“Laila just crossed”

It is all about spotting tigers in Ranthambore🐅- and all I prayed for was that at least one of the expected 87 tigers of the park will come give me a glimpse.

Today is about my experience of the Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve.

My first jeep safari, early in the morning, was in Zone 8 (Zone 8/9/10 are comparatively newer zones, which were opened up to attend to the increasing tourists.). Early morning is the best time for animal spotting, you usually find them around lakes having water.  

Though it is true that, the chances of sighting totally depend on your luck, but probability plays its role for sure. The locals told us that Zone 8 has less probability (compared to 1-5), so, we were almost hopeless of spotting any animals that day.

Ranthambore being a dry deciduous forest, makes it a lot easier to spot wildlife in all its glory. All along the way we spotted Sambar deer (favourite food of the tigers), Spotted deer, Nilgai (antelope), the Barasingha, and some beautiful birds. But we were majorly on the lookout for the big cats. The fellow jeeps informed us about an animal they spotted. Taking a quick bumpy ride up the park, we saw a group of cars halted right in front of us. And it was a Leopard. It was on top of the cliff in front of us. We could see it resting, changing its positions and moving to the other side (they do not really have much to do.. 🤣 ). Too near yet too far😢. No regrets though. Leopards are considered a rare sighting in the jungle, majorly because they stay high up on the cliff due to the fear of being attacked by tigers.


We took a halt at the highland area in the national park where we could see the entire dazzling town beneath us; the most noiseless and tranquil site (as being deep in the water). 🧘🏻‍♀️

At the end of the safari, if not a tiger, we were happy to at least see one member of the cat family.

Not losing hope, we decided to book another morning. This time Zone 5. The morning began, ready and set, we boarded a canter this time. Hopes, chances and excitement were far higher. 10 mins into it, we stopped. There was a tiger alarm, a group of langurs were constantly making noises indicating that there is a predator around. Moving ahead, we found fresh tiger footprints. 🐾This confirmed that it was not a false alarm, and that the tiger should have just crossed the area.

We waited there, but no luck.

We proceeded, caught sight of extremely beautiful, shiny skinned peacocks (ones in DELHI don’t have shiny skins), crossed some lakes and temples, when the forest officials told us, “Laila just crossed” and in front of us was a convoy of canters and jeeps waiting to catch a glimpse. One of the jeeps that reached 3 mins early had THE EXPERIENCE-“Laila walked with us”.
Expectedly she was sleeping in the long grass, beside the lake right in front of us. We were waiting for her to wake up.

She was hidden somewhere behind the tall grass!

Meanwhile, we heard great stories of the bold MACHALI, the Tigress Queen of Ranthambore. She managed to kill a 12 foot long mugger crocodile, back in the year 2003, and lost two of her canine teeth, lived most of her life with one eye but was still as fierce. Ranthambore will forever be known for its powerful tigress- the one that contributed greatly for the population of tigers, and helped boost tourism in Ranthambore.

PC: Reddit

Some famous tigers/ tigresses of Ranthambore- Riddhi and Siddhi (the granddaughters of MACHALI), Sultana, Laila, Ustad and Krishna.

We were the last ones waiting, still hopeful; even though there was a very slight movement in the grass but she disappeared. And it was time to leave.

Even a day prior, we couldn’t catch SULTANA while she was stretching and sleeping on the road for hours together- it must have been a total sight to watch.

Hard Luck. 🙃

Maybe some other time.

Do you have any experiences of spotting any animals closely? Do share in the comments below. ❤

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