Monday, January 10, 2011

The Tiger Hunt



1 to 6 January, 2011 – Jaipur and Ranthambhore, India


You Know You Are Not In Australia When …
You Know You Are Not In Australia When …
You know you are not in Australia when one of your co-passengers carries a sword because it is part of his cultural heritage, and he just wouldn't feel “dressed” without said weapon by his side. In the waiting room, he decided to adust his turban. It was about ten minutes of flattening and patting the strip of cloth in to place. We realise this was entirely necessary, as his turban is held in place with a metal ring around his head, so I'm guessing if it isn't right, it will create pressure spots on his skull!


Indian Train – General Class
Indian Train – General Class
Everyone's friendly on Indian trains. In the unreserved seating areas, people squeeze up and make room, because they all know when they are standing, they expect people to make space for them. Six, seven, or even eight if there are a few kids is not a rare sight on a bench for four people. Then there are always one or two people sitting or lying on the luggage rack above.


Jaipur. A little bit reverse of the usual. The old town is planned and orderly with wide streets laid out in grids. The new town, outside the walls, is where the randomness takes over. Forts and palaces, and another observatory by Jai Singh II. Sunsets and souvenir shopping, posh tiffin in maharajah style luxury and dinners in the street with the cows and dogs looking on. We did enjoy Jaipur.

Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
At Hawa Mahal, “Palace of the Winds”, Jaipur.


Jaipur's Jantar Mantar
Jaipur's Jantar Mantar
The sundial at the 18th century observatory at Jaipur.


Amber Fort
Amber Fort
A few kilometres from Jaipur, Amber Fort is more of palace. Morning light is the best for getting lake reflection photos!


Amber Fort
Amber Fort
Jo likes taking photos through nicely shaped archways.


A few hundred kilometres south of Jaipur is Ranthambhore National Park. Formerly, it was a favourite hunting area for the maharajahs and big wigs, but in the 1950's was declared a wildlife sanctuary and later gained National Park status.

Ranthambhore National Park
Ranthambhore National Park
A 500 year old banyan tree integrated with an old fort gate, inside what is now the Ranthambhore National Park.


Spotted Deer
Spotted Deer
The chital, or spotted deer, Ranthambhore National Park.


Samba Deer
Samba Deer
A samba deer attends his itchy scalp, Ranthambhore National Park.


Chatting Away
Chatting Away
A pair of black faced langurs, sitting like a pair of old men sharing opinions. Ranthambhore National Park.


Female Nilgai
Female Nilgai
The nilgai, or blue-bull antelope, (although it is the male which gets the blue colour). From differing angles they appear to be shaped more like a horse, or even a cow, than an antelope. They are large and very beautiful. Ranthambhore National Park.


Samba Deer
Samba Deer
The samba does not mind being in the water, and sometimes feeds on surface vegetation. Ranthambhore National Park.


We saw some beautiful scenery, and some beautiful animals. It was an open topped jeep, and as the following photo shows, it was pretty cold!

A Friendly Tree-Pie
A Friendly Tree-Pie
On a cold safari in Ranthambhore National Park, and a rufous tree-pie decides to join us.


While all this was great to see, they were not our reason for enduring the cold dawn and dusk in a jeep. Our reason was similar to the maharajahs. We were on the trail of the tiger! At times, things looked grim, and at others, there was hope and confidence.

She's Been Here Recently
She's Been Here Recently
Ranthambhore National Park. These tiger prints are (apparently, because we had to be told, not being experts ourselves) a few hours old. Is she still around? Is she lazing in the sun nearby after a recent kill? Is she long gone and far away?


Considering that the statistics for a sighting at this time of year were not in our favour (about 20% we were told) we were careful not to count on it. However, when we were close to giving up, and the jeep had begun to make its course towards the exit, we were blessed with a close and clear sighting.

Yay!  A Tiger!
Yay! A Tiger!
Sorry about the wrong ISO setting. It was getting late, the light was fading, and we had pretty much given up seeing a tiger. And suddenly there she was not running, but on the move, through the grass, heading to the trees. No time to stuff around, just snap a couple of photos, and enjoy the moment of seeing a tiger in the wild. Ranthambhore National Park.


We actually made three trips in to the park to start getting the odds in our favour a little, and could possibly have squeezed a fourth one in had we not seen a tiger by then, but were glad to have an excuse to not face another 5 a.m. wake up and crawl out of a nice warm bed into the chilly morn.

1 comment:

Kim Holmberg said...

I cannot believe you actually saw a tiger in the wild!! Awesome! Tigers are my favourite animals... I'm so envious!
Keep safe and stay blessed
Kim