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Old 26th January 2014, 20:56   #511
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

After entering the trail we decided to go to Brahmanath Anicut as ST 3 was last seen there. While we found no pugmarks or heard any alarm calls, proceeded ahead with some hope.

At the Anicut we stopped and waited for some action. Jungle is a very unpredictable place. We found these young Cheetal fawns in a playful mood.

Testing strength

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-2967.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-2971.jpg

At peace

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-2970.jpg

My wife has a particular belief about Sariska. She says that each time she has a 'darshan' at the Pandupol Temple, for sure there is a Tiger sighting. While on most occasions it has been a coincidence and I usually laugh it off, but somehow her belief is correct.

So on her insistence we all went to Pandupol hoping to sight a Leopard enroute. While she went pay obeisance to Lord Hanuman, I clicked some pictures of Langurs that are found in abundance around that area.

In playful mood

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-2973.jpg

Breakfast...?

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-2975.jpg

While returning we heard from an oncoming jeep that some Sambar & Cheetal calls were being heard from the Karna ka Baas area. Proceeded there fast but by the time we reached the calls had fallen silent and not a soul was around. Turned our attention to some bird watching.

Darter taking off

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-2978.jpg

Pond Heron

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-2984.jpg

Yellow-ringed Plover

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-2990.jpg

It was time to exit. The morning safari had gone barren. By this time the Sun had appeared and we hoped that the afternoon safari would prove lucky. Harisingh asked us to be back by 2 pm. We proceeded to Gulmohar Resorts for some refreshments & rest.

to be continued.../-
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Old 27th January 2014, 03:36   #512
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

I simply love this thread!! wow!! could not read the entire thread as yet, so dont know the details, but could you recommend a good plans to stay at Sarska which is close to the park? and the approx. price and photos if any
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Old 27th January 2014, 13:16   #513
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Thank you so much for the kind words. In terms of VFM (value for money), there are no good lodging arrangements near the Park. Others are quite far off and pricey too.

IMO, a passable property is the RTDC's Tiger Den which is just 100 meters from the entrance gate. Rooms are big and spacious and food is freshly cooked and good too. But do not expect any extra-ordinary service from the staff (being a state Govt., run unit). But if jungle safari is your prime aim then this place is good as the ticket counter and the entrance gate are close-by.

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Originally Posted by v_2rahjo View Post

I simply love this thread!! wow!! could not read the entire thread as yet, so dont know the details, but could you recommend a good plans to stay at Sarska which is close to the park? and the approx. price and photos if any
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Old 27th January 2014, 13:57   #514
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Thank you so much for the kind words. In terms of VFM (value for money), there are no good lodging arrangements near the Park. Others are quite far off and pricey too.

IMO, a passable property is the RTDC's Tiger Den which is just 100 meters from the entrance gate. Rooms are big and spacious and food is freshly cooked and good too. But do not expect any extra-ordinary service from the staff (being a state Govt., run unit). But if jungle safari is your prime aim then this place is good as the ticket counter and the entrance gate are close-by.

I can also recommend Alwar Bagh - which is around 11 kms from the jungle gate - but is quite ok in terms of staying option.
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Old 28th January 2014, 21:44   #515
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Returned back to the reception by 1.40 pm and by 2 we were in the jungle. Roamed around without any luck or sign of any action. Reached the Kaalighati chowki and heard that pug-marks of Tigress ST 2 were seen by a forest guard near Salopka. Drove towards Salopka, roamed around and waited on the sideways.

These juvenile Langurs were put to their antics. Having nothing to do, clicked some pictures.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3011.jpg

Nothing stirred in the jungle. We returned back to Kaalighati contemplating what to do. Here a forest ranger's family was visiting him and were hoping for a sighting. For the last two days, though staying at the chowki in the core, they had no sightings.

I was sitting in the jeep while the others had gotten down to loosen up. Suddenly Harisingh, who was behind me, shouted - भालू, भालू (Bear, Bear).

As mentioned elsewhere here, a male Sloth bear was captured in a village near Sariska and relocated here. He was named SB 1. He has been sighted by quite a few but me.

I turned around and couldn't see anything and asked - where? Harisingh replied - Sir, he was standing on his hind legs and looking at us and then went into the bushes.

