Travel Log: Two days in Rajasthan, India

 You may have seen on my socials that I recently had a wonderful opportunity to tour the "Golden Triangle" of India. My husband had a work trip come to fruition to the Delhi area, and while we were not originally planning to visit India this year we said "why not?" and planned out one week plus weekends itinerary after his work week that included visits to Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan/Ajabgarh, and Jaipur. You can find my Delhi travel log here, my Agra travel log here, and today I am sharing how we spent two days in the royal state of Rajasthan. Rajasthan is the largest state in India, and you'll hear more about our visit to its capital of Jaipur in another post. We certainly did not see all of this state, but please continue reading to see photos and details of how we spent our time here including a stay at the Amanbagh and a morning game drive in the Sariska Tiger Reserve.

A stay at an Aman property has been on our wish list for a while now, and we finally made it happen with our stay at Amanbagh. This stunning property is located on the site of a former Maharajah's base for tiger-hunting expeditions, at the foot of the ancient Aravalli Mountain range in northwest India. The name Amanbagh means "peaceful garden" in Sanskrit and is a beautiful oasis with a total of 37 guest rooms, two pools (not counting the private pools in some villas), restaurant, lounge bar, spa, gym, library, and a boutique. The property also contains a garden where some of the fresh produce for the restaurant is grown and a small stable with horses and camels for guest rides. From the welcome ceremony to the departure ceremony we felt like royalty and I cannot say enough wonderful compliments for the Aman staff and service. Our room was palatial, all of our meals were amazing, and the staff's attention to detail was impeccable. While this was our first Aman experience, it certainly will not be our last.

When the Aman team learned that I grew up with horses, they quickly offered to escort me to say hello to their two beautiful Marwari mares. Marwaris are a rare breed of horse, native to India, primarily utilized by the Indian military as cavalry horses and known for their unique curved ears! There are not many of these horses in the United States; I read that exporting Marwaris was banned for many years and only allowed between 2000-2006, so it felt extra special to be able to meet one in person. Her name was Lakshmi, meaning "good fortune" in Sanskrit and also the name of the Hindu goddess of wealth, good fortune, beauty, and more. We also took the opportunity to ride one of the Aman's camels outside of the Aman property to see the Ajabgarh fort, since I had not yet had the opportunity to ride a camel and now can say that I have!

We were most excited to experience a game drive in the Sariska Tiger Reserve during our visit to Rajasthan. How many times can one say that they did a tiger safari? The Amanbagh arranged the tour with a driver and experienced guide who picked us up at 5:15am for the 45 minute drive to the entrance of the reserve complete with some typical India morning cow crossing traffic. The Sariska Tiger Reserve is massive in size at 340 square miles, with a current tiger population of 32 (I believe that's what our guide said!) along with a large population of other animals including but not limited to: nilgai antelope, civets, two types of deer, hares, hyenas, jungle cats, kingfishers, leopards, mongoose, two types of monkeys, peacocks, vultures, and wild boar. We saw most of these animals during our ~2.5 hours driving around the park, with our guide paying attention to tiger tracks and directing our driver to different watering holes for the best chance of seeing wildlife. I think the animal we saw the most of was peacocks--they are everywhere!

While we didn't see any tigers that day, unfortunately, we were very lucky to see not one but TWO male Indian leopards in a standoff over territory. Our guide pointed out two vultures in a tree that signaled predators were nearby, had the driver stop the car and we looked and listened for a few minutes. We heard them before we saw them, and I will tell you that hearing a low growl coming from the brush near us gave me goosebumps! When we heard that leopard growl, our guide directed the driver to quickly whip around, drive through a tiny track around to the other side of the brush and we were treated to seeing the dominant leopard stalk toward the intruding leopard, mark his territory and verbally tell the other leopard to get out. The intruder, likely younger, made a seemingly wise choice to back off and disappear into the trees, then the dominant leopard followed suit and disappeared as well. It was such a unique and special few minutes to spend watching these predators in their natural habitat, unbothered by our presence whatsoever.

Have you visited India? If so, what areas did you visit and what was your favorite part of your trip? Please don't hesitate to leave me a comment below to let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog today, reading all the way through to the end, be sure to check out my Delhi travel log and Agra travel log if you have not already done so, and I hope you have a wonderful week!


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