Tiger spotting in India - best parks, your sightings please.

#1 Feb 25th, 2005, 16:10
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Aug 2001
Southampton UK
  • Alan D is offline
This is a question that has come up quite a few times on the forum.

With the recent news (see Sahibcol's postings on this thread) that 300 people searching for 2 weeks were unable to find a single tiger in Sariska NP, although 15 were counted there last May, I'm wondering where people have the best chance of seeing a tiger.

If those of you who have been successful in spotting tigers could post on this thread the details - name of the national park, number of tigers seen and year and date seen (recent sightings would be more valuable) then perhaps we might come to some conclusions on the best places to see tigers.

I must admit I have a slightly selfish reason for posting this - We've never seen a tiger in India
#2 Feb 25th, 2005, 22:25
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Nov 2004
Exeter, England
  • mikewill is offline
Hi Alan

Nice avatar; Deadheads get everywhere!

Don't forget that the time of year plays a big part in seeing wildlife, especially in dry deciduous forests where it's much easier when the leaves have fallen and there's little water.

I've spent a bit of time over the last thirty years visiting National Parks in India and elsewhere, but have only seen one tiger. On the other hand my son went to Bandhavgarh in 2002 and saw three or four. Luck also plays a part.

The forests in Madhya Pradesh have probably the densest tiger populations. Certainly it's reasonably easy to see tigers in Bandhavgarh, although I understand from an Indian friend who visited last year that it's a bit like a visit to a safari park.

I saw my tiger form the back of an elephant in Corbett and although it was a fleeting glimpse, it's burned into my mind and I shan't forget it. The searching is one of the great pleasures, especially if you are able to take your time and accept that you may or may not see a tiger but that everything else you see is great too.

Had plenty of near misses too: there were loads of pugmarks on tracks in Ranthambore (1995) and fresh tracks when we were walking in the forest in Periyar (makes the hairs on your neck stand up a bit) last December.

Seeing a tiger in Sariska is really hard - and don't take too much notice of the figures in the censuses.

Ranthambore was one of the finest wildlife experiences I've had (in a jeep not the buses); fantastic numbers of deer and pigs around the lakes with crocs. I was also lucky enough to see and photograph the first recorded wild dog for some 15 years in the park. Even got a visit from the field director after that!

South Indian tiger reserves offer fewer chances than those in the north. Remember that although the parks are big and may well have good numbers of tigers, often tourism is restricted to small areas and the number of visitors there means that the tigers are less keen to visit. Didn't see them in Nagarahole, Mudumulai or Bandipur (2003).

Hope to visit central and NE India in spring 2006. Will go to Bandhavgarh despite what I've written above. The lure of the tiger is very strong, and time in the forests is fantastic whatever the result!
#3 Feb 26th, 2005, 21:13
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Sep 2004
  • crodge is offline

From Ranthambore...


I am writing this from Ranthambore, this is my third visit over a 10-year period.

The situation here is pretty good at the moment and there are tiger sightings most days. I saw a tigress about 5 hours ago from a bus not a jeep, all my sightings over the years have been from the bus, never had much luck in the jeep…it is just luck after all.

3 days ago a villager was killed and eaten on the edge of the park, this is the first such attack in over 15 years. It is thought that due to years of draught the tiger had moved from the park to the buffer zone and had started killing domestic cattle. A search is now underway to find the tiger, tranquilize it and take it back into the park.

There is still only one wild dog in the park, however on my first visit 10 years ago I had the pleasure of seeing a pack of 6 of them…

Recent reports of Tigers missing in Ranthambore are largely false and have been spread by a well known tiger activist after his falling out with the park officials, it is however true that all tigers have now disappeared from Sariska.

If you decide to come to Ranthambore, PM me and I can put you in touch with a great guide.

#4 Feb 27th, 2005, 01:11
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Dec 2004
don't live anymore
  • kaushiks is offline
I went to Ranthambore 2 years back, I saw five tigers in one day. It was very disappointing then. I felt as though I had been staged. We saw two tigers, lying down giving all sorts of classsic poses. The video cameras kept rolling. We waited for 20 minutes and the tigers wouldn't move out. They seem least bothered by our presence at close proximty. We left getting bored. How bad. I think if there were a tigers association these two would have been severly reprimanded by the head tiger for giving us too much time and reducing their market value

However, I went again and saw none. I realise I had it lucky the first time and it wasn't staged. I remember one funny incident, there was this pseudo-guide who went around kissing all (foriegner) women in the bus claiming he was so happy for them that they could see five tigers in one day.
#5 Feb 27th, 2005, 03:37
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Oct 2001
Planet Earth
  • pkalra is offline
here's my record of sightings

