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Old 15th February 2013, 12:42   #391
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Thank you for liking..

Quote:
Originally Posted by c_trivedi View Post

Good travelogue, made for great reading. Thanks!
It seems you have not read my entire thread/pages. Post #:291 here has the map & the route that I take almost every week. I was in Sariska on the 10th; and you can call that as pretty recent. The road is fantastic right till Alwar by-pass. After that the last 40 kms to Sariska is single lane that is a little bad in patches. Otherwise that too is smooth tar road.

As soon as you turn right on the mega-highway at Bhiwadi (SH 25) after turning left at Dharuhera, you shall find the first toll after some distance.

If you are returning the same day back from Sariska then buy a ticket for Rs.75/- that is good for right upto Alwar and back also. Or else the single side toll ticket till Alwar is Rs.50/-.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c_trivedi View Post

I can see the following route on Google maps:

Gurgaon -> NH8 till Dharuhera -> turn left towards state highway 25 -> all the way till Alwar -> Sariska

Has anyone been on this route recently? Any info on road conditions? Any help is welcome.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 25th February 2013, 12:33   #392
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Thanks for the info. Just thought I should let you know that I drove to Sariska over the weekend, along the same route as you suggested, and the drive was pretty smooth overall.
While coming back, as you exit the Bhiwadi-Alwar toll road and reach the point where you need to take a left to NH8, there was a big jam due to vehicles coming from all directions fighting for their own way. So I took a right instead, passed through some battered roads for about 2 mins, and then smooth road all the way to NH8. (Essentially, this means I reached NH8 at a point closer to Gurgaon than Dharuhera.) Total drivetime was about 3.5 hours either way.
Looking forward to my next road trip (whichever and whenever that is).
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Old 25th February 2013, 20:31   #393
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Yes that right turn takes you on to the Sohna road and then you cut across to Gurgaon.

This is the route

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

Quote:
Originally Posted by c_trivedi View Post

While coming back, as you exit the Bhiwadi-Alwar toll road and reach the point where you need to take a left to NH8, there was a big jam due to vehicles coming from all directions fighting for their own way. So I took a right instead, passed through some battered roads for about 2 mins, and then smooth road all the way to NH8. (Essentially, this means I reached NH8 at a point closer to Gurgaon than Dharuhera.)
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Old 25th February 2013, 21:39   #394
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The elusive cubs of ST 2 have not yet been seen or photographed by any tourist till now and the desire to see them in the wild made me visit Sariska again.

A friend & fellow TBHPian n.devdath was also with me. I shall not write any detailed report as there was nothing unusual; everything routine. While there were a few alarm calls, nothing materialised.

However, got some interesting photographs. Hope you enjoy.

My first woodpecker picture..!

Black-rumped Flame Back Woodpecker (Dinopium benghalense)

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7819.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7823.jpg

Two woodpeckers & a Treepie

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0857.jpg

Male Spotted Deer killed and eaten completely by a Leopard in the Slopka area. A Treepie picking on the leftovers.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0864.jpg

Kalighati check-post - this female Sambar is not going to survive because of us fools. Somebody threw a empty packet of Lays and this poor deer is munching on it.

When will we learn?

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0867.jpg

Kalighati Check-post - this Treepie came and sat on my jeep. I had the 300mm in my hand and could capture only this much of the bird.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0871.jpg

Thus ended my Sariska trip today. I'm scheduled to visit again on the 17th. Till then...!

Last edited by gd1418 : 25th February 2013 at 21:41.
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Old 26th February 2013, 01:12   #395
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I had in the last week finalised a deal about my camera equipment. I had put my Nikkor 80~200 f/2.8D telephoto lens on sale and had bought a Nikkor 70~200 f/2.8G VR. Wanted to test this lens in the field.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-70200a.jpg

This was going to be a special Sunday for me & my friends - n.devdath & Johnny.

Devdath & I

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7895.jpg

Johnny

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

They too wanted to accompany me and this time Dev wanted to take his Scorpio. For once, I would be driven.

I had buzzed Dhiraj a.k.a Deky in Jaipur to join me at Sariska. Instead he made a mouth-watering offer. Deky was friends with Dhirendra Godha, Managing Editor of Samachar Jagat a hindi newspaper published from Jaipur and very popular in Rajasthan. Dhirendra also happened to be a wildlife enthusiast frequenting R'bhore and actively involved during the translocation of Bina 1 & 2 to Sariska recently.

