Sloth Bear at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
Sloth Bear at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

I have been coming to this park from November 2008. This was my 7th visit. My last visit was during monsoons of June 2013.Although I thought of visiting this park in the fag end of june every year as by that time a spell of rains make a real heaven. No doubt tiger sightings are less as water is available at many places but if tiger comes on the lake side it is worth watching on the green carpet of grass.

During this visit ,I was allotted the desired zone no 2 as presently occupied by two tigresses T 39 and T 60 having 3 cubs each aging 8 months and 15 months respectively. We moved through Nalghati in search of the two families. We observed a sloth bear moving parallel to us about 50 meters from our route. This was my first sighting of sloth bear during the last 9 years of my visit to this park.

Tigress with cubs at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
Tiger cub playing at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

It was a good sign as there is a belief through out the world that in order to ward off from the wicked eyes ladies put a black dot not only on the child face but on male members when they move out for some auspicious work and where they would be meeting number of known and unknown faces.

After it being invisible as it had moved off in the thick of the jungle , we went up to the chowki to ease off ourselves. Then we came back to the last day position of Noor (T 39 ) and saw one of the cubs. We spent about an hour with the family. When we left they were in a mood to relax for the day .

Tigress mother caring her cub at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
TIger cubs playing at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

When we came after lunch for the afternoon game drive ,we found the tigress family having afternoon siesta and at rest. One of the cubs was in the pool of water playing with a piece of dried fallen leaf of the palm tree. The mother got up after sometime and came to the water and faced against us. It was directly opposite our vehicle. But the evening light was good for photography. The two cubs too came to the mother and expressed their love for the mother and settled down adjacent to the mother. The entire family in the frame. What a site to behold.

Peacocks at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
Leopard with kill at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

No doubt we were not at the best photographic angle but in wild you have to manage and make best out of the given situation. I was satisfied. Bharat my son who too was in the other vehicle informed me that nearby a leopard is feeding on the kill of a spotted dear made recently. However I kept on shooting the playful mood of the cubs and one by one they took the position at the raised place where photography was of no use. Hence we too left. Hardly a few hundred meters we observed the leopard on the kill. By the time we reached the spot I found that leopard had removed all the hairs from the belly of the spotted dear and was ready to plunge his teeth into the body . At this point he looked into my eyes as if telling ‘Will you please allow me to have my hard earned meal in peace ? Interestingly an Asian paradise Flycatcher was watching the leopard. From a very close angle. I got one of the best shots of my life .

The day started with a sloth bear and ended with a terrific shot of the leopard on the kill. Truly this was the most memorable day for me in Ranthambore. I could not have asked for more than this.

About Vinod Goel

He joined Customs & Central Excise service in 1982. As a civil servant, his job takes him to various parts of India, which gave him an opportunity to capture our wild heritage, through his camera. His passion for wildlife photography started in 2004 when he was posted at Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and this passion continues till today.