We rushed immediately in the hope of sighting him. The forest ranger and his family too hopped on our jeep. This was to prove a blessing in disguise.

We scoured the area thoroughly for the Sloth but he was nowhere to be seen. In the distance above the hill we heard a Sambar call. The Bear had climbed the hill. The light was fading slowly as it was 5.15 pm. We prepared to return.

Suddenly the wireless handset of the ranger crackled to life - एस टी २ की रोरिंग हो रही है. बच्चों को बुला रही है. डीएस हो सकती है. (ST 2 is calling for her cubs. Possibility of a DS).

DS = Direct Sighting

This was the ranger of the Salopka chowki informing the ranger of Kaalighati chowki. This ranger with his family had no way of reaching Salopka other than in our jeep and in the process we also got the chance. I checked with Harisingh about our exit as its time was 5:30. Harisingh said that this ranger will take care and asked us not to worry.

So far so good.

We reached Salopka and then we heard the roar. ST 2 was calling for her two cubs. She was continuously calling for them but was nowhere to be seen. Salopka also had a big water-hole and she was likely to come and drink water also.

I was excited & thrilled; the sub-adult cubs would come to their mother and I could finally have a sighting. Boosted the ISO of my camera and set the aperture on the 300mm to 2.8 and waited.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3323.jpg

One of the forest guards of Salopka sighted her and she was so beautifully camouflaged that it took me a while to spot her through the lens. The guard sighted her with his naked eye. Amazing..!

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3018.jpg

What I saw through the lens was only the striped stomach area and thought she was resting. it was only when I saw the picture on the big screen, I realised that she was looking at us. I couldn't see her head at all through the lens..

She was irritated as her cubs were not responding and her roars were becoming louder. Then she got up and moved a bit ahead.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3019.jpg

She sat down somewhere and we could only hear her periodic calls for her cubs. The light was falling pretty fast and now I had to boost up the ISO to 4000.

Then suddenly she appeared right below in the valley. This meant that she would be walking on the trail. We slowly moved downhill and came down near the water-hole.

Couldn't see her; then she roared. There she was sitting on the Anicut.

This is the best that I could shoot in that situation.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3030.jpg

Looking at us directly

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3034.jpg

The above photograph was also published by the leading newspaper of Rajasthan.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-st2.jpg

She was already irritated with her cubs and further got more irritated with us. She got up and walking slowly vanished in the thicket. There she roared once more and then fell silent.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3042.jpg

Satisfied and elated we returned. The return journey was a nightmare. It was dense fog all the way. We left Sariska around 7:15 pm and by the time Vivek dropped my wife and I home it was past midnight.
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Old 30th January 2014, 21:04   #516
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

There was a lull of a fortnight from my last visit, when the urge re-surfaced. Checked with a couple of friends who, after seeing the picture of the Big Cat on my last visit, lamented not going with me. All of them had one issue or the another again.

A friend's friend got in touch with me and expressed his desire to accompany me. He had never ever been to Sariska at all.

Neeraj Garg works at a senior position with the Govt. of India, is an avid birder, uses Nikon gear, drives an Innova and stays in Faridabad.

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

The plan was put in place and Neeraj was to pick me up.

19th Jan, 2014

We left Gurgaon around 3:15 am, weather was thankfully clear and we were at the Kushalgarh Tiraha by 5:30 - well before time. Took a pit stop here, loosened our limbs and had a hot glass of tea.

Today was a different day - my regular guide Harisingh was not available. He, with two others, had recently brought a Canter to operate in Sariska and had taken it to Ranthambhore to get the body made. But he had made arrangements. I called up Rajinder, my usual driver, asked him to come and drive. This was just for comfort level.

With my regular visits to Sariska, I practically know almost all guides & drivers. I had booked my safari online and as soon as Rajinder arrived handed him the reference number. My guide for the morning & evening safari was to be Rakesh Panwar, an old hand.

At the entrance gate we got to know that ST 6, the dominant male of Sariska was last night seen moving around the enclosures. We decided to roam that area but before wanted to take a look around because at that time in the morning Leopards move around.

We reached a secluded spot where normally tourists are not taken and many a times Leopards are sighted here.

Instead we saw this juvenile Crested Serpent Eagle sitting on a branch and waiting for the Sun to warm him/her up.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3049.jpg

Can't you guys leave me in peace..?

