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Old 1st May 2021, 18:26   #1
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Default Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Whenever i think of Kanha, its always the brilliant landscapes soaked in the winter mist and golden light that comes to my mind. I never think of Tigers whenever i think of Kanha. These 2 images remain forever etched in my memory which i had clicked when i made my first trip to Kanha back in Dec 2013.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_26292.jpg


Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_20742.jpg



I had managed to sight only 1 tiger with no decent images.
Since then i made one more trip in Feb 2016 which resulted in no cat sightings. This meant 1 tiger sighting in 10 safaris. I had no complaints because Kanha offers so much more than just tigers.


But somewhere in the back of my mind, the law of averages was playing out.
I felt a trip to Kanha sometime during summers might improve the skewed sighting ratio that i was carrying. As a photography enthusiast, i prefer the quality over quantity of sightings. i.e Quality sighting which gives better photographic opportunities. This depends on so many factors like time of the year, good driver/guide who understand pattern of big cat movement, favourable light conditions and of course luck. Personally i prefer winters because of better light conditions. However sightings are generally difficult. On the contrary summers generally offer better sightings but light conditions are generally harsh and the landscapes are much drier.

Me and a couple of my friends started hatching plans which included doing atleast 1 full day safari which we had never done before. While regular safaris can be booked online, full day safaris can be booked only at the Forest Dept office in Kanha. This is where my friend Mihir Mahajan (Beyond Wild) came in to help. Since he manages and runs so many tours across destinations in India across the year, he could get the bookings done for us.

The plan was finalized. 1 full day safari followed by 2 regular safaris in March. Stay, safaris and local travel was organized by Mihir. We booked flights from Pune to Nagpur and back. These were booked in Jan when the COVID situation was improving. However things started taking turn for the worse from Feb. Amidst growing concerns of the 2nd wave in Maharashtra and cases rising, we were quite skeptical of travelling. However the urge to visit the jungles was strong enough to overcome the fear of travel.
And boy it turned out to be one heck of a trip in terms of tiger sightings. We had a total of 10 tiger sightings with 8 unique tigers. Although many of these did not necessarily result in good photographic opportunities, we were not complaining. The law of averages had indeed worked in our favour this time.

Since a lot of eminent Bhpians have already shared info about Kanha like details of the park, gates, zones, online tickets etc i will skip that piece. However i am more than happy to share any piece of info around these to the best of my understanding if anyone needs it.

Day 1 - Reaching Kanha

After a 1 hour flight to Nagpur and nearly 5 hours of drive we reached Kanha by late evening. We were booked at Soulacia Resorts near Khatia gate. Our gypsy driver met us in the evening and asked us to be ready by 4.45am to be picked from the resort. We had the same driver and guide for all the safaris.


Day 2 - (Full day safari)

Full day safaris give us multiple benefits. We are allowed entry around 20 mins before the regular safari jeeps, return back around 15 mins later than regular safari jeeps and zone free access. i.e move around any zones without restrictions within the tourism area.

Mornings were unusually cold even in March. However the resort staff were kind enough to give us blankets to keep us warm. Breakfast and lunch were packed for us and kept in the gypsy as we would be inside the jungle the whole day. With a lot of excitement we entered the park around 5.30am after completing all the formalities at the gate.

Our driver and guide told us that they would take us to the Mukki zone considering the sightings the previous evening. After driving for about an hour, we reached a large waterhole which is frequented by a female Tigress called DJ and her cubs. It also is dominated by a Male Tiger called Umarpani. Since the jungle was quite, we moved around nearby areas to check.
There were a lot of pugmarks which looked fresh indicating tiger movement, however we couldnt spot any of them. After more than 2 hours of searching, we finally stuck gold by following the pug marks of a huge male Tiger. It had to be Umarpani. He was such a massive guy walking right ahead of us. He eventually went to the water hole. He spent around 20 mins at the water hole for a drink. Unfortunately he did not turn his face towards us. Hence these are the best images we could manage of him

The deep scar on his nose indicated he was a battle hardened veteran
Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_12102.jpg

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_12162.jpg


We then came across this Brown fish owl who was eyeing a catch

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_11392.jpg


After searching the Mukki zone for another hour or so, we headed to Kanha zone. This was the zone which was home to a Tigress by name Naina. She had 4 sub adult cubs who were around 20 months old as per our guide. Our driver and guide were quite hopeful to getting a glimpse of them as they are quite bold. However the jungle was unusually quiet and after searching for all the major waterholes and frequented routes for an hour, it was time for breakfast at Center point which is in the Kanha zone. This place houses a museum, a cafeteria which serves snacks, tea etc and also a souvenier shop. Washrooms are quite clean and well maintained.

