Chittor, Bundi, and Ranthambore, India travel tips

Portrait of the Artists Helish and Sparsh
Portrait of the artists Sparsh and Helish | Art by Todd Berman

Where we ate:

  • Shakti Restaurant at Hotel Paratap Palace, Chittorgarh – If you’re just passing through or day tripping, hey’ll hold your bags while you visit the fort. In exchange, you should probably eat at their restaurant, which isn’t very good, but is convenient: MEH
  • Hadee Rani Guesthouse, Bundi – There are few places to eat in Bundi besides the hotel restaurants. We looked. So, tired of the mediocre food at our hotel, we at at Hadee Rani. It was excellent, considering the alternatives, especially the pumpkin and fennel curry. The owner, Chintu, made for a great dinner companion and helped us find our Ranthambore hotel: YEH
  • Jodhana Restaurant, Dausa(?) – The menu is only in Hindi, but just say “thali” and you’ll be in heaven: YEH

Where we stayed:

  • Kasera Heritage View, Bundi – The rooms were huge, and they provided a large squeegee for guests to use after showering to dry off the bathroom floor. But, there are probably better – and quieter – deals in town, like Hadee Rani Guesthouse (see above). Their rooftop restaurant had bland, uninteresting food, even after we asked for our dishes “very spicy”: MEH
  • Vatika Resort, Ranthambore – Also known as “Vatika Lodge” on some websites. A small compound of bungalows with a nice lawn. The food is well done, if overpriced. The internet never worked while we were there. Still, a friendly environment to meet other travelers, particularly Indians. Their website and contact info is hard to find so here it is –, owner Vishnu’s mobile +91 09251086627, email: YEH

What we saw:

  • Chittorgarh (Chittor’s fort) – We got stuck transferring trains in Chittor, so we decided to visit the fort, a sprawling complex of buildings, including a very cool tower. The rest of the fort was just ok. Unless you have a transfer to make, it’s probably not worth the detour and the rickshaw hassle you need to go through: MEH
  • Garh Palace, Bundi – Room after room of stunning frescos in a quickly crumbling building. Bring a flashlight: YEH
  • Chitrasala, Bundi – More stunning frescos and hordes of pissed of monkeys. Bring your own big stick or be prepared to fend off the touting of the caretaker beat back the monkeys for you and who also unlocks the cage protecting the art from the monkeys: YEH
  • Roshan’s Fastest Internet in Bundi – Saying this is the fastest connection is not saying much. We spent as much time waiting for the internet to work as we did using it. Still, they won’t charge you for the downtime if you insist that they shouldn’t: MEH
  • Ranthambore Safaris – Do your research. We didn’t. It turns out that in November, when we were there, there is only a 20 percent chance of seeing one of the increasingly scarce tigers. A traveler we met had to go on five safaris to score a sighting. Even without tigers, the landscape is beautiful, and there are tons of deer, antelope, and birds. The park management is facing some serious international criticism over the vanishing tiger population, so it’s also worth checking for recent complaints before spending your money there: YEH
  • Booking a Ranthambhore Safari – Every day, twice a day, absolute mayhem ensues on the line for one of the limited safari seats. If you are claustrophobic or just don’t like being closely sandwiched between anxious Indian men in very hot weather, you might want to book through your hotel or see if you can’t get your girlfriend/wife to try to start a Ladies’ Line, which just might cause a near riot when the men realize what’s going on: NAH