Every place has its own charm and a charming story. Folklore, history, fiction, mythology; irrespective of the genre of the story all of them are interesting especially when heard from the natives. Undoubtedly jungle of Kanha in Madhya Pradesh has the most famous story associated with it which was narrated by a british legend. I can bet that the people who are reading this blog have not forgotten the story of ‘Jungle book’. Decades ago far from you and me a different world was sketched in the dense sal forests of Kanha and Pench. Even today the title track of Jungle book makes us nostalgic and wanting to see it all again.
The timeless fiction written by British author Sir Rudyard Kipling came to life at 10 AM every Sunday on national television. I belong to the generation who grew up watching this magical setup of a jungle where Mowgli ruled them. A fascinating story scripted to perfection which included amazing characters like ‘ Ka the python’, ‘Baghira the black panther’, ‘Baloo the bear’ and many others like chil, wolves etc. Our hotel in Kanha named Mowgli resort was just outside the jungle gates, and that got us more involved in the story of Jungle book.
Sherkhan was my favourite character in Jungle book and needless to say why. Everything about him was so well scripted that kids at that tender age made up the same impression about a Tiger. A shrewd, cruel and negative character carrying tonnes of attitude and a shrill roar. Watching a Tiger in Bandhavgarh National Park some time ago ‘Blog – Bandhavgarh Diary’ changed my childhood perspectives about them and the adjective ‘cruel’ was sidelined. The reaction you have while you site your 1st tiger is awe to his attitude. You don’t feel that the tiger is ‘cruel’ but looks like he only wants you to be scared of him and stay out of his business.
The weather was harsh but a high chances of sightings was what we were hoping for.
Reincarnations of ‘The Sherkhan’
In 4 safaris through different zones we sighted 6 tigers, 2 of them were full grown males and reminded us of the sherkhan in his habitat.
We sighted ‘Munna’, a dominant male from Kisli-Sarhi zone twice in different Safaris. In first sighting we could barely see him sleeping in the shrubs; but he did not disappoint and was seen sitting on the road side in the next safari. Before reaching Kanha we had heard a lot about Munna and the word ‘CAT’ inscribed on his forehead from my fellow wildlife enthusiasts and was super excited to see him. People had reported clicking him for hours in a single Safari and he did not care to go off the scene. When we sighted Munna he was recovering from a fight he had 2-3 nights ago with another adult male tiger, the fight was heard by the forest rangers for hours, Munna’s walk with a limp was a proof of how fierce the fight was.
Almost to the end of a safari to Kisli zone we sighted a mighty male Tiger sitting in a waterhole. Within few minutes 10-12 jeeps gathered at the scene. All were left awe struck by his size as he got up and started walking towards the jeeps before vanishing in the woods.
Unfortunately the glamour of Tigers attracts all the attention of the tourists and many other beautiful birds and animals go unnoticed. Kanha has other residents like leopard, bear, the ultra rare barasingha, different species of owls, vultures etc. We sighted many beautiful birds and animals and enjoyed watching them in their habitat.
And it rained in summer
We were visiting Kanha in summer and temperature expected was around 43-44 degrees, however a brief shower at noon took it down drastically and soon after the rain was over we were in our jeep heading to the jungle for our last safari. The jungle we had left at 10 AM the same morning was very different than the one we were visiting now. The overcast conditions made the weather pleasant, the smell of the soil, the fresh leaves which were washed by the rain everything was looking like a different world. The safari after rain was the only one in which we did not sight any tiger but we enjoyed it due to weather and the dense jungle.
Approaching monsoon will close down all the major Tiger parks in country for few months but other Jungles can be visited on foot to experience the wilderness. Looking forward to a monsoon full of treks and small trips!!