After our spiritual stay in Pushkar, the cultural tour led us to Ranthambore. This national park is a huge wildlife reserve in Northern India, famous for it's tigers! There are a number of other wild and dangerous creatures in this park, like leopards, crocodiles, hyenas, and wild boar. I was giddy with excitement to see my first wild tiger.
We woke up incredibly early in the morning to catch our bus to the safari. The best times to go on a tiger safari are at dawn and dusk, hence the early morning wake up call. We packed into an open air safari jeep and made our way to the 150 square mile reserve.
I was surprised by how close we were to many of the animals. We saw monkeys, Sambar deer, Chital deer (with the spots), Nilgai (a blue bull), and a snub nosed march crocodile.
One of my favorite parts of the park was the history of it. The area used to be the hunting grounds for the Maharajas of Jaipur, but has since been turned into a sanctuary. The area is dotted with old architectural ruins that I find fascinating.
The morning continued and my eyes and neck got tired from searching for my beloved tiger. The entire bus seemed to lose hope that we'd see this amazing creature. The car was silent and even though the guide tried to build excitement into the tour, we were all suffering from disappointment.
Then, all of a sudden, we saw what we came for. The wild tiger that I had hoped for, crossed the dirt path right in front of us. My friend and the owner of TAV Tours, Pushpendra, let me use his photo of the tiger, because mine turned out blurry from the commotion.
Now, I can say that I've been able to see a wild tiger. I'm thinking I better start working down the list on my next India tour!
Next up, the Taj Mahal!