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3064.jpg

We moved our jeep further closer to the tree and were almost below the bird.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3073.jpg

We left the Eagle to warm up as & when the Sun came out.

to be continued.../-
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Old 30th January 2014, 23:42   #517
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

We returned back to Karna ka Baas hoping to see some migratory birds, but there were none except a few Little Grebes as it was cold & misty and the Sun had not appeared.

We slowly proceeded towards Jalebi Chowk, waited to listen to some sounds & calls and then went to the enclosures. The entire area was as silent as it could be. Rajinder was driving slowly looking for signs etc. and as we neared Geru ka Tiraha, he exclaimed - Tiger. It was 8 am and rarely has a Big Cat been seen during this hour.

There right in front of our jeep (ours was the only one there) ST 6 was walking slowly and occasionally smelling the bushes. His stomach was constricted indicating he hadn't eaten for some days. Later we got to know from some rangers that he last ate on 13th.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3086.jpg

Walked into a bush and immediately emerged

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3089.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3092.jpg

The above picture was also carried by the leading daily of Rajasthan in their 20th Jan, 2014 edition.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-20january2014.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3094.jpg

We were maintaining a safe distance and as we turned the curve he had vanished.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3097.jpg

From the time we spotted him and then lost him, there were no alarm calls. While we were waiting for him to emerge again saw this jeep coming from the opposite side. We gestured him to stop there itself.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3098.jpg

After a long wait we heard a Sambar call from the deep. This fellow was headed towards the hills. The other jeep approached us and asked if we had a sighting. On our affirmative answer, the driver said 15 minutes back he had roamed this section to and fro twice and hadn't seen anything. bad luck for him and his passengers..

We decided to go ahead till Kundli Anicut to explore and then come back to Geru Ka Tiraha and wait. In between we were hearing occassional Sambar & Cheetal call. This meant ST 6 had not climbed the hill but was in the ditch.

By now it was 10 am and by 10:30 we had to exit. We slowly proceeded ahead and then again immediately Rajinder braked hard and said - Jungle Bush.

Then he slowly reversed the jeep. There right in front and middle of the trail was this very juvenile Jungle Bush Quail sitting so very still.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3105.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3126.jpg

While we were photographing this young bird, heard a Motorcycle approach. This was the tracking team for ST 6. By now the calls too had ceased meaning the Tiger had sat down somewhere. When the signal was checked it was coming from 100 meters ahead. Oh I must also tell that tracking teams got new hi-tech antennas that are more sensitive and accurate. The Tiger had settled down. The tracking team informed that ST 6 had walked almost 30 kms in the previous night and was very tired. So it would rest the whole day there.

That was a soothing news. I expected ST 6 to move sometime during afternoon or evening.

We exited and went to Gulmohar resorts for freshening up and to eat. We were supposed to return by 2 pm.

to be continued.../-
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Old 2nd February 2014, 12:32   #518
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We return by 1:45 and enter again by 2 pm. At the entrance the status was the same. ST 6 was resting in the Geru ka Tiraaha ditch. We decided to go via Karna ka Baas. Jalebi Chowk and Geru ka Tiraaha.

The Sun had come out and it was bright & warm. We hoped to see some migratory birds. Instead we saw these 4 crocodiles basking.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3133.jpg

Except for some Dabchicks, no other birds were to be seen. Moving ahead slowly and crossing Jalebi Chowk, we parked ourselves at the same spot where ST 6 had entered the thicket in the morning. We also found the tracking team of ST 6 stationed there. Kaalu said that the signals were coming from the same area as that of the morning.

As if on cue, a Cheetal called followed by that of a Sambar. The calls came a few times and then died down. ST 6 probably changed position. There was a strong possibility of him coming out to drink water. From the place where we were parked, we could both the sides of the trail.

The Sambar calls alerted this pair of Neelgais on our right.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3138.jpg

After a while the calls started again and appeared coming closer. ST 6 was on the move and seemed going towards the water-hole. We thought of cutting him a cross and reach the water-hole first to get a good shot.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3142.jpg

At the water-hole it was a picture of serenity. This fawn & stag were not unduly alarmed. And this duck in the water was swimming in peace.

The calls died suddenly the way it had started. ST 6 changed position again.

