Tigers and Deer and Safaris oh my!

A sunrise call time to jump on a safari was much easier to wake up for than I thought it would be! Everyone had said, don’t expect to see a tiger because it does not happen all the time. So, we loaded into our jeeps and were off on our morning safari to Ranthambore National Park.


Once again, I was with my fearless travel partners. The safari was VERY dusty so we had to keep our eyes, nose and mouth covered. I fashioned my scarf into some sort of head cover thing so I could keep uncovering my mouth to breathe!

The animals we saw were pretty amazing. Birds, deer, monkeys, wart hogs, antelope, some monkeys and some more monkeys! Alas, no tiger on this round but we were heading out again in the afternoon for another round of searching.

Finally at the end of the day as we were ready to call it a day, out she came! She just walked in front of all the trucks on the way back to her cubs like it was no big deal. I swear she knows what time the park closes and waits until then to make herself known! All I know is that we were very lucky to spot her as many people take this trip multiple times and never see a tiger!

The pictures were taken with my Iphone so you can gather how close she really was. She is a beautiful and beastly cat!

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I Finally Saw The Taj Mahal!

We were finally in Agra…the city where the Taj Mahal is located and the ultimate reason for my trip to India! The morning started off incredibly foggy so our tour guide decided we would go to the Agra Fort first and hope that the fog would clear in the afternoon.

There are monkeys all over the fort and they are not shy. I swear this monkey family sat and posed for all of the tourists hoping for a little treat. They got nothing from me except a smile and a clap and a thank you for allowing me to take their family portrait. You’re welcome monkeys!

Okay, so I will admit that I fed this guy in order to get him to pose for the picture. The first two were not very cooperative and climbed all over my body instead of eating nicely out of my hand. They are just so cute that I cannot handle it and I had to hold one!

I promise the pictures of the fort are coming but I love capturing the animals and the people I meet. The tours have quite a few people on them and as human nature would have it, there are only a few I got to know. One was Scott (pictured above) and his uncles. They turned out to be fantastic people and I spent quite a bit of time with them!

Inside the fort was full of beautiful marble. As in more marble than I think I have ever seen outside of the statue section of the Louvre! You can see the amazing marble archway that connects one room to another (and also my travel companions).
Kalindra and I had fun taking pictures in archways all over the place and this was like a changing of the guards or maharanis as I was joking. We each got our turn in the archway and graciously passed the torch to one another.

The Agra Fort is a vast fort which was the home of the Mughal Emperors and their many courtiers during Agra’s era as capital. Enjoying an important position on a bend of the Yamuna River, Emperor Akbar the Great initiated construction, building a vast sandstone fort. However, it was his grandson Shah Jahan, the creator of the Taj Mahal, who added to it and embellished it using the finest marble, intricate carvings and inlaid precious stones. This architectural largesse was not entirely appreciated by his son, Aurangzabad, who thought Shah Jahan was wasting the Empire’s fortune, thus deposing his father and keeping him under house arrest in a tower within the fort – his one consolation, a view of the Taj Mahal, home to his beloved late wife.

It was time for the ultimate of ulitmates…the Taj Mahal. This has been on my list of must see places for a while for reasons I was unclear about but felt the need to see it. This is considered one of the new seven wonders of the world and is now number 5 of 7 for me that I have seen! I still need Mexico and Jordan to complete the list to see Petra and Chichen Itza.

I will just let the pictures speak for themselves!

22,000 men and more than 1,000 elephants spent 22 years constructing this monument. It is the only monument that has two people buried in it because Mughal ruler Shah Jahan wanted to be buried with his wife after he died. This is an eternal symbol of love and inspiration with intricate mosaics, precious designs and perfect architectural symmetry as if they were poetry created by hand from prized marble. No pictures are allowed inside the mausoleum.

The Taj Mahal seems to float above the banks of the Yamuna River, and blends Persian, Indian and Islamic elements in perfect symmetry.

This was such a magical day and I was incredibly happy. We had quite a bit of free time to walk around and explore and at one point I just sat and stared at the magical building!

Ubud for the day

Bali. Bali. Bali. Just a small little island and province of Indonesia but so much to do! I have been spending most my time in Sanur but finally decided to take a little day trip to Ubud. My friend has been a great driver and tour guide for me around the island and the drive to Ubud was no exception. Sanur to Ubud is about an hour drive because of traffic.

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The day started off with a lovely breakfast with some fresh juice and traditional Indonesian food followed by a quick little tour of an art gallery. I am not sure what the art was all about but there were a lot of evil monkeys impaling people.

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We went on a hunt for the water temple but ended up on a two hour drive around Ubud. Luckily, along the way we ran into some beautiful rice fields.

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Next stop was the monkey forest. This was the highlight of the day! This is an awesome sanctuary full of monkeys just waiting for their bananas! We bought bunches upon bunches of bananas and let the monkeys come to us. I will let the pictures do the talking for this one.

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