Wednesday, 16 July 2014

BANDHAVGARH: A TIGER TALE

Bandhavgarh: A Tiger Tale

 

For many days I have been hearing about the Bandhavgarh and the tigers and the rare birds and all. I became very curious to visit the place and finally decided to go in summers. Took a taxi to the place. I reached there around midnight. As soon as I approached the Bandhavgarh area it became really dense forest. Slowly the light started disappearing from the road. No more shops. When my taxi started shaking a lot I realized we are on a gravel road, inside the jungle. And all of a sudden driver slowed down since a group of dears was crossing the road. Shiny eyes, little ones were heaping and female dears were protective to their kids. It was wonderful to watch them as it was a relief the first sign of animals after a long journey. I snapped out of my sleepy mood and became more attentive. Its a tiger resort and people generally go there to see tigers only. Although it has many other beautiful animal and birds to offer, I also started thinking that we might spot a tiger somewhere on our way. Who knows.. I could not see anything than the road in taxi's light but I kept my ears open. We drove for many kilometers but still was no sign of any hotel or resort. We did not even have network in our cell phones to contact anyone. A true adventurous journey. Finally we decide to stop and see if we could contact anyone since the road looked endless and scary. Finally my cabbi's mobile was catching some network so we called the hotel people and explained them. We were very sure that he might say we went way ahead or in a wrong direction but to my surprise he asked us to go further on the same road for few more kilometers. Finally sigh of relief when we started seeing the resort boards on the sides. There were many resorts on the road. We went ahead and kept looking for the board of “Treehouse hotel” that's where I was to stay. But no luck, we reached to a dead end and called the person again. This time he asked few questions regarding our exact position and decided to come to pick us up. Finally the guy came and my taxi followed him. We passed by all the hotels on the road and went a little off road deep inside the jungle. There was no road as such just a pugdandi, I kept following the guy wondering where exactly is the place. There was no other hotel or lights on this way. Finally reached at the destination. Dim lights, and a gatekeeper to welcome us, he looked sleepy since it was almost 1 am. The guy took me to my treehouse, a room literally was on a tree. A beautiful wooden cabin with everything made of wood inside including the bed, furniture, door and even the shower and other accessories in the bathroom. A complete wild experience. While on my way to the room, I heard an alarming sound of a moose, and came to know from the hotel manager that moose is alarming other animals for the presence of tiger nearby. A scary feeling run through me. It gave me goose bumps just by the thought of tiger being close to hotel. The hotel was deep in jungle and Bandhavgarh park's boundary was right next to it. I had my dinner in a beautiful dinning place made by renounce chefs. Preparation was very good, healthy and of course tasty. Over dinner I overheard someone was saying tiger made the killing just now and is nearby. Finally retired in the bed thinking about the tiger. I had a early morning safari starts at 5.30. Chirping of birds woke me up way before time. I went to the balcony to get some fresh morning air but got a shock of my life. Heard a tiger roaring right behind my treehouse. He was resting after the last night killing it seems. Wow what a start of the day. I left with other tourists in a jeep safari to see one of the three territories in the park. Every territory had a Tiger family, female and kids. We all were curiously looking in the jungle while our jeep was crossing it in speed. Guide was making speculations regarding the tiger spotting. On our way we saw beautiful dancing peacocks, as they “jungle mai nacha more kisne dekha :O)” well we saw him. Jokes apart, we spotted beautiful and rare birds like hornbill, bea eater and many more. Guide started to look for fresh pugmarks made by tiger that says tiger was there few mins before and went ahead of us. We kept following the pug marks and Tiger seems like ditched us on every single so called sighting spots. We stopped at a place near water hoping to see the beauty but no luck. Then all of a sudden a herd of Bisons came to drink water. Oh any animal in wild is beautiful. You cant see that beauty in captivity. When the huge group crossed the river, we went ahead for more. On our way we spotted antelopes, spotted dear and sambhar. And adorable monkeys. I got back to hotel. And hoped for a sure sighting in the evening safari which was to go in another territory. When after lunch I was resting at the room, I recalled my day and realized I am running after one thing and spoiling the fun of being in jungle. Its not just about Tigers, its about the kind of wild experience I get, and the beauty of unknown territory of jungles I am getting to explore from that close. When I went to the evening safari, I went with open mind and a better attitude. Me and others in safari started exploring the other part of the park with the same mission of spotting Tiger. This time I enjoyed each and every sight of any bird and animal. We even spotted a white own, a bunch of black faced monkeys sitting in a group in grass. It looked like an artistic painting to me. Then there was this very adorable money kid who was hanging from her mothers back and was playing falling jumping all over.Cutest ever. Spotted few more rare birds and dears in the jungle. It was almost time to get out of the boundary of the park in the evening, when we were coming back, I saw other safaris were halted at one place and everyone was gazing in one direction with or without their cameras. We also went there and came to know the Tiger is there in a distance relaxing. I also took my camera out and tried to spot it under the bamboo trees in long grass just to get a glimpse of that fierce yet beautiful animal. I literally stood on the hood of the jeep and finally spotted tigers tail wavering in the air. It was gorgeous tigress relaxing in the grass while on her way back to her territory. Cubs were playing on her side, saw their paws coming out of the grass once in a while.We all waited to see her standing but she did not. Well it was time to leave the park so everyone had to leave. Even though I could not see the tiger in full view, her being in a close proximity gave me the thrill of my life.

 

I got back to enjoy dinner in nature and a good night sleep in tree house. Heard some hustle bustle on my way to tree house. Hotel boy came running to see me off to my room since some wild boars were their in the vicinity. Next morning I left for my home with an amazing feeling inside. Those 2 nights in deep n wild jungle connected me to nature. I came back hungry for more and with more information on other tiger resorts in the area. Whenever in future i'll feel stressed out, i'll just pack my backpack and will visit any of those tiger resorts for a serene experience.



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