Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 21st May 2012, 18:14   #1
Senior - BHPian
 
deky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Jaipur
Posts: 1,191
Thanked: 956 Times
Default Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

About Water Hole Census

On the first full moon night of May every year Water Hole Census for all animals is carried out at Ranthambhore. This year in May the full moon was falling on 06/05/2012 and the census was to start on the morning of the full moon night at 1000hrs and would continue throught out that day and night till 1000 hrs on the 07/05/2012.

Though the camera trap and the pug mark way of counting continues throughout the year, this is a way to get an approximate numbers of the other animals apart from the tiger present in the park. The theory behind this census is that on hot sunny days in May all the animals will visit the water holes atleast once during the day to quench their thirst. So those who come to or around the watering holes have to be counted.

The park invites applications from volunteers who are willing to brave the heat and sit on Machaans erected on all the watering holes (around 300) for counting purpose. Each volunteer is then assigned a machaan along with a forest guard or a guide for the counting purpose.

Our Preparation


We were a group of 12 that were supposed to go for the census. We had already submitted our names to the DFO’s office a week prior to the event. For me this was a first but a few others in our group had been for the census a few times before also. In accordance with them we sent out an email to our group with all the preparations.

I am attaching the mail sent to the group here, so that anyone who is interested in going for such an event can have all the things to take along as handy

Quote:
OUTLINE OF THE PLAN
- Departure - 05/05/2012, Saturday Evening 1500hrs -We shall all collect at Starboard Guesthouse (the address is given below in the mail) at 1430hrs.
- Hope to reach Sawai Madhopur latest by 1600 hrs
- Relax in the hotel, have a good night sleep and be fresh for the next day
- Next morning have breakfast at the hotel/ freshen up and proceed to DFO’s office latest by 0730 hrs
- Have packed lunch of paranthas picked up from the hotel
- Split into groups as assigned by the officials and proceed to assigned chowkis/ machaans in forest vehicles
- spend the day & night there counting animals ( yeah we have to work too )
- Leave the park by midday on 07/05/2012 and check in a hotel
- have lunch & relax
- 07/05/2012 evening proceed to Jaipur

MONEY MATTERS

We are planning to have a pool with equal contributions from all the members and this pool will cover the expense of the accommodation (hotel) fuel and Food. We have calculated that the contribution will be around RsXXXX/- per person. One of us will handle the money and will make payments on our behalf. Ofcourse whatever money left over will be refunded.

LOGISTICS
At the moment we have not decided on who all are taking their cars. But since we are 12 we will need atleast 3 cars.

COMMON FOOD/ ITEMS
Usually the forest officials provide food for the volunteers at the chwoki’s or machaans. But some time the food packets don’t reach or also could be that the food quality is not that great. So just to be on the safe side we have already bought a few food items on behalf of the group. These items will be shared amongst us and distributed as per our postings in the jungle. The list of what we have bought is is as follows. If its not consumed by you, you can always gift it to the gaurds at the Chowki’s/ Machaans
- tea bags, dairy whitener, sugar cubes for tea
- MTR pre cooked Paneer Masala and MTR pre cooked Dal Makhani
- Cup noodles
- Assorted biscuits and assorted Namkeen packets
- disposable cups/plates/spoons/tissue
- Few large plastic bags for garbage disposal (Please do not litter, use these bags to carry your garbage back)
- we have also bought 4 odomos tubes for us

INDIVIDUAL ITEMS
Following are only suggestions from us, so you guys are free to add, remove, substract, cut anything from the list. But just make sure your individual items can be carried in a small rucksack/ bagpack that can be carried on your shoulder.
1. Torch
2. Swiss knife
3. Lighter
4. Days change, slippers & Towels (yes we plan to have a bath using the borewll water at the Chowki, should be fun)
5. Still Cameras, video cameras & Binoculars
6. Medicine’s – kindly carry general medicines like headache, tummy ache, vomiting, fever etc etc for you
7. Toiletries – As required (plss note: - do not carry perfume sprays or you will have no animals coming your way) Deo sticks are good.
8. Pen – you will have to fill forms
9. Wet wipes, hand sanitizers, soap strips
10. Cap, hats & sun glasses to protect you from the sun. Any cream upwards of SPF 15 will also help.
11. WATER: - well carry atleast 2 ltrs of water to start with; this can be replenished at the Machaan/ chowki
I hope I have not missed out on anything and my mail is more or less clear to you guys. If not then you are most welcome to either call me (number listed below) or mail me back on the same id.