Bandhavgarh 2001 - 5 Tigers
Bandhavgarh 2003 - 4 Tigers
Ranthambore 2000 - 4 tigers , including 2 cubs

I've also visited several other parks but without a sighting
#6 Feb 27th, 2005, 04:48
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Sep 2004
San Jose
  • bearable is offline
Kanha Nov 2004 - 4 Tigers
Bandhavgarh Dec 2004 - 3 Tiger cubs
#7 Feb 27th, 2005, 05:12
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Jun 2004
  • kiwi_razz is offline
Bandhavgarh Dec 2004 - 1 female + 2 cubs (from an elephant), 1 male
no good photos - oh well.
#8 Feb 27th, 2005, 07:50
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Jan 2005
  • jens is offline
We went to Bandagargh in 2004 and saw zero tigers. December is not the high point for tiger sightings though, and others had seen some earlier.

We love nature; birds, animals, bugs, fish, everything, so we didn't care too much that we I didn't see a tiger. We started with 25 jeeps at 7AM at the park gate like Nascar racers; zooming around the park--over here--over there--no over here--no here--listen--shhhh--now over here. What a show, how dizzying. Though we saw a chicken, a peacock and deer it was a bizarre experience topped only by the Town of Tala. Our driver was a fine showperson but I didn't think he knew the park ecology too well. Other people seemed to really enjoy it. Maybe we weren't attired properly---people who wore the tan vests with lots of little pockets, and even better toting large lens, seemed to be having a way better time. They always had the "most" expert tiger trackers too. (Actually they all work together well)

I would love to go to a place where the ecology was more the topic, we had had it with parks in SA but were hesitant to try another one in India.
I too would be interested in knowing other peoples experiences in other parks are the all like this?

We literally couldn't put enough distance between that place and our next destination fast enough. There, there were way to many positive posts on this thread.
#9 Feb 27th, 2005, 09:13
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Jan 2005
Bangalore (Arekere)
  • katora is offline

not just in NP's

in december 2003, i was in a small village in himachal in the dhalaudar mountains. there had been snow higher up the mountains. my room had no heating.. it was absolutly freezin.
my girlfriend and i would quite often walk up the river to collect wood to have a small fire in our courtyard. on this day we followed the river quite far and deep into the forest, we had a dog with us called jacku who always took to hanging around with us. the river was a small gully/ gorge.we walked for about 45minutes. there was a big troop of monkeys high up on a cliff and also 2 locals cutting up a big tree trunk, they told us not to go any further as the monkeys were breaking loose many rocks that were falling down, so it was not safe.
im not to fond of danger so we decided to head back down the river, we came to a sharp corner in the gully and jacku(the dog) went on ahead, suddenly he started barking...... Can you guess what happened next?!!!!

i turned the corner expecting to see him chasing a monkey. but instead saw the biggest tiger about 10metres in front of me stood on the bank of the river towering over jacku who was on a boulder in the river...... fuck me , my hairs are just standing up recounting this story!
i screamed and screamed and waved the wood i had in the air, the tiger stared at me and let out a huge growl with its ears up and its whiskers out, then for what seemed like a eternity time stood still! jacku then came bounding over to me , i shouted run run to my girlfriend who was still round the corner up river, then me and jacku and my girlfriend ran faster the iv ever done in my life, hopping from boulder to boulder up the river. i only turned around once to see the tiger taking a few steps forward.

after about 10 mins we stopped to light a fire hoping this would stop the tiger following, and also we got our mobile phone out to phone our friend back in the village (i know how dum that sounds) but the phone didnt work in the gorge. then i pulled out my penknife (again very dumb!) and we made the last dash to where we had seen the locals cutting wood near the monkeys. i had never ever been so happy to see people before.

we rested with them and then all walked down together back to the village, with jacku never moving from my side!!!!!

now i understand that many of you will not believe this story. i have no way to prove that its true, but i swear that it is and i know of other people have seen tigers in this place.

i feel very priveledged and blessed to have seen such a beautiful animal in such a place and i feel lucky to be alive!

