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  • Writer's pictureTina Joe

From Urban Bustle to Wild Roar: A Road Trip to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

Embarking on a road trip along the newly constructed Delhi-Mumbai Expressway to reach the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, nestled amidst the rugged terrain of Rajasthan, a sanctuary of wilderness and wonder was a thrilling adventure that promised to unveil the diverse landscapes, vibrant cultures, and hidden gems along with a promise of an encounter with the epitome of wildlife conservation and the majestic rulers of the jungle. As the engine roared to life and the wheels began to roll, we set out on a journey of discovery, anticipation coursing through our veins like a gentle breeze. 

Our journey started early in the morning, long before the sun warmed the vast terrain. Starting from the bustling metropolis of Gurugram, the expressway stretched before us like an endless ribbon of asphalt, leading us on a path of exploration. The ancient hills appeared to whisper stories of time immemorial, their rugged peaks and verdant valleys standing as silent sentinels of the land's rich history and natural splendor enveloping us in a cocoon of serenity as we ventured into the heart of the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. The rolling Aravalli hills stretched majestically across the horizon as the modern marvel of engineering whisked us away from the chaos of the city.




 

There are plenty pit stops that are open for business, though most of them are still under construction. We took a pit stop along the route. The mastermind behind this expressway deserves acclaim for the flawless conception and implementation; the pitstops provides spaces for trucks and buses to pull aside, there are sections designated for convenience stores, gas stations, all well planned and implemented. We enjoyed the chance to witness the peace and quiet of rural life with the quaint wayside towns and taste the freshly prepared aaloo paranthas.

We arrived in Ranthambore, shortly before lunchtime. We had made reservations at Ranthambore Pride, a peaceful sanctuary just a short distance from the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. We were treated to a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation at this recently opened resort, each of the cozy, luxurious cottages being thoughtfully created for maximum comfort. Each cottage is tastefully installed with modern conveniences. After our long journey, relaxing in an opulent bathtub let us to let go of our stress and revitalize our bodies and minds.  



We were welcomed by a pleasant and attentive staff as soon as we arrived at the resort, and they made sure that all our needs were taken care of during our visit. The staff at Ranthambore Pride went above and beyond to ensure that our time there was genuinely outstanding from planning exclusive dinner experiences to safari excursions.

After enjoying our welcome drink, we made a short trip to Dastakar, Ranthambore, a private non-profit organization founded in 1981. This journey was akin to being fully submerged in the intricate web of traditional Indian crafts and the creators behind them. 

As soon as we entered, we were met by an amazing array of handcrafted wonders, including magnificent jewelry and pottery as well as intricately woven textiles. The craftsmanship and passion of the artists who created each artwork was evident in how well it told a tale of tradition and legacy. 

For the artisans who depend on their skill for a living, Dastkar is more than simply a market for traditional crafts—it's a lifeline. Dastkar gives these craftsmen access to materials, training, and national and international exhibition possibilities through its many projects and programs. Getting to observe the nuances of block printing and pottery making firsthand was one of the pleasures of our trip. Our visit to Dastkar was especially motivating since we were able to personally observe the result of the artists' labor. We left with a renewed understanding of the value and beauty of traditional Indian crafts as we said goodbye to Dastkar and the craftspeople who make it their home. 

A delectable buffet of North Indian delicacies greeted us upon our return to the hotel, enticing us with the prospect of flavorful dishes and fragrant spices. The bowls of softly simmering butter chicken and tadka dal, along with flavorful basmati rice, beckoned us to savor their warming comfort. Beside them, bowls of creamy paneer butter masala, velvety in texture and bursting with the tangy sweetness of tomatoes and the richness of cashew paste, promised a taste of indulgence.  A variety of delicious side dishes, each with a distinct taste and texture, were spread out on the table to go with the main dishes. Fresh from the tandoor oven, platters of buttery naan waited for our eager hands to tear them apart and enjoy their pillowy smoothness. To complete the feast with a sweet ending, we were treated to the creamy sweetness of gulab jamun and tempting to sinful indulgence.  

We relented to the allure of an afternoon siesta after feasting on the lavish lunch spread, while the warmth of happiness engulfed us like a comforting blanket. With satisfied bellies, we retired to our comfortable cottages, where the gentle hum of the air conditioning and the plush bedding beckoned us to rest and relax. 

After waking up from our midday siesta, we embarked on our tour of the magnificent Ranthambore Fort. A sight from a fairytale met us as we climbed the historic steps and entered the fort through its imposing gates. The old remains of the fort were alive with the vivid hues and exquisite motions of dancing peacocks, their iridescent plumage glittering in the afternoon light as they danced. 



Amidst the ruins and crumbling walls, herds of deer grazed peacefully, their elegant forms blending seamlessly with the rugged terrain. A symphony of nature's melody seemed to encompass us as we meandered around the fort's maze-like hallways and secret chambers, accompanied by the faint padding of deer hooves and the delicate rustling of leaves. From the highest ramparts of the fort, we gazed out upon the sprawling landscape below, the verdant forests and shimmering lake stretching as far as the eye could see. It was a scene of breathtaking beauty, a testament to the timeless allure of this ancient citadel and the natural wonders that surrounded it. 

