DAY TWENTY TWO
As we did last time, when we were here in Ranakpur, we try to get into the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, with a permit. Rising early we walk down to the office where permits are issued. Arrive at designated opening time but office firmly locked. Guys from the chai shop nextdoor called the forest permit officer to find what’s up. Something about a nursery in Sadri (the local town) ??? What is WRONG with these people ??? 40 minutes later the jungle guide rocks up, but no way can we set foot in the sanctuary until the forestry “permit” man in Sadri gets his act together.
One hour later, still no show. Apparently the Sadri man has a puncture and will appear in 5 minutes, obviously a bad day for him! 10 minutes later, still no sign. Eventually it becomes very clear that the man from Sadri is not coming at all, certainly not for a while, and in frustration, we leave, deciding, like last time when exactly the same thing happened, to break into the sanctuary, where the tribal villagers go in.
Unlike last time, however, we know now that bears are around, eating the sweet red berries that are in season now. And bears, apparently, can become nasty if they have cubs, which they do now. So with considerable trepidation, we jump over the sanctuary wall and arm ourselves with sticks. These are more to reassure ourselves, rather than to be used as an effective bear weapon. We give up the walk to the temple which we did last time. It is too late, and too hot. So we skirt the lake in search of crocodiles. None spotted.
We sing loudly as we go (I do anyway, Tim more reluctant). This is to warn bears of our approach. Relieved that no bears or leopard encountered. Only a macaque monkey (the horrid ones). Apparently, someone dumped a load of them in the sanctuary and they have taken up residence, especially at the Jain temple, where they bite and steal wallets & sunglasses from tourists. We will have to watch out for them on the road.