Tiger at Ranthambore Park India

Tiger Safari- Ranthambore India- what a thrill!

One of the most gratifying letters I have ever received.

A few months ago I received an email from Lt. Marcus D’Silva who is serving our country in Kuwait. He had found a post I had made on my blog in February of 2010 about India and tiger tracking. He asked if I could help him have a similar adventure. Of course I immediately put him in touch with Toby Sinclair, and Suhail Gupta of India Safaris( Now & Beyon India- a Virtuoso company) and Salim Ali our illustrious guide at Ranthambore State Park. I told Toby and Suhail to please do everything they could to make Lt. D’Silva’s experience the best possible. As it turned out, Salim was on assignment with National Geographic, so they found Salim’s younger brother to do the guiding. Salim knows all the best sighting places. After lots of back and forth making arrangements, the trip was finally set. I was nervous because Tiger sightings are really rare, so I held my breath.
This is a portion of the thank you I received from Lt. D’Silva this week:

Catherine, Toby, Suhail, Farooq, Daljeet,

Captain Pritchard and I would like to express our sincerest thanks to all of you for organizing the game drives in Ranthambhore for the two of us. 6 drives and 5 tiger sightings up close and personal. I found myself a little sick the morning we bumped into each other Toby but we drove on with the mission (as we say in the army) and had two sightings that day. Farooq your guidance was truly exceptional. Suhail your services were most appreciated and Daljeet was extremely helpful in coordinating everything. Catherine none of this would have been possible if not for your blog and your initial assistance.

Princes and presidents could not have paid any amount to assure an experience akin to what we experienced on our trip. It was a memorable experience and one of the highlights of our journey through India.

This letter is the ultimate compliment and what we consultants are all about: making a memorable sometimes life changing experience for my client. Re posts of the blog entries and pictures are below.

Repost of our tiger tracking adventure

We are now in Ranthambore Preserve- the biggest and best of all. It was the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur.The park was nationalized b y the Brisitsh and turned into a park in 1974. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting the first park director Fateh Singh rathore, who photographed the tigers in that park for 30 years. His driver for those 30 years had a son Salim Ali, and Salim was our guide. I would send any client with Salim unless he is off filming with a crew from BBC, National Geographic or Toby Sinclair. Toby did the film Land of the Tiger- a must see on National Geographic channel and it was our privilege to have him with us guiding the trip the all the way until he had to leave in VarNASI. He is off working on a film about the black Tiger at the present.
We sighted 2 tigers the first days at Ranthambore, and on the 2nd afternoon had an unbelievable adventure!

To be continued….

Repost of our Tiger Tracking experience- last day, last game drive

For the last afternoon game drive at Ranthambore only Martha Gaughen, Suhail and I visited the park. The rest of the girls stayed at
Vanyavilas. Upon entering the second gate to the park, we had the privilege of meeting Salim’s father who was Fateh Singh Rathore’s driver( the 1st director of Ranthambore National park). Salim’s father drove Fateh Singh Rathore for 30 years, and they photographed tigers for 8 books. As I wrote in the last blog, Salim’s father looked at us and said “the tigress awaits”. Which of course threw us into a fit of excitement. True to his word and because Salim is such an instinctive guide, we saw a rare happening- a tiger charging a Shambar deer! THEN we followed the tiger (who missed the deer) 2 more times and that video is also amazing.

Suhail Gupta, me, Salim Ali, Martha Gaughen

Best tiger experience on the last day, last drive

The elusive tiger

Toby Sinclair – greatest guide in India

Our illustrious guide for the last game drive- Salim Ali and his father

India – as corrected by Toby Sinclair!

