I am sure you would have followed our posts last year that featured our maiden trip to Ranthambore National Park, which we consider to be India’s Tiger paradise. It had rained cats, (read Tigers) then and we hoped our luck would continue on our second trip to Ranthambore as well. As we embarked on our first safari of this trip, I quickly realised that the Park wore a dry look, thanks to the shortage of water given the poor monsoon rains. We hadn’t travelled too far into the park when we spotted the Red-headed Vulture perched on a tree top.

This Sambar Stag was relaxing in the shade, unmindful of our close proximity. But let me confess; it is for the numerous sightings of a Bengal Tiger that one visits Ranthambore and we were still looking for one on this safari. As we moved ahead, we noticed fresh pug marks of a Tiger on the dry and dusty track and we followed it to a junction ahead on the road. But there was no sight of the Tiger. We went a little ahead to check for any signs of the elusive Cat; yet no sign. It was then that our driver pointed out that we should go back on the road, just in case the Tiger had veered off into the forest to avoid us. After a couple of minutes of discussion, we headed back to the point where the pug marks disappeared and from there we kept going back to where they were first spotted. We didn’t have to go too far to spot the Tiger, rather Tigress, popularly known as Krishna walking towards us.

We stopped and took a few pictures with my new camera setup (D5 with 600mm f4) as she walked towards us. When she got too close for the 600mm range, we drove back a bit, reversed the vehicle and I positioned myself at the backseat and kept taking pictures of the Tigress walking towards me. Every time she came too close, we would drive ahead, stop and take pictures and on this picture (below), we hit a slope on the road that brought us almost eye-level to her.

It was now obvious (check picture above) that she wasn’t bothered about our presence and clearly she had something else on her mind. I quickly switched to my other camera setup (D700 with 70-200mm f2.8 lens) and got this picture (below) before she made a turn and disappeared into the tall grass. Both my driver and guide were convinced that she was headed to the waterhole on the other side of the hillock and we quickly drove towards it. The feature image (first picture) was taken when the Tigress was at the closest point from us during cat walk

 

 

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