There has been so much going on and so many, many thoughts in my head. I hope I manage to get each one on this screen.
KC and I had been discussing a trip on the long weekend for months now. I had ear marked this weekend since it is the only one where we could have taken a trip together. After a lot of deliberation we zeroed on Mcleodganj and Dharamshala. Mainly, because they are remote, beautiful and non commercial. While booking the buses, I realized that we could actually drive. It will take atleast 10 hours but between the 2 of us it is manageable. The responsibility of booking the hotel was KC’s because he has found such good hotels in the past (Kashmir, Shimla etc). Guess what? He started looking for hotels last weekend and everything was booked. The only thing available was a room with a common toilet… every other hotel in Shimla, Manali, Kasuali, McLeodganj, Dharamshala is fully booked. I was disappointed… I was so looking forward to the road trip. But I did not fight with KC or scream at him because I was not pissed… I was beyond pissed… I was hurt. For a trip with his friends in October he booked the tickets 6 months in advance but for our trip together he started looking for hotels 1 week in advance. It is so unbelievable I am at a loss for words… for once.
Anyway, so we went to Bharatpur yesterday because there was no other bloody place on this planet we could have gone to. The drive was 4 hours and it was a decent drive. No major hurdles on the road. We stopped at a dhaba was b’fast which served the oiliest and bland parathas but I was so hungry I didn’t care. We reached Keoladeo national park around 11. The entry ticket costs 50 bucks per person and you can hire a cycle or cycle rickshaw or walk on foot in the park. We hired a cycle rickshaw because the rickshaw wallah also acts as a guide. Since it is a bird sanctuary you cannot spot them on your own. Somebody is needed to show around.
It took us 3 hours to cover the whole park. It takes longer in winters because you tend to linger around, the cafeteria in the middle of the park is open and you can have spend an hour there. But because of the heat, he din’t linger too much. The park is very, very good. There are so many birds… Indian and migrated ones. We saw birds from Egypt. How cool is that!!! There are many walking trails… where you can just walk and spot birds on your own. We spotted 2 jackals while walking around. But the coolest ones are the tortoises in a lake near the temple. The pujari feeds them flour and they love it even though they are non vegetarians.
Here are a few pics:
How cute are they!!!
The beautiful park. It was so silent… all we could hear were the birds and the creaking of wheels.
The white dots that you see are the exotic birds. They stand on top of the trees.
We walked down this trail and spotted jackals.
We had time to spare after the park visit and decided to go to Fatehpur Sikri which is 20 km away. We had left it out while visiting Agra years back. As soon as we reached the city, 2 guys on a bike tried to stop us in the middle of the road. Initially, I thought they were trying to flag down a car because someone met with an accident and needed help to get to the hospital. But, FS is in UP… and I was a woman… dressed in knee length shorts. There was no way we were stopping… even if it meant somebody was dying. When we went further, another guy ran after our car. We freaked out… but then took a U turn because the fort was left behind. We crossed the guy again… and he chased us… and then another 2 guys on the bike tried to stop us and tell us something. We were so freaked out by this weird behaviour that we decided to skip FS and head back instead. On checking online I realized they were probably unlicensed guides trying to get you to hire them. Well, the crazy behaviour just drove us away. And thats why, come what may, we will never stay in our flat in Noida. Because it is UP and UP is creepy… very creepy. I don’t know how foreigners have the courage to travel to UP. KC and I have never been happier to be back in Haryana… actually Gurgaon because am sure the rest of Haryana is just as creepy. The FS fiasco added another hour to our journey and we reached home sore, tired and hungry.