Contributed By Reid
It started in Delhi as we landed after a long and event-less flight from Newark NJ. We are friends of Reid the owner of KRAZ TV , a family entertainment site. After some delay in the US due to a winter storm we flew non-stop to Delhi Airport and landed in fog. The experience of landing in an exotic country full of sights and sounds we are not used to is one reason we love travelling. My wife and I have visited other exotic destinations such as the summit of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and trekking to Everest base camp in Nepal, so we are seasoned travelers. India awaited us as we took the taxi ride to our first hotel a five star beauty in downtown Delhi.
Our first few days in Delhi were filled with tours around the city to all the usual attractions. The Red Fort and the new Hindu Temple were big on the list it seemed. Then we opted to take a day and seek out the NADI card readers(Vedic Astrologers) to see if they could find our leaves among the vast archives of readings. We found the Astrologer in a Hindu temple and gave the Astrologer our vital information. We would return at the end of our adventure to see if we were "FOUND".
After several days in Delhi we were ready to set out on our travels around the northern part of India. Our first mode of transportation was a private Taxi who drove us to our first destination Ranthambhore National Park situated in the eastern part of Rajasthan, where the Aravali Hill ranges and the Vindhyan plateau merge with each other. The park is about 11 km from Sawai Madhopur, which is also the nearest town from the park. The drive was a white knuckle one since the Indians drive like the Greeks, a close encounter at every turn. but when we arrived it was a wonderful experience. Great food and service highlighted our stay at the Wild trails resort just outside the park entrance. We dreamed of Lions and Tigers and Bears that night in anticipation of our adventure in the park in the days to come. We were not disappointed too bad even though we never actually saw a tiger in this park. We did see a group of other residents of the park and beyond. There were birds, mammals, and reptiles such as the crocodile we were able to get a look at. Many types of deer and beautiful wild Peacocks and the wild chicken. But no tigers. We left the park happy but unsatisfied about the tiger sightings or lack there of. In the next park we would have much better luck!
The morning we set off for the next stop in our adventure Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. Our journey started by taxi once again and the trip was no less exciting than our first "white knuckle" ride but the scenery was magnificent. All the visuals one would expect deep in the Indian continent. Monkeys at the road stops and cobra charmers along the way. We enjoyed these road trips very much indeed. The food was excellent if you like spicy fare which we certainly do. The restaurants were mainly the tourist places along the route. Finally we arrived in the slightly polluted city of Agra home of the Taj Mahal built in the 7th century by a famous Mogul King. It is truely MAGNIFICENT. Better than I ever hoped. A wonder of wonders. We were pleased.
Morning in the less than 4 star hotel found us eating a very nice western breakfast with other tourists and locals. As we readied our cameras and looked out to the hazy air we would use to breath. It was cold and foggy/smoggy when we started on our day of touring and we were ready. As we approached the first fort the walls suddenly appeared from the haze and we were standing at the gates of a monumental work of the Mogul empire. Awesome is the word I used so often as we went from one building to the next. Our cameras grew hot as we snapped a unending succession of "shots". The sights, sounds, and smells were truly exotic sometimes in a pleasant way. Our path led us finally to the truly AWESOME. The Taj Mahal. Gleaming with it's white marble exterior and beckoning to us to enter it's sweeping rooms and halls. Inlaid with the work of thousands of hands with material brought by tens of thousands of elephants it is AWESOME.
We stayed two days in Agra and then it was time for our next adventure. Another Tiger sanctuary named Bangdhavarh.By train. A real experience not for the faint of heart!!! The trip was akin to a space flight I would imagine with a nauseous period followed by a feeling of just wanting to be still for a minute. The compartments were crowded and we learned if ever we went again we would rent all four spaces to have the entire compartment in private.But finally it came to an end with a shudder. We had arrived. Our ride picked us up and we were driven to the park where we were in for quite a treat.
Bandhavgarh National Park is located in the district of Sahdol in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India and the Tiger Trails Resort where we had a great experience with excellent service. We sighted several tigers over the next few days and even saw one close up from an elephant's back. This park with it's tigers and other wildlife made our trip a classic adventure and an amazing destination that we were lucky to experience. Christmas found us sipping beer and cocktails by an open fire with an Indian dance troupe complete with a fire eater. We had a wonderful time. Our trip was nearing it's end and we were driven back to the dreaded train station on New Years night for the final ride back to Delhi.
The train station was damp and dreary on that New Year night with all sorts of people waiting to go all kind of places. We had our passes and basically knew how to board(quickly) since the train wastes no time waiting on passengers it seemed to me. It finally arrived and we boarded just to find once agaiin we had side bunks with no room for our luggage and ourselves. But we were experienced by now. Our trip took over 20 hours and was fraught with uncomfortableness. But we survived. Our ride awaited us at the Delhi Train Depot an amazing place in itself. With characters never dreamed of. And back to our five star luxury hotel in Delhi. Above the fray. Back in "civilization". And the real danger of these times.
Our Nadi leaves were found at least mine were and they foretold great riches. I am still waiting but I think I may have already received those riches in the adventure itself.
Reid India in December
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