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Old 4th January 2011, 05:02   #1
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Default Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserve

Bandhavgarh Tiger reserve, having the highest density of Bengal tigers known in the world was the destination of a group of 5 conservation minded Wildlife enthusiasts (including me) in the 4th week of November 2010.

In my visit spanning 3 days, I encountered countless species apart from coming across 14 different tigers (cubs+adults) over 6 drives and 1 trek in the park.

The ocassion was "Wildcat's Nature Club" foundation week and we had organised a visit of a small group of select wildlife enthusiasts to visit the park.

Needless to say that the visit produced more than 200GB of photographs from the 5 DSLR's and one point and shoot camera that our team was carrying apart from a great time for all the folks and a fantastic interaction with the local villagers of the Tala village.

In this travelogue, I will try to present an accurate sesssion by session report of our visit and also highlight some of the burning issues that this Tiger reserve is facing of late.

Before going into the details, I would like all of you to take a look at this graphic and understand the message that we are trying to give out.

Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserve-169777_171188379583378_167621346606748_313746_1992488_o.jpg
Critiques and comments are welcome.

A teaser shot from the group visit :
A photograph framed and presented to my girlfriend who couldn't make it to the visit and inspired me to get this shot.
Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserve-together-we-rock.jpg

A brand new year folks. Lets keep rocking !!

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
09960332228

Disclaimer: Although this writeup and travelogue is on a Tiger reserve and will have plenty of Tiger images, I am not trying to send the message out to everybody here that whenever you visit a Tiger reserve, you will surely come across Tigers. Tiger sighting and encounters are matters of luck and patience coupled with a lot of pre tour preparations.

I strongly advise my readers to read the writeup which I have posted here http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post2195887 (Pench Tiger Reserve - New season starts with a Bang !!!) before going though this thread to understand why I write about Tigers here on this forum.

P.S: I am going back to Bandhavgarh from 22-26 January to finish some unfinished documentation of some of the issues that this park is facing; and invite anybody interested to come along.

Last edited by abheekg : 4th January 2011 at 05:15.
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Old 4th January 2011, 09:29   #2
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Default Re: Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserv

Very touching indeed..
I am truly inspired about wildlife after having read your logs.
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Old 4th January 2011, 12:38   #3
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Default Re: Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserv

Thank you sir.
Even if one person is afftected by these writeups, I feel my job's well done.

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 4th January 2011, 14:20   #4
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Default The Wild muscle meets the tamed machine & Day 1 events

Presenting the most endearing / unusual / extraordinary image captured by me during this tour.
I am sure a lot of TBHP members (especially bikers) here will enjoy this extra special image.

The Wild muscle meets the tamed machine
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Text of the entire writeup : (courtesy Adwait Mahajan)

Day 1 (Morning)-

As the wheezing-80kmph max-3hour late white tavera crawled towards the Tala Gate, we knew that we had finally arrived here, in the land of the tigers. (Though the recent sightings suggested against it !) Still, high on hopes and low on time, we started off through the Tala Gate about 40 minutes late. The guide, Surinder Singh said that entering late has its own separate pros and cons. Well, obviously we didn’t want the cons and just hoped for the pros! Settling on my not-so-favorite seat, the ecstasy of entering Bandhavgarh after almost 18 months overpowered the sink of the seat. Sikander, our driver, is a sharp sighted man in the fleet of drivers of Mr. Mukesh Burman. His pan-stained mouth and weathered face has many fascinating and stories to share. Circling aroung the parks boundary and still fidgeting with the camera settings, a sudden halt was taken by Sikander by the presence of two huge tuskers.
Elephant Trunk details:
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A queue of almost 5-6 gypsies along with ours was waiting for them to return and report the happenings a few hundred meters’ away. After a wait of 20 minutes, the tuskers returned with a news..Carnivore movement. With an unruffled air around him, the mahout lamented that the Mirchaini tigress along with her 3 fully grown cubs were feeding on a sambhar kill made by them last night. With virtually no signs of them making an appearance with full stomachs, we let it pass for the evening. On the way back, the pugmarks of the Banbehi female were also seen which made their way into the dense canopy of foliage.

Co-existence:
Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserve-coexistece.jpg
Aah..so close, yet so far. Surinder singh also informed that the handsome Bamera male has left his territory for the time being and will appear again in eight days. Amazing assumptions I must say..and he was so sure about it. A good news we learnt was that the king himself, the majestic B2, is back in the park and nursing a wound on his neck after a territorial fight with another male. It would surely be a treat to behold him. On the way back, Sikander’s sharp eyes caught hold of a lone vulture seating on a dry treetop.

Vulture takeoff:
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Rare sight indeed. Just before making exit, we got some amazing images of Alexander parakeets in flight.

Diving Alaxendrene Parakeet:
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Thus the first part of the six concluded. Excitement levels are rising. Fingers crossed for round two.

