A very Happy 2015 to all you lovely people; and apologies for the disappearing act. I did make an attempt to write during my holidays, but the hectic schedules of safaris and constantly traveling from one destination to another did not leave me with any thinking power.
Apart from the hectic schedule, the safaris, the animals in their natural habitat and the scenic locations, it was the off beat charm, that kept me away from any kind of technology for most part of it. Of course, I could not stop myself from clicking pictures, but that was the only time I used any gadget. I was, lost in the wild, say the least.
We stayed in a very unusual resort in luxury tents, beautiful gardens, set amidst castor fields, and surrounded by hills. It was a bit of an off-roading experience to get to the JUNGLE VIEW RESORT, and hence the only sound you’d hear would be the chirping of the birds and animal calls. What made the whole experience outshine, was the excellent staff and services. I am glad, my friend pushed me to stay here instead of a 5 star property and I would recommend everyone who visits the forest to give this resort a shot!
4 safaris and 3 days later, we finally spotted the majestic big cats in Ranthambore National Park (Sawai Madhopur). It was one of the most exciting holidays ive had. Every morning we would be up by 6:30 am with temperatures as low as 2 degree Celsius, all bundled up, ready to jump onto open jeeps and begin the chase for the big cats. Sleep deprived, frozen and anxious, all we wanted was to encounter the ferocious cats.
AM safaris were said to be more probable for tiger sightings as they would be active, before heading for their afternoon siesta. Sultan was a 3-year-old Tiger that we spotted outside zone 2, wandering about, not even inside the gates of the forest! Soon after, we spotted Sultan’s father, Ustad, also one of the most ferocious tigers in the tourist zone. He is said to have killed 4 villagers in self-defense. After one warning call from Sambar (kind of antelope), our guide rushed to the spot where he thought the tiger was hiding. Seconds after we reached the spot, there emerged the majestic looking animal with artistically aligned stripes all over his body. His agile gait was mesmerizing beyond imagination. I almost froze, as he walked towards our jeep. Everyone else was busy clicking him away, but I stood frozen just staring at this beast, scared and elated at the same time!
Even after such close encounter with the Tigers, we wanted more; and we went on our last safari of the year in the evening and ended up spotting a mother and her 3 cubs! Although this was after almost 2 hours of waiting around, it was well worth it!
Spotted deer, Blue bull, Antelope and lemurs were in abundance, however Sloth bear, Leopards and Tigers were the harder ones to spot. This was mainly due to the extreme cold and their nocturnal nature, they’d be sleeping deep inside the jungle at the times of the safari and would only wander about at nightfall. We also spotted a few owls and exotic birds in and around the forest.
This was one of those experiences that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Its been over a week since I left the forest, and yet, every single night I still have dreams of being woken up by a tiger!