The tracking team came following us and reported a loss of the signal. Hmmm...this was now interesting. We decided to go to the Kundli Anicut to explore. He might appear there.

Then we heard the Sambar calls again and this time it was coming from far away. It meant that ST 6 was climbing the hills. The calls got fainter & fainter. We all guessed that he might be going to Salopka from the hills.

We went to Kaalighati to find out more while keeping an eye on the road ahead towards Salopka.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3131.jpg

Here at the chowki, we got a very interesting & chilling information. There was a sighting of two Cats in the morning - ST 6 by us and ST 3 by a mother & son duo and Ghanshyam the forest ranger of Kaalighati.

This mother & son duo were coming from Chamari ka Bera on a cycle towards Kaalighati and nearing Goolarghum they found that they were being stalked by ST 3. In panic they abandoned their cycle and climbed a nearby dhok tree.

And ST 3 staked out.

ST 3 is not a man-eater and has not attacked humans in the past. This was a strange behaviour.

The area between Chamari ka Bera & Goolarghum is generally isolated and a few jeeps go there and thrice a day a State bus passes through. Occasionally villagers in their vehicles cross to and from from Tehla.

A villager on his M/cycle while going towards Tehla spotted this scared duo clinging to the tree precariously. They gestured and shouted about the presence of the Tiger. This villager immediately turned back to Kaalighati chowki and informed them of the situation. Ghanshyaam the ranger immediately wirelessed for the forest Bolero and in the meanwhile walked there with a wooden staff in hand. He assured them and when the Bolero came, rescued them. ST 3 followed the Bolero for some distance and then vanished away in the bushes.

The mother & son will never forget this for the rest of their life. How I wish I too was there in the jeep and capture this scene for posterity.

A couple of Langurs were basking in the Sun near the chowki giving photographic opportunity to the jeeps that had stopped there.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3150.jpg

The Hand

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3154.jpg

Finally a message flashed on the wireless that ST 6's signal was located near the Salopka hills. It meant that there would be no sighting in the afternoon.

We returned back via Karna ka Bass again and spotted this Darter drying out.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3162.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3183.jpg

River Terns

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3188.jpg

We exited at 5:30 pm and by 6 pm were cruising on our way back home. Fortunately there was no fog enroute and even NH8 after Bhiwadi was clear. It was 9:20 pm when Neeraj dropped me home.
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Old 3rd February 2014, 18:41   #519
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Sir, could you recommend a good route to reach Sariska from Noida? The plan is to leave on 14th Feb morning and return on 16th Feb.
We might stay at Tiger Den or Gulmohar Resort.
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Old 3rd February 2014, 20:18   #520
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Two routes come in mind:

1. Noida - Badarpur - Palwal - Hathin - Firozepur Jhirka - Naugaon - Ramagarh - Alwar by-pass - Sariska (not recommended)

2. Noida - Badarpur - Palwal - Sohna - Tauru - Bhiwadi - Tijara - Alwar by-pass - Sariska (slightly longer, but recommended)

The Sohna junction - Tauru - Bhiwadi section is bad at some places.

Just FYI, 15th is a Saturday and on that day it is kind of free for all (every Tue & Sat). The forest department allows everybody to enter the forest to go to Pandupol Hanumanji Temple in their own vehicles.

Of course they can't go on inner trails in the forest but they are a major source of disturbance.

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Originally Posted by Abeer View Post

Sir, could you recommend a good route to reach Sariska from Noida? The plan is to leave on 14th Feb morning and return on 16th Feb.
We might stay at Tiger Den or Gulmohar Resort.
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Old 18th March 2014, 14:51   #521
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I might be sounding morbid, uncivil & uncouth, but this is one of those few deaths that I'm rejoicing, and so will all those who love the flora & fauna immensely and contribute in their own little way for conservation.

SANSAR CHAND is dead and it is good riddance to bad weed...!

The man credited with the poaching/killing of 200 tigers in the wild and wiping Sariska clean, passed away. I hope he suffered in his last moments the same way as those poor innocent Cats who were subjected to painful deaths.

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

Courtesy: Shri Dhirendra Godha
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Old 27th March 2014, 21:05   #522
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2nd March, 2014

My friend's sister was getting married today at Jaipur and I was invited with family. Since the wedding was in the evening, I decided to put this opportunity to maximum use and it helped that it was a Sunday.

