Amazing trip to Agra and Rajasthan

28th Jan 2016
Day 1

We were a group of 7 including our 2 year old. We landed in Delhi and started to Agra. It was 4 hr journey and seemed never ending. There was fog all over. We were excited to see Taj Mahal. We reached Agra by 9pm and stayed at Taj resorts(This property is not connected to Taj group anyway). Wonderful property just 500m away from Taj Mahal.  Food was ok(not very great).

Day 2

We decided to see Taj Mahal during sun rise. I got up at 5am got all ready . It was 6am and we  had no tickets. I didnot know we had to go to counter and the counter was on other side of hotel(Hotel is in between ticjet counter and Taj Mahal). I ran with my toddler without even thinking about others. When I reached the counter, I saw a very big line and thought of forgetting going to Taj Mahal at sunrise. But there was a counter which was free and written "Indians" on it. The one with croud was for foreigners. I ran and took 4 tickets(3 were children). We took a guide inside as children were interested to know about the monument. We have to take cover for our shoes to enter inside TajMahal. There were two gates on either side of the monument. Then we stood in a huge line and waited till it was 7am near north gate. As we entered the gate, there was another gate inside. Then came Taj Mahal in fog. It was a sight to view. I quickly took a snap and started going towards the gate. Pictures are not allowed inside Taj Mahal. There was little lighting. Guide explained us about the place where Mumtaz was burried. We came out and saw river Yamuna from top. It was full of fog till 8am . So we were unable to see the river clearly. After 8 am , fog started moving off and it was fabulous. Two pillars of Taj Mahal were covered with iron ladders like things to clean them. Then we took pictures and came out. We thought of walking to hotel but saw tongas(horse with carriage ) and tempted to go on them. After we reached hotel, we had lunch and started to Agra fort.

Agra fort was real huge. We remembered parts of Jodha Akbar movie taken here. While entering, we saw some squirrels and children were excited to feed them esp my toddler. We entered the fort. We saw Shah Jahan's prison , their daughters' rooms. There was a good view of Taj Mahal from a point. This was one huge fort.

Then we directly headed to Ranthambore. We stayed at Ranthambore bagh.

Day 3

We came to Ranthambore for jungle safari. Ranthambore bagh was one of the best hotels I visited. It was very pleasant . Food was delicious. There was a garden on back side of hotel which was attached to forest. I liked this garden part of hotel very much. We booked two safaris , one in the morning and other in the afternoon, both of them open canters. Safari started at 7 am . As hotel booked our safari, canter came to our hotel. There were 20 members in canter and I was afraid my toddler will mess it up. But he was very calm through the safari enjoying forest. Canter started , took permissions and entered first gate. After a long way came second gate where canter stopped for toilets as we are not allowed to get down inside forest. We went into zone 2 . NOTE : ONLY ZONES 1-5 HAVE TIGERS . IT IS VERY RARE TO SPOT TIGER IN ZONE 6 , 7 AND 8. ZONE 3 IS VERY SCENIC. SO BOOK ACCORDINGLY. We saw lots of deers, sambars, peacocks and wild boars. Deers and sambars were very alert for tigers. Every jeep and canter decided to stay there but we started to move on to see the beauty of forest. After a long drive , there were some 3 jeeps stopped near a road. So we went there too and there we saw our first tiger resting near the tree. It didnt care for us. It was with pride and royalty. We waited for sometime if tiger gets up and decided to leave the place. But to our surprise tiger got up. We were so silent. It started walking towards us and we were so afraid. It came beside me , walked with pride , crossed the road and went on mountain. Real slow . This made my day. We came out with happy faces at 10 am. Then came to hotel and rested .

We had our lunch , started for afternoon safari. This time we asked for open jeep as we were 7. They told they will try and if we get jeep, canter will not be refunded. Finally we got jeep. This time to Zone 3. It had three lakes and it was very scenic. We saw deers, sambars, wild boars, tortoise, a crocodile but not tiger this time. Every one decided to wait at lake but we came out. After we came out of gate, we told our children to shout how much ever they want. My toddler got so excited and started shouting. To our shock, we saw a tiger walking on road outside.My husband shut our son's mouth for some time and seeing it walk on road, cross the road and climb mountain AGAIN REAL SLOW. We were so excited and at the same time nervous. We went to hotel at 5pm. Then relaxed in garden, roamed around hotel. During dinner we had bonfire and delicious food. Then we came and relaxed.

