Sunday, March 20, 2011

Roar from Ranthambore

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)

Red-vented Bulbul
Jungle Babbler
When returning back from the fort, I also spotted a Sambar deer sitting peacefully.

Sambar deer
After returning to my hotel, I took some rest and went to bed early as I had to wake up early next morning for  safari.

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.

Red-wattled lapwing
Bay-backed Shrike
It was 9.00 AM and now we were heading out of the reserved area. Suddenly we saw the same tigress right in front of the road and she later moved into thick cover of grass very close to a herd of Chittal deers. We were told that the female was hungry and it was looking to stalk the deers. For some reason the deers suspected the presence of the tigress and they moved away quickly to safe grounds. I managed to get a shot of the deers running for cover.

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
 This was pretty much the end of my 1st safari. I went back to my hotel, had breakfast and strolled around for a while. The hotel had a nice garden with lovely flowers and there were few birds around too, so I picked up my camera and took few shots.

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.

Common Peahen
We did reach to a spot were T-17 tigress was resting, but it was way too far to take any shot. The tigress did not budge from its place and we did not see it for the whole of safari. This time around I concentrated on taking shots of deers. Here are some shots I got from this safari.

Sambar deer with  Hunting palace in the backdrop
Another shot of Sambar deer
Chittal (Axis deer)
One more shot of Axis deer
Indian Treepie
Hunting palace
5th March (Morning safari)
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.

Grey Tit
  Later on we again stopped by the pond where I had shot monkeys before. This time around the Black stork was little near by so I got a decent shot.

Black stork
We went little further down the road and we spotted pug marks a tiger, we also saw fresh tiger droppings. The naturalist informed us that a tiger could be around. Suddenly we spotted a large tiger approaching right towards our jeep. Soon it came close and our driver kept on reversing the jeep and I kept on taking shots. This was not the T-17 for sure as there was no collar around the neck. Later on we were told that this guy was a male and he was named T-24. Here are few shots of this huge guy.

Male tiger approach our jeep
Moving across our jeep
About to scent mark its territory 
This was the high point of the morning safari. Later on we did not see much. Once we got out of the reserved area, I spotted a pair of Blue rock pigeons perched with the Ranthambore fort at its backdrop. This is the shot that I got.

Pair of Blue rock pigeon
Group of monkeys monkeying around
This was end of the safari and pretty much the trip to Ranthambore. I left for Jodhpur the same day afternoon. The glow of the striped coat, the silent and unhurried walk, the power and the beauty of one of the most beautiful animal still lingers in my memory.


  1. great shots. !! my fav is the sambar deer reflection in water. wonderfully taken and good timing. After seeing the pics, I think you have made most out of your trip.

  2. Thanks Avinash. That sambar one is my favourite too.

  3. Nice account of the trip and the pics too..Good that u were able to spot the tigers :)

  4. Thanks Priyanka. The trip was fun and seeing the tiger was the best part of it.

  5. Amazing shot :) . . .i love this place ...i visited it 2 times ...1st when i wz in 4th stnd..n 2nd when i wz in 2nd yr of now i want to visit again wit my DSLR ...:) . .u recall all my memories :) thanks

  6. Incredible pictures! Amit, you were very very lucky to be in front of the tiger and you've got some really professional shots! Great job done! Sharing your blog with a few close ones.

  7. Thanks Amit. Glad that you like the shots.

  8. @SandyBeaches: Thanks friend. Yes, I was lucky for sure, especially to see 2 different tigers in span of 3 safari drives. I am glad that you like my work.

  9. Great photographs Amit. Good narration too.

  10. Pictures are very beautiful. It is an escapade back into the 10th century, and also houses three temples inside itself. The hill-top Khandar Fort, with all the local tales of mystery is an explorer's delight, and worth the uphill trek. Check out all best hotels in Sawai Madhopur.

  11. Wow what a side that you explore Ranthambore National Park.
    This is a quality experience of wildlife in Ranthambore.


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