Trip Start Oct 31, 2009
52Trip End Feb 25, 2010
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Where I stayed
Our first visit evening we walked round, spotting antelope, deers, a giant eagle and a small pack of jackals. Before back to the basic but delightful jungle lodge restaurant for vegetarian food, water and relaxed to bed by 9.
The next day arrived at the park for 6:30 a.m. - the best time for birds apparently. We took a rickshaw round - the rickshaw driver showing us more birds of prey, owls, spoonbills, herons, Indian Syrus cranes (apparently very rare), brightly coloured kingfishers, woodpeckers with red heads, magpie robins (which appear exactly as the name suggests) and ibises. All very relaxing.
Afternoon was somewhat less relaxing. Now in Agra at the Taj Mahal there's a wall of photos of architectural treasures of India, and one Deeg Palace. A quick look in the guide book suggested Deeg was about an hour from Bharatpur by bus. So we decided to spend the afternoon exploring. Getting there easy, Bharatpur bus station, crowded bus bounced along, arrived Deeg. Arriving Deeg it appeared its somewhat off the tourist trail, given the interest our arrival caused. We found the palace, and after much looking with a large crowd following us found the main gate. The man in the ticket booth reached for his foreign ticket book, blowing layers of dust off it. The guide woke up surprised to see visitors, and took us round the palace. very pretty with pavilions overlooking a lake, but very run down. A tour of the Maharajahs private rooms - looking like they'd just been abandoned. The giant fans on the ceilings hung still - where they had once been pulled by servants. A large wooden fan which as once turned by two large man - I had a go it took some moving.
After exhausting the palace we decided to head back to Bharatphur... however the buses do not start there. After some trouble locating the bus stop - not easy and not where we got off three packed (and I mean Indian packed) buses passed - a small riot of people trying to get on. The growing local crowd coming to gawp at the foreigners starting to get very uncomfortable - especially as one woman who took us under her wing said "these are bad men". Finally crowded onto the fourth bus - and made our way back - polite school boys practising their English on us...
Postscript: We have the all India Lonely Planet - which says of Deeg - an easy day trip by local bus from Bharatphur. I found a smaller Rajasthan only Lonley Planet in a hotel bookcase - that said "Deeg to Bharatphur very busy journey, and the travelers often can't get a bus back and have to stay in the one guest house that has nothing to recommend it". Sounds like we may have been lucky...