I am blown away STILL, thinking about how many gorgeous sights I was blessed to experience during my time in India last spring. (March 2017)
Me and my travel buddie and good friend Marina, had just finished our visit in Jaipur, and we took roughly a 2 hour drive with our kick ass driver “J-Money” (Jagdish) through Namaste Tours. Destination: a small town in Rajasthan – Sawai Madhopur. Our mission here: to chill with some bad ass tigers and other gorgeous wild animals. We had the opportunity to enjoy a few wild safaris at Ranthambore National Park.
In Sawai Madhopur, we stayed at a really nice hotel – “Raj Palace Resort”. It was very quiet, well maintained, clean, with a nice pool to enjoy, and yummy food at the onsite restaurant.
Our first day at the hotel, was a perfect day to just relax and chillout poolside in the sun! Although we were only about 5-6 days adventuring in India, at this point we were tired! It was a lot of walking, a lot of long car rides, plus jet leg. This was one of our first afternoons to literally do NOTHING! lol 😀
So that is just what we did! Enjoyed a few Kingfisher beers, read, and lay in the sun! It was perfection!
We did have a stimulating experience with some wild monkeys (you do have to be cautious) who decided to come onto the hotel property and cool off by the pool 😉
A few became a little territorial and aggressive, and one did rattle a few of the guests, and one even came at me – Left me with a nice dusty monkey paw print on my leg! (I wasn’t hurt thankfully lol, just shaken up) The resort staff were able to chase the monkeys off the property (and no animals were hurt) It Made for an interesting afternoon! 😉
We enjoyed a scrumptious dinner in town that evening at a little restaurant called “Noon to Moon” I think this was one of our favourite restaurants we had eaten at in India the whole time. It’s the one that stands out the most to me anyways! My mouth is literally, no joke watering at the thought of their perfect butter chicken curry, rice and roti. OMG!!! <3
Next morning, were up at the crack of dawn to visit Ranthambore National Park. Which is one of the largest and most reputable national parks in Northern India. Home to a large variety of animals including tigers, leopards, hyenas, deer, birds and reptiles.
We had heard some feedback from other fellow travellers staying at the hotel, who had seemed discouraged and frustrated after not having seen any of the majestic tigers while on safari. But I stayed positive! That day, we adventured out on 2 safaris at the National Park. One morning excursion, and one evening excursion. I was SO determined to see tigers! Sent out my positive vibes to the universe, and had faith!
And so we were picked up by staff from the park, in a small 6 or 7 passenger jeep and headed off to the park.
It was BEAUTIFUL! SO much wildlife to see – it was so peaceful, and guess what!? We were blessed to have a visit from a gorgeous female tiger, struttin’ her stuff for us in the glorious sunrise! It really was an incredible experience, being so close to such a beautiful, and powerful animal!
We returned later that day for the evening safari (during sunset) and after waiting for what seemed like eternity, (we really were loosing our minds waiting…parked in one spot…this time on a larger 20 passenger truck) we were blessed AGAIN to see another gorgeous tiger who had awoke from her sleep, to cool off with a drink of water in the lake. What an amazing experience!
If you have the chance to visit this part of India, I highly recommend visiting the National Park! To see more of our safari experience click HERE!!
After our safari stay we travelled to Agra! Here we took in the breathtaking sight of the Taj Mahal! I couldn’t have been more excited to have this structure. And truly, it has to be one of the most beautiful displays of architecture I have ever seen. And the story behind it makes it even that more magical!
The Taj Mahal was commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1631, to be built in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, a Persian princess who sadly died giving birth to their 14th child. The complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety 22 years later by 20,000 workers at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (U.S. $827 million). -wikipedia
What a gesture of love!!
The grounds are pristine! Colourful landscaping and very clean. We arrived fairly early to the complex, and our tour company arranged a guide for us which was very helpful. Because we were there earlier in the morning, it wasn’t toooo busy, which was really nice.
Following the Taj Mahal, we then visited the Agra Fort. Agra Fort also called Red Fort was established by the Mughal emperor Akbar and reportedly took eight years to construct.This complex served as both a military base and a royal residence, served as the seat of government when the Mughal capital was in Agra. In addition to its other functions, the fort also served as a prison for Shah Jahān. Aurangzeb, his son and successor as emperor, had him confined there from 1658 until his death in 1666. – Britannica
There are many buildings inside, including mosques, public and private audience halls, palaces, towers, and courtyards.
We did visit a few markets and stores in Agra, but no real luck in finding any treasures.
After our visit to Agra we then took the long drive up to Rishikesh! Stay tuned for my next post on our experience there!
The Wandering Lioness