Day 4

This day, we started for Jaipur. We checked-in to Umaid Bhavan palace. Hotel was not that great. It was built in a very small place and a lot of rooms. But yeah it was beautiful in its way. Food was worst here.

We started to City palace . Jaipur is called pink city for a reason. Large part was painted with reddish pink color with white drawings on it. It was beautiful. We reached City palace and at entrance , I noticed a puppet show. We asked them to play the show and it was awesome. I recommend to see one puppet show when in Jaipur. Then we went inside City palace with an open cab. It was very clean to our surprise. Maintainance was very good. Some parts were converted into shops. One part was converted into museum. It displayed a giant horse , all guns and bullets used at that time, swords, all types of weapons. Then there was display of same set up of king and people sitting in one hall. There were pictures of all kings through the wall. Amazing place.

Then we had our lunch and went to Amber/Amer fort. It was on a hill and there were elephants to take to fort. But we preferred our car. This was very huge fort of all. We heard about seesh mahal and were told no one is allowed inside. Then we saw all parts of fort, a garden.

Then we did some shopping , went back to hotel  , had our dinner and awaited for a long day tomorrow.

Day 5

This day we were going to Jodhpur via Pushkar. Pushkar is a very holy place. We are not only travellers but also devotees. We went to Pushkar lake , did pujas to our elders , immersed in the holy water, went to lord Brahma for darshan. This took us whole 3 hours. Then had our lunch and started to Jodhpur. We booked Ratan Vilas hotel in Jodhpur which was itself a palace previously. It was amazing place. We regretted we reached late to Jodhpur and had to leave to Jaisalmer early.

Day 6

We started for Jaisalmer early . We booked for Damodra resort which had 10 tents. This was 50 kms from Jaisalmer. After a while we started from Jodhpur started sand dunes which were very lovely to see. We crossed Jaisalmer at 2pm and had our lunch at Surya garh fort. This place was very special. It was a very huge fort very well maintained. They grow their own vegetables and fruits to prepare foos. We saw their garden, ate food(which was very very costly for us) then reached Damodra resort. We relaxed for some time and went to their private sand dunes. This was a very special place away from all the crowd as it was private. Only we were there on the dunes. Camels took us to dunes. We enjoyed sunset at dunes. Our children extremely enjoyed this place. They were rolling our the dunes up and down. I went so far to see sunset . We were at peace with no person bugging us for rides. After sunset , we returned to resort. We were greeted here with drums and tilaks to our surprise. They gave us time to relax for sometime. Cultural programs started at 7pm and this part made our whole trip. We were sitting under stars on sofas. They actually created a place in between all tents for cultural program. There was stage and all sofas were set in a circle. They started singing live with instruments. We enjoyed and we asked sime gazals which they did perform. 2 girls were dancing extremely well. All the singing and dancing entertained us. They even showed us some local instruments and asked us to try them out. They invited us to dance at end and we danced like hell. There was a puppet show at the end. It was a 3 hour program and everything was worth it. I strongly recommend Damodra resort. Then we had our dinner and I was star gazing for some time. There was a star gazing place too here.

Day 7

This day, we started after our breakfast , headed to an abandoned village , KULDHARA. There is a story that there was a curse for this village which made it abandoned. Cars are allowed inside . All houses were broken . There was a one storey building which was broken too. We can climb on it and view whole Kuldhara. It takes just half hour. From there we headed to oasis named JASSIE OASIS. It was a pretty oasis. We spent some time there and headed back to Jodhpur.

Day 8

This day was filled with journey. Jodhpur to Hyderabad via Mumbai .

Day 7

We didnot prebook a hotel in Jodhpur as Ratan Vilas was full that day. We came to Jodhpur and found Indana Palace just to stay that night. It was very huge . Room was great . But there was a wedding on that night which we didnt know caused some disturbance. Then all others went to shopping but I was least interested so stayed at hotel.