25th October, 2017
After four exciting and adventurous safaris, it was time for one final ride in the Ranthambore jungle. For our last ride, we had selected zone 10 in hopes of spotting the most elusive tiger of Ranthambore i.e. “Fateh”. He is claimed by the forest officials to be the biggest male tiger in Ramthambore Tiger reserve. We saw some pictures of him the previous night and we were in complete awe.
Morning Safari: At sharp 5:45, our car was there to pick us up. As usual, our guide Ajay was as excited as we were to try out our luck in the jungle.
Like Zone 6, Zone 10 is on the other side of zones 1-5. It took us almost half hour to reach there form our hotel.
MIRINDA suggests! – If you are planning to visit Ranthambore National Park during the monsoon season, you will be only allowed entry in zones 6-10. If that be the case, we suggest you book a property nearer to this zones as it will save a lot of valuable time.
Zone 10 was completely different from the other zones we visited. It did not have the greenery and the plantations of the other zones. Even the animals were few and scattered. It seemed a very silent zone as compared to the other zones.
With clear weather behind us, we were quite hopeful about our chances to spot a tiger. We followed the usual strategy of searching the watering holes and the nearby spots as quickly as possible. No signs of Tiger. Then we moved on to some known hide-out places of Zone 10. Still no signs of Tiger. We then rode along the area in a circle hoping to catch an alarm call or finding some pug marks. Then suddenly, we saw a carcass of Sambar.
Wow!! This could mean the tiger could be nearby. I took out my camera and was all geared up to catch the perfect image of the magnificent Fateh. However, as we drove closer towards the carcass, Ajay mentioned that it seems quite an old one and it had just rotten away. In a moment, all excitement was down the drain. After surveying the lower area of Zone 10 for a bit, we then moved on to the other side of the hill in Zone 10.
The road from the lower area to the other side of the hill is perhaps the worst possible road I have ever encountered. And I am not exaggerating. It was not even a road. It was just rocks and rubble. And it was quite steep. We had to go up and down twice before reaching the other side. Super Bumpy and Back Breaking.
It took us half hour to reach the other side. Throughout the ride, we were praying that the car does not get damaged otherwise we would get stuck in such a disastrous road with a wild tiger roaming around. The below video would give you a small glimpse of what the ride was like. We kept on asking Ajay and the driver that have they done this before, and we were both surprised and comforted that it was not their first time.
On the other side of the hill, the scene was the same. It was quite dry as compared to the other zones. And so was our luck. We scanned the area for quite some time, but no signs of tiger. It was a very frustrating feeling, and that the back breaking rides made it even worse.
We did see a few Gazelles, spotted deer, ducks and even the wild Indian mongoose. But we were looking forward to Fateh.
Even though we were disappointed to not spot a tiger, there was some silver lining. The other side of the hill had some wonderful views of the neighborhood village and the temple, deep in the valley. We were amazed to learn that from the top of the hill we could actually see the border of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
At around 9 am, we finally called off the search and started making our way back to the hotel. Unfortunately, the way out was the same way we came in. So we had one more round of the back breaking ride through the hard rocks. Even though we were prepared for it this time, the feeling was the same. And as expected as soon as we get down the hill, “our car broke”. Hot smokes started coming out of the engine and we were stranded in the middle of the jungle, in the territory of the largest male tiger in Ranthambore. Our driver tried different things with the engine but all failed. By this time, it was starting to get real hot. We had already informed the forest office to keep a car on stand-by in case our car doesn’t start. Me and mother had eyes everywhere to scan an approaching tiger, while my husband and my dad were helping with the car. Finally, we tried the age old traditional method of pushing a car and trying to start it. After two failed attempts, we finally got it. Without wasting a single second, we immediately jumped in the car and made our way back to the hotel.
At around 10:30 am, after an exhausting morning day in the jungle, we were finally back to the hotel. We had our breakfast and bags packed ready for our trip to “Samode Palace”. We were already late, so after a quick goodbye to the hotel staff, we were enroute “Samode Palace”
Our first trip in the Indian Jungle and we saw 3 tigers out of 5 safaris. At to that the abundant flora and fauna we spotted along the way. The time in the jungle is truly memorable. For me, it is a perfect holiday with my loved ones, away from the hustles of the otherwise busy life. We will be back soon Ranthambore – we have a lot yet to see.
Samode Palace – Samode, Jaipur
After a 3 hour drive, we arrived to our next stop on our Rajasthan holiday i.e. “Samode Palace”. As the name suggests, it was a palace by all definitions. Grand entrances, huge lobbies, beautiful engravings – giving a sense of that old magnanimous feeling. We were in complete awe at the first sight of this wonderful palace.
The check-in process was super smooth and we were quickly shown to our rooms. Luckily, we got an upgrade and were given the Royal suite. Least to say that the staff was extremely co-operative and helpful. It was luxury but still personalized to make us feel comfy. We even got a complementary tour of the entire palace as part of our package.
MIRINDA suggests! – Before booking the Samode Palace, we suggest you check out their website for exciting offers. We got a great deal of 3 nights at the price of 2 nights, which included 2 nights at Samode Haveli in Jaipur and 1 night at Samode Palace in Samode.
The 475 year old Palace combines the best of Indian & Mughal style of architecture. Samode a small village located around 60 kms from Jaipur, boasts 2 beautiful properties Samode Palace and Samode Baug. Both very exclusive and discreet, have been hosts to a lot of royalty, celebrities, artists and discerning travelers.
MIRINDA fun facts! – Given its palatial architecture, the stairs of Samode Palace are quite steep and can be troublesome to people with knee problems. Similarly, the ceiling height is also quite low and hence it is best advisable to walk with a bent back to avoid accidents.
After check-in to our rooms, we straight away headed to the pool on the terrace of the Palace to drain out the long morning. The pool had a wonderful panoramic view of the entire Samode village, which was flushed with greenery post a healthy monsoon. There was a also a nice bar alongside the pool and we couldn’t resist a few beers to soak the heat. Nice cold water in the pool, chilled beer in our hands and the sight of sun-set right in front of our eyes. It was divine!
We spent a good one hour in the pool before heading back to our rooms, where we rested for a while. We had reserved our dinner at the Palace itself as we were too tired to go out some place else.
MIRINDA fun facts! – As part of the package at the Samode Palace, the guests have an option to opt for one meal at “Samode Baug”, which is another property of Samode located just 3 kms from Samode Palace. We chose to have the breakfast the next day at Samode Baug.
Dinner at Samode Palace can either be had at the restaurant downstairs or at the terrace upstairs. Unfortunately, the terrace was fully booked for some local party so we had to be contend with the restaurant. However, it was still a beautiful setting. The Palace gets beautifully lit-up every evening with traditional Indian lights in the back drop of local Rajasthani folk music. There are even puppet shows organized to entertain the kids. We got a lovely table for our dinner with a personalized butler to take care of our requests.
For dinner, we had opted for Rajasthani delicacies and the chef’s signature dish the moong dal Halwa. I must say that Rajasthan has never let us down when it comes to food and hospitality. Everything was a 10 on 10.
During dinner as well, all that we were talking of was the back- breaking experience at Zone 10 !!
Next day we were headed back to Jaipur to relax at the other Samode property – Samode Haveli which was a total contrast from the palace, located in the hustle and bustle of the old city of Jaipur, the pink city !
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