Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Haven for wildlife

Bandhavgarh National Park lies in the eastern part of the state of Madhya Pradesh in the Vindhya range. (Madhya Pradesh or MP as the name implies is in Central India). Though, it is a comparatively small park - about 110 sq. kms it has the highest density of tigers amongst all the national parks & hence there is a great possibility of spotting the tiger during a 3-4 day visit. The best time to visit for spotting the tiger, other mammals and birds in breeding plummage is during the heat of summer before 30th May when the foliage is comparatively sparse. Winter is a good time to watch the numerous resident & migratory bird species that flock to this area.

It is unfortunate that many visitors throng the place just to see the majestic tiger while ignoring other species. The area is rich in flora & fauna & enjoying the bio-diversity of the area can be a most rewarding experience.

The photo above shows the Chakradhara meadows with the Bandhavgarh fort in the background atop the hill. This was originally the hunting ground of the royalty of Rewa and the famed white tigers (those with a recessive gene of the species) were found in this area.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tracking down the Tiger

Locating the elusive tiger was quite a challenge. While our very first evening safari brought us to the Churbehera tigress hidden in the foliage with a kill beside her (wild boar), the ferocious Chakradhara tigress refused to oblige the numerous jeeps gheraoing the meadows which she made her cover. Nearly 100 odd jeeps lined up in anxious wait hoping she would emerge from the grass until it was time for all humans to leave the park at 7 p.m. sharp

The centre Point where all jeeps are to report by 7.30 a.m. and the only place within the park where we are allowed to alight from our vehicle and refreash ourselves.

Pugmarks of a male tiger - possibly B2 who also refused to oblige us. We waited in vain until it rained heavily & drenched us all in the open jeeps. By then, an irritable jeep driver informed us it was time to exit the park.

This pregnant tigress is the Churbehera female who gave us sightings throughout - pix taken from atop the elephant barely few feet away from her. She had abandoned her kill of few days and had moved a few yards away. By this time, the kill began to really stink!It mattered little to her that there was a flurry of activity in her honour with people from all corners of the earth keen to get a close-up. Instead she found all this very boring! Yaawwn!!!
Other tiger sightings included the Munjani cub, the 3 Rajbehera cubs and the Bitari female. Unfortunately these were spotted behind the tree cover & hence could not be caught on the lens. It is always a thrilling experience to watch a tiger in the wild rather than seeing them behind iron bars.
Visitors are strictly prohibited from alighting from the jeeps in the park area except at the Centre Point. While climbing onto the elephant, you need to climb atop the jeep to do so. For the tiger, when you are in the jeep, you are part of the vehicle. However, when you alight you are a human and fair game. Few days after we left, I received the unfortunate news that the Munjani female had attacked and killed a local youth who entered the park to collect Tendu leaves.
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This Hanuman langur near the gopalpur pond believed he owned the place!


Spotted deer

Indian fox
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Scavengers/ Raptors inside the park

With so much of life brimming in the area can these species be far behind? The long billed vulture was a fairly common site above us. Below the Red headed vultures giving the spotted deer company

The Changeable hawk-eagle

Grey-headed Fish eagle taking some respite.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Variety of Birdlife in the sanctuary

Adjutant stork near a waterhole
Brown fish owl with its Baby owl below. You will need to click to enlarge the pix of the baby owl. It can be seen charmingly perched between the V- of the trunks & merging with the bark. Pic cropped & edited for viewing.
Grey Hornbill

A Crested serpent Eagle calls out to his mate below. She is happy to answer the call giving us a resounding chorus

The Red Jungle fowl (male) is the original ancestor of our domestic fowl all over the world

a peacock is always a beautiful sight to behold in the Indian wilderness

a common but beautiful bird, the Indian roller kept us good company during our safaris. watch the action!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Structures within the park

35 ft. Statue of the reclining Vishnu at Seesh shaiya halfway up the hill towards the Bandhavgarh fort. The river Charnaganga is believed to emanate from his feet.

views of the limestone caves carved out of rock by the royalty during their hunting days
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