I asked Toby Sinclair my friend, guide and ultimate authority for all things India to correct a paragraph or two of my blog. It was so amusing, I am putting in the whole thing corrections and all. Corrections are in CAPS. Enclosed is a picture of him.
Let me start by saying that Tigers and Leopards are extremely elusive. Chances of seeing them are slim and none. The only consolation is that there are many many other fascinating animals to see in the parks. Chittle (CHITAL) deer and Samba (SAMBAR) Deer, Sloth Bears, White monkeys with black faces (HANUMAN LANGURS), Eagles, Kingfishers, Storks, cranes, and a large variety of predator birds.
At this time of the year game drives are very very cold in the morning. One needs glove, stocking caps, windbreakers, and fleece jackets. You can peel off layers, but it is really cold (WHEN YOU SET OUT IN THE HALF LIGHT BEFORE DAWN). The lodges supply hot water bottles and blankets, and you need al of it. You must have good binoculars and a long lens camera. Often the tigers and leopards are in brush and (BUT NOT NECESSARILY) far away. Afternoons get warm so you can take off layers. Drive can be very dusty, hot, and very very bumpy. There can be long periods of seeing nothing but beautiful jungle. Some jungles are teak, some are of a wood called Saab, and some are semitropical.
The parks we visited were Pench, Kahna (KANHA), Bangadavgarh (BANDHAVGARH), and Panna. We saw tigers and one leopard in the first three, and the last Panna was beautiful. There is an amazing temple complex called Khujahjo (AT KHAJURAHO)- I am slaying the spelling- that one should absolutely not miss when in Middle (CENTRAL) India. The Lodges were all different and each had it’s own personality: Baghvan, Banjar Toli (TOLA)- tented camp-Mahua Kohti (KOTHI), and Pasha Garh.
We are now in Ranthanbor (RANTHAMBHORE TIGER RESERVE) Preserve- the biggest (BY NO MEANS THE BIGGEST) and best of all. It was the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur.The park was nationalized by the Brisitsh (NO…IT REMAINED WITH THE JAIPUR FAMILY TILL THE EARLY 1960S)  and turned into a park in 1974. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting the first park director Fateh Singh rathore, who photographed the tigers in that park for 30 years. His driver for those 30 years had a son Salim Ali, and Salim was our guide. I would send any client with Salim unless he is off filming with a crew from BBC, National Geographic or Toby Sinclair. Toby did the film Land of the Tiger- a must see on Nat Geo channel(6 HOURS FOR THE BBC/PBS) and it was our privilege to have him with us guiding the trip the all the way till he had to leave in Varanasi. He is off working on a film about the Black Tiger at the present.
We sighted 2 tigers the first days at Ranthambore, and on the 2nd afternoon had an unbelievable adventure! To be continued….

Favorite Photos from India

I have downloaded some of my very favorite pictures from India to Picasa.  You may access them through this web address:

http://picasaweb.google.com/cwhit6/FavoritesOfIndia02?feat=email#

Enjoy!

The last day …

For the last afternoon game drive at Ranthambore only Martha Gaughan,
Suhail and I visited the park. The rest of the girls stayed at
Vanyavilas.  Upon entering the second gate to the park, we had the privilege of meeting Salim’s father who was Fateh Singh Rathore’s driver( the 1st
director of Ranthambore National park). Salim’s father drove Fateh
Singh Rathore for 30 years, and they photographed tigers for 8 books.
As I wrote in the last blog, Salim’s father  looked at us and said”the
tigress awaits”. Which of course threw us into a fit of excitement.
True to his word and because Salim is such an instinctive guide, we
saw a rare happening- a tiger charging a Shambar deer!
THEN we followed the tiger(who missed the deer) 2 more times and that
video is also amazing.

Tiger photos!

I‘m home and processing this amazing trip to India.  Over the next week, I will upload photos and videos from one of the world’s most exciting destinations!

Tiger tracking!

Birds of India

Getting ready to tiger track – cold early morning

Getting ready to tiger track on elephants

Tiger sighting!

India … Highlights so far!

