After a day of treating my eyes with the serenity of Ghana Sanctuary, i decided to explore some rural unknown places near Bharatpur. I didn't know what to expect and honestly, i was so satisfied by birdwatching that i thought nothing could match up to the beauty that filled my previous day.
Obviously, I couldn't be more wrong!
My next location, Band Baretha, was in the middle of a village in Rajasthan, and approximately 1.5 hours of a bike ride away. I rented a bike from a local to be driven by my friend.
There are plenty of cab and bike services available in the city that can be used.
I had only read about the place on Google and there are not too many tourist reviews available because this place is in true sense, untouched. It is a lesser known wildlife sanctuary and has plenty of water which makes it great for bird watching.
But before we started, i decided to stop at a local shop for breakfast. Rajasthan has different varieties of kachoris (stuffed and fried snacks) available but Bharatpur's kachori is a little different. It is a very crispy poori (unstuffed fried snack) dipped in kadhi (buttermilk delicacy). We had this with jalebi for a perfect breakfast that costed me less than a pack of nachos!
After breakfast, we started for Bayana, a town in Bharatpur district, which is approximately 40 kms away. The Band Baretha sanctuary is another 10kms ahead. On our way, we decided to stop at the famous mustard fields of Rajasthan. Bharatpur is famous for mustard farming and the fields bloom with yellow mustard flowers around January. On the way to Bayana, there was hardly any point where i didn't see the yellow and green hues of mustard on both sides of the road! If you are a Bollywood fan, stopping and photographing at one of the fields is a must!
After a colorful hour long bike ride among villages, we finally reached the Band Baretha sanctuary surrounded by red sandstone mountains and a huge lake!
There were no tourists or checkpoints upon entering the place, just a milestone telling us that we are entering protected land. A little farther, we found a long walking area along the road over looking the Band Baretha dam. On the other side, there was a village and a villager selling hot pakoras (fried gram flour snack) and tea. Those were inarguably the best pakoras served with the best chutney i ever had!
The pakora seller told us about an abandoned fort a little farther so after our snack, instead of walking down the footpath facing the lake, we decided to explore ahead.
The road to the fort cut from the main road and wasn't too smooth. Also, the fort was located a bit high up on the hill so it didn't seem possible for a car to get there, but our bike was perfect to drive up. The distance to the fort isn't much so it can be scaled on foot as well. The entire route, though rough, was overlooking the lake on one side and the jungle on the other.
When we reached the fort, we didn't find a lot of people but a few locals herding their cattle. The fort gave us chills as it resembled one of those abandoned haunted palaces in the movies. It had a way up to a platform that gave unrestricted view of the huge Band Baretha lake, its islands, and the migratory birds flocking on the islands.
The winter chill, no crowd, and the sun made this whole scenario more beautiful. There were cobbled stairs full of wild vegetation near the platform that led us down to the shore.
On the shore, we were met by a herd of goats/sheep, a couple of local shepherds, and a huge flock of ducks, purple herons, and black ibises. I sat on the shore under the winter sun with wind in my hair, surrounded by untouched, raw nature. If heaven exists, i am sure it's in Band Baretha!
With evening fast approaching, we unwillingly decided to make our way back. We also couldn't guarantee that the fort wasn't haunted so staying back past sunset didn't seem like a great idea. Instead, we saw the sunset and spent some time on the more habitable footpath overlooking the lake at the start of sanctuary.
I also had my train back to Delhi later that evening so i couldn't stay for long but it definitely made me plan another longer trip to the place.
Despite the whole day of walking and exploring, i didn't feel quite hungry as we stopped to purchase roasted peanuts at throwaway prices, that i kept munching all day long.
We took off from Band Baretha at 6.30 and i reached Bharatpur station to catch my train at 8PM. I left the city on a Sunday evening with lots of memories and a resolution to come back again for more! #DestinationSkip #lesserknownplaces #rajasthantourism #incredibleindia