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Old 28th December 2015, 20:00   #16
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

Hi Sir,

Thanks a lot for penning this down. The pictures are totally FABULOUS! Words aren't enough to describe them. I am using them as my wallpapers. Hope you don't mind.

I have become quite a fan of your travelogues. Please keep them coming. The vehicle you have is just perfect.

Here's wishing you a lot more of great shots like these and Bison many more journeys.

Regards,
petrolhead_neel
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Old 29th December 2015, 13:49   #17
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gosu View Post
Wow!! Totally awesome pics you took here. Well, I must say that luck has been piggybacking on you all this time that you got such great close shots

P.S. I will eagerly look forward to your thread regarding the sinister bungalows of the Himalayas. I seem to have a penchant for such places
Thanks. Yes, I was lucky regarding the 'tiger on the wall'. But then, I drove 4100 km and did 7-8 hours of safaris every day to maximize my chances

Re the Himalayan trips: there is a WIP 2012 travelogue which I never finished. Haven't written about the many other trips (e.g. this year's) yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aum View Post
Amazing pictures, leave you wanting for more. Eagerly waiting for next episode. On slightly different note, how do you keep yourself motivated during long solo drives.
Thanks.

Motivation is never a problem. I enjoy the highways, the changing landscape, the different sights and smells. My only worry is tiredness. It helps to have good rest before a drive. Coming back is bit of a problem, since the accumulated lack of sleep catches up. I always drive slower and in a more relaxed manner when coming back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srinivaspai View Post
1/40s @ 500 mm handheld? Man that's awesome.!!! Rock steady hands. I was always a fan of your photography and now i have one more reason for that.
Thanks. Yes I have steady hands (lots of practice in holding heavy glasses), but I also try and use lenses that have good vibration reduction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petrolhead_neel View Post
Hi Sir,

Thanks a lot for penning this down. The pictures are totally FABULOUS! Words aren't enough to describe them. I am using them as my wallpapers. Hope you don't mind.

I have become quite a fan of your travelogues. Please keep them coming. The vehicle you have is just perfect.

Here's wishing you a lot more of great shots like these and Bison many more journeys.

Regards,
petrolhead_neel
Thanks for liking, Neel.

------------------------------

Tiger, duotone
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Chinkara (Indian gazelle), Ranthambore grassland
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Morning walk
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One can do Gypsy safaris and Canter safaris in Ranthambore. Gypsy seats get filled up fast, it is not easy to get a place unless you have good contacts. The canters are open, but not that suitable for photography due to the super excited tourists and the height of the vehicle. Moreover, the canters usually enter the park at least 30 minutes late because they visit all the resorts to pick up the guests. Since there are max 6 people in a Gypsy, the Gypsys enter the park much earlier, and have the best sightings. It happened a few times when other guests staying in my resort entered the park 45 minutes earlier, and had very nice sightings of a tiger in the open. By the time the Canters reached the place, the big cat vanished.

During a safari I got pally with a few foreigners. One of the guys had been traveling across the world for 8 months. I wish I was able to do that before taking up a job, just after I passed out of B School. What an experience that would have been! We decided to meet up in the evening, and had a great time sharing experiences from across the world.

Sleepy
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Light and shadow
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Chinkara in Kuno Sanctuary
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Cormorant
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Young tigress
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Sunset
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Male nilgai
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I had keenly followed the T24 (Ustaad) incident in the news and on social media. This male tiger was a celebrity, favouring guests with long catwalks. But he was also reputed to be a mankiller. When he killed a forest guard (T24’s fourth human kill) earlier this year, the forest department decided to relocate him. Good decision IMO. But there was a storm on social media. People – wannabe wildlifers without insight into the situation - became online activists. Candle-lit dharnas were organized in various cities. The conspiracy theories and rampant anthropomorphism were hilarious.

