Madhya Pradesh is known as the state of Tigers in India. The various Tiger reserves in the state such as Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, and Pench National Park provide amazing Tiger sightings for wildlife and photography enthusiasts. Having visited the Tiger reserves frequently, we knew that summer was an ideal time to be in Madhya Pradesh to photograph the Tigers in their own territory.
Located between the Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges, Bandhavgarh National Park is a star destination for Tiger population along with abundant flora and fauna. We can discover historical sites like the Bandhavgarh Fort and several natural and man-made caves in the hilly terrains within the forest area. One can also hear mythological stories connected to Bandhavgarh. As per the legend, this was a place gifted by Lord Rama to his beloved brother Lakshmana.
Our participants were geared up to spot the big cats and explore the ancient sites of the place amidst the dense forests.
The 44 degrees scorching Sun greeted us with broad daylight at Jabalpur. The excitement built up as soon as our tour mentor briefed about the next 3 day’s plan in the resort. We were energized with the thought of spotting Tigers in the forests and capture their behavioral patterns in our cameras.
Bandhavgarh National Park is divided into three zones – Tala, Magdi and Kitouli. Our first day was at Tala where it is a ritual to visit Sidda Baba Temple to pray to the deity to grant Tiger sightings. With the blessings of Sidda Baba, we spotted a Chakradhara cub soon enough sitting on the grass farther from the safari track behind the temple itself. We quickly clicked a few shots as the cub moved inside the bushes to never return.
Next, our expert driver took us to a new place to try our luck with Kajari Tigress. We noticed fresh pugmarks and waited for Kajari to arrive. Suddenly, we heard an alarm call from a Langur. As we tried to approach Langur, we heard another alarm call from a Barking Deer in a different direction. We decided to get near the Barking Deer when the alarm call died down and we could not trace the Deer.
In the afternoon safari, we had a delightful encounter with Solo Tigress and her cubs. We also noticed that the family had their father – Bamera’s son guarding them. An exclusive sighting of a Tiger family ended our day with happiness and contentment.
Our second day began with a morning safari to Magdi. We witnessed Dotty’s male cub near Churkva Talab. Our driver informed us that Dotty had three cubs and all of them visited the nearby cement water hole to take a dip and keep themselves cool in the heat of summer.
We arrived exactly at the water hole during our second drive to Magdi in the noon. As expected, we saw little cubs coming to the hole and frolicking in the water. We observed their interactions with each other while capturing their behaviors and learning photographic skills.
We had a relaxed last day as there were no sightings of the wild cats in the forests. It felt as if the forest had gone silent. We visited Sheshasaiya temple to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu in his sleeping posture and soaked ourselves in the scenic beauty of the forests surrounding the temple.
In the evening, we sighted a few cubs sleeping near Sidda Baba temple. We keenly observed an Indian Roller feasting on the insects which sat on grass blades. We tried to trace the different kinds of insects that the Roller selected as its snack. While we were engrossed looking at the Indian Roller, the cubs woke up to stalk a Deer. A Langur signaled the Deer to run far away and stopped the cubs from chasing her.
At the end of the day, we knew we had a productive photography tour at Bandhavgarh. Having witnessed Tigers, Langurs, a thirsty Jackal and Deer along with a different variety of birds like the Indian Roller, King Vulture, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Indian cuckoo, Common hawk cuckoo and not to forget the sweet whistle of Indian Pitta at Bandhavgarh, we stored memories for a lifetime in our hearts and cameras.
We said goodbye to Bandhavgarh and promised to come back sooner again.