We are also planning to meet on Friday so that we can fine tune the programme a bit more if required.

And if you have gone through this lengthy mail and reached till here, I thank you for reading!!

Regards
Dhiraj

With all the preparation done, as decided, on Saturday 05/05/12 we moved towards Ranthambhore. The route that we took was Jaipur – Chaksu – Kothun (left from here) – Lalsot – Sawai Madhopur – Ranthambhore.

It took us about 3.5 hrs to reach our hotel. Well the road is generally good except a few kms of really bad road 2 kms before reaching lalsot. Usually it takes about 2.5 hrs but since we were 3 cars everyone wanted to take breaks at different times, have tea etc etc en route.

Once settled at the hotel, a few of us went to the DFO’s office to see if they had already made the list and also to see where all we were allotted. We were surprised to find out that none of our names appeared at any machaans or chowki’s even though we had submitted them a week back and re confirmed a few days back.

Anyway, the officer confirmed that its still not late and he will ensure that our names will appear in the list. But what he told us was that each one of us will be separated and all of us will get only machaans and not chowki’s. We were anyways prepared for that.

He told us to report at sharp 0630 hrs in the morning tomorrow.

Back at the hotel we distributed the common stuff to everyone and the rest of the evening was spent chilling and relaxing in anticipation for tomorrow.
deky is offline   (14) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st May 2012, 18:22   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
deky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Jaipur
Posts: 1,191
Thanked: 956 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

Sunday - 06/05/2012

Next morning everyone was up and most of us were ready by 0630 hrs to proceed to the DFO’s office. At that time the office wore a deserted look. But to the credit of the officers, they were present but just a hand full of volunteers was to be seen. The list was not put up yet, so all of us were quite excited to know where each one of us was posted. Slowly and steadily as the time passed people started to gather. By 0830 hrs it was total chaos at the DFO’s office as around 500 men, women, boys, girls, guides, guards, officers and all other wanted to know where they were supposed to be, with who and what will be their mode of transport to the assigned place.

By 0900 hrs it was already getting way to hot, must be around 38 degrees already. This was an indication to what we had in-store for the rest of the day. What was nice to see that the Forest dept had ordered 100’s of cool water campers that were to be distributed to each volunteer. Seeing cold water supply was already a big relief. We could also see food and snack packets that were to be distributed as well.

Finally the list was out. But to our disappointment our names did not feature anywhere on the list. We got this to the notice of the official who calmly told us that we will be adjusted at vacant machaans as there will be loads of volunteers who do not turn up. In the mean while we had to fill an indemnity form stating that we as volunteers are solely responsible for any unfortunate event that might happen during our stay in the jungle. We were also given printed sheets with the list of animals we were supposed to count. The sheets were separate for carnivores and herbivores and the counting was supposed to be done of the animals as per different time slots.

Finally at 1000hrs the Field Director took everyone’s briefing and explained the do’s and dont’s and the importance of the census. Various animals present in the park were explained and their photos shown so that it would be easy for us to identify them.

Finally after the briefing we were allotted a canter that will take us into the park. None of us yet was assigned a machaan and we were suppose to go to Indala Chowki and from there we were to be distributed to various machaans in Indala area. There were lots of other folks from every walk of life in our canter. Young boys and girls, elderly people, the rich and the not so rich, all shared the same canter. Everybody was braving the heat and that was only because that everyone felt for the wild life and had a special place for the jungle in their heart.