I asked a few people what had really happened. I got different versions, and different opinions. The forest department was pretty clear – the tiger had killed 4 people, and had actually stalked and killed two of them. He would eventually kill more, so he needed to be shifted. The online tiger gurus and activists were so unhappy that they talked about boycotting Ranthambore. It later emerged that the folks who had been shouting the loudest about boycotting Ranthambore, were the first ones to enter the park for photo safaris, when the park opened. What some people do to raise their social media profile!

Nilgai fawn. Natural vignette.
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Tigress, Zone 4
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Sloth bear, Zone 6
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Pink tongue
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Many people see my tiger photos and think that the tigers roam around like street dogs in the forest, or that I have some extraordinary luck. I wish! 95% of the time is spent waiting and enjoying the other sights, sounds and smells of the forest.

Ranthambore was greener than I had expected, and had lovely yellow grasslands. The lakes were very pretty. Zone 3 is supposedly one of the most beautiful zones in any national park in India. I got into a friendly argument with one of the guides. I said that yes, Zone 3 is beautiful, but there are a number of other parks that are as beautiful, if not more. As I mentioned earlier, the Ranthambore guides and drivers are rather proud and insular regarding their park .

Basking in the heat
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About to land
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Golden morning
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The evening encounter with the tiger on the wall (the one I talked about in the beginning of the thread) was serendipitous. A guide told me that happens perhaps once or twice a year. After a few minutes, the tiger stretched, yawned and jumped off the wall. A few unlucky folks who came late, missed the close sighting. I felt sorry for them. Too many times I have missed a good sighting by a few minutes.

Colour version of a shot that I had posted
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Snake bird (darter)
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Seen something?
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Territory marking
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On the morning of the day I was supposed to leave, I woke up at 5 am. A langur – sitting on top of some tree within the resort compound – was giving very loud warning calls. He kept on calling for a long time. A big cat would have entered the resort. I was lying on my bed in the tent, couldn't sleep. To get up and try to see the animal? Or catch a couple of hours of more sleep and wake up refreshed (I had a long drive planned for that day). I suddenly remembered Machhali - the famous tigress of Ranthambore. She has become old and has been displaced from the park. She can often be seen hanging outside a few resorts. The previous evening she had attacked a shepherd and injured him. But naah, an old tigress wouldn't come inside, jumping a fence or two. Most like it was a leopard.

I decided to snooze for 30 minutes. Later, armed with my camera, I walked around to see if I could spot the cat, but by then he had vanished into the undergrowth outside the resort.

-------------
Edit: a higher res photo for tiger lovers. Click to view properly.
Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip-dsc_80162.jpg

Last edited by nilanjanray : 29th December 2015 at 14:07.
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Old 30th December 2015, 10:04   #18
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

Wow!, Nilanjan
Those are some amazing pictures. Although you make it look so easy, I can only imagine the amount of waiting and hard work gone in to get those perfect shots.
It is a pleasure to see these animals in their native habitat, captured so beautifully.
I am a wild-life enthusiast myself and I am riveted to your thread.
Keep them coming.
cheerio.
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Old 31st December 2015, 16:37   #19
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

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Originally Posted by alphadog View Post
Wow!, Nilanjan
Those are some amazing pictures. Although you make it look so easy, I can only imagine the amount of waiting and hard work gone in to get those perfect shots.
It is a pleasure to see these animals in their native habitat, captured so beautifully.
I am a wild-life enthusiast myself and I am riveted to your thread.
Keep them coming.
cheerio.
Thanks alphadog. Yeah, wildlife photography is not for the impatient

You should start posting your own travelogues.
-----

A few more photos...

Male nilgai
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Shot through intervening twigs
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Cartoon (female nilgai)
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Big monitor lizard
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She approaches
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Sambar
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Old 31st December 2015, 18:51   #20
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

This is indeed awesome Nilanjan.. Excellent images and loved the write up as always and your best is helping you gain a lot. As said Adithya is one of the best and probably the only guy who knows RTR better
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Old 2nd January 2016, 11:37   #21
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

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Originally Posted by aravind84 View Post
This is indeed awesome Nilanjan.. Excellent images and loved the write up as always and your best is helping you gain a lot. As said Adithya is one of the best and probably the only guy who knows RTR better
Thanks Aravind. The Bison is ready for another small trip
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Old 3rd January 2016, 10:56   #22
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

Went through the posts. Simply awestruck. Seeing the photos has increased my thirst for adventure. Will be patiently waiting for your next travelogue.
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Old 5th January 2016, 00:19   #23
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

Hi Nilanjan

Awesome pictures. I completed a trip up north which included Ranthambore also. This was a 9500 kms trip. This was my second visit to Ranthmbore, the first being almost 15 years ago.