Dhiraj roped in Godha and 9 others and we were to do the noon safari together; in the forest department's jeep. Yipeee... this meant no zone restrictions and we could stay inside the jungle much after the exit time. We could also go in those trails where no tourist had ever gone before..!

Sariska National Park also has a NGO called Sariska Foundation that actively works to help forest rangers & guards in various ways. The founder Secretary of the foundation, Dinesh Varma "Durrani" also was supposed to accompany us and he would be organising lunch inside the jungle for all of us at one of the check-posts.

Since the Jaipur team was to join us sometime around 11:30 am, we decided to do the morning safari on our own and then join the gang.

Dev reached my place by 3 am and after loading my gear we went to pick-up Johnny from his place (he stays in Gurgaon). It was cloudy & drizzling and by the time we reached Dharuhera, the drizzle had stopped.

Reached the Sariska reception by 6:30 and Harisingh was ready & waiting . At the entrance gate we got the information that ST 6 was seen last night near the gate. Hoping that he would be still be here, we rushed to his known "addaas". Nowhere to be found. He probably went back on the hills.

Went to Brahmanath hoping to spot a Leopard, waited at the water-hole for some time and started to move. And then the jungle woke-up. At the grasslands near the water-hole a herd of spotted deer were grazing peacefully and suddenly they all became alert; very very alert.

Herd of alert Spotted Deer

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7880.jpg

Alert Sambar

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7883.jpg

This herd was led by a big male deer. And he called, and then again and again. Did he see someone in the bushes? We knew for sure that there was no Tiger nearby. It had to be a Leopard. The male deer kept on calling and slowly led his herd away to safety. The Leopard must have slunk away as his cover was probably blown.

The Leopard would have come down from this hill. Leopards have been spotted basking in the sun on the rocks on this hill.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7892.jpg

Roaming in various areas didn't bring any results. The jungle fell silent again.

Spotted Owl in the same tree at Taarunda

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0873.jpg

We came to the Kaalighati check-post to find a few other jeeps parked. People were relieving themselves and loosening up too.

As for me, I remained seated in the jeep and started clicking randomly.

Red-vented Bulbul

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7889.jpg

PeaHen

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7893.jpg

White-browed Fantail

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7903.jpg

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F-16 taking off...! if only this was in focus

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7911.jpg

Brahminy Myna sharing space with Treepie

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7914.jpg

It was time to leave and meet the Jaipur team. Thus ended our morning safari.

to be continued.../-
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:00   #396
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

BCG, Congratulations on the new lens. A great lens indeed. Though the 80-200 f/2.8 also was a classic, it lacked the VR. Hope to see some superb images from this lens!
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Old 26th February 2013, 21:22   #397
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Sunday, February 17, 2013 - afternoon

The team from Jaipur had left at 8 in the morning and was scheduled to arrive by 10ish. I called Dhiraj as soon as I exited the park and he informed that they were near Shahpura. This meant that they would take atleast an hour to reach. I asked for the rendezvous point and was told to go to Hotel Tiger Heaven about 2 kms away.

Dinesh Durani, the Secy of the Sariska Foundation is also an entrepreneur and owner of Tiger Heaven. The breakfast was arranged there for the team. We reached there and waited for the rest who finally arrived around 11.

Gang of Jaipur:

Dhiraj, Dhirendra Godha, Vishwas Purohit, Ravi Shastri, Rahul Jain, Dr. Bagri, Anshu etc.

Please pardon me if I've forgotten the names of others.

Dhiraj a.k.a Deky

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

Dhirendra Godha

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

Durani was nowhere to be seen. On enquiring we came to know that recently 30 new guides were recruited by the Forest Department for Sariska and Mr. Durani was taking their class. He would come after finishing.

So in the meanwhile we started exploring the property after having breakfast that consisted of vegetable sandwiches, Aloo, Gobhi & Pyaaz pakoras & Tea/Coffee. Just next to the Hotel's boundary is a waterhole that is frequented by various animals including Leopards. We went to that waterhole looking for some pug marks but found none.

