9 safaris, 5 sightings, 8 tigers! Bandhavgarh rocks!!

#1 Jan 29th, 2011, 18:51
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  • rathee is offline
#1
It was January 2011 and I planned my first trip to Bandhavgarh. After some discussions; I decided to join a group of 4 people to share the cost of safaris and hotel. A total of 10 safaris were booked in Tala Zone. We decided to go for a very basic stay option costing us around 800 per day for 2 rooms.

I took the overnight train from Delhi and reached Katni (nearest railhead to Tala Gate) at 7 am. Since my train was late by 1 hr. or so, the group was getting late for the morning safari (they reached Katni at 5.30 am) so they left for Tala. I booked a taxi and left for Tala and reached the lodge at 10 am. The gang was back from morning safari; we introduced ourselves to each other and started to prepare ourselves for the afternoon safari.

The afternoon safari was good but no tiger sightings. I enjoyed the jungle though as it has different vegetation from the other parks I have visited so far. We got a piece of information from locals that a female with 2 cubs was seen crossing the road today morning right in front of our lodge. Out lodge only had a bamboo fence and it didnít inspire much confidence but we decided to go ahead with the bonfire right in front of our rooms.



Our first sighting happened on the morning safari of Day 2 where we heard some alarm calls and decided to wait with few other vehicles. After some 15 mins, it decided to come out. It was a female with 3 sub adult cubs (age would be around 18 months). The mother crossed the road first and the cubs followed. They decided to rest in the shade of the tree nearby the vehicles.

It was a good sighting and we were heading back for the gate very satisfied, until was saw a vehicle standing still in front of us. It was a single female tigress. We saw a disturbing thing this time, it had a very bad wound right beneath its left eye and we could see the blood coming out. The guide told us that it got injured in the territorial fight with other female. We took pictures of that and the guide informed the officials at the gate about the injury. They requested us to give them some pictures of the same and we obliged.

We again saw the female with 3 cubs next morning but from a distance.

There is nothing much to speak of about our daily routine, so I will only focus on the safaris and the jungle.

In our next morning safari, we again saw a female with a sub adult cub (it was difference from the previous one). The light was too low so couldnít get photos but the excitement was there none the less. It was trying to rest but got disturbed by some stupid people using flash and went away.

The next afternoon safari was the big bonanza. We were covering our designated route and then we saw this big mail, sleeping bang in the middle of the road. We were the 3rd vehicle to arrive there; everything was so calm and quite. After sleeping for some 15 odd minutes, it woke up, looked towards us and again went to sleep. I was really surprised at the self confidence of this male tiger. The guide told us that this is currently the most influential male tiger in Bandhavgarh and has a very big territory.

It takes him about 6-7 days to cover the whole territory, which is a big thing if you take into consideration that it can cover up to 30-40 km. in the night.

More and more vehicle arrived and finally the king woke up, gave us a lazy look and went in the shade nearby. At this time our vehicle was right in front of the tiger and distance was hardly 10 feet. It rested for some time and walked away. I would complement our guide here, he knew exactly where this tiger would go and we parked the vehicle there. It came out in some 10 min. and crossed the road again in front of us.

This male was the real show stopper. It came out again between some 10 vehicles and was up on its hind legs against a tree, scratched the tree, left its smell and again slept bang in the middle of the road for some 5- 10 minutes. It started walking again towards the hilly area.

This continued for 1 hr. or so till the tiger finally went up the hill. It was the best sighting I have had so far. This was a real dominant male and quite a few guides out there told us that because of him, all the other tigers are forced to leave the core area and go out of the park. This was the 8th different tiger we saw on our trip and the best one.

Apart from the tiger, there were lot of bird life as well, Crested Serpent Eagle, White eyed buzzard, golden oriole, plum headed parakeet, paradise flycatcher, Vultures, black shouldered kite etc.

Apart from the safaris, we also booked the watch tower for 3 hrs in the afternoon and really enjoyed the view from up there.

With this, Iíll end the narration and leave you guyz to enjoy some photos that I have taken on this trip.

Cheers.
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#2 Jan 29th, 2011, 18:55
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#2
I am attaching some more pics here
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#3 Jan 29th, 2011, 18:58
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#3
some more pics
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#4 Jan 29th, 2011, 18:58
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#4
Hey Rathee
Wow sounds great! Good to know that there's plenty of tigers around - I'm going there for the 5th time back end of Feb, so looking forward to it, although haven't booked anything yet. Where did you stay?
Neel
#5 Jan 29th, 2011, 19:01
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#5
here is the last set of pics
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#6 Jan 29th, 2011, 19:08
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#6
Hi Neel, we stayed at Kumkum resort near Tala gate. Do send me a PM if you want more details.
#7 Jan 29th, 2011, 19:45
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#7
Rathee, great snaps and report!! Can't wait for my end Feb planned trip there . Hope we would also be lucky like you
#8 Jan 29th, 2011, 20:01
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by kshil View Post Rathee, great snaps and report!! Can't wait for my end Feb planned trip there . Hope we would also be lucky like you
thanks kshil, glad you liked it. Wish you all the luck for your trip.
#9 Jan 29th, 2011, 20:29
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by rathee View Post thanks kshil, glad you liked it. Wish you all the luck for your trip.
Thanks for your wish, I have sent you a PM asking for certain detail information, request you to reply conveniently.
#10 Jan 29th, 2011, 20:46
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#10
Rathee

Excellent photographs and report. I would like to go there - when does the weather start to get hot?

Will PM you.

Cheers

Nattusbs
#11 Jan 29th, 2011, 21:32
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nattusbs View Post Rathee

Excellent photographs and report. I would like to go there - when does the weather start to get hot?

Will PM you.

Cheers

Nattusbs
thanks Nattusbs, i think around March end, the weather starts getting hot. The key zone here is Tala which gets booked in advance.
#12 Jan 29th, 2011, 21:38
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nattusbs View Post Rathee

Excellent photographs and report. I would like to go there - when does the weather start to get hot?

Will PM you.

Cheers

Nattusbs
I would suggest to book it now for March/April.
#13 Jan 29th, 2011, 22:11
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#13
Nice. I must look at that 500mm lens once again
#14 Jan 29th, 2011, 22:57
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycank View Post Nice. I must look at that 500mm lens once again
well, I am sure 500mm would do wonders but in our case, the action was too close somtimes and here my point&shoot had some advantage
#15 Jan 30th, 2011, 02:04
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#15
Hi Rathee, beautiful pics and good story.

How did you make the booking for the Tala Zone, just went there and made a reservation/shared a jeep, or did you make a reservation in advance? If yes, how?

Will be there after one month, I read the Tala Zone is the place to go, but at the moment for me it's difficult to make a reservation.

Thanks answering,

Harry

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