Oh and guess the name of the village this was near, its quite well known!
#10 Feb 27th, 2005, 12:47
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  • kiranlal is offline
rathambore and kahnha
you will be un lucky if you dont see one ,
the tigers are roming around like cats
try t o be the no one in the que
#11 Feb 27th, 2005, 13:43
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Jul 2004
  • SydneyKate is offline
We were in Bandhavgargh last month for 4 days and saw 2 tigers on our last day. However I just can't recommend this park! All the jeeps assemble at the gate around 7am, and are all given a different route to get to the central point of the park. When the park opens there is an unholy jeep race to that central point (totally ignoring any hapless wildlife encountered along the way) why? well, the first jeep to arrive at the central point gets first place in the "tiger show", second jeep gets second place, and so on. What is "tiger show"? there are about 5 or 6 tracker elephants with mahouts in the park looking for tigers. When they spot one, they radio the central point, and the first jeeps in line are given the location and drive over there. Then they are charged 600 rupees each to mount an elephant and go to see the tiger(s). For us (family of 4) this would have been 2,400 rupees, on top of the park entry/guide fees already paid!! Also, the jeeps tend to just hang around the central point for an hour or more waiting for one of the mahouts to call in with a tiger spotting. It was all very frustrating and felt very commercialised. We actually spotted both of our tigers from the jeep just by chance, having given up on the official "show". One is left very much with the impression that the park officials "own" the tigers, and show them off only as and when they choose and at a price! I gather this is very much the common practice in the parks in the north. We actually went to a much smaller park "Nagarahole" about 3 hours SW of Mysore last year and found it to be much less touristy. OK, we didn't see a tiger (some others the same day did), but saw heaps more wildlife that we ever did at Bandhavgargh, and felt we were more out in the "jungle" rather than part of a rather grotesque show.
#12 Jul 21st, 2008, 01:35
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Jul 2008
  • 6pence is offline

Tiger spotting- Luck or Determination


I think to see a tiger you need to be so determined and need to plan in such a way that u can find them. Smart planning does help you to spot few.

I havent been travelling to any other reserve other than ones in Karnataka state for long now. I have seen wild lions in packs and in action in Africa . But in Kabini/Karapur when I last visited with my folks, found 2 tigers. One was a lone one deep in the jungle resting quite close to a water hole and the rocks. This was on the bumpy ride of an elephant. Second one was with a family one.. with a female tigress with a cub walking ahead of us when we were in the safari jeep. We just passed so close to it that if you put your hand out, u could feel its coat.. but the fact was we were rooted as thought a ghost was holding us.. So scared that words just dried off our mouth. And both I had watched in Karapur.

The second time I had been to Bandipur with a couple of girl friends that we normally do when all women get together in April when I found a old tiger in a water hole on one side and elephants bathing on the other. It was just around the evening safari that we were taking on the last day of our trek there.

I think when you want to see a tiger in the wild make sure you have a good research about the habitat of the tigers, what kind of the animal they are and specially watch the season you are visiting.. too hot summers.. they prefer the cooler atmosphere like us so they hide in the shady dense forest that makes it impossible for safari/elephants to go through. Too rainy, they like cats hate water to be dripping all around so they stick to their dens, I am sure you dont want to be their meal just to have a peek into their den. Winter, they hibernate, they need that energy. Find the balance in weather.

And people say about luck.. I wish i even had a pint of luck. Don't plan your vacation just for tigers, plan that you are going to the wild just to enjoy the beautiful creations from god and people who improve it, it makes your vacations blissful.. And who knows one of god`s creation can just walk into your way..

All the best next time you want to spot a ..tiger...
#13 Jul 23rd, 2008, 19:33
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Dec 2005
Mumbai, India
  • shahronakm is offline
Bandhavgarh May 2008 - 5 Tiger (7 Safaris)
Nagarhole Nov 2007 - Nil (2 days)

For Tiger sightings -
Go to Bandhavgarh in Summer months - April / May / June (Before rains)
Stay for at least 3 nights (Six Safaris)

#14 Jul 23rd, 2008, 20:13
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Feb 2007
  • pmvelu is offline

You are so lucky to spot Tigers in Nagarahole / Kabini!


Till now, I too haven't seen any tiger in Nagarahole even though almost monthly once i am visiting this forests .. NO LUCK
#15 Jul 24th, 2008, 18:51
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Dec 2005
Mumbai, India
  • shahronakm is offline
Originally Posted by pmvelu View Post @6Pence,

You are so lucky to spot Tigers in Nagarahole / Kabini!


Till now, I too haven't seen any tiger in Nagarahole even though almost monthly once i am visiting this forests .. NO LUCK
When I was there during last Diwali, on the sightings board @ Kabini Jungle Resort tiger sighting was mentioned which was four days before our visit, it was a tigress with three cubs.


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