Now for some pics so far

Ready In the morning with our bags packed
Name:  DSC09310.JPG
Views: 6773
Size:  219.4 KB

Filling up the indemnity bond form
Name:  DSC09311.JPG
Views: 6750
Size:  282.0 KB

Vishwas ( he has done census 5 times) briefing us
Name:  DSC09312.JPG
Views: 6717
Size:  271.0 KB

The chaos outside DFO's office
Name:  DSC09314.JPG
Views: 6707
Size:  312.3 KB

Food packets
Name:  DSC09318.JPG
Views: 6687
Size:  335.0 KB

Water containers
Name:  DSC09322.JPG
Views: 6635
Size:  255.4 KB

Checking names in the list
Name:  DSC09320.JPG
Views: 6407
Size:  245.4 KB

Forest officials taking our briefing
Name:  DSC09325.JPG
Views: 6268
Size:  223.0 KB

Sitting in the canter to be transported in the jungle.
A small trivia: Can you identify the man in the circle, he is a very famous personality in the pop industry
Name:  DSC09329a.JPG
Views: 6477
Size:  114.8 KB


To be Contd.....
deky is offline   (11) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2012, 11:05   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
deky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Jaipur
Posts: 1,191
Thanked: 956 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

Sunday Contd....

Finally our canter moved towards the Jungle. Instead of using the regular Gaumukh gate we were to enter the jungle from Guda Ghati Gate. The canter kept on dropping volunteers as and when we passed by their assigned machaans . The volunteers were either to be joined by a forest guard later or if they had friends they could ask them to join.

Basically what they called machaans were just a few logs kept on tree branches. These logs were tied together but were never secured properly. These machaans were at a distance of about 5 to 20 feet from the watering hole. The machaans were about 10 feet up from the ground and as we all know, 10 feet is hardly a jump for a spirited carnivore. Well, this was not the time to think about all this, it was time for the volunteers to make them as comfortable as they can up there and hope for the best.

After wishing them best, one by one, we dropped people off at machaans and carried on. At a junction our group going to Indala Plateau was asked to stay on the same canter and the rest that were suppose to go to another area were asked to change to a different canter.

Indala is basically a plateau that used to have farm land and villages till the year 2005. It had to be reclaimed and the villages had to be relocated once the tiger population started to increase. Over the period of 7 years the plateau has developed into a thick jungle and has lots of prey and also boasts of about 3/4 tigers/ess. It also has a big population of sloth bears and since it’s the closest to civilization there are a few leopards also there. This area is not yet open to tourists hence the animals there are not used to vehicles on the tracks, so they just run away hearing any engine noise

This is a google map image of our way to Indala Chowki
Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....-dsc09343a.jpg

Once we were up on the plateau hot air really started to hit us. It was simmering and whatever little life we saw was all below resting under whatever shade they could find.

Soon we reached Indala Chowki. At the chowki 6 of us were assigned machaans immediately so the canter went off to drop them. The rest of us were hoping that they would allow us to stay there as the flat floor of a chowki was much more comfortable a place to stay than the logs of a machaan. We quickly had our paranthas that we had got packed from the hotel and got down to our work of counting the animals that we could spot from there.

At about 150 mtrs from the chowki was a small water hole that was visible. Few herbivores dared the sweltering summer sun and were heading towards it cautiously. I was amazed that from 150 mtrs also they could hear us whisper to each other. They were really really cautious.

But our stay at chowki was short lived. 2 of us had to move out from there as there were 2 other machaans that were still unmanned. The gaurds were sweet and gave us an option of choosing between the 2 machaans. Since the canter had left we had the option of going to the machaan on foot or on a water tanker that fills water in the watering holes. Well we chose the later.

The water tanker dropped us close to the first machaan and went to fill up water. We still had to walk to the machaan. On our way we say fresh Sloth Bear scat. We got on guard but the forest guy who was walking with us was as unperturbed as if it’s a walk in the park. The thick throny undergrowth and beating sun was all adding to the agony. Soon we saw the machaan and were very disappointed. The machaan was overlooking a small watering hole in a ravine. There were lot of trees blocking the view and spotting anything would not have been possible. So after some deliberation we decided to go to the other machaan that was suggested to us.

We had to walk back to the place where the tanker had dropped us and had to wait while it returned. Passing time was not a big deal as the forest guard had lots of interesting escapades to tell us. Once the tanker returned we boarded it and moved to the next chowki. Actually moving around in a tractor in the jungle was an event on its own.

