“Tadoba is overrated. You’ll see a tiger there with no efforts at all. It should not be like that..rather it should be like you are dying in efforts to see a tiger, but you can’t find it. Tired, when you give up the hopes, It should appear right infront of you…”
It was a typical evening at VJ when this conversation happened over a tea. Thats when our planning started. Pench tiger reserve was zeroed in. All the necessary arrangements were done and on 10th march, we 15 people started our journey towards Mowgli’s land. Enroute pench, we visited Ramtek fort temple which offered some nice photogenic spots. But it was just a temple and we could feel that everyone was eager for the feel of jungle. I had a smile on face as I knew that people are going to love the resort. We had taken strenuous efforts to choose such a comfortable resort, and it paid off. Everyone fell in love with the resort. Stay in lavish villas, games like snooker, badminton, cricket, swimming pool, everything was well sorted.
Now it was a time for our first jungle ride. Gypsies came to pick us up and in no time, we entered jungle. It was Turia gate in MP. Our gypsy entered road no 2. Guide was providing us the information about park, but we were more interested in jungle activities. Pleasant morning offered a great sighting of Parakits, drongos, oriols, woodpeckers and many other birds. Jackal sighting made us smile. Tiger was nowhere in the picture till now. Some alert calls were heard but tiger didn’t show up. When we returned, we came to know that our co members saw leopard sleeping on rock. Our hopes again touched skies and we left for 2nd gypsy ride.
This time it was khursapar gate in Maharashtra state which is femous for tigress Durga. Reportedly She has been roming there with cubs. Guide took us to different places but we found ourselves spotting deers and peacocks. Disappointment was at its peak when we missed leopard by fraction of second. After an hour, we went near the waterbody and tried hearing alert calls. But no luck. Still we decided to stay there for some time. With absolutely zero activity, we heard our driver shouting, “shant raho sab, tiger aa raha hai…vahase”. I didn’t believe in him as there were no alert calls, but We turned to that direction and we went completely speechless. The striped beauty was standing absolutely still. It was her stance for hunting. After few moments, she started taking steps, one at a time. The spotted deer which she was eying had no idea what he was going to face. she started taking slow steps towards deer. In the halfway, a shrill alert call came from somewhere and deer ran away. Disgusted and disappointed, she went to a waterbody, drank some water and sat in pond. We were completely lost in the scene. She gave us the glance for hardly 2-3 times, the other time, she didn’t care about us at all. Few moments later she came out of pond and crossed the road. She was right behind our gypsy and it was a moment of sheer pleasure for us. I was so busy watching her walk that I forgot to start camera and click pics. Nobody can forget that royal appearance. We literally missed a beat when she showed us a little anger. Those 15 minutes were the craziest of our life. And by the way, she had got an equally beautiful name… Bindu…
With the eyes and mind filled with joy and satisfaction, we returned. 3rd safari was almost dry except the beautiful birds which we saw and shoot. In overall trip, it was only us who could see a tiger, but none of our co member complained about it as they knew this game of luck. I personally felt sad that the most enthusiastic members of our team could neither see leopard nor tiger. But again, it was all about luck and they had already accepted it. Now it was a time to return to routine. Promises for next trip were made and we returned with our cameras full of photographs and heads full of memories….