I told my folks that we would do a morning safari and then proceed to Jaipur. While my daughter made a face, wife was ever ready.

So as usual we left around 2:30am and after a few pit-stops and a tea-stop reached the reception by 6:30. Right after Manesar I hit a dense wall of fog that stayed with me right till Sariska.

My another friend Anurag Sharma had already poached Harisingh for this day, so I had to make do with someone else. Well, that was not an issue but the comfort level was a bit low.

Since I had pre booked, Harisingh had made arrangements for me.

Those who follow my this travelogue, also follow my Ranthambhore travelogue. In that I had mentioned how my 70~200/f2.8 took a knock and its focussing went awry. I gave it to Nikon India twice and after replacing the GMR unit and re-calibrating they gave it back to me. It seemed to work fine, but I had to field test it.

My mentor & guide in photography, Sankar Sridhar, advised me to shoot only with the 70~200. Though I carried my full gear, I shot entirely with this lens. The forest enveloped in dense fog and it made photography that much more difficult.

We roamed the jungle in that 3 hours as much as possible, including some zone hopping in search of Stripes, but in vain. The previous day there had been sightings of ST 6 & 3. If at all any action would happen, it would be only in the evening and I would be in Jaipur.

Let the pictures talk:

Jungle Babbler at the forest entrance

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3214.jpg

Harisingh & Anurag (sitting in the back seat) at the Ghaanka water-hole

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3215.jpg

Rufous-tailed Shrike - was at a considerable distance

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3217.jpg

There was another that was closer

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3236.jpg

I was watching the antics of this fawn, suddenly something spooked them and they all ran. One deer stood afar and kept looking in our direction. We waited and also keenly looked around, but didn't find anything.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3232.jpg

At the Brahmanath anicut, this wild Boar was devouring the head of a Sambar that was apparently killed by a Tiger.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3219.jpg

I was itching to use the 300mm/f2.8 but resisted.

Stopped at the Kaalighati chowki to freshen up and catch on any information about the Tiger movement.

Mother & daughter

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3238.jpg

Early morning, a forest guard on foot-patrol had seen the fresh pug-marks of one of the sub-adult cubs of ST 2 near the Salopka area.

We went there to investigate. Instead saw this wild-Boar digging out roots and eating. He was digging the hard surface with his snout and had made a big hole.

Watching him in his act made me realise the kind of extensive damage they do to the fields in villages.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3240.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3241.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3247.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3248.jpg

This pea-fowl was trying to impress the hen.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3252.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3257.jpg

It was time to return back. We came via Karna ka Baas. Saw this bird for the first time.

Small Pratincole

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3267.jpg

Since the Sun had come out and it was getting warm, this Leather-back Turtle was found sun-bathing.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3276.jpg

Settled accounts & headed for Jaipur via Shahpura on NH 8.
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Old 28th March 2014, 20:47   #523
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Default re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

NH 8 till Jaipur is a mess and from Shahpura to Jaipur was no different. The famous Pindi Restaurant of Pandara Road, New Delhi, has opened a branch in Jaipur on the Amer Road near Jal Mahal (26.948202, 75.840543).

Since we all wanted to have lunch there before proceeding to the Guest House on JLN Marg, I went via the old Jaipur Road that takes you in front of the Amer Fort and into the city.

Stopped at Jal Mahal to take some photographs.

Jal Mahal

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3280.jpg

You have a large water body with creatures in it and you shall have birds fishing in it.

Little Cormorants, Egrets & Herons.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3282.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3283.jpg

My Scorpio - TB II with family was parked on the road.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3286.jpg

How tempting in that warm weather

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3287.jpg

Selling their wares in the hot Sun

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3288.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3289.jpg

After a hearty lunch, reached the Guest House around 2:15 and settled in our room.

I had some plans for the evening before attending the wedding. With some friends who too were staying in the same Guest House had made plans to go to Jhalana, which is on the outskirts of the city and is a pristine forest with Leopards, Sambars, Cheetals & Peacocks. Occasionally if you are lucky then Jungle Cat is also visible.

