3rd to 5th March, 2011
The first thing that the word Ranthambore brings to one's mind is tiger. Ranthambore National park is one of the largest national park in India. Ranthambore sanctuary is known for its tigers and is one of the best places in India to see these majestic predators in the jungle. For me it was the first encounter with the tiger in wild. This place it self is awesome and seeing it makes you feel engulfed with low rolling hills, open grass lands, steep cliffs and crumbling ruins of a historic past. The wildlife reserve derives its name from the fortress of Ranthambore.
My trip started by taking a morning 6.00 AM train from Jodhpur to Sawai Madhopur. I reached Sawai Madhopur by 1.15 PM. Soon I checked in to my hotel, freshened up, had lunch and then decided to head to the Ranthambore fort. I hired a jeep from the hotel at a pretty expensive rate (Rs.800) to visit the fort. The fort is adjacent to the national park so the ride to fort itself was amazing. Surrounded by dense trees I was already getting the feel of the forest. In my opinion, if you have more time on hand and have good company then a walk to fort would be fun. I was in the fort at around 3.30 PM and it was pretty sunny and hot. I was looking for some nice shots in the fort but because of harsh light and plain sky, I did not get much. The fort itself is huge and there is a Ganesh temple on top which is visited by many local people throughout the year. Few common local birds like Red-vented Bulbul, Jungle Babbler, Common Peafowls, Indian treepies and Common Kite can also been seen here. Here are few shots that I got at the Ranthambore fort. (NOTE: Click on the images to view the larger version)
4th March (Morning safari)
The jeep arrived sharp at 6.30 AM, I was the first member to be picked up and then moved on to pickup 4 other members. They were 2 couples, one from London and other from Arizona. Our guide Devendra told us that we will be taken to Zone-II. Apart from tigers and other mammals I was also looking forward to spot few birds. One of the guest Bev was also interested in spotting birds so she formed a good company. We were about to enter the national park which is right in front of the Ranthambore fort. I saw a Common Peafowl lazing around the fort and clicked a shot.
Just a few minutes after we entered the park, we heard some commotion and our guide told that some one has spotted the tiger. He skillfully asked the driver to maneuver to a probable place where tiger could be spotted. In no time we saw this majestic tigress strolling under the thick cover of forest and slowly coming towards the main path. This female was called T-17 and it seems that this is the only tiger that was collared by officials to study its behavior. I started clicking trying to compose different frames each time rather then getting tons of similar frame. Here are few shots of this fantastic creature.
|Having a sip of water, before moving on|
|Appearing out from the bushes|
|Strolling casually on the main path|
|Leading the way. We were the only people who were in front of the tiger. Rest all were behind it. I should thank the quick thinking of our naturalist Devendra for this.|
Soon she disappeared in the thick cover of the forest. This amazing moment of seeing this lovely animal in wild just can't be described in words, it has to be experienced in real. Now that we had seen the beauty of the forest, we concentrated on other aspects of the forest. Deep inside we saw a small pond where there were few Black storks and plenty of monkeys. The morning light was not too harsh and the monkeys were nicely backlit with soft light. I got few shots there.
Later on we saw Red-wattled lapwing and a Bay-backed Shrike, which I happily photographed.
|Chittal deers running for cover|
|Chittal deer peeping through the forest undergrowth. Amazing how well camouflager they are and still the tiger manages to stalk them.|
|One more shot of T-17 when we saw her for 2nd time, right in front of our jeep|
|Red-vented Bulbul seen in our hotel garden|
|Pair of Rose-ringed parakeets|
4th March (Evening safari)
This time were were assigned Zone III. Just as we started I spotted a Common Peahen and took a shot.
|Sambar deer with Hunting palace in the backdrop|
|Another shot of Sambar deer|
|Chittal (Axis deer)|
|One more shot of Axis deer|
Last evening was pretty disappointing as I had not spotted any tiger. I was hoping to see one this morning and was thinking that it will be great if I can spot some one other then T-17. Today again we were alloted Zone- II. The safari started with spotting a Grey Tit perched high on a tree.
|Male tiger approach our jeep|
|Moving across our jeep|
|About to scent mark its territory|
|Pair of Blue rock pigeon|
|Group of monkeys monkeying around|