Meeting Tigers in Kanha National Park

11 May

“There is just something about seeing a tiger in the wild”. I had read and heard countless versions of this statement from many people and never paid much heed to it. Guess, I thought whats the big deal but little did I know that one trip to Kanha and I would join this bandwagon. Well let me rewind and restart. Earlier this year when I was setting my travel goals for 2014, I decided to include a jungle safari and hopefully catching a sight of the tiger to my list. And a chance call from Amit of The Detour Co, and I decided to join 14 other Tiger “aspirants” to figure what all the hoopla was about.

My first sight of the tiger in Kanha

My first sight of the tiger in Kanha

An overnight train and a 3 hour car ride later, we found ourselves outside the Kanha National Park in groups of 5 and all set for getting a glimpse of this  magnificent cat. But while we drove around for a couple of hours, the tiger remained elusive to us that day. However we did get a chance to see the stunning landscapes of this sal tree forest and make an acquaintance of numerous other animals  such as various types of deer, bisons, wild boars, langurs etc and a multitude of birds such as the woodpeckers, drongos, shikras, owls, peacocks, ducks, irises, etc. We also got a rare sighting of a sloth bear and a barking deer.

A barking dear, Kanha National Park

A barking dear, Kanha National Park

The supremely shy sloth bear

The supremely shy sloth bear

Hard Ground Barasinghas, endemic to Kanha National Park

Hard Ground Barasinghas, endemic to Kanha National Park

 I also learnt more about tracking of the tiger through past sightings, observing recent pug marks, noting tiger territories, listening to warning calls etc etc. This too is a learning experience in itself. But more on all this in a separate post.

The Baagh, a tiger resort

The Baagh, a tiger resort

Undaunted and still hopeful we decided to call it a day and try again the next day. We ended the evening in a tiger resort called The Baagh and with some tigers. Not the actual tigers but with a beautiful documentary shot on a family of tigers in Kanha from mid to late 2000s. This documentary actually gave us a perspective on the lives of the tigers through the eyes of a tigress Laxmi and her 3 cubs, on their day-to-day living and their constant struggle for survival. It was quite an eye opener to realise that these tigers don’t have it easy either (they too have problems of their own) and the tigresses too lead stressed lives (just like human mothers).

The next day we all woke up bright and early and left our lodge at 5.15am to try our luck with the tigers again. And this was definitely our lucky day when we finally met them. Though the tigers were least concerned about our continuous staring or the frenzy of the clicking cameras, for me it was like love at first sight. It had the same missing of the heart beat, the same rush of sudden excitement and a feeling of like never before.  I also realised for the first time how huge and enormous tigers actually are and how similar they are to cats. They are as moody, as playful, and many times as unpredictable.

3 year old grown male cub, Kanha National Park

3 year old grown male cub, Kanha National Park

We saw the tigers lying down, stretching, swaying its tail, playful but the best sight was the walk. Its like seeing elegant power in motion (if that’s even a word). Its walk is powerful yet lazy and there is a royal elegance with a seeming purpose in each step. I could have kept staring and babbling adjectives for hours, but the tiger finally had enough of us and decided to walk off.

The walk of a 3 year old grown up cub, Kanha National Park

The walk of a 3 year old grown up cub, Kanha National Park

A grown up female tiger, Kanha National Park. Photo courtesy - Amit Panariya

A grown up female tiger, Kanha National Park. Photo courtesy – Amit Panariya

A grown up female tiger, Kanha National Park. Photo courtesy - Amit Panariya

A grown up female tiger, Kanha National Park. Photo courtesy – Amit Panariya

Close up of the female tiger, Kanha National Park. Photo courtesy - Amit Panariya

Close up of the female tiger, Kanha National Park. Photo courtesy – Amit Panariya

We then went further on to explore the changing landscapes of this jungle from dense forests to grasslands, from hills at a distance to dried up river beds, to better understand how life  moves in a jungle for various animals and birds. And then on our way back we saw another tiger and we repeated our staring cycle all over again till we decided to call it a day.

Sal Forests of Kanha National Park

Sal Forests of Kanha National Park

Grasslands of Kanha National Park

Grasslands of Kanha National Park

We also discussed with the guides about the Supreme Court regulations on tiger safaris and were so glad that a complete ban was lifted from these safaris. This entire safari and talk with guides also made me realise how vulnerable these creatures are and why they need to be protected. Though India has been their home since generations, there are ever increasing reports of the tiger population decling due to deforestation and poaching. I so hope we are able to save our tigers and not  have them as just another extinct species in the text book of future generations.

Conference of langurs, Kanha National Park

Conference of langurs, Kanha National Park

We then went for another safari in the afternoon and apart from a tiger saw some other beautiful sights of the forest such as fighting deer, a deer dressing up a date, langurs holding a conference, a daintily dancing peacock, and many more.  Since there was so much that I saw and experienced in these 3 safaris, I’ll write separate detailed blog posts and this one shall only be about the tiger.

Overall I had a fantastic trip and would like to thank Amit, Abhijeet and The Detour Co for a brilliant trip and for taking care of so many small yet important things. Loved the smaller details such as the information booklets, the tiger documentary and this new addiction for wildlife safaris and the tiger. 🙂 I so hope to be back again and cover all other national parks too 🙂

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38 Responses to “Meeting Tigers in Kanha National Park”

  1. enidhi May 11, 2014 at 21:08 #

    Must have been good experience. thanks for sharing

    Like

  2. Renuka May 11, 2014 at 21:27 #

    You have taken some amazing Tiger shots! So lucky of you to spot them. Thanks for the insights.

