June 30, 2018 we set off for a 12 day adventure to India with the plan to see one of the wonders of the world…the incredible Taj Mahal, century old forts, unique temples, mausoleums, meet existing friends & experience a safari at Ranthambore – one of India’s largest national parks.
We’ve spoken to lots of people who have visited India & everyone has given mixed responses, so we knew it was going to be one holiday to remember!
Delhi is an experience in itself with a population of around 25 million people and 15 million cars on the road, it’s certainly a vast contrast of wealth and poverty, “modern New Delhi” meets “old Delhi” along with a great presence of history attached.
We moved onto the regional towns of Agra & Jaipur. These are seen as smaller towns with only a population of 2 – 5 million (this is hard to fathom on it’s own!)
Agra…is the home of the Taj Mahal, seeing this incredible building at dawn & dusk was something truly spectacular!
These 2 towns show the extreme contrasts of wealth and poverty even more but we have to say people still seem very happy & we never witnessed or felt threatened at any time.
We had strangers coming up to us wanting to take our pictures because some say it’s good luck & others say they may of never seen anyone of our skin colour, hair colour & mixture of blue, green & brown eyes before.
Moving onto the town of Ranthambore, it was our sole objective to see the Bengal tigers in the wild at the Ranthambore National Park.
Our first evening safari had mixed luck, seeing the scarce sighting of a young “black bear” at a distance of around 20 metres away just looking for food in the forest. Also on this safari we saw lots of deer, birds, antelope, peacocks, squirrels, monkeys, mongoose & leopard but unfortunately no tigers to be seen.
Our next safari tour started at 5.30am the next morning, camera fully charged with the hope of seeing the elusive tigers, which there are about 60 throughout the large national park.
After experiencing a male tiger lying down, getting up & then walking through the forest, which was about 20 metres away, we thought that was a great experience. Then after a quick break we went on the search again not knowing the “real tiger experience” was about to begin… Driving up a small dirt road over a ridge there was the same male tiger coming our way just strolling along the road coming towards us…so we started reversing the vehicle along this thin long dirt road while the tiger kept walking towards us, even the guides were recording this “once in a lifetime encounter” on their phones. Knowing the guides had no weapons & we were in an open jeep it was certainly an interesting position we got ourselves in! The 250kg tiger got as close as about 2 metres from the bonnet of the vehicle, this was both a surreal & very dangerous situation we were in knowing he could attack at any time with nothing to protect us!
View this tiger video link to see this very special encounter with the 250kg male tiger. It is something we as a family will never forget!
Another special place was our accommodation at Ranthambore where we stayed at the Kipling Lodge where we were lucky to be the only people staying there (being off peak season), all the team there were just fantastic, which they went above & beyond in everyway possible to make us feel at home.
From here we flew down to Bangalore & we had the pleasure to catch up with some very special friends that we have known over the years. We thank them for all their wonderful hospitality over the 3 days.
Our first experience of India was just “incredible”!
We experienced one of the most populated countries on earth, to seeing; camels & elephants still working within a modern society, the world famous Taj – the great marble masterpiece, up to a thousand year old forts, royal tombs, city palace’s, historic temples, wild animal encounters, meeting new found friends & catching up with some old friends & yes we witnessed some very confronting areas too…so our final thoughts are: Although we would not live in India we definitely loved the experience and the Taj Mahal is an absolute must see!
Thanks for reading the Hstudios blog. Stay tuned for next month!