I must say, several people have the gear. You are a star at knowing how to use the gear you have. The pictures have come out really well.

Waiting for more.

Cheers
Rajain
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Old 6th January 2016, 20:18   #24
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

Great travelogue and photos, nilanjanray

Really liked the fact that you went out all by yourself into the remote wilderness - it does make the experience so much more immersive, as well as introspective.

And yes, I'm dying to read about those bungalows up North, that gave you eerie vibes!

Cheers/Ad
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Old 8th January 2016, 15:32   #25
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

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Originally Posted by Sandman689 View Post
Went through the posts. Simply awestruck. Seeing the photos has increased my thirst for adventure. Will be patiently waiting for your next travelogue.
Thanks, I am back from a short trip, no travelogue for that though. But here are a couple of photos:

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I think after this travelogue, I will finish my 2012 Kumaon one, it has been pending for 3 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajain View Post
Hi Nilanjan

Awesome pictures. I completed a trip up north which included Ranthambore also. This was a 9500 kms trip. This was my second visit to Ranthmbore, the first being almost 15 years ago.

I must say, several people have the gear. You are a star at knowing how to use the gear you have. The pictures have come out really well.

Waiting for more.

Cheers
Rajain
Thanks. Look forward to reading your travelogue.

Whether a vehicle or camera gear, one needs to know how to use what one has got. Even if it has a few cons

Quote:
Originally Posted by ads1485 View Post
Great travelogue and photos, nilanjanray

Really liked the fact that you went out all by yourself into the remote wilderness - it does make the experience so much more immersive, as well as introspective.

And yes, I'm dying to read about those bungalows up North, that gave you eerie vibes!

Cheers/Ad
Thanks. I often do solo trips into the wild. And the wilder the better. Nothing like experiencing animals prowling around, or the crackling campfire under the stars.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 8th January 2016 at 15:40.
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Old 9th January 2016, 14:33   #26
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

What an amazing story teller you are. I loved reading each and every word of your travelogue and the narration kept me hooked. The pictures are equally brilliant but I specially like the first pic of Kalua. Apparently he has been pushed out of the territory by T39 as she is most probably expecting or has delivered.

Regarding T24, I am no expert nor I expressed my opinion on social media regarding the shifting of T24. I am glad I did not as it turned out to be mud slinging match between both the parties. Conspiracy theories were floated by both the parties and some were hilarious to say the least.

But, yes, I feel all is not well at Ranthambhore. The FD did act in haste ( as discussed in this news article in Indian Express)

The whole T24 episode was a big mismanaged episode handled very un professionally by the FD. If they had done it professionally then I feel, they could have shifted him, without even a hue and a cry
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Old 13th January 2016, 14:15   #27
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

Vow, you have actually completed a travelogue (in fact twin travelogues)!! Congratulations are in order, since that does not happen quite often
(Am assuming that you have completed the forest portion and the remaining is only the return leg of the trip, right?)

Rated 5 stars - that's anyway a given!
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Old 15th January 2016, 20:20   #28
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

Amazing travelogue Nilanjan. Those are some wonderful pictures which makes a folder of wallpaper stuff. Especially the one with the cat (looks more of a watermark) I am not the photo - fancy guy, but these photos have changed my perspective. There is a lot more to wildlife that just the eye can see. Thank you again.
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Old 1st February 2016, 22:42   #29
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

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Originally Posted by deky View Post
But, yes, I feel all is not well at Ranthambhore. The FD did act in haste ( as discussed in this news article in Indian Express)

The whole T24 episode was a big mismanaged episode handled very un professionally by the FD. If they had done it professionally then I feel, they could have shifted him, without even a hue and a cry
I have heard different versions. I am more inclined to trust renowned tiger experts such as Valmik Thapar and Ulhas Karanth, as well as Dicky Singh, local NGOs and senior forest officials. That tiger was a showstopper, resorts have a lot more to lose if such a major attraction goes away.

