A couple of negative factors though are – one, high priced food (still sold out due to the fact that the nearest alternate available is about 4 kms away in the small town of Kelwara with no vehicles available). The restaurant staff’s excellent service and ever smiley countenance to some extent at least makes up for the high prices of food. The second negative – the exhorbitant rates of Taxi service available from the hotel. Though there is an alternate available right outside the gate by a couple of taxi operators who have pitched a tent across the road, but soon we realised that the service provider to the resort & those guys have cartelized the entire operation. As a result, even though one can hire cheaper taxis from Kelwara, the cartel does not allow it to happen. I hope Club Mahindra management does something to break this cartel soon as it was the only sore point of our entire journey.
and second, a man made one- when the entire fort complex was lit up. These lights, which remain on for about 30 mins, everyday, literally transforms the entire fort into an oasis of Gold in the middle of the mountains.
The resort is situated close to Kumbhalgarh Wildlife sanctuary, which boasts of a number of wild animals including Hyena and wolves. The rides to sanctuary are available through the Taxi operators but I soon realised their lack of adequate knowledge about the sightings of animals as well as the birds. Hence rather than visiting the sanctuary, we decided to take frequent walks in the wilderness around the resort itself, including a lake at a distance of within a kilometer.
Initially we decided to explore the resort for birds and soon my efforts struck pay dirt. A White bellied Drongo, A Brown capped Pygmy woodpecker & an Oriental white-eye provided a warm welcome amidst the sound of ever-flitting numerous tailor-birds. A pair of Rufous treepies were being chased away by the Jungle Babblers (such crowish behaviour!) and an alexandrine parakeet kept surveying the entire scene perched amidst the branches in a Buddha like trance.
The water level in the lake was low due to scant rains this year. The bird activity also seemed to be subdued. While white breasted Kingfisher (back in its avatar of being a fisher) kept flashing its blue in flight, the lake also had a pair of common teal, spot-bill ducks and some cormorants. White wagtail, yellow wagtail, chat alongwith a sandpiper were the other birds at the water level.
The scene was different though on and along the the roadside. Black Redstart, Eureasian Wryneck, Small Minivets, Crested Bunting, Indian Robin, Tawny bellied Babbler, Great Tit, Black Lored Tit, Indian Silverbills, Jungle Quails, Chestnut Shouldered Petronia, White cheek Barbet & Copper Smith Barbet, Purple Rumped & Purple Sunbirds, Spotted & Laughing Doves, Asian Koel, Greater Coucal, Black headed Cuckooshrike were some of those which I could click. The link for these pictures is given below:
After so much of writing ( & patient reading on your part!) I am sure 'ab to break banta hai'.
So again, for all the visitors to this page, await the final chapter about Udaipur for this particular travelogue. Meanwhile, given below are the links to the pictures for:
Ranakpur & Kumbhalgarh - http://www.flickr.com/gp/7271923@N06/7w028a
Birds in Aravali Region - http://www.flickr.com/gp/7271923@N06/4V7k1M