Having tea at the guest-house before going to Jhalana

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3296.jpg

L to R: Gaurav Athalye, Nalla (he too was there for the wedding) & yours truly

The Jhalana Forest

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3290.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3292.jpg

Mr. Spot was hiding here and the Cheetals were raising a cacophony

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3295.jpg

Well when the wait turned futile, we went to the Chowki to have tea.

Nalla Muthu

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3294.jpg

After the wedding retired to our rooms as we all had to leave the next day to our respective destinations.

3rd March 2014

Nalla had a train to Udaipur at 6. He was going to Bera for Leopard watching and Gaurav had a flight to Mumbai around the same time.

I was going to Ajmer to have a darshan. Got up leisurely, left around 10, had a nice darshan and turned back. It was midnight when I reached home.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 22:08   #524
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Default Re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

14th March 2014

I had a got a call from my guide Harisingh on Wednesday - 12th March that some good sightings were happening in Sariska. ST 3 the Tigress, ST 6 the dominant male and ST 2 the Tigress were being seen. That excited me and made plans to visit. Since there were some prior commitments for Sunday, I decided to visit on Friday. The crowd would be much much less too.

While returning home from work on Friday evening around 7 pm disaster struck. The left headlight of my Scorpio went kaput and I was scheduled to leave for Sariska post midnight. I couldn't be possibly driving with one headlight.

Immediately called up my accessories guy, who also has an outlet in Old Gurgaon and explained my predicament. Told him to hold on to the electrician as I raced to his shop. A quick check revealed that the ballast of the left HID had gone bust. It was of OSRAM make. A new one was procured, tested and installed. Phew...what a relief. Thanked Gagan profusely and came home.

It was an uneventful drive and reached the reception before 6:30 am. Harisingh was ready with the documents and today my driver was Manish, son of my regular driver Rajinder.

Though we were the first to arrive at the gate and I was excited about entering the forest early and catch the proverbial worm, had not accounted for a certain Mr. Murphy. Actually I should have sensed something was wrong when the headlight went kaput.

At the entrance gate the ranger objected to Manish as he was not wearing the uniform and since it was his second mistake, the ranger said he would not allow him to drive. We lost some time apologising and cajoling the ranger who finally relented but with a strict warning. I was irritated and ticked off both, Harisingh & Manish for not following rules.

ST 3 was sighted walking towards Taarunda side from Kaalakuan about 20 minutes back and we had lost exactly that much time at the gate.

We turned towards Ghaanka as we wanted to head towards Taarunda after checking the Ghaanka Tiraha.

Here a bigger bad-luck was waiting for me - the famous Jungle Hare Jinx. Just before the Tiraaha, I spotted a pair of Jungle Hare on my left and there vanished my chances of sighting a Tiger. It is an old jungle saying that if you spot a Hare first in the jungle then you will seldom see a Tiger.

Well hoping against hope we proceeded and saw faint pug-marks at the Tiraha. They pointed towards Taarunda/Brahmanath. At Taarunda went right unto the anicut hoping ST 3 would be drinking or resting in the water. But it was not so.

Taarunda water-body

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3302.jpg

Then we went to Brahmanath but it was as calm and serene as it could be.

For a change saw this pea-fowl being courted by a few pea-hens. And boy, was he loving all that attention? You bet...!

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3306.jpg

From there drove slowly to Kaalighati chowki to freshen up. As soon as we reached, I saw the chowki-in-charge Ghanshyam, gesturing wildly at me. I asked what happened and he said - एस टी ३ गूलर घूम कि तरफ दिखाई पड़ी है. चल रही है (ST 3 has been seen walking towards Goolar Ghoom).

With that Ghanshyaam took the forest jeep and with a tracker and few others headed there and we followed behind.

Ghanshyam with the tracking antenna

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3310.jpg

Now it was a hour long patrolling of the stretch between Goolar Ghoom & Chamari Ka Bera and a little further on the Tehla road.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3313.jpg

The signals indicated the presence of the Cat very close. Then we heard a Sambar call. After a few calls the Sambar fell silent. Did she sit down in shade?

Then a Cheetal called and then called again. Suddenly I heard a yelp and an alarm call and saw this fellow bound away.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3317.jpg

It seemed he was surprised to see the Tigress sneak up.

And then my jeep shook and there were shouts of "Tiger, Tiger". ST 3 came out briefly and then went up the hill. It was all over in a few seconds.

