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Old 13th November 2011, 12:52   #196
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

I shall if you don't....

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Hope you don't mind if i contact you for clarifications if any.
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Old 13th November 2011, 13:11   #197
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

A piece of Information that you might be interested in!! And I never knew they allowed canters inside the park too!!

This article came in todays (13/11/11) edition of Times Of India - Jaipur

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-cci11132011_00000.jpg
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Old 13th November 2011, 14:29   #198
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Even I'm surprised by this information. Never saw any Canter on my visits & neither did Harisingh mention anything about.

BTW, canters are very noisy...

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A piece of Information that you might be interested in!! And I never knew they allowed canters inside the park too!!

This article came in todays (13/11/11) edition of Times Of India - Jaipur
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Old 14th November 2011, 10:36   #199
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Coming back from a weekend trip to Sariska. Yes, the above mentioned fight between Canter drivers and Gypsy drivers also spoiled one day of our trip (Friday). Finally managed to get the Hotel (Sariska Palace) Gypsy permits on Saturday.

On Saturday's (also on Tuesday), one can visit the Hanuman Temple on thier own cars.

Will upload the photo's later.
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Old 21st November 2011, 14:21   #200
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Hello All,

This post is not about "I spotted the Tiger" rather its about "how I spotted the tiger"

Mind you, I do not have any photographic proof of the incident, but I really do not care. The image of the collared tigress ST-2, staring in my eyes, from not more than 6 feet away will be etched in my mind for ever, and the thought of sighting a tiger for the first time ever in the wild will always give me goose bumps. Photographs will never replace that thrill!!

Here's how the incident happened.

My friend and I had plans to visit Sariska on 20/11/11. I asked Mr Gurudatt aka GD1418 if he was interested, but due to some prior engagements it was not possible for him.

So my friend and I reached Sariska at 1530 hrs where a gypsy was waiting for us. This was no oridanry Gypsy. My friend with his contacts had organised the chief warden's gypsy and it had a wireless set for communication. Also due to his "contacts" the safari timmings were relaxed for us.

I shall not write in detail what happened between 1530 hrs till 1745 hrs as nothing much happened. We were just chasing signals from one point of the forest to other without much luck.

At 1745 hrs the day light had almost finished. Due to the surrounding mountains and the tree cover day light ends much faster in the jungle. As time was passing I had boosted the ISO of my DSLR from 200 to 1600, still hoping to capture something.

We stood dejected at Kalighati. Those who have visted Sariska would know that Kalighati is the main check post on the main road between Sariska gate and the Pandupol Temple. All we could do was look at the pug marks they have preserved and put up at the check post for the visitors to see.

It was all very quiet. The regular visitors gypsies had left the park by now. Birds had finished chirping and retired to their nests. A few noises of monkey's jumping from one tree to another and subsequently twigs breaking could be heard in the distance. As we stared at the pugmarks dejectedly, suddenly we heared an unmistakable sound of a terrified spotted deer. This was an alarm call for sure. Every one looked at each other, and soon there was another alarm call. This was not very far, infact it was coming from within 100 mtrs from where we were. The guide in a hushed voice said that a predator is definitely there at the watering hole just behind Kalighati check post. It could be a leopard, could be a hyena or could be ST-2 the tigress.

We hurriedly reached our gypsie and proceeded to the watering hole. Suddenly things started to look bright but not the day. The day light had finished and darkness spread all around. Within 5 minutes we were at the watering hole. But the alarm calls had stopped by then. The guide and the driver deduced that most probably it was a hyena hence the alarm calls stopped. As unlike a hyena, that runs away very fast, a tiger or a leopard walk very slowly hence the alarm calls tend to go on for a while.

The ST-2 party (the gaurds that track ST-2) that was around Kalighati were summoned at the watering hole. Their reciever also did not hint at the presence of the tiger in the vicinity. It was dejection again. With gloomy faces we, along with the ST-2 party returned back to Kalighati. So much for technology!!!

No sooner did we reach Kalighati we heard another alarm call. This time it was a Sambhar Deer shouting for his dear life. The first alarm call was from the right side of the road, but this time it was from the left side and not very far away from us either. It was time to head off on the road going towards Pandupol. This time out guide took the tracking antenna himself. Luckily the alarm call continued this time but the antenna was still not picking up any signal. We stopped the gypsy, the guide said, its indeed a big cat, could be either a leopard or ST-2. But its most probably a leopard because the antenna has no signal.

