Colin Wigston is the June winner of our blog competition, read his story of his experiences on our Moghul Highlights tour, including not one but two up close encounters with the magnificent Bengal tiger.
"In April I took the Moghul Highlights tour of India. This has to be the most amazing experience possible. Aside from two beautiful hours exploring the Taj Mahal at dawn, we had two game drives in Ranthambore National Park, one in the evening and another the following morning. We hoped to see tigers, of course, but many people have been there and not had a glimpse so we didn't want to get our hopes too high.
On the first drive we encountered a beautiful young male sitting in the grass just eight metres from our vehicle. We watched him for about half an hour. He was quite happy sitting there looking curiously at us, but unafraid. We were so excited but, understandably, expected the following morning's drive to be a bit of an anticlimax. But it was nothing of the sort.
This time an older female sat three metres from us in full view, quite happy to be observed and photographed. It was an exciting and moving experience to be so close to such a magnificent animal. We all got the kinds of photographs you expect from expert wildlife photographers with telephoto lenses. We then drove down to a lake and sat quietly at dawn watching painted storks and a baby crocodile enjoying the morning sun. The atmosphere was magical.
But every moment of this trip was a highlight. The hotel in Kerauli, near Ranthambore, was palatial and reminiscent of the period of the Raj. We visited a Hindu temple where we felt quite welcome during a ceremony to the Lord Krishna, with circles of women spontaneously singing a song of praise. We trundled through the town on the back of camel carts much to the amusement of the locals. We also visited the stunning Amber Palace, the amazing observatory at Jaipur, India Gate in Delhi, Agra Fort and numerous other fascinating sites. The abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri is a great experience with its beautifully carved and preserved sandstone buildings.
And, of course, the Taj Mahal really is the most beautiful building in the world and a place of great peace with its perfectly maintained gardens.
I can't recommend this trip too highly. If you've not been, book it now."
By Colin Wigston, Edinburgh
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