We had an interesting trip one afternoon to the Ranthambore Fort. From outside itself it comes across as an imposing structure. And within the fort too, there are many interesting places each with its own intriguing story. By the way, Ranthambore, is the place where the confluence of two hill ranges, Aravalli and Vindhyachal, takes place. As soon as we got down from our jeep, we were surrounded by a group of local guides offering to give us a guided trip to the fort at a very reasonable price. Since we were not interested, we politely refused. And to our surprise, they went away also. It was very much in contrast to what we had earlier experienced at places like the Taj Mahal or Fatehpur Sikri; their persistence had almost made us exasperated. One person at Ranthambore, however, continued to follow us. We realized he was a young boy, and asked him what was he looking for. We were taken for a surprise when he offered his services as a guide. He had an innocent face and sweet voice. We were charmed by him. We negotiated with him his rates. He seemed a seasoned bargainer, but finally we settled for a price to each other’s satisfaction. He was a 12-year old boy, student of class 7. He started with giving us a brief history of the fort; to our amazement, he was right about the dates and names connected with the fort.
He told that the word, Ranthambore, is made from 3 peaks which are seen here: Ran, Tham, and Bore. What we learnt from him was that the fort was more than 1000 years old and many dynasties ruled over it depending upon who was ruling Delhi at that time. But most of the time, it remained with the local kings and was their favourite ground for tiger hunting. But some of them were great conservationists, and laid down rules for conserving the nature. He took us to all the three temple seen during visit to the forest, one of these was an old Jain temple. Whenever, out attention wavered, he would lose no time in asking us to listen to him. To make his narrative interesting, he also told us what VIPs had visited this fort and what movies were shot there. He aimed to study at least till graduation and get a job in the secretariat. His father, though with limited means, was also keen that his two children should study. That the family did not have an idiot box at home was proof that he was serious.
Our guide took us to all the important sites and we returned very satified. We thanked him and wished him well in his life.