As we made our descent from the fort, our hearts still echoing with the echoes of history, we were treated to an unexpected and exhilarating sight: a tigress and her two cubs emerging from the dense foliage and venturing onto the road before us. Frozen in awe, we watched in breathless silence as the magnificent creatures padded gracefully across the road, their sleek coats shimmering in the dappled sunlight. It was a moment of pure magic, a fleeting glimpse of the untamed beauty of the natural world that left us spellbound and speechless. As the tigress and her cubs disappeared into the wilderness once more, we were left with a sense of wonder and awe, grateful for the privilege of witnessing such a rare and extraordinary sight.



On our journey back to the hotel, our hearts still racing with excitement, we couldn't help but reflect on the sheer majesty of the moment we had just experienced. For in that brief encounter with the tigress and her cubs, we had been reminded of the timeless power and beauty of nature, and the importance of preserving and protecting it for generations to come.

After taking a cool plunge in the pool and enjoying a leisurely glass of wine, we welcomed the evening's calm. Sitting by the pool, laughing, and sharing stories under the starry night sky, the cool water embraced us, removing the heat of the day and calming our senses. 

Fueled by the excitement of our recent encounter with the tigress and the prospect of more sightings to come, we relished an early dinner and were even more excited about the game drive the next day. As we drifted off to sleep, visions of the majestic creatures of Ranthambore danced through our minds, filling us with a sense of wonder and awe. For in the wild heart of this ancient land, amidst the swirling mists and lush greenery, we knew that adventure awaited us at every turn, ready to captivate our hearts and souls once more with the untamed beauty of nature. So, with dreams of tigers and peacocks, we surrendered to the embrace of sleep, eager to awaken to the magic of a new day in Ranthambore. 

We woke up early, excited, and full of expectation, preparing for the morning safari trip that lay ahead of us. We excitedly boarded the safari canter, our hearts pounding at the prospect of spending yet another day in the Ranthambore jungle. With the sights and sounds of the forest coming to life all around us, we proceeded deeper into the jungle, delighting our senses. Deer herds strolled calmly through the meadows, magnificent peacocks gracefully walked, their vivid feathers creating a stunning show against the verdant surroundings. Jolly monkeys were swinging from tree to tree, their mischievous actions giving a whimsical feel. 

Our hearts suddenly skipped a beat when, out of nowhere, the magnificent tiger named Arrowhead appeared from the thick undergrowth and headed toward a nearby creek. As the majestic creature neared the water's edge, his dominating presence commanded adoration and we gazed awestruck. The golden coat of Arrowhead gleamed in the sunlight as he filled his thirst with regal ease, captivating us for what seemed like an eternity. It is an image that would live on in our memory forever, serving as a constant reminder of the unbridled strength and unadulterated beauty of the natural world.




We enjoyed a lavish breakfast, relishing the tastes of the forest and telling our story with wide-eyed amazement as the safari came to an end and we were back in the resort's luxury. Satisfied and feeling rejuvenated, we relinquished ourselves to slumber until midday. Once again, lunch at Ranthambore Pride was an extravagant affair. The vegetable korma, palak paneer, and chicken tikka masala provided a welcome contrast, brimming with the natural sweetness of fresh vegetables and the earthy goodness of spinach. 

We set out on our next excursion to the National Chambal Gharial Sanctuary with excitement in the air, eager to experience the serene waterways and pristine scenery of this natural sanctuary. We got into our boat and headed down the Chambal River, which winds its way to the confluence of the Parwati and Chambal rivers. Our patience soon paid off when we saw alligators and crocodiles lounging in the sun, their ancient shapes perfectly harmonizing with the rough landscape. Hatchlings scurried along the riverbank, their tiny bodies a testament to the resilience of life in this untamed wilderness. The setting sun cast a golden hue over the river, painting the landscape in shades of orange and pink as we continued our journey.



Back at the hotel, we took a seat by the pool to have some snacks and a bottle of bubbly while recalling the best moments of the day. The sunset sun was creating a lovely glow around us. Excitement from the day's excursions piqued our appetites as we headed to the dining area for another delicious meal as the stars started to shine overhead.  Surrounded by good company and delicious food, we laughed and shared stories late into the night, grateful for the memories we had made and the bond of friendship that had grown stronger with each passing moment.  



The next morning, we left Ranthambore Pride with precious memories and a profound sense of satisfaction after an amazing vacation. Our vacation was nothing short of ideal thanks in large part to the attentive staff and peaceful surroundings. As we traveled back home, the contrast between the excitement of our travels and the grind of everyday life loomed large. The ability of travel to take us from the bustle of the city to the peace and quiet of the countryside is evidence of the wonder and beauty of the world we live in. We know that the charm of Ranthambore and the Chambal Gharial Sanctuary would stay with us forever, a tribute to the beauty and majesty of the natural world as well as the delight of exploration and discovery, so when we finally made it home, our hearts were full, and our spirits were light. Cheers to many more thrilling adventures and transformative experiences in the years to come!

Happy Musings

Tina.








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