Spotting a Tiger, Ranthambhore

  

One day my interest in animals and nature took me to Ranthambhore wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan. It was the month of November last year, a perfect time to explore flora and fauna in the natural wildlife conservation. Ranthambhore supposed to be the one of the finest wildlife reserve for ‘Project Tiger’. Ranthambhore National Park sprawls over an estimated area of 392sq.kms, chances of spotting a tiger in its natural habitat was high. Keeping the spirit high, my friends and I packed our bags and drove down to Ranthambhore on November 4th, 2007. It was a tiring journey of 450kms, but it was not felt as I was with my friends and filled with excitement.

 

 

Day 1

 

We reached Rathambhore at around half past 2 in the afternoon and decided to take a little rest at our already booked accommodation in Vatika Resort. We gathered enough energy and got ready for the evening Jeep Safari to other corner of the reserve to spot leopard and other wild animals. We crossed the small village on our way to the reserve on a sound free and Eco-friendly vehicle. When we entered the wildlife territory a guide joined us for the safari, his name was Shiv Prasad. We met one set of foreign tourists returning empty handed with no luck spotting any leopard in the wilderness. As we were entering the deepest part of the jungle Shiv Prasad showed us a location where a leopard killed a cow recently…it was thrilling. As it was getting dark in the evening our safari started to get intense, we saw a few Blue Cows in the open but no leopard. Then suddenly, our guide Shiv Prasad advised us sit tightly as we were entering the Leopard Ranch and they might be camouflaged anywhere.

 

It was almost dark and my heart started to beat faster with fear and excitement. Noise of the breaking twig or shattering dry leaves made us feel vulnerable in their very own territory. Everyone in the jeep kept their eyes wide open to get a glimpse of that fearsome creature in its natural habitat. Slowly but surely our hope of spotting a leopard started to fade as we reached the point of return. In our 2 hours of jeep safari we couldn’t spot a leopard or any mythical creature, except blue cows and antelopes. However, this hunting experience to get a glimpse was god damn thrilling.      

 

We returned to our hotel at night and started to have fun before our real adventure next morning. Hotel served dinner out in the open within hotel premises and organised a fantastic folk dance event for all us occupants. As we were on an adventure holiday we couldn’t resist ourselves from a guitar jamming session and beer in our room. After a few hours of hard core singing and playing guitar we slept with a dream for a successful next day.

 

Day 2

 

We were told to get up early by 7 am as the booking was made for the early entrance to the sanctuary and we did. With a lot of snoring and laziness we managed to get ready and boarded the national park’s army canter. At the gate of the sanctuary we got the entry to the main reserve through route 4. You won’t believe, Anil Ambani was little ahead of us in a jeep and entered through the route 3. Let’s see who was the luckiest to spot a tiger in the wilderness as we parted ways. The view inside was terrific, a true jungle by all means, lush green grass, humongous trees and bumpy drive away tracks, just like a scene from Discovery channel. The reserve was infiltrated by blue cows, antelopes and monkeys; our zest for spotting a tiger was growing to its pinnacle. Every patch of the route 4 was occupied by blue cows and monkeys, no sign of the tiger so far. After 45 minutes of drive inside the jungle our canter entered the deepest part which supposed to be the heart of the route 4 and a perfect tiger hideout. In a distance we could see dried river over which a broken wooden bridge was taking its last breath to collapse. In a jiffy everyone started to shout…tiger…tiger…I turned my head around in 180 degree angle and saw a glimpse of a tiger lying down on the dried river bed. It was such a distance that I couldn’t tell exactly whether it was a tiger or just rotten wood lying naked .in the open. So far we didn’t see anything but blue cows and monkeys. Damn!!

 

I was so frustrated that I stepped out of the canter and took a leak when it stopped on a check point. Rahul joined me in my expedition of pee the jungle wet and went little further away from the location. We took a few pictures of that place, trust me it was scary. All of us in the canter were so disheartened to know that it was the returning point for us. I was all about to loose my cool until Rahul said “there is some feel in this wilderness” and we headed back to the main entrance. In our 2 hours of hunting we couldn’t spot anything else but the pooping monkeys and same old blue cows. However, the jungle setting was so perfect I didn’t feel that bad after all, it was just like living the documentary from Discovery channel in real.  We reached back to our hotel after dropping the people back to their hotel on the way. Believe me; we didn’t spot any tiger but the experiencing a wildlife sanctuary in true self was breath taking.

 

Please note: According to Discovery and National Geographic, spotting a tiger in the wilderness is a sheer luck.

 

In the afternoon me and my friends decided to go to a must visit place called Ranthambhore fort. It was close to the National Park and was so majestic that we couldn’t control ourselves to explore the area. The area was infested by the Indian langoors, from the entrance to the top of the fort. In our exploration we dug deep into the Ranthambhore history, from inside temple, watch towers to purposely built pond for the king and queen. It was amazing to see how the entire fort was built, the entrance for the army and elephants was unbelievable. Close to the temple, I fed the langoors with nuts and watched leader langoor snatching it away from the rest of the pack. I took some unbelievable pictures and explored the entire fort in 3 to 4 hours. All of us decided to return back to hotel for some rest as we were so tired.

 

We headed back to take some rest after our adventure trip to the hard core jungle and fort excavation. In the evening we realised our surplus of beer was over and another carton was a mile away to buy. We drove and bought a carton more and started to have fun all over again. Out of frustration we composed one song during our stay in Ranthambhore.

 

This is how it goes: 

 

“We want to see a Tiger

In his Baniyan and Chaddi

No more Neel gaaye and no more pooping monkeys

Yey…..yey…..yey…yey ye”

 

After a long session singing and playing guitar we went off to sleep.

 

Day 3

 

This was the day when we had to pack our bags and take a ride back home. In the morning, we started to drive down to Delhi after paying our bills and making all the adjustments. The tiring journey of 450kms took a toll on us; we reached home safe and sound at around 8 pm. I had no energy left, passed out completely and woke up fresh in the morning to join back office and I did.

 

Disclaimer: No tiger or any other wild animal got hurt while writing this page 

 

 

 

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