Barring me everybody else had seen. The Hare Jinx was working full time. The tracking signals started becoming fainter indicating that she was moving deeper into the hills. Now there would be no chance of her coming out. This was confirmed when we heard a Sambar call at a distance.

My wife and everybody else were smiling & smirking at my disappointment. It was time to return and we did so checking out Karna ka Baas on the way.

Sandpiper

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3321.jpg

Crocodile sunning himself

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3319.jpg

Going into the water

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3323.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3329.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3335.jpg

Angry Lapwing

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3340.jpg

Exited and went to Gulmohar Resorts for breakfast & freshening up. It was quite warm and saw these two macaques sleeping under the canopy escaping the hot Sun.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3344.jpg

Maybe the after-noon safari would prove lucky to me.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 2nd April 2014 at 22:10.
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Old 3rd April 2014, 00:01   #525
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Default Re: Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2

Afternoon

What I forgot to mention earlier was that ST 6 was camping at Chopta near Karna ka Baas for the last three days as he had made a Sambar kill. In the morning we scoured that area but to no avail. The signals were coming from one place and were quite strong. But that was inaccessible. The only hope was when it came out to drink water.

Since, there was no chance of ST 3 coming down the hills, we decided to concentrate in and around Karna ka Baas area. It was quite warm & light conditions were harsh.

The desolate road - not a single soul was out

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3348.jpg

This villager couple carrying provisions

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3349.jpg

We waited near the Karna ka Baas chowki to hear some sounds etc. During this period saw this Parakeet gorging on Indian Plum or बेर.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3356.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3362.jpg

Passing through Karna ka Baas saw this Croc warming up.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3365.jpg

Our presence disturbed the Croc and off he went in the water.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3372.jpg

While we were watching the Croc, heard a M/cycle approach. Simultaneously heard a Sambar call from afar. The call repeated a couple of times. This meant that ST 6 was moving. The M/cycle carried the tracker team. They confirmed that the Tiger was on the move.

And I had not seen any Hare in the afternoon..

Followed the M/cycle. In the meanwhile the Sambar call had ceased. We had anticipated that the Tiger would come to Karna ka Baas to drink water, but then realised that there was another water-hole nearer to him - the Baba Anicut.

We headed there and the M/cycle too was going there. reached and parked in a shade in such a way that the water-hole was visible.

We saw this male Neelgai grazing peacefully. It meant that the Tiger was either resting somewhere or not nearby.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3390.jpg

The tracking team checked for the signal - it was coming loud & clear but did not indicate any movement. The Tiger had sat down somewhere. My guide Harisingh ventured till the water-hole to check-out but found nothing.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3373.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3374.jpg

We waited & waited and then the heat got the better of me - I dozed. Don't know how long I dozed, but woke up with a start on hearing a grunt. This was followed by another deep grunt.

This was the Neelgai giving out the alarm call. Now let me tell you something about the jungle alarm calls. Cheetal, Sambar, Langur & Neelgai, in that order indicate the presence of Tiger in the vicinity. Out of these the alarm call of the Neelgai is a sure shot indication of Tiger.

Neelgai in itself is a big antelope and a leopard seldom attacks a full grown Neelgai. It is the Tiger that the Neelgai fears and gives an alarm call only when he has a clear sighting.

Then I heard the sound of running hoofs and this Neelgai came and stood in front of my jeep. It probably felt safe here. This also meant that the Tiger was nearby.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3388.jpg

Then my driver touched my hand and whispered - Tiger, six, six. I immediately looked where he was pointing. Far away in an opening between the trees, six was slowly sauntering down. The light conditions were not at all good and this was the best that I could manage.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3376.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3380.jpg

Flehman's response

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3381.jpg

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3383.jpg

His stomach was bloated and full. He had eaten the Sambar fully.

Gurgaon - Sariska - Gurgaon - Phew...Finally sighted one of the Tiger Cubs of ST2-3385.jpg

And then he vanished in the bushes. We expected him to emerge ahead on the trail and rushed there and parked. Another 40 minutes passed and he didn't emerge. The signals indicated that he had settled down.

We left and came out. Left for home and after getting stuck at a big traffic jam near Manesar, were at home by midnight. NH 8 remains a mess as ever.
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