Travel

Failed romance and more at Ranthambore

A photo safari captures dramatic moments deep in the Ranthambore National Park

“Bah! I have seen better,” the pea hen seemed to say the proud peacock. The male, in full regalia, was showing off his iridescent feathers in a huge arc above him. He swung around, surprised that his display dance, to entice her was treated with such disdain. His purple, blue brown feathers raised to glory reflected the sun’s rays in Rajasthan’s 45 degree heat, but the pea hen simply moved away, unimpressed.

Failed romance and more at Ranthambore

We watched this drama at the 400 sq km Ranthambhore National Park amidst the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges. We were on a photo safari at this tiger reserve with its system of lakes and rivers hemmed in by steep high crags. On top of one of those is the fortress of Ranthambhore, built in the 10th century, over looking the open bush land and dense forests which were the hunting preserve of the maharajas.

Failed romance and more at Ranthambore

Along with us, a black drongo with its forked tail, had also watched the courting peacock. On the same tree it was perched on was a langur foraging for fruit unmoved by the drama below.

Failed romance and more at Ranthambore

But it was a tiger, or two, that we were there to meet. Ranthambhore National Park is where one is ‘sure to see a tiger’, and we got to see and photograph them to our hearts’ content. There are 75 tigers in the park, each tagged with a number and the letter T. So we got a shot of T8 gnawing at the bone after his kill, licking his chops and scraping off the last bits of meat from the bone and encountered T 24 who passed us by a mere 20 feet away from our jeep, on his way for a drink at a pond. He lowered his massive head to drink and it was a perfect photo op that captured him and his reflection. After he had his fill, he marked his territory under a jamun tree and moved away.

Failed romance and more at Ranthambore

There was plenty more in store. We saw a six-foot long monitor lizard, with its tongue almost half as long as its body, hunting for insects, a 12-foot foot python slithering around underwater in a shallow stream. The snake struck its head out exactly the moment we clicked! We also saw a baby crocodile resting in a nearby stream.

Failed romance and more at Ranthambore

There are 300 species of birds here. We spotted Tree pies that were in abundance. They are handsome, daring birds who think nothing of picking bits of meat stuck in the teeth of the tiger, earning them the sobriquet, ‘Tigers toothpick’. We also photographed a collared scops owl in its nest hole high atop a tree.

I photographed my first pitta. A beautiful sparrow-sized with its clear double whistle. Pittas are called Navrang (nine colours) in Hindi because of the splash of red, yellow, green, brown, purple and white they sport. Woodpeckers, kingfishers a magpie robin and a paradise flycatcher with its five-foot long white tail were just some of the other birds we spotted.

As our jeep moved out of the park for the last time, we heard the peacocks calling out, as if bidding us goodbye.

Photo safaris are organized by not- for- profit photographers’ body India International Photographic Council Bangalore Chapter. For more information visit www.facebook.com/PhotoTechnics.SchoolOfPhotography or call:

Gul H.Gulrajani 09986026249.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 6:34:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/failed-romance-and-more-at-ranthambore/article24510933.ece

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