Our tiger safari was full of amazing tiger sightings and their stories touched my heart. I thought it was fitting that our first tiger sighting was of B2, Lord of Bandhavgarh. He looked old (which he was) but you could feel the power and majesty emanating from this magnificent big cat.
Meeting Mirchani Tigress and her three cubs was also memorable but for different reasons. Little did we know that in just a few short years, her two male cubs would be captured and imprisoned in Bhopal Zoo, accused of being man-eaters.
Chorbehra, also known as “Langdi (limping) Tigress”, was a firm favourite. She ruled the meadow and could be frequently found sitting in the river, watching her cubs while they played. The brother and sister cubs have a tough time sustaining themselves as their mother’s limp means she was unable to make frequent enough kills.
Kallu is a son of B2 and the heir apparent to all his father’s lands. Though not as big or as strong as his father, this young male is cunning. Our guide told us that in every challenge fight to date, Kallu had lost to his father, but somehow, he was still managing to take over parts of B2’s kingdom.
During one of our game drives our driver suggested a visit to the 35 foot long statue of Vishnu which is located halfway up to Bandhavgarh Fort. Carved out of a single piece of sandstone, this statue was a sight to behold.
The path leading to and the area where the statue is located looks like something out of an Indiana Jones movie – there is water falling into a pool just below the statue and monkeys chasing each other across the statue.
Vishnu is the God of Preservation. The statue dates back to the 10th Century and shows Vishnu reclining on a bed of the coils of the seven hooded serpent, called Sheshnag.
Whilst the tiger was our primary target species, the park is full of other fantastic wildlife such as the elusive sloth bear.
This sighting was an extremely lucky one as we almost drove past the black mound, which turned out to be a mother sloth bear standing on her back legs with her cub sitting on her shoulders. As soon as she realised that we had seen her she dropped to all fours and ran away with her cub clinging to her for dear life.
Sambar deer were in plentiful supply and proved to be our friend many a time by making alarm calls whenever a tiger was nearby.
The langurs and their babies provided us with hours of entertainment with their antics. The extremely young babies were instantly identifiable by the fact that their fur was dark rather than the trademark white.
Just look at how wonderfully expressive their faces are.
The park is also home to many different species of birds. However, since I am not a huge bird fan, I didn’t make much of an effort to photograph them, with the exception of this stork who simply looked evil!
After our last game drive was over, we headed back to the lodge for breakfast before heading out to Katni Junction to get our train. Upon arriving in Delhi, we transferred to our last hotel, the Bijaj Indian Home Stay. As our flight home wasn’t until the following morning, the day was ours to do whatever we liked. We planned to do a spot of shopping, but our trip was cut short because it was simply too hot to be wandering around the shops.
The flight home felt anti-climatic after the excitement of 6 days in Bandhavgarh and the trip turned out to be more expensive than I had anticipated. I came home wanting my own digital SLR and powerful zoom lens. The photographic beast had been unleashed!