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The Perfect weekend in Bandhavgarh with wonderful friends; An incredible Tiger Tracking experience with the magic of Pugdundee safaris .....


madaboutcheetah

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madaboutcheetah

Dear All,

 

A short, but wonderful weekend in Bandhavgarh ...... Huge Thank You to Sudhir Shivaram who organized the trip and provided his wonderful guidance in terms of helping all of us with tips to improving our photography. HUGE HUGE Thank You to Pugdundee Safaris for all their wonderful hospitality at the Kings Lodge and most importantly, to Naresh Singh aka Gudda for all the Tiger Tracking ........ Maruti Gypsy vehicles with one row removed and thick padding to the floor to hold your equipment or room for you to crouch low on the floor of the vehicle for/if the situation came about.

 

An Indian Tiger tracking experience that I have finally done right after all these years ...... Well well well ..... It was amazing. Who knew - an all day "filming pass" is available ....... It is pricey, but, worth every Rupee. 15 minute early entry and 15 minute late exit - plus, unlimited by the route or Zone system.

 

Due to work commitments, I had to back out of the trip at first and had my slot allotted to another friend of ours who readily grabbed my spot. Incredibly, Sudhir was able to organize another spot for me and I was quickly able to make the weekend..... My friends had a total of 8 nights and they had some incredible sightings. Some of them are Safaritalk members who browse the forum every now and then and hopefully will contribute to the thread (HINT - Tiger Cubs) ..........

 

Very impressed by the Park itself - Well maintained (NO LITTER AT ALL) ...... very scenic (the Tala zone) - went to take a look - but, all the action was in the Magdhi zone.

 

I'm totally wiped out - Long days as in Lebala for me when i'm out hunting with the cheetah. I might need to start a second ST handle, "Alsodigstripes" ...... ;)

 

A word about Sudhir - He's brilliant. I've been on a digital photography trip with a famous photographer(in Africa) who shows his work in fancy galleries in London (Name with held) ....... but, in contrast to that experience ..... I found Sudhir genuine and extremely hard working - our group had varying levels of skill sets and Sudhir addressed everyone's issues (we were a group of 8) without batting an eyelid, almost until midnight every single day.

 

Just a teaser of two images that I quickly edited ........ I am wiped out and need some serious shut eye before heading back to work bright and fresh on Tuesday morning.

 

PS- Tourism in India is not encouraged to it's full potential because of dodgy logistics. It took an entire day from the South for me to get to Bandhavgarh and the same thing en route home. Only flight is the evening Mumbai-Jabalpur (arriving at 6pm) ... God Knows what went into the thought when planning that route by SpiceJet(It isn't India if it's not complicated). Drive was 3 hours and a bit on very good roads. Pugdundee also has connections to local logistic providers who can organize a super comfortable Innova vehicle for the transfers to and from the Jabalpur airport. They have a sister lodge at Kanha (Earth Lodge) that my friends spoke highly about. I didn't go - but, perhaps will go one day very soon.

 

Any questions, please give me a shout.

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Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Dear All,   A short, but wonderful weekend in Bandhavgarh ...... Huge Thank You to Sudhir Shivaram who organized the trip and provided his wonderful guidance in terms of helping all of us with tips

Quick few that I edited just now ........ I found it challenging photographically, as I didn't have good familiarity with Tiger behavior and when I look at my images I would have done a few things dif

Here goes ............ STRIPES!!! Another quick weekend in Bandhavgarh - combining with work in the North.

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graceland

I always wanted to go to India to see tigers, but the logistics blew me away...So I will enjoy your long weekend Hari'

 

Thanks for the intro, I like your new handle. You can just post with both..."The two faces of Hari". :wacko:

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Game Warden

I have an urgent request MAC...

 

More photos!

 

:D

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michael-ibk

Jealous here, I loved Bandhavgarh. :)

 

Great shots, do you know the name of your tiger(s)?

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Brilliant stuff, Hari. More, more, more with as many tiger pics as you can share.

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sudhirshivaram

Thanks a lot Hari. It was wonderful interacting with you and the entire group. I just joined today and hope to contribute here.

