October 7, 2004
At the time, because we were traveling on a strict budget, the hotel seemed expensive, but, in retrospect, it was astonishingly cheap - for two people, a room and three meals a day ordered á la carte came to about $25/day. And what we got for our $25/day was complete luxury: a lovely, grassy, green courtyard with fruit vines growing around it; a quiet air-conditioned room; six servants fetching us tea or fresh lime sodas at all hours; morning wake up calls (to make our 5am tiger-watching expedition) complete with pitchers of hot coffee; and, best of all from my point of view, the company of a very friendly and helpful manager named Ashish, who was willing to help me learn some Hindi.
The rooms at the Ankur Resort are fairly simple: cool bare floors, kind of hard twin beds, and a clean attached bathroom. The decor features tigers everywhere: tiger photos over the beds, tiger signs, and best of all, in the reception room, a giant poster of a tiger glowering straight at you over the receptionist's head, with the words written underneath, "Do not fear... only believe." This, when said in the context of an 800-pound animal with very sharp teeth and claws, seems like bad advice.
The advice we got from Ashish, on the other hand, was systematically excellent. Besides teaching me Hindi, he helped us arrange our onward train journey and find a bank that would cash traveller's checks, and introduced us to a pair of guests with whom we could split the cost of a tiger-watching jeep.
The food at Ankur Resort was quite good; I remember a nice mushroom curry (which is an unusual dish in that area). And the shady, grassy lawn was a lovely place to sit and read in between tiger-watching trips - only I never got much reading done, because there were always birds flying by, and it seemed more important to watch them. At night, when the birds were replaced by small, distant bats, it was also a great location for an after-dinner beer.
From journal Mumbai, Rajasthan, and Delhi