In the meanwhile Durani had returned and the lunch was being packed. By two we left for the Sariska reception and parked our cars there. Mr. Mahendra Sharma, DFO Sariska was contacted and he gave a forest department jeep for us. The other jeep was of Durani.

The Sariska foundation does quite a lot of welfare work for the forest staff. Under that scheme vegetables & food items were to be given to the DFO to be distributed to the rangers/guards at various check-posts inside the jungle.

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We drove straight to the Slopka check-post that was located deep inside the jungle. This is the area where tigress ST 2 has made her base and given birth to cubs. Tourist jeeps are not allowed here. Only the forest vehicles come here. The lunch in the jungle was arranged here.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7916.jpg

We climbed on to the roof of the check-post and had our lunch basking in the Sun.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7915.jpg

The view of the jungle below was awesome from here.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-7917.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0890.jpg

As we were finishing our lunch, we heard a spotted deer call and then another. Immediately we went down and started exploring the jungle. I was very excited as I thought that the cubs would appear.

Here I discovered a talent of one of the members from Jaipur - Dr. Bagri. He is a physiotherapist at the SMS Hospital, Jaipur specialising in spine & back problems. Apart from that he imitates the alarm call of a Cheetal to the last note.

Dr. Bagri on extreme left

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0885.jpg

He got out of the jeep, went behind a thicket and let out an alarm call. A group of Sambars, peacefully grazing on the opposite side of the road far-away suddenly became very alert and started looking for the source of the alarm call. Not finding, they became nervous and with raised tail were stomping their hoofs. Dr. Bagri let out another call and from deep inside the jungle a Cheetal responded and a pea-hen bellowed. This was amusing & hilarious. While we were giggling, other jeeps and a canter came rushing and parked near us.

After some time we left and the other vehicles too went away.

We reached the Kaalighati check-post and got to know that ST 4 was camping in the hill nearby. A signal tracker hopped into the jeep and off we went towards the hill. And for sure the antenna picked up the signal loud & clear. We decided to wait.

I must tell you that we were able to go into restricted areas only because of Mr. Godha & Durani.

The light was failing sharply and we could see a Cheetal herd grazing about a couple of hundred feet away. Suddenly they started letting out an alarm call. Since the Tiger had not moved, it had to be a Leopard. But due to thick long grass, nothing was visible. We moved further closer to the herd but nothing and then they stopped calling. Probably the Leopard had slunk away seeing two jeep loads.

We were in an isolated area and it soon became dark and we could hear Sambar & Cheetal alarm calls. It was very very exciting. I hadn't stayed in the jungle for so long before. For the record I took a long shot.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0896.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-0898.jpg

The clock showed 7:30 pm. It wasn't safe either. The forest driver said that we had to leave now. We came out of the jungle and reached our cars. While the rest left for Jaipur, we three returned back to Gurgaon after having an early dinner at the Prem Pavitra Bhojanalaya in Alwar.
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Old 26th February 2013, 22:13   #398
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

GD Sahab,

The photographs with your new lens are crisp and sharp, beautiful.
One can see the comparison going back on this log.

Dhiraj has shifted to Sony? Heard about its very good results and missing mirror makes it faster than most cameras. Also very fast focusing.

The leopard that slinked away is locked by the sentry langur gaze, nice framing.
Nice work with the forest guards.
Regards,
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Old 27th February 2013, 12:47   #399
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

We had fun GD Sir, though we didnt spot the tiger, yet again, but still the whole set up, the jungle feel, the lunch in the soft winter sun and the following safari and the tracking of ST4 was a real thrill

Quote:
Originally Posted by fazalaliadil View Post
Dhiraj has shifted to Sony? Heard about its very good results and missing mirror makes it faster than most cameras. Also very fast focusing.

Regards,
Sir, I have been using Sony since 6 years now. I have the most basic Sony A200 and not the mirror-less one.

I have some pics of the trip, not many, and will post them soon.

regards
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Old 27th February 2013, 17:45   #400
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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, February 17, 2013 - afternoon
This was one of my most memorable safaris thanks to you.
Being in the forest like a tourist is one thing and being there with an enthusiast and a knowledgeable person like you, another.

I thoroughly enjoyed both my safaris at Sariska with you and do not regret not spotting the Tiger.

