Monday, July 3, 2017

on the tiger trail...........

Hello people! How have you all been? Are you all interested to go with me on a chase along the tiger trail? I can assure you that this is going to be interesting, in fact very engrossing as we literally follow the muddy tracks to have a glimpse of the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger in Nagerhole. The drama unfolded beautifully over two days and we not only spotted the regal, striped four footed being of the jungle but also witnessed much more drama. A movie could be made of what we saw, our emotions all charged up, sometimes with wonder, ecstasy and sometimes with disbelief! And while I take you through our experiences, hold onto your seats well.
Patience is rewarding. I don't know who said this but it is my belief, and a tried and tested one. Today's post as I mentioned earlier, is all about our rewards, our experiences in the jungle, a place we keep going back to every now and then. Not for anything in particular but for our deep love towards the place and its inhabitants. 
We love to stay at The Bison ( a post on this place is long pending ), a rustic camp, that nestles beautifully along the fringes of the Nagerhole National Park also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park. This sanctuary, along with the Bandipur National Park are home to the largest number of big cat population, I am told. Although Nagerhole is smaller of the two, we have found the jungles full of wildlife, be it herds of the mammoth elephants, the gigantic Indian Gaurs, flocks of deer with their intricate antlers, the huge sambar deer, the magnificent peacocks,   wild dogs, foxes,wild boars, the human-like and playful langurs, leopards and the black panthers to name a few. The river Kabini flows in this region and is replete with marine life. The fresh water otters and crocodiles making their presence felt at all times, regale the visitors throughout the year. The boat safari is an experience by itself. The soft purring of the engine as the boat cuts through the rippled waters of the Kabini, the outlines of the dense forest in the distance, the occasional faraway cry of some animal, a solitary elephant standing against the light thereby creating a silhouette, all so magical. One cannot help but fall in love with the jungles.

Well, sorry for the digression. Each of our experiences is so unique that once I start penning them down or even get talking about them, I lose track completely! Every little thing merges into one, that of love for the wilderness and wildlife. So let me try picking up from where I detoured. We sped towards the tiger tank, a man-made reservoir as news of sighting a big cat came in. It was a completely thrilling experience. As we reached the spot, we could see a few other vehicles waiting for a glimpse of the cat. And suddenly, someone whispered and pointed to something resting against a thick bamboo thicket. There it was, the first one. Then out came the second one, a cub, to have a drink of water. It posed for the hungry photographers, who lost no time to press the multiple shot button of their cameras. The second cub, then, made its appearance. I couldn't believe my eyes! Not one, but  four tigers in front of me! It was a big day for all of us, jungle lovers, the ultimate viewing. They all looked regal, their black and gold striped skin shone brilliantly against the golden sun. Their presence was electric. We gaped at them, some trying to capture their movements in their cameras, the others like me trying to absorb all of it and permanently store them in the memory boxes within our brain. 
Day two started with a morning safari. We had zero hopes of spotting a tiger as we went to a zone where the tiger population is known to be  very less. Little did we know that we were in for the biggest surprise of our safari life! A few hundreds of metres into the jungle trail and there she was, lying on the main pathway! I actually pinched myself hard to believe what I was seeing; a striped four legged creature! Yes, you heard me right! She was having a power nap, totally oblivious of her surroundings, oblivious of the fact that a dozen or more cameras kept flashing and she was under the astounded gaze of more than fifty onlookers. I loved the way she just took no note of anything or anyone, continued to nap, occasionally twitching her ears.

Well, this is HER territory and we must wait for her to make way for us!

While she decided to sit up and pose for us!

The haze, the camouflage, all so perfect!

a closer look ......

What! A leopard, too?

It was certainly a day of high drama in the wilderness.Two regal creatures in front of us; while one was striped, the other one was spotted. And were apparently not at loggerheads with each other. The tiger was clearly not happy about the leopard's presence in what she felt was her territory. She made it very obvious with a look upwards towards the leopard and a hissing low growl! And we were witnesses to all of this. 
Guess I must stop here as this could be lengthier with all of my descriptions and never-to-end stories. This post was meant to be published long back but got deferred for reasons I know not. Maybe I was too busy dreaming about those magical moments of spotting a tiger for the very first time. After this first time there has been many more such experiences and each time has been different from the previous. Leaving you all with a few photographs of our first experience. 
I would love to hear from you about your experience in the wild. 

No comments:

Post a Comment