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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bandhavgarh - Day 02 - Part 2

The daily routine at Bandhavgarh includes coming back to the lodge at 09:30am, after the morning safari, to have the breakfast, at Indian cuisine style, already including some typical spicy food between the toasts and the cereals. And after finishing breakfast the best deal was to take a nap to compensate the early wake-up call effects, while we wait for the lunch time at 01:00pm. Or we found something to entertain ourselves for the next hours like taking pictures of the many butterflies that keep flying in the center yard of the lodge.



(The last one has the same colors of the tiger or am I getting obsessive?)

Loading the camera batteries, saving the pictures, cleaning the lenses and gear (that in fact is the most important thing to do between the game drives). After lunch Raj met us communicates that Deepak was very sick – he could not join us that afternoon so he would be going again with us as our guide. We were in good hands.

Raj told us that there were good chances of seeing B2 again that afternoon, because the park rangers saw B2 hunting a deer and hiding the remaining carcass in a bamboo thicket nearby the same place we saw him the day before. The tigers, when they do not finish eating the prey, they hide the carcass in places like this to keep it safe of vultures and other scavengers. As he entered the Ghorademon cave during the day for cooling, B2 would potentially exit the cave sometime late in the afternoon to go take the carcass back (or not…with nature you never know what is going to happen…).

Our vehicle and a bunch of other jeeps have got together in the exit of the cave to patiently wait for a majestic appearance. It seemed like everybody had been polarized by the same information that afternoon. Actually, seeing B2 is really special – who saw him before, wants to see him again whenever there is a possibility for an encounter to happen.

As if we had an appointment with B2, he emerges from the plateau of sandstone surrounding the cave.


The biggest tiger in the area then walked toward the cars, which were all pointing to the direction of the cave, so the frenzy start – all jeeps start to move at the same time to turn around and follow the path of B2 – a real mess as the road is narrow with thick vegetation on both sides. Mr. Raj started to “coordinate” the mess from our jeep, yelling to the other where they should move, he knows that we have not much time for getting stuck behind that confusion of cars. In the meantime, B2 walked through the vegetation and showed up again in the other of bushes, and then started to cross the road.



All jeeps had already found a place to be by that time, and we started to hear the burst of shots coming from everywhere around. Hypnotized by B2 eyes, we fall deeper into that encounter through the lens of the camera, and everything around disappears – the feeling of being alone with the tiger in our face just hit us again – the time slowed down, B2 moved smoothly between the cars until reached the other side of the track, deciding to walk through the bushes again.




We restarted to follow him along the road getting ahead of him a couple of times, what provided a good view of B2 walking towards us. Despite the dense foliage, it was an excellent experience again. B2 kept going for his carcass, and we had to go.




Recovering from the discharge of adrenaline, moving towards the park gate to finish our second day at Bandhavgarh, we could enjoy a beautiful sunset as we were driven back to Tala Gate.


Back in the camp, we joined the evening reunion, not around the fire (too hot for that!), but drinking Kingfisher (local beer) with Raj and the other guests. We asked Raj: How did you know that B2 was going to be really there? - He just waved his head in that typical Indian style and kept the mystery in the air…

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