After breakfast we resumed our search. We waited after hearing alarm calls of Chitals (spotted deer) and Langurs and were hoping either Naina or her cubs would cross. It indeed was Naina's female cub which crossed. Because the sighting happend around 11.30 in the morning, all the regular safari jeeps had left and we were only a couple of jeeps and a forest department jeep.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_12762.jpg


Post this, it was time for lunch. We then headed to Kisli zone to check the activity. After moving around for a couple of hours, our driver suggested we head back to Mukki zone towards the same waterhole where we went in the morning. His hunch was that DJ and cubs would most likely come for a drink.

On the way we saw this beautiful Shikra(female)

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_13052.jpg


No trip to Kanha is complete without meeting its most important dweller, the Barasingha (Hard ground Swamp Deer). This is one of the most celebrated conservation success stories of our country. After having been perilously close to extinction, there are more than 800 of these. Most of them are found in Kanha.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_13222.jpg



Another critically endangered member of the animal kingdom is the White Rumped Vulture. We saw many of these.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_13492.jpg


We found this beautiful Indian Roller on a very unusual perch (a termite mound). This is the state bird of Bihar, Karnataka, Odisha & Telangana.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_14012.jpg


We then came across a pair of Golden Jackals which were devouring a kill (possibly of a Chital fawn).

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_13622.jpg


We then headed towards the waterhole in Mukki in anticipation of DJ and cubs. After waiting there for an hour, we started hearing Langur alarm calls which only confirmed the arrival of a big cat. Slowly one of the male cubs arrived and went straight for the water. He had a drink and relaxed which gave us the opportunity to make a few images although the light was harsh.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_14092.jpg

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_14372.jpg

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_1476a2.jpg

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_15272.jpg

While the cub was relaxing in the water, a Peafowl decided to make a visit

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_14402.jpg


A Pied Kingfisher with a catch

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_16582.jpg

After a while the 2nd cub arrived at the waterhole. These cubs of DJ are fathered by Umarpani male which we had seen in the morning.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_16892.jpg

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_17582.jpg



We were hoping the mother and the other cub would make an appearance too, but it didnt happen.

It was time for us to exit. We had to exit the main gate by 7.10pm.
We all were super happy with the day's work. After seeing just 1 tiger in 10 safaris previously, i never imagined that i would get to see 4 tigers in a single day. The body was feeling exhausted after driving inside the jungle for more than 13 hours. But the joy of seeing so many big cats made up for this.


Day 3 - (Morning Safari)

We had booked Kanha zone for our regular safaris. The driver picked us up from the resort at 5am sharp. After completing all formalities, we headed into the jungle around 5.45am. Morning safaris in MP are for a duration of 5 and half hours. The driver and guide told us that we would go on the lookout for Naina and family.

We spent nearly 2 hours looking out for all frequented water holes but no luck. It was around 9am and we headed towards the center point for breakfast. On the way we stopped at a point to observe a few waterbirds. While doing this, another gypsy arrived and informed that they had sighted Naina's cub near a nullah which we had covered in the morning without luck.
Upon hearing this, our driver raced through to the same place.

Lo and behold !!! One of the male cubs was sleeping on the road with around 20 gypsys lined up on either side to get a glimpse of the young prince. This one was extremely bold and was least bothered about the number of gypsys. After a short nap, he decided to walk and luckily for us it was in our direction. This for us meant, opportunity to click him headon.

In slumber
Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_18182.jpg

Decides to walk right towards us
Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_18792.jpg

Close-up
Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_1881a2.jpg

Catwalk continues
Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_19432.jpg


He then disappeared into the long grass. We then hoped and waited for the other cubs to arrive. After around 20 mins, each of the other 3 cubs arrived one after the other and then came Naina. Unfortunately we couldnt click them as many of the gypys were ahead of us and blocking our view.

We then hoped that all of them would cross the long grass and head towards the waterhole for a drink. But unfortunately that did not happen. Only one of them came to the waterhole for a quick drink.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_19962.jpg

After a quick poop session, he disappeared into the thick forest cover.
An interesting observation to note is that tiger cubs usually urinate and poop in water to avoid detection by other cats esp rogue male tigers, leopards etc.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_19992.jpg


Rest of the safari was uneventful and we exited very happy.


