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Tiger at Large - RanthamboreDelhi - Ranthambore National parkTotal No of days - 3Dated - Oct 2014

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Vinod Kumar...know more about me

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Ranthambore is one of my favourite destinations and have visited many times but as luck would have it all the 5 Safaris were allocated in Zone - 1 including the current one. As most of these trips were spontaneously planned and might be the reason I presume.


This trip transpired almost 1 day before, when one of my friend was on a vacation to Ranthambore. He invited us for this trip and quickly finalised for a 1 night trip. Safari was confirmed for 25th June evening. It was a welcome change after our Gangotri trip to Uttarakhand.

The plan
Start on 25th Morning to reach Sawai madhopur by 12pm and do the evening safari and return next day.


Route for a Change
Delhi - Yamuna Exp Way - Mathura - Bharatpur - Sikandra - Dausa - Lalsot - Sawai Madhopur (Distance : 450 kms)


Stay
Hotel Pink Palace - Near to railway station for night stay.


We left Delhi by 4.45am as planned. Drive to Mathura was quick as there was no traffic. It was drizzling in sections on Yamuna expressway. After that with 4 laned divided highway drive to Dausa was fast. Reached Dausa by 8:30 am. Dausa to Lalsot about 20 odd kms was bad and rest road till Sawai Madhopur as smooth and fast. We reached Sawai Madhopur by 10:30. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive.


Bookings were already confirmed for Zone-1 and we set-out by 3.30 pm. It was overcast but luckily didn't rain. Rest see the photologue......


Return
We started by 8 am. It was again decided to take the Mathura - Yamuna Expressway route. Lunch at McD @ Mathura and by 5 pm we were at home.


Yet More
So after our road trip I had made up my mind, that the only way for tiger sighting is do multiple safari. Then I came across Nature Wanderers doing a Ranthambore opener for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Oct 13. The dates suited me and booked the tour for 3 nights with them for 6 Safaris.


Ranthambore Trip - Oct 1,2,3 - 6 Safari trips with Nature Wanderers who organizes these kind of wild life photography tours. Canon edge members get a 10% discount too.


Travel Plan :
Initially I was planning to drive down but later decided to travel by Kota Jan Shatabdi express. There were about five guys from Delhi. Reached Sawai Madhopur by evening. Other members were from Hyderabad and Mumbai had already arrived. We were a total of 12 members.
Accommodation was in a Villa near the park. NW mentor were Shivang Mehta & Anurag Sharma. We also had a quick briefing session in the evening.


Day 1 - Morning Safari - Safari No 1 - Zone - 1, First trip of the season


We all were up and ready by 6 am. Three gypsys came to pick us and again the zone allocated for the first safari for my team was Zone - 1. We were 4 guys in each gypsy. The other two teams got Zone-2 & Zone-4. We all set out for our respective zones. At main entrance there was lot of activity with press coverage.
Being first day there were no sighting information, we decided to first visit Sultanpur Chowki to check out for any movement reports. There were no new of movement for past two days in this zone. From there we went to Dhoop Chowk and waited for an hour and half. The entire Jungle was dead silent. All we could see is some spotted & sambar deer. Explore some more area and we checked out the safari by 9:30 am.


Evening Safari - Safari No 2 - Zone - 1 (Again)
All the team members were ready by 3pm and gypsy arrived. To my surprise again it was zone 1. We protested to our mentors. Then we all went to the booking counter. Met the in-charge. He was helpless and as to alter the zone already allocated due to the new reservation system installed.

We wrote a complaint for the same and proceeded to Zone 1. After entering we again headed towards chowki. Just about 2 kms before we could notice noisy langurs and calls from peacocks intermittently.

We started exploring the area. By the time a couple of gypsys followed by a canter came in. We all were waiting patiently as the call was coming from quite far. All of a sudden the guide in the canter spotted a leopard on the top of tree. It was sitting in such a position that we could not see it from the mud track. We slowly positioned the gypsy for a clear view. Then for next 20 min all bazookas were firing at will. Even with all the adjustment it was a difficult angle to shoot. The area was dark and the background was bright making it difficult to get good shots. The leopard was also getting agitated with all the commotion and cameras that it tried to sneak in the canopy more and more.

After spending about an hour, we move on to check near the Chowki and Dhoop Chowk for tiger movement. Enroute spotted Crested Serpent Eagle , Grey Francolin & Brown fish owl.

By 5.30 we were returning. We were one of the last to make the exit . At the entrance the forest officer informed about a possible tiger movement. He told Noor & Sultan were sighted and they may pass near the banyan tree. We immediately reversed the jeep and parked facing the banyan tree. After about 5 mins both of them emerged from the bush and walks just in front of our gypsy. They emerged so close to our gypsy that even my bazooka could not get them on frame. Took a couple of shots and decided to enjoy seeing the magnificent mother & son casually crossing us . Both of them gave a glare and walked on. Thoroughly enjoyed and must say missed a beat when both passed just in front of us and paused for a moment as we were the lone gypsy.

The entire episode happened in two - three minutes. Finally must say all grudge towards Zone-1 vanished after this event. By 6.30 we returned to our den. Overall there was an excitement because all the three teams had tiger sighting. We had a bonus sighting of a leopard too. Evening passed on reviewing the shots and discussion about the trip.

Day 2 - Morning Safari - Safari No 3 - Zone - 3
Being a holiday and Wednesday, we were expecting the local crowd plus the traffic to Ganeshji temple. All of us were ready by 5.45 am. Gypsy came to pick on time. Finally this time Zone - 3 was allotted to our team. With yesterday sighting , there was a strong probability of sighting in Zone -1. One of other team got Zone - 1. They were very excited.

As we reached the main entrance we got an exciting piece of information that Noor & Sultan have made a kill last night and they were sighted near Singh Dwar. We immediately rushed to the spot and parked were a couple of other gypsys. Within 15 - 20 minutes the entire area had a mini traffic jam. As we arrived early we had a nice spot. After wait of about another 20 minutes suddenly Noor appears behind the rocks. IMO she wanted to get down to drink water. Seeing the commotion there, she sat near the rock. With every one stretching to get a glimpse from their respective gypsy and there was almost a mini stampede as the temple crowd were getting down from their cars to get a glimpse of the tigress. The forest guards had a tough time to control them.

The angle was very difficult and still we all were able to get some good shots. With the noise and commotion, after about 7-8 minutes she again disappeared behind the rock. We waited for another 10 minutes and then moved on to our Zone -3 .

Zone - 3 was again and Noon Safari No 4 to Zone - 5 was uneventfull. While returning from Zone - 4 also we got a brief glimpse of Sultan.

Day - 3 - Safari 5 & 6 were Zone 2 and Zone 3. Nothing specific to highlight. Got some beautiful landscape shots..

The same evening I return to Delhi...

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