THE TALENTED MR SINGH
Trip Start Sep 02, 2012
42Trip End Oct 10, 2012
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Where I stayed
The Birder's Inn Bharatpur
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did
World Famous Bird Sanctuary
We caught the 6.30am bus for our 4-hour journey to Bharatpur. DJ made the executive decision to leave Jaipur as early as possible so that we could have more time to chill at our hotel in Bharatpur. He says it's the nicest hotel that we stay in on this tour, but unfortunately for one night only.
Our bus trip was totally uneventful apart from the goings on happening on the side of the road. I suppose it was quite early when we passed thru the villages, as they appeared to be just waking up. A common sight js men standing in their undies chucking buckets of water over themselves. Another common sight in the more rural areas are men and women hitching up their clothes and carrying out their morning ablutions by the side of the road. When you gotta go ya gotta go. It would appear that this part of Rajastan is mainly farming as there are crops pretty much as far as the eye can see.
Wow! DJ was not wrong. The hotel reception is quite new and even the older sections at the back look lovely, in a colonial kind of way, and we even have a swimming pool!!! Our room is big and airy and we have a shared balcony over looking the lush gardens. Just what the Dr ordered after our stay in Jaipur.
The rain has cleared and it is turning into a lovely day. After lunch we hit the pool and enjoy just floating about and chilling out - doesn't get much better than this. About 4.30pm this afternoon, Maddie, Ewan, Doris and I have opted to take a cyclo-rickshaw to the world famous bird sanctuary just down the road. There is very little else in Bharatpur, no village, just a few other hotels either side of the highway to provide accommodation to the thousands of tourists who come especially to visit the bird sanctuary. DJ has arranged for 2 drivers to pick us up and take us the 5oo meters down the road to the bird park. He has negotiated the fee and tells us that there will be no need to employ the services of one of the park guides as our cyclo chappies are more than capable of bird spotting. Our cyclo drivers for this excursion are Mr Singh & Mr Singh.
Doris and I get into our rickshaw and the first thing I notice is an overwhelming smell similar to that of the fat in an old chip pan! However that is soon forgotten as Mr Singh introduces himself and lays out his credentials. He has been doing this job 20yrs and it took him 3 months to learn and spot all 357 species of birds in the park. He can also translate this information into Dutch or German should the need arise. I'm impressed - however I'm not too impressed at the moment with his cycling, as we are travelling at the speed of an overweight tortoise and at this rate it will take us till midnight to do the park and get back home again. We arrive at the entrance to the bird park and Mr Singh asks for our assurance that he will not be discarded in favour of a park guide. We assure him that he is under contract to show us the park. We purchase our tickets and enter thru the gates, but not before there is a little bit of pressure applied to use a park guide. We had barely gone 10ft when I asked innocently. " Isn't that a Drongo?" to which Mr Singh replied. "Madam, please, I will be telling you all these things - that is my job" Fair enough Mr Singh I don't want to steal your thunder - we'll pretend we know nowt. I was warming to this little man rapidly. He was a mine of information. He told us about the days when the park was privately owned and used as a bird shoot for the wealthy. On one particular day of these private shoots, 4,273 birds were shot, not for food - just for the sport. Fortunately in 1964 someone had the good sense to turn it into a national park and stop the senseless killing of birds and then in 1985 the park was given World Heritage listing. The park covers 29 sq kilometers, 18 of which is drylands and 11 wetlands. As we tootled along Mr Singh never missed a trick, he was very knowledgeable about every aspect of the birds he'd spotted, he knew the best spots for taking pictures he also knew where to find the antelope that also lived in the park
We watch the sunset as we make our way back thru the park. I have taken a lot of photos, but I'm afraid my camera isn't good enough to really capture the birds or their surroundings. We hit the main road that takes us back to our hotel, and guess what? We are now going to be travelling into on coming heavy traffic with no lights. No surprises there, could only happen in India. We say goodbye to the talented Mr Singh and thank him for a very pleasant afternoon.