When one thinks of Indian Wildlife, or Bandhavgarh Safari, Bandhavgarh has made a definitive mark in the minds of every wildlife lover. It has unceasingly proven why it is the best for Tiger Sightings in the country and some would even say the world. The first I heard of Bandhavgarh was when I was merely 6 or 7 years old. The stories tickled my mind every day, and the urge to visit the godliness of its laps grew stronger. It was a long time till I actually stepped foot in Bandhavgarh. A year ago (2019), the very first time, I took a 14-hour train journey to experience the reality that Bandhavgarh Safari is.
I entered the park expecting a lot, and no, the park did not fail me. Not even for a split second did I not want to be there. The pug marks grew sharper and fresher as the days progressed. I could hear the red sandy soil crunch harder every time our jeep turned. For all of the 03 days I had in Bandhavgarh Safari, I filmed, relentlessly. It was chilly, it was pouring – and then I saw the Tiger, lest you must think it was a pointless 14-hour train journey.
While the Tiger’s character is that of a protagonist, and tireless tracking gets you to experience him doing the most bizarre activities, remember that no story is complete without supporting actors. Every species has a role to play. The Langoor warns you of the Tiger’s presence while perched on a tall Sal tree, while the chital warns you with thuds on the ground. Herds of Spotted Deer run in another direction when their sensitive ears and sharp eyes see the predator walking toward them.
You will get bowled over with the jungle’s beauty. With over 250 species of colorful birds chirping their way into the forest, it is kind of obvious to be swept off of your feet. And yes, Bandhavgarh and its history can surely be read online, but you won’t get to hear it from the ones who wrote it. The dramatics that is Bandhavgarh Safari, is best experienced in reality, not virtual reality. Even the Tiger won’t grace you with its presence with a google search.
(Nature Safari India)