Listening to continuous alarm calls we waited by the road side. It was totally dark by now so we had to really strain our eyes to see what we were hoping to see. The gypsies head light were helping but not much. The driver, the guide and my friend were looking in the front in the direction of the call, where as I had lost hope and was looking behind.

Suddenly at a distance of about 50 mtrs, in the direction where I was looking I saw a majestic silhouette of an animal coming out of the bushes. Was I dreaming, was this really it? In a confused state of mind I told my friend and the guide to look behind. The guide exclaimed " Durga Maa Hai" (Its Lordess Durga herself)

As soon as he said that all hell broke loose. The driver started to turn the gypsy around, the friend started "shouting" no noise no noise!! What the hell, the gypsy was making so much noise, who would be listening to us anyways!!!

Slowly we started to track the Tigress from behind. She increased her pace as was we inched towards her. I was spell bound watching her walk so gracefully, there were no thoughts going in my mind. I was just mesmarised seeing the elusive for the first time ever.

We were quiet, but the soft roar of the engine was definitely disturbing her. As we reached 10 feet from her she went in the bushes on the right.

We reached the spot where she went in the bushes and stopped the engine and the head lights went off. The eyes were straining to see something in the dark, it was all very quiet. Within minutes, just about 5-6 feet away from us in the bushes, the unmistakable silhouette of a tiger's head rose from the bushes.

She was beautifull, she had the aura in her and they way she looked at us gave us the jitters. I could not help but stare back at her. I was not supposed to but I was hypnotised. I just could not take my eyes away from her.

Even the auto focus on my camera had gone bonkers. ISO was at 3200 but well, the camera could not focus hence I could click nothing. In my state of mind, manual focussing didnt even cross my mind.

This was it, this was the moment I was waiting for, for so long. William blake's poem was so true

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


By then She had silently disappeared in the night into the bushes. We could not hear a thing it was actually like "the ghost who walks"

It was almost 1830 hrs now. The guide said she would go to the watering hole we visited a little while earlier, but the driver said she would come back on the road and continue the path. The ST2 antenna in all this had started to pick up the signal, but it showed its movements towards the watering hole. So back we went there. At the watering hole we again heard alarm calls at the place we last saw ST-2, and that meant she was back around the place or walking on the road. It was time to hit the road again and go back to the place we left her.

We stopped the gypsy at the same spot again. Surely she came out of the bushes again, but this time she started to walk on the opposite direction. Time to take a U turn and follow her again.

Apparently ST2 is a very shy female. She runs away at the very sight of humans. So true to her nature she went in the bushes again. The tracker antenna was picking her signal very clear. The loud and continuous tick tick tick of the receiver meant she was within 10 meters of us.

We waited on the road, she was sure to come out again. The eerie silence of the night was suddenly broken by the unmistakable sound of death. She had killed a wild boar. Her deep growling and the groans of the dying animal were clearly audible to us. Not being able to see the action but to actually hear it was a quite an achievement for me.

But this also meant our chase was over. Now that she had made the kill, she would just lay still and enjoy her dinner.

We decided to return back. The guys spoke of their experiences of watching a big cat before. But I had nothing to add to their conversation as this was my first time. I just kept replaying the events of last 45 mnts in my mind and kept smiling!!

Wasnt I lucky today!!!
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Old 21st November 2011, 14:27   #201
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Deky,

You have such a narrating skill. Admire you for that. It was very nicley written and it was infact as though we were around. Can visualize it so easily.
Now coming to the main part. It is one hell of a lucky day for you. Tiger sighting and that too with full privacy. Wow, hope you get more such occasions.

Note from the Team-BHP Support Team: Please avoid quoting an entire large post. It inconveniences our small screen & mobile readers.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 16th December 2011 at 16:56.
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Old 21st November 2011, 19:01   #202
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

I dont think I have done justice to Sariska Sanctuary on the whole in my last post. Even after seeing the elusive I would still maintain that the other animals and and birds also are part of the package. In fact the relationship is so beautifull and complex that everyone needs everyone to survive.