The next machaan was actually not a machaan. It was a 1 meter wide and 5 feet high wall erected on the edge of the plateau. One one side of the wall on the plateu was the jungle and the other side of the wall was a straight drop of 1000 meters. We were on the edge of the jungle.

Anyway, this wall seemed better as atleast we had a clear view of the jungle, and since it was on a cliff we would have some nice breese blowing. Also its much easier to rest the bum on a wall than on logs. So it was decided that this would be our home for tonight, now only the animals had to come and we had to count them

Some pics so far

Canter dropping volunteers at their machaans. Notice the logs kept on branches!!!
Name:  DSC09335.JPG
Views: 6210
Size:  321.7 KB
Name:  DSC09338.JPG
Views: 6183
Size:  303.7 KB

Groups getting divided to go to various areas
Name:  DSC09337.JPG
Views: 6120
Size:  347.4 KB

It was very hot, any shaded place was well utilized
Name:  DSC09339.JPG
Views: 6159
Size:  279.4 KB

Rest of our group leaving Indala Chowki for their machaans
Name:  DSC09343.JPG
Views: 6093
Size:  242.2 KB

Watering hole visible from Indala Chowki. The animals approached it cautiously
Name:  DSC09355.JPG
Views: 6111
Size:  276.1 KB

Having a drink
Name:  DSC09358.JPG
Views: 5953
Size:  287.1 KB

It was time to check out our machaan
Name:  DSC09362.JPG
Views: 5885
Size:  233.0 KB

Had to walk to reach the machaan
Name:  DSC09363.JPG
Views: 5885
Size:  231.3 KB

Fresh Bear Scat that gave us the jitters
Name:  DSC09364.JPG
Views: 5969
Size:  302.8 KB

The machaan was on the only green tree in that area
Name:  DSC09365.JPG
Views: 5907
Size:  292.9 KB

Our guard showing us that it had a proper Charpai instead of logs
Name:  DSC09367.JPG
Views: 5898
Size:  330.9 KB

But we decided against that machaan and waited for the tractor to pick us up to take to the other machaan
Name:  DSC09369.JPG
Views: 5849
Size:  201.9 KB

Ride on the tractor
Name:  DSC09371.JPG
Views: 5754
Size:  203.1 KB

Our home for tonight
Name:  DSC09373.JPG
Views: 5754
Size:  298.8 KB

Google earth view of where we were placed
Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....-dsc09373a.jpg

to be contd…….

Last edited by deky : 22nd May 2012 at 11:10.
deky is offline   (18) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2012, 12:16   #4
Team-BHP Support
 
.anshuman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Good-Gaon
Posts: 7,573
Thanked: 8,072 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

Moved the thread here from Assembly line section. Thanks for sharing the thread with us.
.anshuman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2012, 12:39   #5
Senior - BHPian
 
mallumowgli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Palakkad/Coimbatore
Posts: 1,053
Thanked: 633 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

Goody Goody

Deky's narrative skills and moon-light in a jungle. That's a great combination. Pleasantly surprised to see that there were over 500 volunteers

Awaiting the rest of the story - in detail!!
mallumowgli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2012, 12:56   #6
v&v
Senior - BHPian
 
v&v's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Delhi
Posts: 1,523
Thanked: 1,022 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

WOW! Awesome start. I would have been really difficult in May. Heat takes the toll. Hats off you all guys. I am hooked to the log. By the by how safe are those machan ? From the photo it does not looked more than 10 - 12 feet high.
v&v is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2012, 13:44   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 1,233
Thanked: 322 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

@deky - This should be termed as a adventure log. The machans hardly look of the type which can hold the weight of 2-3 guys. I guess you made a good choice of opting for the wall.

By the way where is this call for volunteers advertised every year and which month?

