Tigers of Kanha

There are rumours of two tigers resting after a fresh kill. There is a possibility of spotting a tiger today, but such stories are all too common and I haven’t spotted any tigers in my last 3 outings into the Tiger reserves.

Jungle Safari in Kanha – worth braving the dust and the cold

The Guide suddenly tells the driver to stop the vehicle, asking everyone to be silent as he tries to listen to the tell-tale sounds of the birds and monkeys to confirm if there is a big cat around.  Everyone waits, breathing silently. The sounds of the forest take on meaning suddenly, as you snap out of your daydream. These are the moments you start to connect with the forest. It turns out to be a false alarm, but now you are all caught up in the hunt.

Pug Marks

Pug Marks – Closest that I had been to a tiger in the Last 3 Safaris

The probability of spotting a tiger is no more than 20-30% on a Safari. While tiger is elusive, Bird-spotting can keep you engaged and can be lot more rewarding too. With over 1300 of the worlds 9700 species of birds found on Indian subcontinent, it gives you a lot to look out for. However, you do need a telephoto lense, powerful binocular, a bird guide book, and a guide to get started. The high of spotting a rare bird can be as much as the tiger itself.

Scarlet Minivet – As excited with this picture as that of the Tiger

Greater racket tailed Drongo – Rare sighting

Kanha is probably the best administered forest reserve in India. You see every rule being followed by drivers and guides under the threat of  penalties by the forest authorities. I am told by a friend who is a wildlife expert, that the philosophy of forest departments in India is geared towards wellbeing of the animals and not the tourists – unlike the US where it is focused on tourism. Only a very small part of any forest reserve is open to the tourists in India, and even that is at the discretion of the forest officials.

The Indian tourist on an average is a very badly behaved animal in these settings. Most don’t distinguish their forest outing from a picnic. There is no respect for the animals or the environment they are in; they wont switch off their Flashes when taking photographs of wild animals; Most have no interest in the forest or wildlife other than to spot the tiger; they will keep checking their mobile phones and whining that ‘yaar mera signal nahin aa raha hai’; talking loudly, and hogging sightings even when there is a long queue of people behind them waiting their turn. But thankfully, the guides and the drivers are pretty curt with most tourists.


Bison – Docile till disturbed, the driver was a bit nervous with this one

Today two tigers have been spotted by the trackers. We have to drive to a spot from where elephants will take us near the tigers. These Pachyderms are powerful creatures, and you feel their power as they manoeuvre through the jungle with 5 people and a wooden saddle on their back effortlessly. You pay a bit more for these Elephant rides, but incredibly the money is refunded if there are no tiger sightings.

The tigers are less than 20 feet away from us. One of them is drinking water from a stream. I am sitting on the wrong side of the elephant, and I am twisting every vertebra of my spine to click the pictures behind me. I am so caught up in the moment that I forget to change the settings of my aperture– it is too narrow for this shot, and so the shutter speed has become too low too, causing most of my Tiger Pics to appear shakes. Luckily, I manage to get one right.

Tiger – Finally spotted the cat

The glorious beast is 20 feet away, and looks more beautiful than in all the pictures I have seen, and is much bigger. Another Tiger sits close by and is camouflaged so well that I almost miss it.

Tiger in Kanha – resting after the Kill

Got lucky on my 4th safari, another tickmark on my bucket list…

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  1. Tigers of Kanha – Photo Blog… http://t.co/Xv4BPsxR

  2. Suresh Urs says:

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  3. Suresh Urs says:

    The kanha national park is nice and the photographs are awesome. Thanks for sharing your experience. If you love to travel and explore then this will help you in the journey. To know more. Click

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