 

Regards,

Sudhir

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kittykat23uk

Would certainly be interested to know the cost for westerners to do this all day pass thing! Not that I had a shortage of tigers in Tadoba last year, but the idea of no crowds is certainly appealing! I still really want to see young cubs though!

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks guys for all the responses.

 

Phew!!! @@sudhirshivaram - please please please contribute more when time permits.

 

@@michael-ibk ...... The main Tigers we saw were the now grown cubs of the Rajbera female (sp); we saw the 3 females induvidually around the waterhole in Magdhi zone. The image above is, one of the girls.

 

We also saw, the oldest daughter of the Suki Pattiya female. My friends all saw the current litter (3 cubs) of the Suki Pattiya (sp) female. Even the forest officials didn't know how many cubs exactly were present. I was too far and out of cell phone network and no radios as like in Africa..... I'm not too fussed - these things even out over a lifetime of safaris (2014 would have been too greedy a year if I was to have Tiger cubs too) ...... All that said, my friends put in 8 nights of work so they deserved it more.

 

I saw another female in very low morning light (forget her name) - very shy and seldom seen. My friends saw a few in Kanha - but, I wouldn't know the names of those Tigers.

 

@@kittykat23uk - I think it is 60,000 Rupees for an all day filming Pass for non-Indians. You might need to double check for verification. I think they dish out only 5 passes on any given day. In my very limited experience, Tigers also move during the middle of the day (after the vehicles leave the park). Think Ndutu in Tanzania where the cheetah hunt a lot in the middle of the day like clock work when the hoards of tourists leave for their lodges for brunch. One thing (I'm hardly any Tiger expert) - the winter coat of a Tiger is amazing. I'd recommend anyone come to India for this experience versus the summer experience where they not just shed their coat, but, are miserable in the heat (so are you).

 

Bandhavgarh IMHO is all about the Tiger experience.

General game is mostly spotted deer, sambar deer and wild boar; the odd barking deer; we also saw a few Gaur (radio-collared as these were re-located from Kanha a few years ago).

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

This, that and the other random notes ....... When I was at Mara Toto in October, I thought several times that I needed a new baseball cap from their gift shop as the one I had was getting old. Guess what - Malaika kept me out long hours sun up to sun down. I eventually didn't even go to the gift shop ...... What happens now - My cap flew off Tiger tracking and I didn't realize for quite some time. CAP GONE!!!

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twaffle

This is great news as I've always been out off by the logistics of going to view tigers. Being able to go out for the whole day and have flexibility would be wonderful. I'm going to bookmark this for future reference including your guide and photographer.

 

Welcome to ST Sudhir, I look forward to seeing some of your photos as well.

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sudhirshivaram

This is great news as I've always been out off by the logistics of going to view tigers. Being able to go out for the whole day and have flexibility would be wonderful. I'm going to bookmark this for future reference including your guide and photographer.

 

Welcome to ST Sudhir, I look forward to seeing some of your photos as well.

Thank you so much. I hope to contribute regularly to ST.

 

Rgds,

Sudhir

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kittykat23uk

So that is over £600 for one day. Is that per person or per vehicle Hari? Did you have accommodation and your guide costs on top of that or was that included in the cost?

 

Be interested to hear more about the quality of your sightings between when everyone is in the park and when you has it to yourself or was the fact you could go to any zone that meant you could get away from the crowd all day?

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madaboutcheetah

@@kittykat23uk - It's for the vehicle for one day. For serious photographers with long lenses, I would only recommend 2 pax in a vehicle since one row shall be removed from the Maruti Gypsy. If you are not fussed then you can fit 4 passengers I think(in two rows of seating). The park guide comes too...... We were a group of photographers and so we had 4 such vehicles with one row of seats removed.

 

The lodging was over this separately - but, not very expensive.

 

The quality of sightings were phenomenal in the middle of the day or late in the evening when the others exit the park. Including the Tiger cubs that my friends saw ......... During peak hours - it's a matter of luck. Ofcourse, you bump into them - but, they disappear into the bush and then the other vehicles don't see much.

 

Right now, sightings were not too pumping in the Tala zone - if it was, then the normal vehicle safaris would be limited to routes within the zone allotment which is all too rigid ...... Normal safaris also need to line up early at the gate to enter first in the park.