.................................................. .to be continued. Critiques and comments are welcome.

regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
09960332228
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Old 4th January 2011, 14:32   #5
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Default Re: The Wild muscle meets the tamed machine & Day 1 events

Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
Disclaimer: Although this writeup and travelogue is on a Tiger reserve and will have plenty of Tiger images, I am not trying to send the message out to everybody here that whenever you visit a Tiger reserve, you will surely come across Tigers. Tiger sighting and encounters are matters of luck and patience coupled with a lot of pre tour preparations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
Presenting the most endearing / unusual / extraordinary image captured by me during this tour.
The Wild muscle meets the tamed machine

Dear Dr Ghosh,

Based on this disclaimer (post 1) and the picture "wild muscle meets the tamed machine", i would say you are an extreemly lucky guy.

You seems have some amazing power to attract the tiger.

thanks for sharing.
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Old 4th January 2011, 14:41   #6
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Default Re: Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserv

Ah.. yet another Dr. Ghosh thread to look forward to. Lovely start and some great shots already! Looking forward to it.

BTW where was the guy riding on the bike? what nerves for him to stop in Tiger country!

Last edited by sarmarishi : 4th January 2011 at 14:43.
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Old 5th January 2011, 13:19   #7
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Default Tigers sighting is a matter of planning + Luck. Contuining on to Day 1 evening drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
Dear Dr Ghosh,

Based on this disclaimer (post 1) and the picture "wild muscle meets the tamed machine", i would say you are an extreemly lucky guy.

I really do feel so. I have been very lucky with Tigers in 2010. I have also meticulously and scientifically planned all my visits based on ground reports from my contacts.

This is the kind of planning that I am referring to http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post2062123 (Heaven & Hell @ the same place....... Melghat Tiger Reserve here I come)

You seems have some amazing power to attract the tiger.

Now you don't say that sir otherwise I will have hordes of people simply following me in the wildlife parks whereever I go to .

thanks for sharing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarmarishi View Post
Ah.. yet another Dr. Ghosh thread to look forward to. Lovely start and some great shots already! Looking forward to it.

BTW where was the guy riding on the bike? what nerves for him to stop in Tiger country!
The guy was a forest ranger and the female cub decided to mock charge him. The man ended up in my gypsy.

Contuining on to Day 1 evening drive.

Day 1 (Evening)- Fingers uncrossed. High hopes hovered above our heads as we entered to complete the one third of our round. This time we got the reverse of the previous route (ie DB). The guiding force with us was the man himself, the intution of the doc. We straightaway rushed to the spot where the kill of the Mirchaini female and her cubs lay. A minute miscalculation showed that the cubs had already crossed the path in the noon itself for their post-lunch meal. (And what made us think that the 3 fully grown cubs along with their mother couldn’t polish off a mearge Sambhar deer!) Practically everyone on the DB and BD route were stationed on this path in wait of the cubs to make an appearance. As time trickled away, every vehicle started crawling away from the spot which included us also. Phew, another disappointment from the high expectations which we carried. As the sun was setting in the hills of the forest, we entered the territory of Kalua, the prince and heir of BNP. With zero expectations and fading light, we started rushing towards the gate until..i heard a distant chital alarm call. I confirmed it with Mukesh, and before he could comment anything, a much clear and close alarm call was made. Was it Kalua? Or the Banbehi female? Or some other predator? The time unforgiving never answered that question of ours, as we left behind those obvious cheetal alarm calls. As we approached the Tala gate exit, it was almost pitch dark leaving the land of tigers back in all its mystery and allure. After a really long, long time I entered a temple..a lord Shiva temple just outside the tala gate. Abheek sir, Ajay and myself prayed with a concentrated wish and ate the sugar crystal Prasad. Subsequently left for the Bandhavgarh intervention museum. Ending the day at bit of a low ‘high’ note. Hic.

(text of the writeup courtesy Adwait Mahajan)


regards,
Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 5th January 2011, 16:35   #8
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Default Re: Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserv

Abheek, eagerly waiting for the pics. It would be a great help if you can share some logistics like the best entry gate, economical places to stay, safari timings etc.
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Old 6th January 2011, 04:13   #9
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Default Day 2 Morning drive. We open our tiger account at BNP

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeTorque View Post
Abheek, eagerly waiting for the pics. It would be a great help if you can share some logistics like the best entry gate, economical places to stay, safari timings etc.
Talaz zone 1 is the best gate.
morning drive 6am to 11am
evening drive 3pm to 6pm
Lots of budget hotels in Tala village like Kumkum lodge which can be available for ~500 per room in offseason. Gimme a call and I will tell you the best place to stay depending on your requirement.

Continuing onto the events of day 2 morning drive.........
(text by Adwait Mahajan)

Day 2 (Morning)


After barely having a couple of hours sleep, my international alarm woke me up. I unwrapped myself from my half blanket-half mattress to start the new morning. It was fun to wake up the doc from his heavy doze by pouring cold water on his feet on a chilly morning! Sikander reached at the room bang at 4.15am and told us that he had placed our gypsy at the first position in the queue.

Spooky Bandhavgad scape early morning
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Now, enterning any forest before anyone has its own charm. All set, we rumbled into the forest at the crack of the dawn. This time we had got the BC route which , according to me, is the most scenic path to enter the great Bandhavgarh national park. A serene and thick mist had settled over the Tala meadows, and the mild orange and crimson hues of the dawn added life to this portrait like scene.