Also waiting for the answer to the trivia question.
amitwlele is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2012, 13:48   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
Maverick5490's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Thane
Posts: 1,242
Thanked: 565 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

Hooked onto this Adventure-Log! Waiting patiently for further updates.
Maverick5490 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2012, 14:04   #9
Distinguished - BHPian
 
phamilyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 5,503
Thanked: 2,985 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

Superb. Now I know why they selected you for this role. Someone like me would never have made the cut

Jokes apart, really nice adventure log. Keep it coming.
phamilyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2012, 14:34   #10
BHPian
 
samarjitdhar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sydney/Kolkata
Posts: 964
Thanked: 475 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

Wow, another fantastic escapade to the jungle and this time with a noble purpose. Thanks for sharing this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post
Sunday Contd....
These logs were tied together but were never secured properly. These machaans were at a distance of about 5 to 20 feet from the watering hole. The machaans were about 10 feet up from the ground and as we all know, 10 feet is hardly a jump for a spirited carnivore.
5 to 20 feet . What do they expect, to touch the animals and count them for the census? Also from the pictures it is clear that a strong carnivore can easily bring that machaan down thereby causing reduction in the human census. Pitiable state of affairs. I wish there was more budget allotted for such initiatives.
samarjitdhar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2012, 14:44   #11
BHPian
 
Manuuj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: New Delhi.
Posts: 615
Thanked: 1,014 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

What a great start to this thread..you have me rapt! Was not even aware of this wonderful and inclusive exercise. I am sure that though the heat would have been oppressive the rewards were amazing too.

The opportunity to spend a night in the open within a Forest Reserve and that too a Project Tiger Reserve is one that not many are privileged to experience.

Looking forward to the rest of the trip and photographs
Manuuj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2012, 21:10   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
deky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Jaipur
Posts: 1,191
Thanked: 956 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
Goody Goody

Deky's narrative skills and moon-light in a jungle. That's a great combination. Pleasantly surprised to see that there were over 500 volunteers

Awaiting the rest of the story - in detail!!
Thanks. Actually there were about 300 volunteers and 300 guards manning about 300 watering holes

Quote:
Originally Posted by v&v View Post
WOW! Awesome start. I would have been really difficult in May. Heat takes the toll. Hats off you all guys. I am hooked to the log. By the by how safe are those machan ? From the photo it does not looked more than 10 - 12 feet high.
Yes the heat during the day was killing, it was essential to keep oneself hydrated. As for machaans, yes the ones that I saw were mostly about 10 feet higher from the ground. So you can see how safe they were

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
@deky - This should be termed as a adventure log. The machans hardly look of the type which can hold the weight of 2-3 guys. I guess you made a good choice of opting for the wall.

By the way where is this call for volunteers advertised every year and which month?

Also waiting for the answer to the trivia question.
Well the guy is Mr. Amit Kilam from the pop group Indian Ocean. All I wanted to show is that the census is attended by people from all classes and all stature. The common thing binding everyone is the love for nature.

Just remember the census takes placeon the first full moon night of May every year. You just have to send a letter of application to the DFO. I myself didnt see any adverts in the paper. Next year its on May 26th!!

I have a few interesting stories about machaans at the end that I will share later. I will also give tips how to secure the machaans to take the weight.!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick5490 View Post
Hooked onto this Adventure-Log! Waiting patiently for further updates.
Yes it is, its indeed the thrill that I went for this year and will do it next year too

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Superb. Now I know why they selected you for this role. Someone like me would never have made the cut

Jokes apart, really nice adventure log. Keep it coming.
Lol, thanks!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Wow, another fantastic escapade to the jungle and this time with a noble purpose. Thanks for sharing this.

5 to 20 feet . What do they expect, to touch the animals and count them for the census? Also from the pictures it is clear that a strong carnivore can easily bring that machaan down thereby causing reduction in the human census. Pitiable state of affairs. I wish there was more budget allotted for such initiatives.
I guess more than the budget its the planning. India be it in cars or on road or anywhere safety is never the prime concern. Guess its the same here as well.

I was well aware that in the first machaan I had no primary/secondary escape route in case of an attack so out rightly refused to stay there. Atleast in the second machaan/ wall, more than it being comfortable I could have jumped off the wall and rolled down incase of a spirited carnivore attack

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post
What a great start to this thread..you have me rapt! Was not even aware of this wonderful and inclusive exercise. I am sure that though the heat would have been oppressive the rewards were amazing too.

