Mary's visit and

Our trip to Sawai Madhopur and Ranthambore National Park

Akshardham, abode of the Swaminarayan faithcow dressed up for Dussera

Chattarpur Temple Complex lit up for Dussera

after we take in some sights around Delhi and let Mary get over her jetlag we head for Sawai Madhopur where we have reservations at the Taj Sawai Madhopur, the Taj used to be a hunting lodge for one of the old Maharajahs of Jaipur.  There is a picture on the wall of the lodge of Queen Elizabeth and her husband there in 1961 having shot two beautiful tigers.  Old Witch.  The main building of the lodge is sadly decorated with the heads of many beautiful animals.  Thank goodness the only safaris now are camera safaris.  Poachers are doing the damage now though.  There are only 32 reported tigers in Ranthambore and the census takers have said that is overreported.  We had arranged for 5 jeep safaris over 3 days.  I ended up being ill and missing three of them.  Of course a tiger was seen four times on one of the safaris that I missed. 

The Taj Sawai Madhopur Hotel

main building overlooking lawnMary on the verandah

looking over the lawnmain gates

billiard roomcolorful beetlemy shoulder has a guest

looking up into an ashok treemonkeys in back of the hotel

our suite


an enterprising camel driver brings his dressed up camel and cart to give rides to tourists, lucky camel, most are working hard


The first night we are there is Dussera and a local shopkeeper offered to take us to the festivities, on Dussera they reenact the epic battle between Rama and King Ravana.  Rama is assisted by Hanuman and his monkey army and together they vanquish the evil Ravana and rescue Rama's wife Sita.

a pickup truck full of Rajasthani women and children from a local village watch the festivities and fireworks

we were too far away to see the raging battle but the 2 story tall effigy of King Ravan can be seen in the distance

when Rama defeats him he explodes and burnspeople leaving the festivities


the next day we headed out on our first safari, hoping to see tigers but seeing many other animals instead and many signs of tigers

the first gate that you pass through when approaching the park and then the main gatewhere loads of monkeys greet and inadvertently entertain us while we wait for 7am when the huge gates swing open

this baby is so new he has only black fuzz still and no silver hair

behind us the spectacular Ranthambore Fortothers waiting for the park to open

Mary, some English tourists and me in the jeep

the last arch we pass through before entering the park proper has been overgrown by a large banyan tree, Indians call the banyan the slow walking tree as it grows roots from it's branches that drop down and form new trees and slowly the tree walks on and covers more and more ground, eventually creating a huge interwoven stand of trees

stunning views await us as we enter the park, the lake was made by one of the former maharajahs of jaipur, all the wildlife was very calm, spooking only if they were too close.  Our naturalist guide told us that they are not afraid unless you get out of the jeep.

magnificent view of the lake, the fort behind and 3 large bucks grazing

family of wild boara resting sambar deer

sambar deer and babywe saw many large herds of spotted deer

our guide points out pugmarks or tiger tracks and we spend the three hour safari trying to follow them and admire the views and wildlife along the way

old structure

a truckful of laborers come in to work on the park's dirt roads

the doorway to the Oberoi hotel in Sawai Madhopur


our hotel arranged for a group of Rajasthani musicians and dancers to perform one night

Mike and I join them briefly

village women going about their workwater buffalo doing the same

camel carts head to work

Here are Mike's gorgeous photos of the tiger that they saw when I was sick in the hotel, I'm really disappointed that I didn't get to see him.  He was a young male, huge but not yet fully grown apparently looking for his own territory.  Tigers are solitary animals and grown males are only in company for mating and the females when they are with their cubs.

this is how close they were

what a beautiful animal, he was absolutely unconcerned about the jeeps, he looked and went on his way


We headed home and Mike's mom was so happy that she saw the tiger, that was her prime motive for coming. 

waiting as our train, the Golden Temple Mail, comes in

new friend Janet that we met at our hotelon the trainMike in his bunk

Mike gets out to stretch his legs at a station, the lad to his right and his buddy are hitching a ride between the cars

views from the train


Back in Delhi we go out for dinner at the Spice Route, a Thai restaurant in the Imperial Hotel, Mary has a picture with the doorman