India-Tigers, Oh My!!!

I was thrilled that my tour included a “safari” through The Ranthambore National Park, a refuge for tigers. My five year old grandson’s favorite color is orange and therefore, using little kid logic, his favorite animal is a tiger. I promised to bring him one back from India and a lot of pictures.

Ranthambore was once the hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Remains of many of its buildings still dot the area. In 1955, the land became a sanctuary and in 1980, a national park.

The preserve is mostly grassland and semi-desert with enough trees and waterways to sustain a lot of wildlife.

We went out with our naturalist two times the first day, really early in the morning and then before sundown.

No tigers but a lot of very interesting animals.

The next day we went out for a third time. My daughter-in-law had emailed to say that my grandson was asking when I was coming home with his tiger. The sun was setting and I started to think I was going to disappoint him without even a picture.

But suddenly the driver stopped the jeep and our guide signaled us to be quiet. He pointed down a dry riverbed. A tiger was leisurely walking toward us.

We were thrilled. It was Noor, one of the females known as a great hunter and good mother to her cubs.

Noor proceeded to saunter around our jeep allowing all of us to take great pictures.

,As Noor exited into the trees, another jeep filled with more tourists pulled up to us. This group’s guide talked to our guide. Another tiger had been sighted and our two jeeps sped down the trial.

Wow! We were rewarded with another tiger simply named Number 97. He was magnificence as he remained quiet and unafraid, lounging under a tree.

I had my pictures for my grandson and was able to buy him a realistic stuffed animal tiger. He loves it. Grandma came through again. Thank goodness!

India-Celebrating Indian Style-Part 2-Meeting a Maharaja (Maharao)

Before the parade, we had the privilege of meeting 84 year old, Maharao (Hindu for Maharaja) Brijraj Singh. His family ruled the princedom of Kota from the 17th century to 1949 when India was granted independence from Britain. He is still revered and has served as great influence in his community and government affairs.

Maharao Brijraj Singh

On this special occasion of Dussehra, turbans and finery were the dress of the evening at a reception to pay homage to Maharao Singh and his lineage.

Late arrival getting help with his turban.
Notice the pile of shoes. In India, shoes are not allowed temples and many other buildings.

We, American tourists, were ushered ahead to greet The Maharao. He was kind and gracious and seemed genuinely glad to meet us. Out tour guide had arrange this special moment and it was yet another great memory of the trip.

India-Celebrating, Indian Style, Part 1-Getting Ready for the Parade

I loved India, I think it rates as one of my favorite trips. My senses had to work overtime to take it all in because nothing about the country is ordinary. I was captivated by its intensity and since, I am very visual, I enjoyed feasting on continuous rainbows of color and textures at every turn. Every thing was a surprise and my points of reference expanded as I took in a new ways of seeing life and the world.

I was fortunate to be in Kota, India to celebrate Dussehra, one of Hinduism’s major celebrations. Before the final spectacular fireworks display, I was able to witness the preparations for a parade and meet Brijraj Singh, the 85 year old descendent of a once ruling maharaja.

In a large courtyard, various group gathered.

There were the boys dressed as langurs. I wondered if they were imitating humans who were hired dressed like these primates to scare the aggressive rhesus macaques. These boys really got into the part.

Woman in beautiful native costumes danced.

This was only part one. The Dussehra Festival was unforgettable.