Tiger Trail - Journey to Bandhavgarh
close-up sighting of a tiger from the back of an elephant literally took my
breath away in an audible gasp. The mahout turned and gave a smile that needed
no translation " yes - he is a magnificent creature, just look on in
This sighting had been eagerly awaited throughout the preceding days of our journey through northern India. We had arrived in Delhi 10 days before and, with the help of an experienced guide, enjoyed the sights and sounds that the city had to offer.
From there we travelled to Ranthambore in the hopes of seeing tigers in the wild but despite three days on the trail in very beautiful surroundings and many sightings of deer, birds, monkeys and crocodiles, our only faint glimpse was a tigress asleep under a bush deep in off the track. Not quite the sighting we had been dreaming of as she was too far away to see clearly but we consoled ourselves that at least we had seen one.
We continued our journey, travelling to the pink city of Jaipur where we were amazed by the Amber Fort, took a hair-raising rickshaw ride through the old part of the city and had fun shopping in the local market.
After 2 days of seeing the palaces and forts we left Jaipur and went onto Bharatpur to see some wonderful bird life in the Keoladeo Ghana sanctuary. The sanctuary has a colony of around 400 painted storks, many varieties of herons and kingfishers as well as huge numbers of native and migratory birds – a ‘twitcher’s’ paradise.
And no visit to northern India would have been complete without seeing the architectural splendour of the Taj Mahal, it really is beautiful - no wonder it’s called the jewel in India’s crown. We watched the sunset over the Taj from our hotel’s terrace and then woke in the morning to a view of it from our room – fantastic.
Then at last onto Bandhavgarh to stay in Tiger’s Den – this was our last chance to see tigers and we weren’t disappointed. We were almost ‘back to nature’.
It was bliss being greeted with steaming hot towels to wash off the trail dust after a long drive ‘shooting’ tigers and then to sit around a bonfire in the gazebo discussing the day’s sightings with our expert guide, Jagat.
And there was a lot to ‘shoot’ during our three days stay; as well as two sightings of a sloth bear, various birds, deer and monkeys we saw 10 different tigers (with a total of 19 sightings) of which we took around 500 photos. This sounds a lot but getting the perfect shot whilst on the back of an elephant isn’t as easy as it sounds. But that is the ideal place to be, elephants can go deep into the bush as tall bamboos, trees and steep inclines present no obstacle to them and they are able to get in very close to the tigers.
We hope you are encouraged to go to Bandhavgarh and catch your own tiger by the tail – it will take your breath away too.