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JHALANA

“I am sorry sir, I have never heard of this place”, the gentlemen at the reception replied back to me. I was surprised. I had searched on my mobile “ wildlife sanctuaries near me”, and the results were quite promising. Having spent my childhood in the beautiful hills of Mussoorie and hailing from a small town, I usually find it difficult to handle the city life. This was my second day in Jaipur and I already wanted a break.

Jaipur, Rajasthan. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities of India. It has it all. Right from the beautiful historical monuments such as the Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal to the modern day World Trade Park , a huge mall, to being a fashion hub in the country and finally known for its cuisine. Jaipur indeed is one of the best cities in India to live in. The city has proudly kept alive its heritage while moving forward to realize the dream of modern India. But not many are aware that this beautiful city is also home to one of the large cats, the leopard.

An early winter morning at Jhalana

Welcome to Jhalana Leopard Safari.

spotted owls

Jhalana is a walled sanctuary, located almost in the center of Jaipur and covers an area of about 20sq km.It is mostly a dry deciduous forest with numerous artificially created water holes. This small sanctuary used to be the hunting grounds of the erstwhile kings of Jaipur . Today it is a protected area and is home to around 30 leopards, one of the highest density in the country. It is said that you have to be really unlucky to not spot a leopard here.

Our exciting journey started at around 2. 30 pm.

Indian Silver Bill

We drove down with the help of google maps and reached the gates of Jhalana at about 3 pm. We had prebooked our gypsy for the evening and were soon zipped off . The sanctuary has three zones and we went into zone one. The next one hour was spent in deciphering calls and watching pug marks to trace the Leopards, all of which was of no use. Our guide used to suddenly stop the vehicle and put a finger on his lips indicating to us to keep quiet and then whisper “ call thi “ . all this went on and then finally we decided to move on into zone two. They have built a new road that passes over a small hill that connects zone one and zone two. We took this road hoping to spot the all elusive big cat in zone two.

On its way

Midway between zone one and two our guide received a call from his colleague that a leopard had been spotted in zone one near a water hole. With the narrow road , there was little scope for the vehicle to turn around. After a few moments the driver took the tough decision to drive downhill in reverse gear. With my heart literally in my mouth and my wife enjoying the thrill, I had no choice except to comply. God saving we reached the water hole safe and sound, just in time to witness this magnificent creation of Mother divine walking majestically towards the water hole. He stopped there, took a look around and then drank to his hearts fill and walked away. A few meters away he decided to take a nap.

Hunting langur monkeys

We stood there for quite some time, watching him yawn and roll over. At times he appeared very cute with his legs raised up playfully and at times dreadful showing off his large canines.


Apart from the leopards Jhalana is home to a many other mammals like the Blue bull, spotted deer, Hanuman Langurs, Rhesus monkeys,

Blue Bull ( Nilgai )

Sāmbhar deer mongoose etc.. The birds spotted were, Indian peafowl, rufous treepie, red vented bulbul, jungle babbler, spotted owl, rose ringed parakeet, Quail, sparrow, Shikra etc.


WHO SHOULD GO

Nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, families, just about anybody.


WHEN TO GO

Jahlana is open throughout the year. They have two safaris daily. One in the morning and one in the evening. Choose according to your convenience.

Parakeet

HOW TO REACH.

Jaipur is very well connected by air, rail and road from all the major cities in India. Since it’s a part of the golden triangle, and a major tourist hub, all approach roads are in excellent condition. Connectivity can definitely not be an excuse for not visiting Jaipur!



Scops Owl

WHERE TO STAY.

Jaipur has a wide range of hotels to choose from that range from Heritage hotels, five stars to budget accomodation. We used Make My Trip app to make reservations and hit upon a great deal and stayed at The Golden Tulip, MI Road, an excellent property situated in the centre of the city.

If you wish to experience rajasthani cultute and cuisine, stay at Choki Dhani . I promise you wont regret it. Those looking for a good, affordable and decent accomodation I would suggest RTDC Hotel Gangaur. Its situated near the railway station and has good accomodation. This is usually my first choice for stay in Jaipur. Reservation can be made at www.rtdc.in


Shikra taking a bath

WHAT TO CARRY AND PACK

Clothes according to the season, binoculars, and camera for memories. The sun can be quite harsh in summers, so some sunscreen, sunglasses, cap and umbrella would be advisable.


WHAT TO SEE AND DO

This is like a never ending list. Jaipur has so much to offer. Spend a day or two for historical monuments, and do reserve one morning or evening for Jhalana. This is a must. A trip to Jaipur without a visit to Jhalana is definitely an incomplete one. Book a full day sightseeing trip so that you can cover the major monuments.

No trip is complete without tasting the rajasthani delicacies. Breakfast at Rawats opposite Sindhi Camp Bus station. Ask for the famous aloo pyaaz ki kachori. Make sure you have one meal at Ghoomar, the rajasthani restaurant located at Crystal Palm Mall at 22 godam Jaipur. You will love the experience. They make you feel like a king, sing traditional folk songs and serve great food.



Showing off its canines


WHOM TO CONTACT

For your Jhalana trip get in touch with Mr. Rishi Malhotra @ 99286 33337. I have known Mr Rishi for the past couple of years and find him to be a through professional. He has been taking care of my Jhalana visits and I must say I am fully satisfied with his services. He has also been kind enough to arrange pick up and drop for me once from my hotel ( charges extra ). I would highly recommend Mr Rishi Malhotra for arranging the safari at Jhalana.


MY RECOMMENDATIONS-

Go in winters, November to March is a good time.

Plan at least 2 nights three days.

Stay at Hotel Gangaur , ask for the superior room. Breakfast is included.Tarrif is around 2500 bucks. Reservations @ www.rtdc.in. Those looking for a luxury accommodation can use Make My Trip app to choose. Hotel Golden Tulip is a five star accommodation, centrally located and is quite good with a heavenly breakfast.

All hotels usually have a travel desk, make your reservations for a full day tour.

DON’T miss the light and sound show at Amber Fort, followed by a night visit to the fort. Its absolutely stunning. In the fort they have a beautiful restaurant that serves food in real silverware. I think it was a thousand bucks for a person.If you wish you could eat like a maharaja for once!.

A visit to Jhalana. Get in touch with Mr Rishi malhotra @ 99286 33337 and plan your Jhalana Trip. Like I said before, no trip to Jaipur is complete without Jhalana.


As I wind up I remember an interesting episode related to the famous Actor Devanand. Devanand had acted in around 104 films and was the highest paid actor during his times. Actress Simi Grewal was interviewing Dev Sahab, as he was popularly called during his times. His age must have been somewhere in the eighties at that time.Surprised at the active life style and his involvement with his profession even at this age she asked him how could he keep up with this. To which Dev Sahab replied, “ Simi I may die of old age , but I will die young”. Dev Sahab was truly a person who lived his life forever young.


Out there all those of you who regard the lines on your face as a sign to slow down, just stop and listen to your heart. Go play.


ADD LIFE TO DAYS, NOT DAYS TO LIFE.

Take Care

Ravi.

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drvivektripathi
Jul 17, 2019

Very nice pictures. Informative . Thank you .

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