The opportunity to spend a night in the open within a Forest Reserve and that too a Project Tiger Reserve is one that not many are privileged to experience.

Looking forward to the rest of the trip and photographs
Exactly why I went their, the thrill of being there is unparallelled!!
deky is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2012, 01:34   #13
BHPian
 
saion666's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: WB-06/TS-07
Posts: 276
Thanked: 232 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

It always rings a bell whenever I hear the word Ranthambore. Went on an excursion from school in the year 2000. Gosh,its 12 years now..time flies so fast.
Please do post more pics of the rugged place, pics of the fort and from above the fort. It must have been very difficult in this hot May.
saion666 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2012, 10:40   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
deky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Jaipur
Posts: 1,191
Thanked: 956 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

Contd.....Sunday Night



Once we settled down on the wall it was time to work. Well settling was not that difficult as the wall was flat and we could keep our stuff, remove our shoes and stretch quite easily. We could also move around on the wall if we wanted to. But moving around had its own negatives. As I mentioned earlier that Indala is not a part of the regular tourist circuit so the animals here are not used to seeing humans. So any of our movement or voices would make them alert and flee.

By now it was already 1700 hrs and as the heat reduced slowly and steadily movement of the animals started, we could see various deer varieties around and we started to count them. We had been given separate sheets for herbivores and a separate one for carnivores. The herbivores sheet started to fill up but the carnivore sheet was still empty. The sheet had time slots and we had to fill in against the name of the herbivore depending on the time we saw it

Sample sheet for herbivores with names and time slot
Name:  DSC09338a.jpg
Views: 6157
Size:  150.1 KB
Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....-dsc09338b.jpg

Sample sheet for carnivores with names and time slot
Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....-dsc09338c.jpg
Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....-dsc09338d.jpg

Slowly as the time passed we were scaring more animals away than the animals that were coming our way to drink water. Mind you we were being very quiet and being as still as we could, but even that did not help. Maybe the wind was blowing from us in the direction of the watering hole so they were aware of our presence and hence was shying away. We couldn’t have done anything, so we just waited, watched and noted whatever we saw.

Even though the animals coming towards us were very few and was rather disappointing but nothing could be taken away from the thrill of being in the jungle and listening to the jungle sounds It was already pass 1900 hrs in the evening and at a distance we could here peacock’s shouting or we could hear monkey’s creating ruckus. From time to time we could also hear alarm calls of various animals at a distance and every time we heard that our hopes raised, only to be dashed later.

The best part of this whole exercise is that you tend to learn a lot from the Jungle Guard who sits with you. Because they spend day and night inside the jungle they are aware of the each noise and each call, They can easily differentiate between a play full voice and an alarm call, they can also deduce from the alarm call as to what kind of carnivore is present. So a lot of our time was also spent talking to our guard and gaining as much knowledge as we could get out for him. So yes, sitting there even though we didn’t spot much as yet was not a complete waste.

As darkness fell, the jungle suddenly got quiet, the chirping of the birds was over and the monkeys’ and the other animal noises also lessened. It was suppose to be a full moon night but it was cloudy too, so the brightens from the moon was not there yet. The jungle was covered in complete darkness and the visibility was less than 5 mtrs. We actually could not even see the watering hole we were suppose to keep an eye on. But the brighter side to all this was that the hot breeze had given way to nice comfortable breeze that had started to blow.

Suddenly the silence of the night was broken by engine clatter at a distance. The engine sound started to grow as the vehicle came closer. Soon we could see lights and the realized it’s a gypsy heading straight to us. These guys were going from each and every machaan delivering us food packets. God Bless them!!

It was dinner time, the Poori, the Sabzi and pickle tasted lovely in the torch light. We had got juices and savory stuff from home to supplement the dinner. The dinner had to be had quickly as we realized that torch light would also be scaring away the animals. So with the dinner done and the garbage collected we decided we will take turns to sleep. Since there were the 3 of us we decided that each one will rest for 2.5 hrs and then the next one will sleep and so on.

By midnight the moon was out and the jungle looked awesome in the moon light, only things missing were the animals. Maybe it was not our night. To be very frank I was feeling very tired. Getting up early in the morning and then the whole day being in the sun had drained me completely of my energy. I excused my friend and asked him to keep a watch and decided to sleep as well. Within no time I had slept.

