A weekend trip to Sariska and Bhangarh near Alwar, Rajasthan didn't really go as planned. The Sariska Tiger Camp was comfortable but I couldn't sleep at night, thanks to a diligent colleague who shook me awake whenever I started snoring.
We didn't realize until it was too late that a T-shirt wasn't appropriate attire for a 7 a.m. safari, nearly freezing to death as our open Gypsy vroomed along jungle paths. We didn't spot any tigers and I really doubt if they exist (despite what our guide said about sightings being luck-by-chance).
Our visit to Bhangarh was ditched when we realized it would imperil our chances of catching the return train. The inflated costs of taxiing down to India's most haunted fort didn't help either. Instead, we headed to Kesroli fort, a 14th-century regal retreat now part of Neemrana heritage hotels. We lazed by the hilltop swimming pool, staring at its solitary occupant -- a paunchy man whom we knew only as Neha's husband (well, he kept calling out to his wife to bring him something).
It was just too hot and after an indulgent lunch, we set off for Alwar's city mall, singularly the most boring place I've ever set foot in. It didn't even have a coffee shop, much to the disappointment of two American tourists we bumped into. We parked ourselves and our bags outside a 7D theatre which promised viewers "butt vibration" and "mouse in legs" among other delightful effects.
On the train ride back to Delhi, the sudden onslaught of a bloated stomach made matters worse and I counted down the minutes till I reached home and crashed out in my bed.
And yet, don't be surprised if I said I enjoyed it all. Thanks to Sankalp Phartiyal and Ankush Arora, who are the best travelling companions one could ask for. Can't wait till our next weekend getaway.
(Some photos have been Instagrammed. I've clicked all photos unless I'm in the frame in which case the photographer was either Ankush Arora or Sankalp Phartiyal)