13th April, Ranthambore - Abhaneri - Delhi
Once again I got up early in the morning, took a shower and went out for photography. This time I went up to pool, knowing that I will likely get better sunrise photos here than elsewhere. In the meanwhile, quite a few BCMTians left for their homes, while Vicky, Lalita, Jigisha and Shivani went for morning safari.
Sadly sunrise was again a damp squid due to cloud cover, but I got a decent photograph of the pool at blue hour.
After that I went to Amit’s room, since I could no longer find my flash and flash triggers and thought I had left it in his room. Sadly they weren’t there, so we decided to chat instead. Soon Vicky and the girls returned from safari, this time too without spotting any tigers.
While we were talking, one of the hotel staff came in and asked us whether the flash and trigger he had found around pool, belonged to us. I couldn’t believe my luck and thanked him profusely for finding and returning them to me.
Now it was time for some much needed breakfast and to say farewell to Bhuwan sir and rest of the Jaipur gang, who were all set to leave for Jaipur. After breakfast, we too packed our luggage and by around noon, we started for Delhi with Vicky.
Cloud cover en route was just superb and I kept taking mental photographs of it, until I couldn’t take any more and had to stop for photography.
Our chariot for the trip, Mahindra Scorpio.
While I was busy photographing Scorpio; Lalita, Jigisha and Shivani found a perfect spot to chill and I found one of my favorite photographs of the trip, thanks to their find and their presence in the photograph.
After this I turned my attention to Vicky’s Mercedes G55 AMG, which was looking breathtakingly beautiful!
After this we headed towards Abhaneri, knowing we were getting quite late and even though all of us were feeling hungry and thirsty, we decided to soldier on, with few if any good eating options en route, making the non-stop drive easier than we thought.
Once we reached Abhaneri, the first thing we did was get some water and bananas, after some much needed sustenance, it was time to visit Chand Baori, a 1100 year old, 13 story deep step well with over 3,500 stairs!
While Chand Baori was absolutely breathtaking due to its mammoth size; its condition and ongoing restoration work by ASI left a lot to be desired. In fact the restoration work was being done in such a manner that I fear Chand Baori might actually loose its vintage feel, once it is done!
After Chand Baori, we visited Harshat Mata ka Temple, Chand Baori is dedicated to Harshat Mata and the temple too was in a similar state of despair with pathetic restoration work. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful temple and I got couple of decent photographs of it.
After visiting Abhaneri, we decided to take the Alwar route to Delhi, since Sohna route can be a bit dangerous at night. But first we needed to find some much needed nourishment and for that, we stopped at a small dhaba en route. It felt absolutely unprepared to handle our group of 6 adults and 3 kids and had no washrooms. While the food was somewhat alright, tea served in kulhad made it all worthwhile.
By the time we got on the road, it was already evening and soon the heavens opened up for a short while. By the time rain stopped and sun started setting behind the cloud, the entire scene looked absolutely divine.
Now it was time to put the camera in storage, since light was too low for photography and we didn’t really wanted to stop in the middle of nowhere. We eventually found a good restaurant and stopped there for tea.
By the time we started from there, it was pitch dark and with full flow of music (thanks to Jigisha) and Google Aunty’s directions, we managed to reach NH-8 without any issue.
However, NH-8 was completely chocked with traffic. By the time we reached Manesar, we didn’t know where Vicky was, but all of us were feeling hungry, so we pulled into McDonalds. Just as we got in to the parking lot, G55 pulled in as well. Turns out he was only a few hundred meters behind us and had seen us take diversion for McDonalds.
After another round of gupshup and burgers, it was time to say goodbye to Vicky and kids. Amit first drove to Lalita’s place to drop her and then dropped me home, before heading to Shivani's place for her drop and eventually reaching his home late into the night.
With this, ended one of the most special, fun and artistically satisfying (at least for me) BCMT meet.