Let me start by saying that Tigers and Leopards are extremely elusive. Chances of seeing them are slim and none. The only consolation is that there are many many other fasinating amimals to see in the parks. Chittle deer and Samba Deer, Sloth Bears, White monkeys with black faces, Eagles, Kingfishers, Storks, cranes, and a large variety of predatory birds.
At this time of the year, game drives are very, very cold in the morning. One needs glove, stocking caps, windbreakers, and fleece jackets. You can peel off layers, but it is realy cold. The lodges supply hot water bottles and blankets, and you need all of it. You must have good binoculars and a long lense camera. Often the tigers and leopards are in brush and far away. Afternoons get warm so you can take off layers. The drive can be very dusty, hot, and very very bumpy. There can be long periods of seeing nothing but beautiful jungle. Some jungles are teak, some are of a wood called Saab, and some are semitropical.
The parks we visited were Pench, Kahna, Bangadavgarh, and Panna. We saw tigers and one leopard in the first three, and the last Panna was beautiful. There is an amazing temple complex called Khajurao that one should absolutely not miss when in Middle India. The Lodges were all different and each had it’s own personality: Baghvan, Banjar Toli- tented camp-Mahua Kohti, and Pasha Garh.
We are now in Ranthanbor Preserve- the biggest and best of all. It was the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur.The park was nationalized b y the Brisitsh  and turned into a park in 1974. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting the first park director Fateh Singh rathore, who photographed the tigers in that park for 30 years. His driver for those 30 years had a son Salim Ali, and Salim was our guide. I would send any client with Salim unless he is off filming with a crew from BBC, National Geographic or Toby Sinclair. Toby did the film Land of the Tiger- a must see on National Geographic channel and it was our privilege to have him with us guiding the trip the all the way until he had to leave in VarNASI. He is off working on a film about the black Tiger at the present.
We sighted 2 tigers the first days at Ranthambore, and on the 2nd afternoon had an unbelievable adventure!
To be continued….

Mahua Kothi and Tiger video

We are at the third camp Mahua Kothi. Very very good camp.

http://sharing.theflip.com/session/e316022c2a19e963a4903b0c8e1a4f8d/video/9889319

We have seen some amazing tigers, and one awesome leopard. Food has been outstanding. Each camp seems to be more luxurious than the last, and they are all luxurious. I am taking a lot of video and tons of pictures. 

Toby Sinclair – Our world renowned tour guide!

One of the most amazing parts of this journey is our tour guide, the world famous conservationist, filmmaker and photographer, Toby Sinclair.  He was responsible for the India volume of the Planet Earth Series

More information about his experience can be found http://www.indiasafaris.com/the_photographer

First Tiger Siting!

We saw our first tiger today and she was gorgeous!  HUGE and had two cubs.  What a thrill!! At Bagh Van today.  Pench National Park in the middle of India where Jungle Book was written.  Teak forest jungle.  Today was a wonderful birthday present for Meg Nolan, our leader.  We are driving through the countryside now to the next park – Kahana. 

Mumbai and Mihir Garh

After a safe journey, we begin at the Trident  Hotel (www.tridenthotels.com) near the airport in Mumbai getting ready to go to Mihirgarh. Travel and Leisure listed this magnificent property as one of the top 50 most romantic destinations in the world: 

http://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels/mihir-garh-rajasthan)

Mihir Garh

Knandi
Rohet
Pali, Rajasthan, India
TEL: 91-9-636-169-665
 
“On the wild plains of Rajasthan— just an hour south of Jodhpur—the Mihir Garh is a palatial fortress hotel with an impressive stable of indigenous Marwari steeds. Take one on a maharajah-worthy journey through the desert or on a staff-guided picnic safari to a Bishnoi tribal village. Then come home to one of the nine enormous guest suites (each is over 1,700 square feet), which are done up in Rajasthani textiles and rich fabrics that will put the final touches on your storybook adventure”
Please visit their web site (http://www.mihirgarh.com/#) and click on the photo gallery – MAGICAL!