Back from a wild[life] vacation and all that is ringing in my ears even now is the chirping of the birds, the Sambar’s call, the alarm of the jungle fowl, the barking deer and so on. Need I say I was looking out of the window today on my way to office looking to sight an animal πŸ˜‰ That has been the after effect of our trip to Tadoba. Heaven for wildlife seekers it was. 4 days in Paradise !!!

The safari timings @ Tadoba are 6-11 in the morning and 3-7 in the evening.
We were lucky enough that we sighted a pack of wild dogs on our way to Tadoba from Chandarpur itself on 8th evening even before entering the reserve. I was told they are a rare sight. That was the beginning and then there was no looking back. It was lovely driving around in the gypsy amidst the thick forest cover, with the langoors and the lovely colourful birds keeping company all along. We entered the reserve and our sighting of the first round included Great Indian Bison, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Eagle, Crocodile etc… The crocodile looking up from the Tadoba lake and the langoors jumping over n playing above on the trees reminded me of the poem we had sometime in school ‘Five little monkeys swinging from a tree; teasing Uncle Crocodile, merry as can be.

The Tiger did elude us on that day though.

We also heard from another vehicle that they had spotted a leopard hunt and take away its prey just then but all we could get were the pug marks. We saw a number of birds, I cant even get the names now. I was told there are about 180 species of birds there and I was stunned at the number of colours that really exist. Each one of them I saw, I used to feel that was the most beautiful bird. It was a lovely start to our trip.

Birdie birdie

Since there was tiger census going on there on 9th and 10th, we had to miss 2 trips – the 9th evening one and the 10th morning one. In the 9th morning Safari at Tadoba, we again spotted a lot of Sambar,spotted deer, wild boars, barking deer, langoors and a pack of wild dogs again; but no signs of His Majesty yet 😦

During our next safari on 10th evening, we had our keeping fingers crossed that the Tiger would definitely give us darshan that day. Well, Sambar, Langoor, Wild boar etc abhi tak to ghar ke aadmi ban gaye the :P. The birds still surprised us; we found new species everyday. We waited near one water hole for about 1.5 hrs as the Sambar and jungle fowl were calling which indicated that the tiger was nearby, but owing to the disturbance people around created, what with the loud reverse music, loud laughs and shouts, the tiger never gave us a chance to see it. One thing which is most important guys is that we maintain as much silence as possible. The animals don’t like being disturbed and they decide to stay back where they are till silence prevails.

Friends we are

We had to head back to reach the entrance on time and wore a sullen look on our faces for having been so close and still missed it. But, but , but ………. blessed we were indeed that on the way back, we saw 6-7 vehicles parked on the way and now we were sure we had our Man. Yes, we saw it! Our wishes had all come true. We had dared to dream and it had come true. We saw it take a walk and then settle down amongst the bushes. Ahh! The gait – so graceful, so majestic. I can’t forget it. It was difficult to hide the excitement as any noise would mean that it would move away. Having had the moments of our life, we returned back.

11th morning was supposed to be our last safari for this trip and we had decided to only look for the calls and movements of the tiger leaving everything else aside. And immediately, we heard it – the call of the Sambar, the call of the jungle fowl, the barking of the deer – we were close to seeing the Tiger again. The langoors were climbing up the tree in a jiffy. We waited at a point which the guide Sanju, our driver Santosh and Shalik said the tiger would appear tracking in their mind the directions from where the calls came and there it was. The tigress it was! She crossed way from one line of bushes to the next. I found it so difficult to control my excitement but had to. I watched open-mouth as we moved further to the next point which was free of bushes so that we could spot her again and we did. Then, they took us to a water hole they were sure the tigress would come to and after a few minutes, it was there ! The planning was perfect. She sat down there and drank water; looked towards us some 3 times in between. What a sight!!! For about 20 mins, there was no change. All hungry for wildlife, we stood there without even blinking our eyes and the tigress sat there royally doing what it had come there for. It was God’s blessing that no other vehicle passed by, else the disturbance would have moved her away. After some time, the tigress bid us good-bye and moved inside. Then we spotted Chausingha on the way and some more Sambars, peacocks, spotted deers but we were so immersed in the tigress sighting that everything else seemed so blur.

The tigress in all her glory

That was it guys – our wildlife sojourn and at the end of it, we were already planning when would be our next trip. The 48deg temp could not dampen our spirits a bit. The flora and fauna were wonderful. You should see how dedicated the staff at Tadoba are. They explain so well, they are quick enough to spot the smallest species of birds and show you, they are rigid enough to note down the number of the vehicle which honks or from which people throw plastics immediately and report them. All in all, a beautiful, well-managed reserve it is.