Hence here are some pics of the flaura and fauna witnessed on the trip

Some important information about Sariska
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-20112011385.jpg
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-20112011386.jpg
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-20112011387.jpg

At the periphery of the jungle, the domestic cattle share living space with the wild. A big problem to which a solution is deperately needed.
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08266.jpg

As our safari went on, our guide (gd1418's best friend) used to get down, check on pug marks, come to some conclusion and then we used to go on a chase. This happened a few times
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08271.jpg

A young one of a Spotted Deer
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08272.jpg

A young one of a Neelguy
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08277.jpg

An adult Sambhar deer quenching his thirst at one of the abundant watering holes
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08280.jpg

Some were just having a mud bath
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08284.jpg

Then others were all set to pick up a territorial fight and chase the intruder away
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08287.jpg

Some wanted to be the greedy and have all the salt to themselves, so were not shy to pick up fights.
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08289.jpg

This pic confirms the presence of canters plying in the park. They are so God damn noisy.
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08291.jpg

We went to a chowki on top of a hill (forgot the name). There they had planted 2 Kalpvrikshas, but only one survived. Its a very rare and supposed to be a wish fulfilling divine tree. Read more about it here.
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08292.jpg

View from the top of the Chowki
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08293.jpg

Finally when I managed to get the manual focusing and the shutter speed right in the camera, the tigress never appeared again!!
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08305.jpg

Regards

Last edited by deky : 21st November 2011 at 19:04.
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Old 12th December 2011, 20:32   #203
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Hi Gd!!

Eagerly waiting for the detail's of your escapade on Sunday (12/12/11). Hope you get time to update this thread soon

As for me. I did go for leopard spotting to the jungle near by my house at 0600hrs. We spotted some variety of deers and lots of nice birds but unfortunately could not spot a leopard.

The positive was that we saw fresh footmarks of two leopards most probably from the previous night. One was a full grown adult and the other was a baby. Apparently there are 12+ leopards in that area

We are planning to make it an every sunday affair as its just about 3 kms from my home (see map). Point A is my house and point B is from where the protected jungle starts.

Regards
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Old 13th December 2011, 10:34   #204
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Sunday was the 11th...

Will start the travelogue once I process the photographs. The Jhalana area sounds interesting. Can you provide more details like does it have unrestricted access or some permissions have to be taken, what are the visiting timings if any etc.

IMO, try visiting around 6 pm and go with a spotlight if possible. I would love to visit Jhalana with you.

In the meanwhile enjoy this teaser from Sariska:

11th Dec, 2011 at 4:55 pm - ST 6 - Star male Tiger of Sariska - the biggest, meanest, elusive & temperamental. The snarl was just about forming when I turned my eyes & camera away. Forty-five minutes of uninterrupted blissful viewing in the evening. Ours (Ashish {ashthedivx}, I, Harisingh {guide} and Rajinder {driver}) was the only jeep around...

The snarl

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5328.jpg

Royal spray

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-5402.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post

Hi Gd!!

Eagerly waiting for the detail's of your escapade on Sunday (12/12/11). Hope you get time to update this thread soon

As for me. I did go for leopard spotting to the jungle near by my house at 0600hrs. We spotted some variety of deers and lots of nice birds but unfortunately could not spot a leopard.

The positive was that we saw fresh footmarks of two leopards most probably from the previous night. One was a full grown adult and the other was a baby. Apparently there are 12+ leopards in that area

We are planning to make it an every sunday affair as its just about 3 kms from my home (see map). Point A is my house and point B is from where the protected jungle starts.

Regards

Last edited by gd1418 : 13th December 2011 at 10:35.
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Old 13th December 2011, 10:44   #205
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

GD bhai, that some beautiful shots. 45 Min that means again you defaulted on the exit timing .

I am also planning visit soon. May be can plan with your next trip.

More pics please.
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Old 13th December 2011, 11:01   #206
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Once bitten twice shy... an old saying. I did not default on the exit timing and made it just in time. The show started at 4:46 pm and would have continued longer, but since the exit time was 5:30 pm we left for the gate at 5:25 and were out by 5:35 pm.