Day 3 - (Evening Safari)

Compared to mornings, evening safaris are of shorter duration of around 3 hours. After completing all formalities we entered the jungle around 4pm. We had booked Kanha zone again.


On the way we came across this Golden Jackal who was bold enough to walk on the road and give us opportunity to click.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_20052.jpg

We then headed to the same area where we had seen Naina's family in the morning. We saw one of the cubs resting on the main road. But there were already more than 20 gypys lined up and we were at the back of this queue. There was no way we could photograph the cub. We waited for a while to checck if he would get up and walk. It did not and we decided to move to other areas in search. But the rest of the safari was uneventful.


A parting shot of Kanha meadows where a herd of Chital deer were grazing peacefully.

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-dsc_20192.jpg


Thus ended our short but very eventful trip to Kanha. This is one of my favourite parks in Central India for the sheer variety of species and its amazing landscapes.

I hope you liked the images as i did clicking them.



Gear used - Nikon D500 and Nikkor 200-500 f5.6 lens
Place of stay - Soulacia resort
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Old 1st May 2021, 22:01   #2
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Default re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Luck favours those who stay at it!

Absolutely stunning images! Great travelogue, loved reading it!
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 1st May 2021, 22:21   #3
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Default re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

You have shot the wildlife, birds, landscape all in a brilliant way.
Each and every pic is beautifully crafted.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading the travelogue.

Rated 5*.

I was at Kanha in November 2020. The forest of Kanha is beautiful. I loved it. My friends in another Gypsy spotted the majestic Umarpani.
We spotted Neelam with her three cubs and Naina on the same day.

Neelam with one of her cub-

Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue-img_4099.jpg

Last edited by Samba : 1st May 2021 at 22:22.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 00:03   #4
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Default re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Wow. Excellent photographer you are! Those pics are treat for my eyes. Thank you for this lovely post. Loved it!!
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Old 2nd May 2021, 10:15   #5
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Default Re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Wonderful travelogue, and great sightings!
One day, just one day, we'll make it to Kanha or Pench or Tadoba! Been putting off the visit for quite some time now!
Thanks a lot for sharing them! Loved them thoroughly!
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Old 2nd May 2021, 21:09   #6
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Default Re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Some super pics you got there

Must have been a great experience just watching the majestic striped feline to your heartís content!

Reminds me of my trip to Ranthambore in the winter of 2019, but with no luck as yours. Didnít get a single sighting back then.
I recall the Safari guide saying - winters are great for roaming in the jungle as a tourist, but the summers are actually best for sightings.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 08:37   #7
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Default Re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Luck favours those who stay at it!

Absolutely stunning images! Great travelogue, loved reading it!
Thanks for sharing.
Thank you SDP. Glad you liked it


Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
You have shot the wildlife, birds, landscape all in a brilliant way.
Each and every pic is beautifully crafted.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading the travelogue.

Rated 5*.

I was at Kanha in November 2020. The forest of Kanha is beautiful. I loved it. My friends in another Gypsy spotted the majestic Umarpani.
We spotted Neelam with her three cubs and Naina on the same day.

Neelam with one of her cub-

Attachment 2151201
Thanks Samba. I had read your travelogue. Incredible photographs. Infact your travelogue along with the pics was also one of the motivators for my trip to Kanha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BhaskarG View Post
Wow. Excellent photographer you are! Those pics are treat for my eyes. Thank you for this lovely post. Loved it!!
Thanks BhaskarG

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlashMustang View Post
Wonderful travelogue, and great sightings!
One day, just one day, we'll make it to Kanha or Pench or Tadoba! Been putting off the visit for quite some time now!
Thanks a lot for sharing them! Loved them thoroughly!
Thanks FlashMustang. A trip to any of these parks is super exciting given the sheer variety of flora/fauna and the landscapes they have to offer. Do plan a trip once the current pandemic settles down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshMachine View Post
Some super pics you got there

Must have been a great experience just watching the majestic striped feline to your heartís content!

