On the morning of the 16th we had decided to go to Ranthambore but by the evening we decided to cancel the trip. But the next morning we did go as Guruji insisted we take a holiday and had already made arrangements - food for the trip, a car and a driver.
Of course, my phone's battery was low when we set out and also both mine and his laptop were half-dead as well, since we had not bothered to charge it the night before. (Blame it on laziness and the fact that there is only one socket in the room.)
With multiple pit stops to charge the phone so Google maps would help and of course, the men who would not listen or ask for directions, we took more than 15 hours to reach Ranthambore; six hours to reach Jaipur (333 kms) and nine and a half hours more to get to R (150 kms).
We had not booked our accommodation either or researched since toA asked me not to - let's figure out when we get there. But on the way, toA decided that we need to book a place so i asked Google to help. I found this lovely place called Tiger Machan which we booked en route. (It's a small property and they have both rooms and tents. Go for the tents, they are gorgeous. But sadly, there are no heaters around and it gets really cold.)
So we went to the Ranthambore Fort in the morning that was tiring but fun and on an afternoon Canter safari that was disappointing and bone breaking. Then we went shopping to the Dastkar Ranthambore store that was close to our hotel and returned happy (Imagine me smiling and toA looking pleased that i am finally out of the shop). (Do visit, they have the most gorgeous handcrafted stuff. All the products are tagged and of excellant quality.)
Evening we ordered whiskey (which they arranged from outside) warmed up and chatted up with the other guests. With both alcohol and a wood crackling away, it was quite a delightful evening. Especially since there was a merry fauji family of seven getting high, singing songs loudly and even dancing.
We booked a jeep for the morning safari and a few minutes into it, we hear murmurs of Tiger. The excitement was palpable and the drivers of the 3 Canters and 4 Jeeps kept trying to maneuver their vehicles so we could catch a glimpse.
Five minutes turned to ten. There was a buzz in the air. A tiger had killed a deer and could be spotted only when he went to get a drink of water at the nearby lake. We waited impatiently till we saw a Canter two vehicles ahead where people were pointing excitedly. The tiger had been spotted. About fifteen minutes later, it was our turn. We jumped on to the canter from our jeep to catch a glimpse but all i saw was a fleeting glimpse. Hmmph.
Of course, many more jeep maneuvers later and a few minutes after T-17 decided to show herself. And ohmyGod! Was she a beauty. Elegant and graceful, she sat there unconcerned and even posed for pictures (Really). Of course, I have an 18-55 VR kit lens with my Nikon D3100 so i couldn't get better than fuzzy pictures.
Happy to get a glimpse of the elusive feline, we finally went on the safari but no one was really interested. We finally left for the hotel, checked out, and after lunch started our journey back to Bikaner.
PS: This picture here of the tiger was taken by Amalia from the USA who had a 70-300 mm.