In any case, a tiger that has killed 4 humans, needs to be locked up IMO. Relocating to another park will endanger local humans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
Vow, you have actually completed a travelogue (in fact twin travelogues)!! Congratulations are in order, since that does not happen quite often
(Am assuming that you have completed the forest portion and the remaining is only the return leg of the trip, right?)

Rated 5 stars - that's anyway a given!
Lol. By the time I start writing, I am usually making plans for (or embarking on) another trip

Last leg of the trip below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSMILES View Post
Amazing travelogue Nilanjan. Those are some wonderful pictures which makes a folder of wallpaper stuff. Especially the one with the cat (looks more of a watermark) I am not the photo - fancy guy, but these photos have changed my perspective. There is a lot more to wildlife that just the eye can see. Thank you again.
Thanks. One with the cat? Which photo is that? There are quite a few big cat photos :-)
--------------

I started late, after 10 am. Needed to fill up diesel, and also put some air in the rear right tyre (was down by a couple of points). Couldn’t find a decent tyre shop even after 15 minutes of slow cruising and asking a few locals, so was forced to stop the vehicle by the road and use the portable air compressor.

I decided to take the same route back: SM – Sheopur – Jhansi – Lakhnadon – Pench – Hyderabad - Bangalore. I prefer NH7 over NH8/NH3 + NH4. Various reasons. More traffic, less tree cover, memories . Called up Rukhad MPTDC, and they said that they have a room available. I told them that I would be late. Had to slow down a bit when it started raining. Otherwise it was a relaxing drive. Picked up some food and liquid refreshments from a local dhaba (yes, ask properly and thou shall receive) just before the forest/ghat area started. In the end, I reached Rukhad a little after 9 pm. Recharged my battery overnight.

Pench – Bangalore was uneventful. I am careful when doing the final stretch, because cumulative fatigue (all those morning safaris) grabs you when you least expect it. Listened to a couple of Casca audio books https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casca_(series) while driving.

Was interesting to note that Barry Sadler was scathing about Hitler, and rather effusive about Genghis Khan. Usually Westerners are in denial about Asian conquerors (and regarding the might of Asia, in general - even Rome was a sideshow compared to contemporary Indian and Chinese empires - e.g. see the CIA factbook or read Angus Maddison). If someone conquers from the West, he is called a hero or The Great (Alexander). If someone conquers from the East, choice adjectives such as barbarians, horde, savages etc. are used. Lol. Western Europe was saved from the Mongols twice due to sheer luck. Once when Genghis died, and once when Ogedei Khan died. Both times, the Mongol tumans had to turn back and ride a few thousand miles to Mongolia to attend the kurultai. The renowned Knight Templars were massacred at the Battle of Mohi (and at Legnica), the knights of Western Europe would have met the same fate.

Had dinner after passing Hyderabad. I don’t know why people keep saying that there are no eating places on NH7. There are many, and yes, many dhabas are suitable for family, if you use your judgement before stopping at a place. Had a 2 hour nap, and then drove to Bangalore. One advantage of entering the city in the early hours is that you miss the traffic. Start-stop traffic is a pain after driving for 1100 kms.

It is interesting how one lives in the moment, when out on a trip. Back home, sometimes you live the same week over and over. When out on a roadtrip, each day is different.

A few more photos…

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Old 1st February 2016, 22:48   #30
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Default Re: Tigers of Ranthambore: A 4,100 km roadtrip

Thanks. One with the cat? Which photo is that? There are quite a few big cat photos :-)

the one below. Amazing eyes.
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