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graceland

LOVE the photos, Hari.. a real dream to see Tigers. One day Hopefully.

 

I need a huge lotto win :rolleyes:

 

And a welcome to your friend., @@sudhirshivaram - would love to see more!

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madaboutcheetah

Quick few that I edited just now ........ I found it challenging photographically, as I didn't have good familiarity with Tiger behavior and when I look at my images I would have done a few things differently (also, thinking of different tips that Sudhir mentioned to me) - oh well ..... Next time soon!!!

 

I found an image of one of our vehicles - the ladies are using the extra room to move around the vehicle with a row removed.

 

Disclaimer: The Elephant image is that of a working Mahout Elephant drinking from the waterhole - It's just here since I put in some thought composition wise ;)

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SafariChick

Wonderful images and sounds like a fantastic experience. I too have always dreamed of seeing wild tigers but as others have said, have heard that the experience trying to see them is less than ideal. This sounds like something I would love to do some day - even though I'm not sure I'm a photographer worthy of requesting an all-day filming pass, I guess they probably don't mind that so long as you're willing to pay the price?

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Game Warden

MAC, MAL, MAT

 

Madaboutcheetah

Madaboutlion

Madabouttiger

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twaffle

Superb sightings and love the atmosphere you've captured. The ele composition is great. Looking forward to more.

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@@madaboutcheetah

 

Hari,

 

I have been rather busy and not visited ST much but I had dinner with  Laura last night and she put me on to this.

 

You've put India and tigers back on the list for me. Our last and only visit to Ranthambore included a 6-hour train ride from Delhi (& back). Only saving grace was that it was in December and it was nice and cool, AND we got to see T39 (Noor), but only once (first morning game drive).

 

Sounds like a film-pass is of the order of a gorilla trekking permit, and well worth it for the flexibility it provides.

 

In Ranthambore, the vehicles were standard government issue and we were assigned vehicle mates. And as luck would have it, one complained about the noise the camera shutter was making. The set up you had sounds great. Thanks for taking the time to share this.

 

Looking forward to more great stuff from your trip.

 

Rgds,

John

 

ps: btw - when are you next in HK for another mini-ST gtg and meal?

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madaboutcheetah

@johnkok

 

Thanks so much, John - Will definitely let you guys know when I'm in HK next. Probably next year sometime on my way to Shanghai; will def co-ordinate with both you guys

 

Yes, definitely let me know when you guys are up for this Tiger trip - will definitely have a GTG here too.

 

You do point to the perfect analogy - in that, the "filming pass" in the Madhya Pradesh parks is similar to the Gorilla Trek(on my list) permits where ...... it's pricey, but, worth the experience

 

I think Ranthambore is doing very well with Tigers at the moment too - not sure of the set up. Will ask around ...... I think the easy way to get to Ranthambore is a drive from Jaipur.

 

Cheers

Hari

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Uh_oh busted

We were in Ranthambore in February - saw T74 and T75 (or was it 75 and 76? someone here just identified them for me :) recently) - just once, and on the first of only three game drives and I was stuck in one of the middle seats. Exciting enough to forget that the "safari" experience is really just built to get tourists through the park in numbers. We were in a gypsy vehicle, but to be honest, wouldn't have seen any better from one of the trucks (cantors). As it was part of a trip to enjoy the big sites of India, it was certainly worth working it into our itinerary, but Mr. Madabout_______.... your adventure sounds practically ideal! If we were younger and wealthier, I would certainly go back for a more focused trip, except there were some terrific people we met that we would like to see again. (so there goes the "focus" out the window again!)

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  • 2 weeks later...
madaboutcheetah

Anyone going to Ranthambore next few months - you should have some amazing sightings there too ...... This female Tigress, Krishna (T19) has 3 cubs and another Tigress, Noor with two cubs.

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  • 3 months later...
madaboutcheetah

Here goes ............ STRIPES!!! Another quick weekend in Bandhavgarh - combining with work in the North.

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graceland

These are gorgeous @@madaboutcheetah!

 

One day I hope to have this experience :)

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