An early morning. 5:30 am. My god... How could I get up so early...but i was not to regret it. We got into our safari jeeps and headed to the jim corbett national park. It was interesting..and cold... The sun was up when we entered the gates of the park.
We were provided with binoculars on a rent of Rs.100/- to see animals at a distance. I did not need one, thanks to my canon's optical zoom, but those who did, regretted later. Our search for the animals began, and more curiously for the tiger. Five minutes into the forest and we saw a deer. Behind the bushes and the trees. The zoom helped me get a glimpse of it.
As we moved on, we saw some more stags and deers but couldn't click them as they were lost in the bush before i could focus. The morning was getting exciting now. Our driver stopped. About 100 meters in front of us, two other jeeps had also stopped and they signaled us to stop and keep quiet. Probably they had seen a tiger in the bushes and expected it to get closer to our views. The driver showed us the footmarks on the ground which were fresh, according to him.
This meant that he must be nearby. We were both excited and afraid. We stood up inside the open jeep and started looking all around. Suddenly behind our jeep, about 50 meters away, we saw the tiger casually crossing the road (the soiled path in the forest). I took my camera and aimed for it. It was almost into my focus, when the hyper-excited driver started the jeep in reverse gear to get a closer look at the tiger. My hands shook and the tiger vanished in the bushes in seconds. I was completely annoyed and so much wished that the tiger had stayed for at least ten more seconds or the driver would have just stay put. Nevertheless, in the hope of the tiger paying us a visit again, we waited at the spot and kept looking the bushes. We were not allowed to get down from the jeep. Even if we were, we wouldn't have dared to, anyways.
After a fifteen minutes wait, it was clear that the tiger was in no mood of coming back. We headed further. The driver told us that the movie Kaal, which was based on some forest horror drama was shot here only. The kids got excited to hear that, but it didn't matter to me. I was too frustrated to have missed the tiger's shot to enjoy anything further. After about fifteen minutes of drive, we crossed a shallow river which reminded me of the movie Kaal. I thought that the movie had some scene shot here, but I wasn't sure. Anyways, we saw some peacocks at a distance. Clicked them. It wasn't a great achievement as I had seen plenty of them at IITK during my college days.
We went ahead and found a tree house. Tall, green with long-stepped stairs. The ladies and kids were pretty excited and kept getting themselves clicked in random poses. It was a little annoying to me and my camera but they were pretty enough for the annoyance. We came down the tree house and stopped at a forest canteen for some tea. I hadn't expected a canteen amidst the forest. It had electric-barbed wire arround it and was run by the Forest officers. Post the tea, we headed back. Even now our eyes were hunting for the tiger for one more glimpse and our heads moved like powerful binoculars to spot any sign of the royal being. We did spot a couple of more deer, and a monkey, but no tiger.
On our way out of the park, we clicked a few cows around a water body. We were back at our Manu Maharani resort for a HEAVY breakfast.
will post the pics later...when connected to a fast internet...