The quiet of Todgarh was not on my original itinerary. I was under the impression the only time were would get a break from the crazy busy that is India was Ranthambore. I understood if one is going to travel in the park by six seat gypsy jeep instead of the much larger canter one must book said jeep safari weeks in advance. The prices were very dear but three meals were included. I knew going in Ranthambore was going to be a coin toss and I worried a fair amount cause it was the ONLY place I had booked.
Sawai Madhopur is the name of the town, Ranthambore is the name of the national park. For what ever reason I thought there was some distance between the two and that the hotel I had booked was in the park. I was wrong, the hotel was IN town, not so much with the relaxing quiet of nature. The drive to the park was of some distance. The food was not great, the room was not great, the noise level was high… but all that pales when you get to the park… it was one of those who cares about all that when I have this to play in.
Our 1st trip into the park was at 6.30am, something went wrong some where, we did not leave the hotel until after 7am. Once in the park there was much checking in of the jeep and a naturalist joined us. We went through gate 7 in search of tigers. Saw none but we did see…..
The sun, she was not up yet.
Bit o the water.. here kitty, kitty.
It was pretty even without the cats.
He was looking, looking and looking.
As I remember we turned about and came back though gate seven to cross the road. We may have been in that section for 90 minutes. No tiger.
Tiger track… we were told he came down earlier in the morning in search of water. That is a jeep tread, check out the size of that dude’s foot! The tigers in the park are numbered, they told us which one this was due to where he was seen. Tigers are, for the most part, solitary and territorial.
There is conflicting information on the web and what park people told us. We understood there were 45 tigers/19 cubs in the park, they are territorial, is there enough space for all of them… the answer depends on who you talk to or what web site you are reading. There are hints of poaching and poisoing still going on. As with anything in the world, tough to sort fact from fiction. In the mean time… have a look at the places we saw that morning.
This may be what they call Antelope but I could be wrong being they live most of their lives in the water.
Lone Green Tree.
Peacock, the only pic I got that morning of one that was NOT fuzzy.
Open spaces, wooded spaces, variety there is.
And a view to boot.
Sawai Madhopur from above.
Zone 7 from above. I found out later the tiger in Zone seven is a female with two cubs.
We didn’t see a tiger but we saw much variation in vegetation and terrain. We saw few animals but it was mostly about the views.
Then there was the afternoon safari… understand seeing a tiger is all about luck and a bit of info. I understand %80 of the tiger sightings are in the morning so I was not all that hopeful. In the morning there were six of us plus the driver and the naturalist. In the afternoon it was Mom and I in the back, better viewing for short people, an Indian couple in the middle seats, the driver and the naturist were in the front. The moment the four tourists were settled in seats the naturalist said “There was a tiger sited this morning in zone 4, we know they stay in one spot during the heat of the day. We are going back to that spot hoping to see her.”
And we were off:
Bit fuzzy, that happens in moving vehicles, but ya get the idea.
They say this is the largest Banyan Tree in India, my guess is we can not see it all. There is a wall gate behind, and a fort on the hill.
Reminds me of a photo I snapped in Ireland.
See the peacocks?
Deers, Alligator. Noone seemed all that concerned.
They really are water animals.
This crazy bird.. I thought he was going to land on my head. He is on the rollbar of the jeep. Ya shoulda seen the contortions I had myself in trying to get his photo but not spook him.
We hung about various parts of the lake watching the animals do what animals do. It was very pleasant.
And then by some clock or magic I know not about we were on a road with a curve, see the green canter.. I was not convinced I knew what was going on but ya kinda got the idea everyone was looking for The Tiger. I know enough about such things that it may come down to a very distance sighting, something though the trees, only of one paw or that we were not going to see her at all. Shezzz, had I only known.
There we were all of us in various jeeps and canter, waiting, looking, peering in to the forest. Then… the driver of our jeep stood up, leaned over to whisper in the naturalist’s ear, I saw a smile and he pointed. I didn’t see, he gave me directions I no longer remember on where to find her…poof. TIGER. Do you see her? My guess is by now all the other people in the area know our driver found her. Again by some bit of skill or magic I don’t know.. when Miss Tiger got up, they knew where she was going. The driver whipped the jeep around, if you go, understand your safety is up to you, it was a short, slightly frightening ride dodging trees, rocks and canters.. jeep stopped… again we wait…
We were NOT alone.
I had no illusion that tiger was going to get anywhere near this circus… and then.
There she was plain as day walking over the hill like she owned the place. The driver had managed to park us in a spot directly in front of her.. I kid you not, I had the best seat in the house.
Closer.. ok now my heart is starting to pump and I am a bit worried I am dinner.
Then she turned, not so much as a flicker of “hey, whatcha doing in my forest.”
She looks like two different cats. I am told every tiger has different stripes.
Then she was gone. He told us she was a young female of about three years. Goodness, that was all kinds of fun.. we tipped both the driver and the naturist for a job well done.
I enhanced this pic just a tad to bring out her stripes.
The last pic of Rathambore…
Someone put seed out.
Off to Jaipur next…