I was hoping that my friend would wake me up in 2 hrs or so but when I got up it was already 0400 hrs. I was shocked to see that all 3 of us had slept. But then I don’t blame him as he must have been as tired as me. Luckily the 3 of us were still on the wall and not blown away as the wind had really picked up overnight. Moreover no predator had come to us and taken us for easy meal.

By 0500 hrs everyone was up and the guard after getting up straight away went to the water hole. He was checking out the mud around the watering hole for foot prints of animals. He said except some fox’s (he guessed 2) and a few deer’s (his guess was around 15) nothing else had come that way. Then he walked about 100 mtrs from where we were to the gypsy track and confirmed that a Tigress with 2 sub-adult cubs had passed by that way in the last 1 or 2 hours. Though we never saw it, and would’nt even see it if we were awake but this was some exciting news.

Some more deer’s and even peacock’s made their way to have a drink but as the sun started beating down again everything started to go very quiet. By 0830 hrs the Indala Chowki guys had sent the water tanker for us to pick us up and get us back to the chowki.

Pics so far

The animals were ever attentive seeing us, we really had to keep a low profile
Name:  DSC09370.JPG
Views: 5472
Size:  215.2 KB

The view of the deep drop from one side of the wall
Name:  DSC09374.JPG
Views: 5404
Size:  200.1 KB

The view of the barren jungle on the other side of the wall
Name:  DSC09375.JPG
Views: 5435
Size:  256.6 KB

The water hole that we were supposed to keep an eye on
Name:  DSC09376.JPG
Views: 5447
Size:  303.4 KB

The moon was behind the clouds for a while. At a distance you can see lights of Madhya Pradesh State
Name:  DSC09383.JPG
Views: 5410
Size:  242.7 KB

Finally the moon its full glory
Name:  DSC09386.JPG
Views: 5685
Size:  147.6 KB

I tried a jungle shot in the moon light and this is what I got
Name:  DSC09382.JPG
Views: 5371
Size:  252.7 KB


To be contd.....
deky is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th May 2012, 13:07   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
deky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Jaipur
Posts: 1,191
Thanked: 956 Times
Default Re: Ranthambhore : Water Hole Animal Census, tigers, forts and more....

Monday Morning

By 0900 hrs we were back to Indala Chowki. I was amazed to see that my whole group had already collected there and we were the last ones to arrive. In fact apart from us the rest of the people had left their machaans at some point in the night or other and returned to the chowki. We were the only ones who stood fast at our place. I don’t blame them because machaans as we realized was never a safe place to spend the night. Atleast we had the luxury of a wall to rest our bum and sleep.

I was dying for a cup of tea so I collected all the milk powedr, the sugar sachets and the tea bags from the fellow members. The chowki guards were more than willing to provide us the utensils required. Over a cup of tea everyone had some or the other interesting story to narrate.

Here are some of the stories

Story 1
At one machaan one of the volunteers fainted twice in quick succession. Most probably his fainting was related to him having a heat stroke. Luckily his partner was a doctor so he could revive him. In the meanwhile the doctor had called up the forest authorities (they were at a high point and they had signal from MP in their cell). The forest authorities to their credit immediately dispatched a medical unit to the site. The medical unit reached there quickly and found him unconscious again. Timely first aid helped him and he managed to live to tell the tale.


Story 2
All the chowkis are connected to each other with wireless sets. During the night the guys learnt that a petroling gypsy party had fallen down in a deep ravine and out of the four people in the vehicle 2 had died. A scary thought!!

Story 3
Another story that was doing the rounds was that a few volunteers had noted some human movements around their machaans. They immediately notified it to the authorities. Authorities in turn later found out that these were poachers and quickly captured them.

