Day 9. OUR LAST DAY IN RANTHAMBHORE

Following the same morning schedule, our group heads for the ancient fort overlooking the entire part.  Many of the fortress ruins are centuries old. We walk up the hill to the old palace and shrines to tour the ruins in the (relative) cool of e morning.  

At the top of the steps we come to a Hindu god.  Pilgrims have placed food in his mouth–part of the Wednesday activities.

1_hundu_god

Entering the palace…more steps.

2_more_steps

 At the top we finally reach the entry gate.

2_entry_gate

Inside, the ancient buildings, some dating to 1000 AD, are remarkable.  The fort overlooks the whole park with a beautiful lake immediately before it.

3_beatiful_lake

We went out on a rubble ledge to get a view “outside” the fortress.

5_ledge
5_ledge_view

All the stone for the fort was quarried at the site.  This left a lake in the middle of the palace grounds.

6_quarry_lake

We could still find markings from the stone cutters.

7_quarry_cuts

Walking around the lake we had a better view of the Pillar Shrine.

4_pillar_temple

The back of the palace also had fantastic buildings.  Our guide told us th decorated frangipani tree was a more recent addition.

8_back_of_fort

Leaving, we met visitors coming and going.  Many stopped and were delighted to have us take their pictures.   

10_visitors
10_visitors2

10_visitors3

After lunch (and our middy siesta) we headed out for our last game drive.  We won’t be sorry to leave the heat, but we will miss this place.  The tigers are majestic and on the brink of extinction.  There are only 40 in this park and only around 1500 total left in the wild.  As the story of Broken Tail showed, more habitat needs to be reserved and education stepped up to assure our kids will be able to see tigers–and all the other big cats–in the wild.

Swinging back by the lake, we find samba cooling off in the water in front of  great backdrop, munching on water plants.

11_samba_in_lake

We can see the fort from below.  A flock of birds, possibly rose-ring parakeets, fly over.  A sweet good bye.

14_birds_over_fort

A brilliant beautiful pink building sits below the fort.  Our guide tells us visiting dignitaries sometimes stay here.  He mentions Clinton, but who knows.

12_pink_bldg_on_lake

Still hoping to see one last tiger we spend a few hours in the sun.  UGH.  I think I’m going to melt.  High on a hill, we stumble across a euphorbia bush in bloom.  This ornamental “cactus” is actually a succulent that grows all over the park.  We’re told blossoms are rare.

15_euphorbia

An Indian mongoose skitters across the rocks on our way down.

16_mongoose

Heading back, we stop at a quiet lake, a peaceful last memory.

17_quiet_lake

We go through the fortress “tiger-gate” one last time.

18_gate

Back at the Des Villas lodge we pack and meet for a final dinner.

20_des_villas

21_last_dinner

Our guides have been terrific.  We met several other couples at the lodge who came on their own and hired random drivers and guides.  They had yet to see a tiger.  We feel very fortunate.

22_our_guides

Tomorrow we leave for Agra and the TAJ MAHAL.

 

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