A grace of 5-10 minutes was acceptable and since we were the only ones to have spotted a Big Cat on that whole day, the forest rangers were more interested in seeing the pictures rather than enforcing the rules.

We can plan together and have patience. 175 pictures taken and needs time to sort.

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Originally Posted by v&v View Post

GD bhai, that some beautiful shots. 45 Min that means again you defaulted on the exit timing .

I am also planning visit soon. May be can plan with your next trip.

More pics please.
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Old 13th December 2011, 14:17   #207
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Sunday was the 11th...

Will start the travelogue once I process the photographs. The Jhalana area sounds interesting. Can you provide more details like does it have unrestricted access or some permissions have to be taken, what are the visiting timings if any etc.

IMO, try visiting around 6 pm and go with a spotlight if possible. I would love to visit Jhalana with you.

In the meanwhile enjoy this teaser from Sariska:

11th Dec, 2011 at 4:55 pm - ST 6 - Star male Tiger of Sariska - the biggest, meanest, elusive & temperamental. The snarl was just about forming when I turned my eyes & camera away. Forty-five minutes of uninterrupted blissful viewing in the evening. Ours (Ashish {ashthedivx}, I, Harisingh {guide} and Rajinder {driver}) was the only jeep around...

The snarl

Attachment 855315

Royal spray

Attachment 855316
Ah Beautifull pics of the magnificent ST6. I wonder why do all the big cats start spraying on seeing you

Even more eager to see the rest of the pics now!!

Some points about Jhalana:-

1. The area marked in green in the subsequent photo is called the Jhalana protected forest. Point A as mentioned earlier is my house and point B is the point till access to local population is allowed. The undergrowth is pretty thick in the area at this time and maybe its as dense as what Sariska is. There are quite a few Leoprads reamianing in this area and atleast 3 have strayed in the city limits during the last 2 years. Last month one was hit by a car and later succumbed to its injuries.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-final.jpg

2. At point B there is a "Mata Temple" hence locals are allowed till there on specific timings. Timings being from 0600 hrs till 0900 hrs during summers and winters and in the evening 1700 hrs till 1800 hrs in winters and in summers its 1730 hrs to 1830hrs. After that the gates are closed.

3. There are tracks after the temple but permission usually is not granted. We had approached the CFO yesterday and showed keenness to explore the area and have been verbally granted permission to go inside the tracks. So this Sunday as suggested by you we are planning to go in the evening. We shall take spot lights too.

4. The pujari's at the temple say the leopard sighting is very common in the area, as the watering hole is pretty closeby. so lets see what spans out.

5. You are most welcome any time as it will be an honour to go with you

Some pics of the area

This is "Shikar Bari" The hunting place at the Jhalana Area for the erst while kings
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08309.jpg

Some wildlife
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08310.jpg
Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-dsc08311.jpg
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Old 15th December 2011, 18:09   #208
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

It was 40 days from my last visit to Sariska (30th Oct, '11) and the call of the jungle was getting louder & stringent. I succumbed to the call when it became unbearable.

I planned for a visit to Sariska on 11th November and contacted Dhiraj {deky} Prajesh {kpzen} & Ashish {ashthedivx} to join me. Except Dhiraj, both confirmed but Prajesh had to pull out due to some last minute commitments. This time my plan was to leave quite early in the morning around 2:30 am and reach Sariska by 6:45 or 7 so as to take the morning safari that would end at 10:30. And then after some rest & lunch do the evening safari & return back home. I conveyed this to Harisingh and he said that he would be ready with all the arrangements.

On the 10th evening Ashish murmured a protest that 2:30 am seemed a wee bit too early and if the departure could be delayed or so. I stood my ground and coaxed him to stick to the plan. He agreed with a deep sigh..

10th December, 2011

Reached home from work at around 8:30 pm, freshened up and skipped dinner. The excitement kept me awake and I spent time watching TV.

11th December, 2011

I sent a message to Ashish at 1:45 am and repeated it again at 2 am without any response. I assumed this 6' 4" gentle giant was fast asleep. Hesitantly I called at 2:05 and after a few rings I heard a deep drawl - " Sir ji, getting ready and leaving in 10 minutes ". Phew..! His place was 38 kms away and I kept my fingers crossed. Around 2:30 I called him again and to my dismay he said that he had just left. No way he could have made to my place in half-an-hour, but to his credit he did that exactly.

