In search of the Holy Grail!

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Jun 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Kum Kum House

Flag of India  , Madhya Pradesh,
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Our journey from Bundi to Tala (MP) involved a frantic rickshaw to the bus station followed by a fairly comfortable bus ride with Conrad from Bundi to Kota. We chatted about new-era football compared to the days of terracing and his life of travelling the globe and DJ-ing in London (although definitely not trance!). After arriving in Kota we haggled over 10 rupees (14p) and won to get to the train station from the bus stand. We said our goodbyes and boarded our first night train.

The train was awesome, we chatted with various people about the UK and eventually got set up for the night. We woke up and only had an hour til Katni.

From Katni train station we jumped on a local train to Umaria. This was crazy! There were probably 3 times more people in the carriage than there should have been but after a few minutes the locals made room for us to sit. They tested their English skills on us and discreetly played Hindi music to show off :-)

In Umaria we walked to the bus stand which turned out to be quite eventful. The locals sent us the wrong way and we ended up surrounded. For a little while it felt quite intimidating but we bullshitted about an emergency in Tala and scarpered! We finally got the bus and rocked up in Tala.

In Tala we headed straight for Kum Kum House. It is the cheapest place by far in Tala and was full of westerners. We were made to feel welcome immediately and agreed straight away to a morning safari the next day. Our room was basic and had no shower but for 2 nights it was absolutely fine.

The 'Holy Grail' is to see a tiger! Every was talking about it. Have you seen one? Did you see one? Which gate is best to see one? Is morning or afternoon better? Rumours, counter rumours, sightings in the town, stories of a man being killed only a month ago. Seriously tigers are the main subject here. The arrival of a jeep to the hotel signalled the usual questions followed by a shake of the head!

The difficulties of actually getting on a safari are quite hard to explain. We thought we could rock up, buy a ticket and bobs your uncle. No no no, its almost impossible and endlessly frustrating. We tried to get on three but only managed one, we both enjoyed it but because of not seeing the holy grail we felt slightly disappointed.

The park is beautiful and we saw lots of wildlife; Samba Deer, Spotted Deer, Vultures, Marabau, Langur Monkeys, Parrots and two Jackals (very rare to see in the park). We also went in a 1000 year old cave thing where bats were flying around your head.

We made lots of new friends whilst we were there. Albert, Claus, Marco and Malvika (Germany), Julian (Austria), Simone and Eduardo (Brazil) and also Eyal (Israel). Barry (Dublin) arrived on our last day and we clued him up about the complexity of getting a safari.

After three days in Tala we were relaxed but also quite bored. On to Mumbai it is!
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Steve Taylor on

Love the 5 Star accomodation - Very luxurious!! If I close my eyes I can almost smell the pine fresh aroma wafting in through the window and highly scented rose petals scattered across the floor. Mmmm.

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