Rural & Tigers
India’s land of maharajahs, forts, palaces and tigers really is the jewel in India’s crown. Powerful forts with battle scarred ramparts and spiked doors to keep elephants at bay lead on to lavish and opulent interiors. Many of these forts are forgotten, but also many have been restored and allow visitors to enjoy wonderful accommodation and impressive museums. Stunning handicrafts and fine art were nurtured by the Maharajahs, but maybe it is the colours of Rajasthan – women’s saris, men’s turbans, dyed fabrics being dried in the sun that leave the most lasting impression. Leaving behind the vibrancy of the Cities, driving through the dry and arid countryside past temples and through rural villages gives an insight in to a way of life little changed and to see camels and elephants sauntering down the main highways is quite a spectacle.
One of the largest and most renowned National Parks, Ranthambore was once the hunting ground of the Maharajahs of Jaipur. Now a wildlife sanctuary with a growing number of tigers living in the wild, it is also an interesting heritage site as the landscape is dotted with Mughal ruins, cenotaphs, palaces and lakes. In the heart of the Park lies the 8thcentury Ranthambore Fort important during the Mughal era. This crenellated citadel sits high on a ridge in the centre of the Park and has Sultanate and Rajput palaces, mosques and temples, one of which is dedicated Lord Ganesha, the Elephant God. Thousands of people visit from around the country to seek the blessings of the Lord for happiness and prosperity. The view from the ramparts is stunning and tigers have been spotted from this vantage point. The water attracts rich bird life and commonly seen are wild boar, deer, antelopes and monkeys. Sloth bears and leopard also roam the forest.