He parked his car in the visitor's parking of my condo and we were enroute to Sariska at 3:10. I took the NH 8 as I had heard that quite a few expansion works were completed and the traffic was smooth. It indeed was and I drove non-stop till Highway King after Behror to take a leak. It was then that the cold hit us. The car cabin was cozy and outside it was brrrr...!

It was here that I told Ashish to get his camera out and advised him to change certain settings as till then he had shot only in the Auto mode. In the jungle this would have popped up the flash irritating the animals. I asked him to boost the ISO and set the camera in the aperture mode.

Disaster struck. The menu of his D80 didn't open, the rear display didn't turn on and the battery indicator was blinking. He told me that he had charged the battery the whole night. Ashish tried cleaning the contacts, but the result was the same. The look on Ashish's face said it all. Fortunately, the batteries of D80 & the D300 are the same and so I asked him to try my camera's battery in his unit. Voila, the D80 sprang to life. I tried Ashish's camera battery in my camera and it wouldn't work. I told him that the battery did not hold charge and on closer inspection it was discovered that this battery was Made in China and its design was a bit different than the one in my camera that was an original.

I took out the AC~DC invertor and connected the battery charger. The charger blinked thrice and then remained steady which was an indication of the battery being fully charged. This confirmed to me that the battery was a dud. Ashish was totally dismayed.

I told him not to worry and to use my battery. I told him that we would swap if we have a Cat sighting and till then he could shoot away to glory. That lifted his spirits.

Took the left turn to Sariska near Shahpur and stopped at the only open dhaba on the right for a cup of tea. Called Harisingh to tell about our location and had a very refreshing, rejuvenating hot tea.

The clock showed 7:15 am when I turned into the parking lot of Sariska Tiger Reserve's booking area. Harisingh & Rajinder were ready with the jeep and off we went into the forest. At the entrance gate the forest ranger informed that last night ST 3 was seen roaming several times near the gate. This piece of news gladdened Ashish & me. For Ashish, this was a first real jungle safari..


to be continued.../-
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Old 15th December 2011, 18:41   #209
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11th December, 2011

We were inside the jungle and it was biting cold. Within a few minutes the fingers became numb. This was a first for me in a different way. I carried my camera with me but its battery was being used by Ashish so I sat back and decided to enjoy and feel the jungle. Initially we heard that there were 4 tigers in the vicinity but later we found that only three were in the vicinity - ST 3, 4 & 6, the last two being males.

We turned towards the Karna ka Waas lake and saw a couple of crocodiles, Storks, Boars, Egrets and many ducks. Ashish was busy with his camera..

Moved further towards Jalebi Chowk and saw fresh pug-marks of ST 4. We followed it for quite sometime and then it vanished. We waited and waited but not a single sound or an alarm call. The jungle was silent.

We criss-crossed many a tracks and found lots of fresh pug-marks of 4 & 3, heard a few alarm calls of peacocks, a single call of a deer and then silence. Ashish was a bit disappointed when we returned to the Kaalighati Chowki to relax. Here we got an information of ST 4 moving towards Tehla area and we left towards a place called Goolargoom which was the crossing point and parked ourselves. On our way we heard a deer call and assumed that ST 4 was on the move.

We waited & waited but nothing emerged. Later we got to know that while we waited above on the road, the Tiger crossed over from below under the bridge without making a sound or being seen by others.

Returned and headed towards Daarunda where ST 6 was seen last. Again several pug-marks but this turned out to be that of ST 3 and this lead to the mountains. We lost the trail after sometime.

It was time to come out of the jungle and we were very tired & hungry. Harisingh told us to come back by 2 pm.

I shall now leave it to Ashish to narrate his experience about the morning safari along with photographs. I shall continue later..

to be continued.../-
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Old 15th December 2011, 19:04   #210
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

GD Sir,

Totally glued on to your thread and you have now made us wait again.

Comeon show some mercy on poor souls who are far off away from Sariska and see it only through the eyes of you.

I am eagerly waiting and planning for the day where i would be with you in sariska tracking the pug marks.
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