    Like

  3. VJ SHARMA May 11, 2014 at 21:33 #

    Beautiful captures ! Recently I had first spotting of Tiger in Ranthambore, It was by 11th Safari in Indian National parks 🙂

    Travellingcamera.com

    Like

    • getsetandgo May 12, 2014 at 13:29 #

      Thanks and I guess I was super lucky…. Have you been to Kanha yet?

      Like

  4. katpegimana May 12, 2014 at 04:49 #

    Great post and pics too…totally understand what you mean about the experience of seeing a tiger in the wild coz I experienced that in Ranthambhore, absolutely amazing
    🙂

    Like

    • getsetandgo May 21, 2014 at 13:15 #

      Hey, thanks… Have you been to India recently?

      Like

      • katpegimana May 21, 2014 at 20:47 #

        Not recently, last trip was in 2011. Will be returning to India again, hopefully end of this year 😉

        Like

      • getsetandgo May 25, 2014 at 21:23 #

        🙂

        Like

  5. Juliana Lightle May 12, 2014 at 06:54 #

    Have been to India but not done this. I would so love to see a tiger in the wild and so hope we can save them.

    Like

  6. Pradip May 12, 2014 at 11:18 #

    Excellent post, narration and photographs match each other.

    Like

  7. INSIGHTS May 12, 2014 at 12:04 #

    Lucky you! Blessed are the few who get a date with the tigers! The last safari I took, I went on it twice both in the morning and evening! Cursed luck, we couldn’t spot a single cat!

    Really nice indeed, hopefully Kanha would prove lucky for me 🙂 .. Brilliant pics btw, I am so jealous of you now 😀

    Like

    • getsetandgo May 21, 2014 at 13:32 #

      Hey, I think its also the season. In the summers the chances are higher as they come out to drink water in the heat… But dont loose hope and do visit Kanha 🙂

      Like

  8. abhijit May 12, 2014 at 13:04 #

    Very nice pictures. You are very fortunate to have so many pictures.

    Like

  9. desi Traveler May 12, 2014 at 20:36 #

    Always a great experience to see the tigers in wild… and that sloth bear, they are even more tough to spot…

    Like

  10. Niranjan May 12, 2014 at 21:26 #

    Seems like a wonderful experience. Lovely narration and nice captures. Tiger sighting is always exciting.

    Like

    • getsetandgo May 21, 2014 at 13:34 #

      Thanks… It was one of my most amazing experiences ever 🙂 Truly special 🙂

      Like

  11. smritimodi May 26, 2014 at 14:41 #

    Lovely shots! Apart from being the background for ‘The Jungle book’, tiger spotting on elephant back made Kanha more memorable than any other national park in India! Thanks for bringing back memories 🙂

    Like

    • getsetandgo June 1, 2014 at 22:11 #

      Hey, thanks for visiting my blog and the kind wrods… I havent been to any other national park yet, but this will definitely always remain as one my most memorable sightings 🙂

      Like

  12. kaleidoscopicmind May 31, 2014 at 16:19 #

    Nice! i also just wrote a post about Kanha! 🙂 i must compliment the superb tiger shots you got .. what a stunning beauty isnt it? Kanha as a forest itself is so enchantingly gorgeous.. on of my favourites. Cheers!

    Like

    • getsetandgo June 1, 2014 at 22:35 #

      Thanks…. This was my first tiger safari but I still loved everything about Kanha… You chose the right words its definitely enchanting and a tiger in the wild is a sight to behold.

      Like

  13. bousquettom June 3, 2014 at 11:07 #

    So incredible to see them in their natural habitat. The picture of the tiger peering between the split tree trunks is especially captivating. Very jealous of your experience.

    Like

    • getsetandgo June 3, 2014 at 12:30 #

      Thanks… A tiger safari is highly recomended for everyone 🙂

      Like

  14. Sonia June 9, 2014 at 11:35 #

    Ahhh…you have added Kanha NP to my list of must go places!
    We went to Gir earlier this year – highly recommend the trip if you haven’t done it till date. May is the best time for sighting!

    Like

    • getsetandgo June 9, 2014 at 12:38 #

      Hey, You must visit and will not be dissapointed…. I havent been to Gir yet and hope to in this year 🙂

      Like

  15. Vanshika Dutta June 19, 2014 at 10:01 #

    I have been to Kanha National Park once. It is a beautiful place to visit if you are an animal lover. I agree with you, It is an amazing feeling to see these beautiful animals in front of you for real.

    Like

    • getsetandgo June 21, 2014 at 11:05 #

      Hey, thanks for the kind words… Have you been to any other parks too?

      Like

  16. Global Roamer June 22, 2014 at 15:36 #

    Reblogged this on FXHQ.

    Like

  17. Taking to the Open Road June 22, 2014 at 15:43 #

    Wow stunning! You were really lucky!

    Like

  18. Hamilton June 23, 2014 at 18:09 #

    So cool! Awesome post!

    Like

  19. Cynthia September 27, 2014 at 19:22 #

    I loved reading about your safari adventure . The pictures are great too. Such a different world…

    Like

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