Story 4
While returning I met a guy on the canter who had a completely washed out, drained and a pale face. I tried to have a conversation with him but he could not even utter a word. He seemed to be in a complete daze. Some of his friends told me his story. This guy was on a machaan that everyone had rejected first because everyone thought that there was no hope of seeing any animal there. But somehow he and a guard got posted there.
Later in the evening he saw a group of about 5-6 sloth bears approaching the watering hole. He decided to take a photo of them. In his excitement he forgot to switch off the flash. As soon as the camera flashed the bears got agitated and charged towards the tree. These guys started to climb higher on the tree but could only go a little higher. The bears kept on snarling at them and kept trying to reach them. Luckily for them, they had their bags and other stuff on the machaan and the bears just ripped them apart and after about an hour they left.

The ordeal was not yet over. After the bears left it was the time for a leopard to come. The leopard luckily did not charge at them, it just made the guys aware of his presence and left. They just had to spend the rest of the night on the machaan under such pressure.

Story 5
Then there was this story when a guy fell down from the machaan while trying to take a photograph of a tiger that was sitting under the shade of their tree. Their machaan was hanging over the watering hole so when he fell he fell in the water. Luckily for him the tiger got scared and ran away from him and he could manage to save himself by climbing back on the tree. He got a badly bruised bum but it could have been worse if the tiger decided to charge him instead.


Soon our time at the chowki was over as our canter had arrived to take us out of the jungle. We submitted our census sheets, duly signed to the chowki incharge and were on our way out. People were tired, they were dejected as none of them had seen the big cats plus it was too hot.

The jungle was quiet and there was very little movement. We had to go to each and every machaan on the way and pick up volunteers from there. The volunteers were told that before leaving the machaans, it has to be dismantled and the logs to be thrown away, also the watering holes have to be checked for pug marks and also for any animal traps laid by poachers. With machaans dismantled and the garbage collected we moved on.

As we approached the end of an area called Nal ghati, suddenly someone shouted Tiger..Tiger..Tiger. Ah well we all were on the lookout but it was this one gentleman who spotted the tiger sitting in a cave. This tiger was later identified as T-28 or Star Male of Ranthambhore. The king was oblivious to our presence and kept chilling in the cool place. From time to time he gave us the warning glances and continued to relax. After spending some time with him we decided to move out.

Our day was made. Spotting the Tiger gets about such a mood swing was unbelievable. The canter was full of buzz now and everyone’s tiredness had disappeared. Infact now no one even felt the harsh sun.

With mission accomplished we moved towards our hotel and after resting there for some time we reached Jaipur by the evening.

Some pics

Our group in the canter waiting to be transported out of the jungle
Name:  DSC09389.JPG
Views: 5200
Size:  236.1 KB

Few spotted deer enjoying the shade
Name:  DSC09390.JPG
Views: 5229
Size:  394.5 KB

It was hot and the jungle was quiet
Name:  DSC09412.JPG
Views: 5198
Size:  421.9 KB

Picking up volunteers and dismantling the machaans. You can see the watering hole after the canter and judge the distance yourself
Name:  DSC09411.JPG
Views: 5201
Size:  454.3 KB

Some more wild life en route
Name:  DSC09419.JPG
Views: 5178
Size:  402.6 KB
Name:  DSC09422.JPG
Views: 5126
Size:  390.7 KB

Then suddenly someone spotted T-28 resting
Name:  DSC09423.JPG
Views: 5089
Size:  237.7 KB

The King in his Kingdom
Name:  DSC09426.JPG
Views: 5091
Size:  272.2 KB

The mesmerizing stare
Name:  DSC09432.JPG
Views: 5078
Size:  283.9 KB


The End Of Water Hole Census
deky is offline   (14) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Forts, Palaces, Wildlife and more - 9,500 kms across South, West and North India Rajain Travelogues 63 5th February 2016 00:26
Ranthambhore National Park - Tigers and More! sach.sri Travelogues 94 3rd February 2014 18:41
MP: Temples,Hills, Marble Rocks, Water falls, Tigers, Erotic Statues and..... ramkya1 Travelogues 96 3rd January 2012 23:30
Driving through Rajasthan and Gujarat - Tigers at Ranthambhore mohansinha Travelogues 10 5th June 2010 23:12
Pot hole & man hole watch (pic inside) DaPilot Street Experiences 17 19th June 2006 04:25


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 05:10.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks