did not bring any surprise and we spent entire journey gossiping on regular topics.
We arrived at Ranthambore Station at 1:00 PM. A white small bull welcomed us when he hit me and tried to push towards moving train.Anyways my affection towards animals always will remain same.
As Angsuman had booked the hotel far from town we decided to spent few hours in some lodge and go for early morning Jungle Safari from there only. Auto driver took us to the hotel which was near to Safari booking office. Auto driver rang the bell for almost 10 minutes but no one came out, he made some calls but no result.
Then he took us to the next hotel. By that time power has gone off and there was deep dark everywhere. We could just see the light of mobile phone lighting up the face of Auto Driver when he was continuously talking to someone.
Auto driver parked his Auto exactly in front of hotel gate. The entire hotel covered under thick dark looked like a horror movie house. A man (guard of the hotel) appeared slowly out of the dark and walked towards the gate. His get up, face, walking style and finally voice scared us badly. You guys can imagine a horror movie here. He opened the gate and when he spoke to Auto driver I was under delima whether we should go inside or not. As he took us inside the hotel and moved towards reception there was complete dark. Looking at the situation we decided to not to stay there.
Finally we got another hotel to sleep for few hours. We slept at 2:00 AM and got up at 4:00 AM to book Safari tickets and booking office was near to the hotel.
The first thing I fell in love with was Gypsy. They are made so beautiful with open top and small modifications here and there that it gives full satisfaction. We started the Safari at 6:30 AM, perhaps we were the first one to enter Zone 6 that day. So the feeling came that we will be able to see the Tiger.
We spotted deer, jackal, peacock,monkey and other birds but Tiger. All of us loved this safari because of the fresh air and lovely topography of Zone 6. We felt fresh once we came back to the base at 10:30 AM.
Another break of an hour and sleep at hotel and we were back to booking office at 12:00 PM. To the contrary to how easily we got tickets in morning we found it difficult to get tickets this time. Also by now we have learnt that Zone 6 is not the core area and people prefer to got to Zone 1 to 5. So this time we were looking for one of these options.
We found one British and two German girls to accompany us in the Gyspsy but they did not join us due to some confusion about the ticket charges. Because of which we could not get the tickets for Gypsy. We stood there for an hour hoping that something will go right. We asked many agents to help but of no use. Lastly we decided to cancel the plan for safari and go to the hotel which Angsuman had booked. Suddenly we could find a young agent who was looking for three people who could buy his left over three tickets. This was for bigger vehicle and not for gypsy. We did not take a while to opt for this. And we were set to go to Zone 3 this time.
Zone 3 Safari started at 2:30 PM. Surrounded by lot of people we were optimistic to spot the Tiger this time as we were on serious search for Tiger. To our surprise, the topography of Zone 3 was completely different from Zone 6 which we had covered in morning safari. Zone 3 has more water and more trees around it. It looked like typical forest. The number of deers we spotted here was extremely higher than Zone 6. Infact the kind of birds we saw in Zone 3 was spectacular and some of them were very human friendly. But again no Tiger.
Since our pre-booked hotel was on the way back from Safari, we got down at the nearest distance to the hotel. It was 6:30 PM and darkness had started spreading around. The hotel was 1.5 KM far (which goes through the Forest) and at the starting point there was small forest department office. We looked for some vehicle but nothing available. So we decided to walk towards the hotel but Forest department guy did not allow us to do so.
Then came our Hero on CD 100 small bike. He was so kind that he agreed to make two rounds to drop us at hotel. First I opted to go with him, few 100 meters ride and I realized that he is new to bike riding. The road has few easy terrains, I involved him in talk and we reached safely. Then he went back to bring Anurag and Angsuman, they also had small funny incidences but thank god we arrived safely. On the way we learnt that he has a small shop inside the hotel wherein he sells T shirts and other monuments of Ranthambore. We promised him to buy something there and we did so next day.
The hotel was on hill top and the view of Ranthambore town in night looked beautiful and soothing to eyes. The food was horrible for dinner. We were so tired that we slept soon after the dinner. But before sleeping we had made another plan for Safari in morning. But this time we decided to pay few 100 rupee more and asked hotel to book safari for us.
The best part of the trip was that all three of us stuck to the plan and no one was late on Sunday morning safari also. We all were almost ready when we received wake up call from hotel. This time were given Zone 2 and we were told by Hotel that its one of best Zones.
Zone 2 also brought the same surprise that it has totally different topography and landscapes. Since we had seen Zone 3 last day we did not find it much interesting however looking at the surrounding one could feel that the chances of spotting the Tiger are higher here but to our bad luck we did not see anything like that and we had to manage with deer and peacock.
We were back at hotel by 10:00 AM and now we did not want any other safari at least during this trip.
If you plan to make a visit to Ranthambore here are few things which need to be kept in mind :-
- Go there during April mid to June end, that is the season when you will see Tigers easily.
- Book safari tickets online and choose Zone 1 to 5 only, Zone 6-8 are outer areas of Forest
- If you wish to save money, book hotel there and then but family travelers do your bookings in advance
- Dont expect anything from the town, there is nothing other than National Park. This town does not have even 1% tourism flavor
- Dont expect food to be great.