In fact, when we were getting of the forest gypsy, the driver (an ex-serviceman who regularly ferries VIPs around) was pretty apologetic and kept telling me

"Saab, sher nahi dikha paaya, subah tak ruk jaaiye, zaroor dikhaaunga" and I told him "Asaani se nahi dikhta isiliye to woh Sher hai, warna chital na hota??". He burst out laughing.

That sums it up for me and I m eagerly looking forward to visiting Sariska again with you.

OT: This is for the other readers:On the 17th Feb Safari, when GD and I were leaving the parking after the morning safari in the TB-II for lunch, a couple of boys walked up to us and cautiously asked GD
"Sir, are you Gurudutt?"

He said "Yes, but how do you know me?"

The reply was "Sir, we know you by your hat that you are wearing and the style of your moustache...!!"

Here is a dekho of GD in his safari avatar..!!
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Old 27th February 2013, 18:05   #401
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

First of all Congratulations for the acquisition. That's a superb lens. Lovely photographs. The leopard kill on the tree is awesome, depicting true wild jungle.
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Old 28th February 2013, 11:22   #402
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

The images are nice and sharp with the new set-up. How is the balance when handholding? ?

I am more or less convinced that my next upgrade will be the 70-200 and a TC. Whether f/2.8 or f/4, or 1.4X TC or 2X, that is yet to be decided - will depend on budget and more research on the trade-offs (budget vs. reach vs. aperture)
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Old 28th February 2013, 11:34   #403
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Thanks Nilanjan. The balance is good & comfortable on handholding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post

The images are nice and sharp with the new set-up. How is the balance when handholding? ?
The 70~200 f/4 is VR I and I would not suggest. Agreed that the f/2.8 VR II is unimaginably expensive but with the TC it should come down to f/4 or f/5.6 depending on the TC.

With an f/4 lens if you take a 2x TC then you shall get f/6.3. You may like to rethink but the call is yours...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post

I am more or less convinced that my next upgrade will be the 70-200 and a TC. Whether f/2.8 or f/4, or 1.4X TC or 2X, that is yet to be decided - will depend on budget and more research on the trade-offs (budget vs. reach vs. aperture)
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Old 28th February 2013, 12:05   #404
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
The 70~200 f/4 is VR I and I would not suggest. Agreed that the f/2.8 VR II is unimaginably expensive but with the TC it should come down to f/4 or f/5.6 depending on the TC.

With an f/4 lens if you take a 2x TC then you shall get f/6.3. You may like to rethink but the call is yours...
The new 70-200 f/4 is much lighter, costs $ 1000 less and has VRIII - one stop improvement over VR2. If I use 2X TC I will have to shoot at f/8 - say with a D7100.

Here are the two options:
1. f/2.8 + 2X TC: 400mm reach at f/5.6 (cons: $$, heavy)
2. f/4 + 1.4X TC: 280mm reach at f/4; not sure this is significant improvement over my 70-300mm. I am not favouring 2X TC with f/4.
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Old 28th February 2013, 20:54   #405
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Thank you and welcome. The two trips that we made together were fantastic. Wish Preeti too was there..

We will visit Sariska, when you are here next.

Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post

This was one of my most memorable safaris thanks to you.
Being in the forest like a tourist is one thing and being there with an enthusiast and a knowledgeable person like you, another.

That sums it up for me and I m eagerly looking forward to visiting Sariska again with you.
If you remember correctly, on the 17th we went to Sariska in Hariya and not the TB II.

We went to Sariska in TB II on 10th and exactly the same happened then too, that left me very very surprised.

After the morning safari when I was driving out of the parking area, two gents came and one of them asked if I was Gurudutt. I replied in affirmative and asked how did he know? He turned out to be a TBHPian (I forgot his name & handle - if he is reading this, then please do respond) and said that he had read my travelogues & seen my mug-shots and recognised me.

In all modesty & humbleness can I ask - have I made it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post

OT: This is for the other readers:

On the 17th Feb Safari, when GD and I were leaving the parking after the morning safari in the TB-II for lunch, a couple of boys walked up to us and cautiously asked GD
"Sir, are you Gurudutt?"

He said "Yes, but how do you know me?"

The reply was "Sir, we know you by your hat that you are wearing and the style of your moustache...!!"

Here is a dekho of GD in his safari avatar..!!

Last edited by gd1418 : 28th February 2013 at 20:56.
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