My trip to Kanha brings back fond memories. A lot of fun things happened on this trip because Kanha is indeed a beautiful and fun forest, full of surprises ! It was a friends birthday and being wildlife enthusiasts, we had decided to take a trip to Kanha. A few others willingly joined us and it became a trip I would never forget.
During my train journey I kept looking out at the trees that appeared to be on fire.. The flame of the forest in full bloom all around us. Everything was orange. On reaching the resort, the heat and journey had taken a toll, but the anticipation for the safaris to come caused me to chase the fireflies in the resort in to calm my excessively charged mind. Between the loud rumbling sounds of the evaporative cooler (because we were staying in an eco-resort) and the active imaginations of what I was going to see in the morning, I drifted off to sleep.
The morning brought with it mist and cold and the magical vistas in brown and green unfolded. As soon as we entered, we saw a gaur sitting on the right of the track. We all stood up in the gypsy to get a better look. Startled, the gaur stood up to take a better look at us too. Instinctively, we all sat down very quietly. It was a huge, fully grown male and the sheer size intimidated us. We did not speak a word till we drove away from there. Looking back, we always laugh at this dramatical incident.
As the sun rose, the beauty of the forest became more prominent. We encountered Sir Langur who sat on a log like a Sahib. We also spotted several heard of Gaur, deer and one black buck. We also spotted the star animal of Kanha – the Barasingha. The jungle is also rich in avifauna. We saw several vultures, shikhra, owls, treepies and wagtails. Male peacocks displaying their plumage and showing off were seen in so much abundance that we even joked that the park should be declared a peacock reserve
And ofcourse we spotted the tiger. No drama there. We had an amazing guide who knew where and how to position the gypsy. He simply said let’s wait here, she will definitely pass from here ! And she did ! She came out from one side of the trail look at us, marked the territory and vanished into the thickets on the other side. She was tigress T-66. Even today, the video that I was able to shoot gives me goosebumps. What a sighting !
We can never have enough, can we ? So we got the news that there was a male tiger sitting in a stream but the sighting was impossible because a branch with a beehive had fallen at the entrance to the point. Greedy that we are, we decided that we had jackets and that we would cover ourselves completely and venture where no one dared to go ! We got to the point and moved forward into the bee territory. We immediately realised why nobody had dared to venture. The fallen beehive was huge and the thousands of angry bees formed a thick cloud blocking the path. We were immediately attacked by a small swarm and it didn’t feel small while they engulfed us in their small cloud. We were able to get out of there without any stings ! Things we do for tiger sightings !
We had now put several kilometres between us and halted to photograph a herd of gaurs. That is when we realised that it was not the end of our encounter with the bees. They had followed us and hovered over our heads and around our faces. This happened each time we halted. We would think we had lost them, but as soon as we halted, they would just magically appear out of thin air. I almost thought I would get to bring a bee foe or two home with me. They left us when we got out of the safari at the safari gate, more than 30 kms from the bee hive ! What incredible creatures ! To think that these tiny insects chased 6 fully grown humans over a distance of 30kms at the speed of 20kms/hour ! And then they would also trace back their steps and return to the fallen hive. I want that GPS !
At the gate, we entered a shop that sold wooden souvenirs. We entered the shop to buy trinkets. The asked us if we wanted fresh honey. No thanks ! I had no appetite for honey at all !