Reminds me of my trip to Ranthambore in the winter of 2019, but with no luck as yours. Didnít get a single sighting back then.
I recall the Safari guide saying - winters are great for roaming in the jungle as a tourist, but the summers are actually best for sightings.
Thanks JoshMachine. I must've seen more than 40 tigers in all my safaris over the years. Yet when i see one today, it brings the same levels of excitement. That is the charismatic power of these felines. You need to make multiple trips across different times of the year and am sure the Law of Averages will definitely favour you
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Old 3rd May 2021, 10:44   #8
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Default Re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Brilliant travelogue Ram.

Nothing quite matches the thrill of watching a tiger in all its glory. Getting to see multiple individuals is heaven! The area around Nagpur has really got some of the more productive reserves when it comes to tiger sightings. Nagarhole, Karnataka was the last reserve I visited - back in 2014. I didn't get to see even one tiger.

You've got some stunning pictures. Loved the one of the jackal as well.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 15:06   #9
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Lovely travelogue there with wonderful sightings of the big cat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Brilliant travelogue Ram.

Nothing quite matches the thrill of watching a tiger in all its glory. Getting to see multiple individuals is heaven! The area around Nagpur has really got some of the more productive reserves when it comes to tiger sightings. Nagarhole, Karnataka was the last reserve I visited - back in 2014. I didn't get to see even one tiger.

You've got some stunning pictures. Loved the one of the jackal as well.
Kabini side has more sightings than Nagarahole side.

However, there is no access to the core zones where the chances of spotting are much higher. Nagarahoe side has some dense forest and shrubs which makes sightings quite difficult even if the predator is present close by.
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Old 4th May 2021, 10:57   #10
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Default Re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Nice pictures. Thanks for sharing. The tiger walking and looking into the camera is probably highlight. But a surprise captivating one is the Jackal looking in the camera...

Shows the important of the good optimal zoom camera. I am in the lookout for the same. As a beginner, and looking at the budget, also for ease of carrying, first thinking of point and shoot ones with 20x plus zoom.
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Old 4th May 2021, 11:55   #11
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Default Re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Always love any travelogue with wildlife in it! Nice pictures too. Thanks for sharing. I've not had the opportunity to visit Kanha yet, this is definitely on my bucket list.
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Old 4th May 2021, 12:59   #12
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Default Re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Brilliant travelogue Ram.

Nothing quite matches the thrill of watching a tiger in all its glory. Getting to see multiple individuals is heaven! The area around Nagpur has really got some of the more productive reserves when it comes to tiger sightings. Nagarhole, Karnataka was the last reserve I visited - back in 2014. I didn't get to see even one tiger.

You've got some stunning pictures. Loved the one of the jackal as well.
Thanks Aditya. Glad you liked the travelogue and the pictures. Central India (Pench, Kanha, Tadoba, Bandhavgarh) generally offers good possibility of big cat sightings esp during summers. Nagarhole is a very good jungle though possibility of tiger sightings are slightly more difficult considering the dense nature of forest.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
Lovely travelogue there with wonderful sightings of the big cat.
Thanks nkrishnap

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboOnTarmac View Post
Nice pictures. Thanks for sharing. The tiger walking and looking into the camera is probably highlight. But a surprise captivating one is the Jackal looking in the camera...
Thanks TurboOnTarma. Glad you liked the pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stryker View Post
Always love any travelogue with wildlife in it! Nice pictures too. Thanks for sharing. I've not had the opportunity to visit Kanha yet, this is definitely on my bucket list.
Thanks Stryker. I have read all your Kabini travelogues. Liked all of them.
Kanha is a must visit esp during winters.
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Old 4th May 2021, 14:04   #13
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Default Re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Another excellent Kanha travelogue, makes our mind and heart fall for this wonderful abode of wildlife yet again. Feel compelled to travel once the situation improves.

As someone said Luck favours for those who wait. I am stunned by the closeup of the tiger looking right as the camera or the Jackal too. Keep travelling and keep sharing. Rated 5 stars.
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Old 4th May 2021, 21:55   #14
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Default Re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Superb travelogue ramnath_77 ! The pictures look absolutely stunning. Loved the incredibly detailed close up of the big cat ! The brown fish owl and the white rumped vulture were great finds.
Kudos to you for getting the majestic Shikra on a near-perfect perch.
Rated 5 stars for the beautiful pictures and an equally compelling narrative!
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Old 4th May 2021, 22:03   #15
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Default Re: Wildlife at enchanting Kanha | A photologue

Stunning photos! Amazing write up as well! I get so happy reading about the wildlife India has to offer!
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