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.
Entering the palace…more steps.
At the top we finally reach the 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.
We went out on a rubble ledge to get a view “outside” the fortress.
All the stone for the fort was quarried at the site. This left a lake in the middle of the palace grounds.
We could still find markings from the stone cutters.
Walking around the lake we had a better view of the Pillar Shrine.
The back of the palace also had fantastic buildings. Our guide told us th decorated frangipani tree was a more recent addition.
Leaving, we met visitors coming and going. Many stopped and were delighted to have us take their pictures.
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.
We can see the fort from below. A flock of birds, possibly rose-ring parakeets, fly over. A sweet good bye.
A brilliant beautiful pink building sits below the fort. Our guide tells us visiting dignitaries sometimes stay here. He mentions Clinton, but who knows.
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.
An Indian mongoose skitters across the rocks on our way down.
Heading back, we stop at a quiet lake, a peaceful last memory.
We go through the fortress “tiger-gate” one last time.
Back at the Des Villas lodge we pack and meet for a final 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.
Tomorrow we leave for Agra and the TAJ MAHAL.