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Enter the Tiger's Lair

Friday 14, 2009
So now that we agree to the fact that it’s absolutely necessary to save the Tiger, let’s move on to know a little bit more about this beautiful creature. Obviously, the first question that comes to mind is that how can one book an appointment with the King?

Specifically in India, the best way to observe tigers in the wild is to visit one of the many wildlife parks around. While there are an estimated 1400 tigers left in the Indian wild, it still makes for a third of the total tiger population worldwide.So the chance of sighting one is not so grim after all!

Of course, you can always catch them at zoos here, or even st some private reserves in South Africa and the United States. But I wouldn’t really recommend that. It’s not even half as much fun! It’s an experience, which needs to be strictly had first hand! And for that, you need to head out to the land of adventure, the Wild!

I would highly recommend Corbett, Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Ranthambhore, all of which are known for their high tiger densities!

Recommended Wildlife Parks Location
Jim Corbett National Park Uttaranchal
Ranthambhore Rajasthan
Kanha/Bandhavgarh Madhya Pradesh
Rajaji National Park Uttaranchal
Pench Maharashtra
Bandipur/Nagarhole Karnataka
Sundarbans West bengal
Periyar Kerala
Manas / Kaziranga Assam

So what do you need to watch out for when planning an expedition? Well, most of these parks are open only for a part of the year. So you should check out what’s the best time to visit by doing a bit of a research on the Internet beforehand.

Incidentally, other than the Tiger sighting and comfortable weather, you may also want to be on the lookout for some other animals like Elephants or Migratory Birds which may visit only during some specific part of the year.

As they say…when in Rome, do as the Romans do. And when in the forest, follow the rules of the forest!

So, my biggest advice to you would be to take accommodation inside the park if available, in one of the government managed Forest Rest Houses (FRH). It lets you experience the pleasure of being surrounded by unhindered and pristine beauty of nature on a much more intimate level.

Of course, booking them is usually a pain! But instead of blaming our poor governance (which isn’t going to help anyways!), just plan a bit in advance. And do a bit more research. Or you can always drop me an email asking for advice.

Staying in one of these bungalows increases your chance of spotting a tiger as most of them are amidst the thick of the forest where the tiger population is usually the highest.

Waking up early to the sounds of the forest in the wee hours of the morning is also truly a heavenly experience! The chirps of exotic birds, the moans of a distant tiger calling to its mate, the clash of the horns of two chital stags dueling somewhere, the reflections of sunlight on the early morning dew, the freshness of pure oxygen in the air, all are bound to get you completely relaxed and rejuvenated !! Somehow, it is a deeply spiritual experience, atleast for me! And the best part is that within most of the forests, the cellphones don’t work! So you are able to take your mind off the rest of the world completely!

Wear earthy clothes. Don’t shout, get overtly excited, feed, or tease the animals ! Remember, you are a guest in their home and not the other way round !

Early mornings and late evenings are the best times to catch a tiger on the move, so don’t be lazy ! Most importantly, don’t obsess about sighting a tiger! Be patient ! In the upcoming articles, I would talk in specific about how to track a Tiger.

Hope that this information is able to help you plan your trip better and is able to provide you a richer and more fulfilling experience…IN THE WILD !