Shubh Arambh- Delhi to Ranthambore Road Trip
Finally, in March we took our first road trip together, in India. Get that? The first road trip was in New Zealand. Show off, me. We had been very patient about this one, postponing it all the way from our marriage anniversary in December 2020 to March of 2021. It was well mapped and well-planned, according to me because I absolutely enjoy the process. And on March 6th we took off from our home in Delhi in our KIA Seltos to Ranthambore, then to Udaipur to Jodhpur and lastly to Jaipur. And now, we've decided to call our little road trip across Rajasthan 'Savera', meaning 'Morning'; because every morning was a new light that excited us to see new places and new things, the heritage of Rajya-Sthan and the grandeur of her royalty.
Rajasthan is by far the most popular state in India for tourism. Ask me why? Rajasthan has history and culture, it's got stay like royalty feels, Rajasthan has food to die for, it has a geographic variety with very hospitable people, and it has beautiful roads to drive on.
Yes. If you're planning a trip to Rajasthan and if you love to drive make it a crazy one- a long road trip will definitely do justice. We were on the road in Rajasthan for seven days and we had a hell of a time.
Let's start with Day 1 "Shubh Arambh".
I am not an early morning person otherwise, but the mornings that I have to leave for a trip, I hardly care if I have slept or not. So, we left early morning from Delhi, heading towards Ranthambore. Our first overnight stop on the trip. When going on a road trip, remember you're not bound by time because your mode of travel leaves when you are ready and arrives when you are ready. You're independent of factors like ticketing and drivers. Always plan your road trip in a manner that you are able to cover more ground.
This blog will not tell you about the places we've been to and what you get to see there. For that you can visit our Instagram or our YouTube, the blog is to promote the idea of a road trip and help you plan better. You can also read our blog 'A guide to get a guide'.
Now, we stress on getting a guide wherever you go in Rajasthan- a fort or a palace or even a garden, damn it, I say get a guide if you can even in a local market. Rajasthan has so much history, that every place has a very rich background and you ought to find out more.
Our first stop, much before Ranthambore was Bhangarh Fort. Bhangarh Fort is one haunted place you must visit. An old fort in the ruins which gives you Harappan feels, it will not blow your mind but definitely fascinate you. The forts are built in a way to house the whole town. You get a ticket and walk through the market area, then reach the main entrance which opens into a huge outdoor area surrounded by the hills and the main fort of the king right infront of you, at a convenient height. There is also a huge temple right in the middle of the campus. And then you enter the palace area which is another short hike up the track. If you really look at these mammoth forts, you wonder how did they get all these ideas with just stones and human labour. It can sometimes be mind-boggling, but also amazing. You will hardly need 15-20 minutes to cover the palace area if you don't plan to sitting on the edge and admiring the dry wilderness.
From Bhangarh, we left for Umaid Lake Palace, an organic retreat in the Dausa region. This was a surprise for both of us and we were not sure about what to expect. Turns out, I made a great decision. Umaid Lake Palace is a resort on the main highway which seems like the perfect getaway for those in Jaipur. There are limited rooms, but there is a huge restaurant, a pretty pool and lots of outdoor space to enjoy the summers. Our food was prepared fresh and served fresh with a glass of Lassi. Just writing about it makes me drip. The food tasted delicious and we'd go back any day if it's feasible.
We spend a good hour and half there, relaxing, clicking pictures and exploring the resort. Then headed to Chand Baori, one of India's largest and oldest stepwells in the town of Abhaneri. Ideally, stepwells make a huge part of our history but are not all that popular. The idea around stepwells which are again man-made is that they were used to collect water. That is it. In a dry region like Rajasthan, water can be a scarcity even today, imagine what it could do to the normal people during those days.
We covered all stops for the day and hotel check-in was the only activity left. We made a non-stop drive to Ranthambore, an extension of the major city Sawai Madhopur, mainly identified by the 'Ranthambore National Park'. Ranthambore National Park is a very well-visited tourist attraction and hence the place is home all kinds of hotels from luxury big brands to small locals. We chose to stay at Ranthambore Heritage Haveli which is next to the most luxurious hotel in Ranthambore- Nahargarh Ranthambore. These hotels are located 3 kms away from the main road which takes you to the National Park. You have to be aware of roadside boards to make the right turn. Once we found our way, the hotel was simply lovely.
Let me take you on a hotel tour of the Ranthambore Heritage Haveli.
Ranthambore Heritage Haveli is a Rajasthani stylized estate with two courtyards inside the main structure, and luxury tents aligned at the side and the back of the main building. Bordered with a swimming pool adorned with lush green lawns in front. The hotel also has enough parking space. The restaurant caters to all your needs and with a very affordable all-inclusive package, you do not want to miss the food. It is delicious, both veg and non-veg. We also had our safari booked via the hotel and the best gesture, the hotel staff did for us was that they got us the front row seats on the canter. Yes, we had some trouble getting rid of a little stink from the bathroom but that was all. We highly-highly recommend Ranthambore Heritage Haveli. We got an all-inclusive deal for INR 5,000 per night only.
You might as well check-out our Rajasthan Road Trip itinerary here.