Jungles have always intrigued me right from when I was a kid. My first experience was Jim Corbett with my parents. Recently my friends and I decided to explore another Tiger reserve of India over a long weekend in March. It was still nippy in Northern India and Sariska tiger reserve seemed to be the best option. It is in Rajasthan but is pretty close to Delhi. It was a very last moment planning but luckily we got our reservations in Ajmer Shatabdi Express that leaves from New Delhi railway station at 6:45 am and reaches Alwar at 8:40 am.
We reached Alwar almost on time and after a little negotiation, headed towards Sariska by a cab. There are plenty of cabs, auto-rickshaws etc. available right from outside the railway station which costs around 1000-1500 bucks only. It was an hour long journey and the amazing view of the Aravalli hills on both the sides of the road, added to the fun. We reached Sariska within no time but before moving straight away to our resort, Tiger Den, we took a little detour and stopped to enquire about the jungle safaris. There was already a long queue waiting for the ticket booth window to open for that day's afternoon safari. This is when we came to know that there are 2 safaris in a day that happen every day. The morning one starts at about 7 and the afternoon one at around 2. We came to know from some people there who had already done the morning safari but were not lucky enough to spot a tiger, had come back to do the afternoon safari. After acquiring plenty of information we moved towards Tiger Den, a resort by the Rajasthan Tourism Department Corporation. We had already booked our rooms online. As it is a government run resort, they provide special discounts to women only travelers and also government employees. I was lucky enough to be accompanied by a friend who works at IRCTC which is again a Public Service Unit.
As soon as we reached, the lovely view of the whole place, the greenery all around, the fresh air and the call of the birds immediately rejuvenated us. The place was full of monkeys and the resort workers asked us to be very careful about our valuables and be more cautious all the time. We soon checked into our rooms and after a warm soothing shower headed towards the dining room for a delicious lunch that waited for us. The hotel had an MAP dining system i.e. the 'Modified American Plan' that provides any 2 major meals of the day complimentary. After a sumptous traditional lunch we took a short nap. We were woken up calls of peacocks and the chattering of the monkeys. By the time we woke up it was almost dusk already. It had got colder due to the little drizzle. So, what could be better than a hot cup of tea and pakodas (onion and veggies fritters) for snacks. After munching on our evening snacks, we went for a little stroll at the garden outside. It was pretty dark by now and going out of the premises of the hotel was strictly prohibited. We joined in another group from Delhi who had lit a bonfire and were singing and dancing.
After quite an enticing session of music and dance we went back to our rooms and dozed off immediately as we had to wake up early next morning to go and stand in the queue for the safari as we had unanimously decided to do the morning one.