Day 2: 16th December 2018
3.30 am: Alarms started blaring in the dorm and we began waking up. Owing to the fact that it was the dead of winter, this task was quite difficult. The pink city was still asleep peacefully. But as they say “Onward!”
4.30 am: We all bundled ourselves in all the warm clothes we could gather and stumbled into the car. The journey toward Sariska began.
6.30 am: Just as dawn was breaking, we entered the Sariska premises. We were greeted with the most beautiful sunrise of my life. The dark of the sky split open to reveal shimmering orange and golden tones as we whizzed into the National Park area.
7.00 am: We parked the cars, filled a couple of forms and trooped into the jeep. Jeeps can fit 7 people in it and cost INR 700 per person. If this does not fit into your budget, you could always opt for seats in the open bus which cost much lesser.
”We pulled our scarves and hats close to our face and regretted not having gloves on.
7.30 am: After getting clearance by the park authorities, the bumpy ride started. It was freezing cold. Every metal surface on the jeep burned my palms whenever I touched them. We pulled our scarves and hats close to our face and regretted not having gloves on. It took some time to get used to the chilly air and finally have the courage to look around.
8.00 – 10.30 am: Sariska National park boasts of over 200+ species of animals and birds. Thankfully, our jeep was driven by a man who had worked in the park for 10+ years and seemed to know everything about animal behaviour.
Unfortunately, we did not get to see an actual tiger but oh boy were we excited when we saw the pugs marks in the dirt. We identified Sambhar deer, Nilgai, Chausinghia, a bunch of different birds, crocodiles and a beautiful herd of spotted deer.
One of my friends vlogged the entire journey braving the cold winds and shivering fingers. He was determined to document every travel experience in and around the pink city.
1 pm: We were now out of the National park and in a dhaba again. This time we had a hearty meal. Aloo paranthas, butter naans, paneer curry and a delicious gatte ki sabji. Like they say ‘when in Rome.’
2 pm: We changed seats (got to ride shotgun finally) and began the short drive to Bhangarh Fort. This fort is located quite close to the pink city which makes it a very popular destination.
3 pm: Traversing through winding desert roads we finally reached the infamous Bhangarh Fort. It was packed. There were way more people there than we had expected. We entered the spooky premises and headed toward the main fort.
3.30 pm: My enthusiastic friend spotted a small watchtower to the east of the premises. It was located at quite a steep height. I was in no mood to race up some gravelly hill and hence we divided up. Some of us went to check out the royal palace and the rest tried the road up to the tower.
4.00 – 4.30 pm: Much like many old world structures of the pink city, the fort was undoubtedly majestic. There are several temples inside the complex. There is a water kund and a huge Kevada tree forest west of the fort. We explored the royal palace. Some rooms and corridors in there are pitch black even during the day-time.
One thing I was not expecting was for it so smell so dank. It reeked of rodent and bird faeces in some of the durbars but the view from the top was astounding. You can get a panoramic view of the entire surrounding.
”The legend goes that the king who lived in the castle wanted a more tropical feel to his residence....
4.30 pm: Our adventurous friends met up with us again. Some of them couldn’t even make it all the way to the top. It is that high. While they rested – I and some others explored the Kevada forest. The legend goes that the king who lived in the castle wanted a more tropical feel to his residence and that is why these trees were specially imported here to make his wish come true.
5.00 pm: After a good few rounds around the complex and quite a few photos and video sessions, we decided it was time to head back. Somewhat tired, we headed back into the car. We bought a snack from a local vendor. It was sugar drops mixed with roasted gram. Quite a fetching snack.
10.30 pm: We finally arrived in Delhi. The munchies bag was empty and my hair was knotted inhumanly because of all the salty desert air. But my phone memory was full of aesthetic photos and my heart was full of memories of this road trip to the glorious pink city. I am sure we all felt the same way.
This just goes to show that when there is a will – there is a way to make a getaway happen. Vacations don’t necessarily have to involve passports and a full bank account. A ZoomCar and some internet research can take you places. Our happy, dorky and funny pictures prove that right. We covered 3 amazing destinations in the pink city within just 48 hours. Now that is what I call adventure done right!
So the next time your friends say they want a weekend getaway – you know what to do!