Early morning mist
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Early morning wild grass
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We could just manage to get a few decent shots of this scene, as we didn’t want the following gypsies to overtake us. Now I might sound too cliché, but this morning had indeed a different flavor of positivity in it. As we surfaced the stony, hilly terrain into the area where we had heard the last evenings calls, we were told by the guide that B2 was seen by a few gypsies last evening.

Bandhavgad Grass against a stony background
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Fort afar
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We gulped and moved ahead. As we crossed the punishing terrain under Kalua’s territory (who has been worryingly not seen seen since almost 20 days), we imagines of some dream tiger images on those white sheets of rock. Cruising ahead towards path C, we were halted by a concentrated mob peering in one direction. This was it. Our first tiger sighting of our trip to BNP !!

Severe adrenaline rush and we immediately jioined the action. Our 5 guns (read dslr cams) finally got the target to fire away the flurry of clicks. It was a young fully grown female cub of the Mirchaini litter who was resting near the banks of a small stream in the same suspected area.

Stare
Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserve-stareimg_3929.jpg

It was totally unperturbed by the harsh vehicle and vocal movement around it. This was the place where Sikander showed his finesse as a 4X4 driver which was a photographers delight. Maneovuring the vehicle into tight spots he stopped it from where we at the back had the best possible angle. He was fast becoming our favourite like Lallan at Pench !!

Baring his fangs
Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserve-baring-fangsimg_3890.jpg


Notice the air bubble
Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserve-notice-bubbleimg_3907.jpg

I was totally being a langur by jumping over our vehicle from practically every direction. Sikander totally asked me to step on whichever part I wanted to have that perfect snap. In this process, I even migrated to almost 2-3 other gypsies close by to the shock of the occupants! Sorry pals, my sanity had gone for a toss. After a decent marathon, the young striped beauty yawned and lazily inched back into the thickets to join the rest of her family. After waiting for a while, even we left gradually. A beautiful start indeed.

We reached center point, a snacks-cigarette-chai-loo spot inside this zone for a break. As Doc finished the last inches of his gold flake, we left for the remaining round.

Now one interesting fact with the word ‘expectations’ here. First of all, you are expected to be free of them whenever you are in the jungles and a tiger sighting should just be a topping which may/may not happen. But not to have expectations, impossible. And to have them again after having had a sighting, super impossible. And then, barely a kilometer away, this second expectation barrier was broken by the ravishing Rajbhera tigress. With hardly 4-5 vehicles around her, she lazily finished her drink and crossed the path in all her glory to leave us gaping at her majestic prance.

Rajbehera female in the meadows - A habitat shot
Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserve-rajbehera-female-habitat-shotimg_3956.jpg

Now this was something totally out of the blue. As the queen gradually disappeared into the grasslands, our heartbeats settled down to the impromptu scene we just witnessed.

A collared scoops owlet and a giant woods spider also gladdened our lenses on the way back. We reached back to the gate. Made a small bare feet visit to the Shiva temple next to the gate. Hope returns.


regards,
Dr. A Ghosh

-----------------------------------
to be continued..........................

Last edited by GTO : 13th January 2011 at 10:15. Reason: Removing FONT Tags. Please do NOT cut-copy-paste text from other word softwares. It results in a formatting error.
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Old 6th January 2011, 16:32   #10
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Default Re: Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserv

Truly amazing pictures. I cant wait to visit this place. Hats off to the mother nature!!
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Old 6th January 2011, 16:49   #11
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Default Re: Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserv

Wonderful pictures, which inspires many to spreading awareness to save Tiger.
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Old 6th January 2011, 19:35   #12
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Default Re: Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserv

Dr. Ghosh,
Your photographs take us there, especially the habitat shots. The big cat captures are amazing too. The wary tiger by the bike is a rare one, which shows how we are encroaching in their territory with our mechanized modernization. What is the bike doing there with ARMY on its number plate?

The first yawn pic. is perfectly clicked at the widest.
The tiger in the meadow is very well composed and a poser.
The diving ring neck parrot...I can go on and on.

What I am missing by not being there is being compensated by your photographs or am I missing being there more by your watching your photographs?

Waiting for more.
Regards,
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Old 18th January 2011, 21:38   #13
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Default Re: Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserv

Dr. Ghosh:

Nice talking to you yesterday. I sincerely appreciate your efforts and do believe that better understanding proliferates amongst us and drives us to do our bit to preserve these fascinating animals.

Great shots of the elephant trunk and the yawning tigress. I am sure there would be great photographs in the the future, but the effort and those 2 photographs did it for me (Not that I dont want the other photo's).

5 star material indeed, way to go doc!

Best,
Projjal
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Old 18th January 2011, 23:45   #14
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Default Re: Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserv

Beautiful pics and brilliant narration. Let us know what is the outcome of the study
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Old 20th January 2011, 16:35   #15
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Default Re: Magical Bandhavgarh : A group visit cum study tour to a high density Tiger reserv

Dr. Sir, superb shots, very well composed and sharp. The second and third early morning snaps not up to the mark of the others. The rest simply bring the forest to our monitors, live and vibrant.
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