Tigress at Rajaji National Park
Tigress at Rajaji National Park

Yesterday night I got a call from Sh Suresh Sharma my guide cum pilot in the Chilla Range of Rajaji National and Tiger Park, Haridwar ,informing that two tigers were observed in the evening at the same place where we had shot a tigress in the unforgettable morning of 13th June 2015 . Please come urgently to the park to see them. They have named the “spot” as ‘TIGER POINT ;

In fact I just returned from the park in the evening of 9th June after 4 game drives from the evening of 7th to 9th June 2017.This year there have been very good sighting of tiger till 6th June. Fortunately or unfortunately it poured heavily in the night of 6th June ad the park was closed in the morning of 7th June. For next three days there was no sighting of tiger as plenty of water was available inside and the main predators namely the tiger and the leopard did not come out to quench their thirst. A number of tourist observed a King Cobra feeding on a monitor lizard ,a very rare natural history moment in the morning of 8th june .This was the biggest surprise for the nature lovers.

Tigress with Kill at Rajaji National Park

I have been visiting the above park for more than 5 years but never saw the most elusive cat TIGER . As the park was about to shut down from 16th June 2015 on account of monsoons for 5 months I decided to try my luck one more time to see the BIG CAT.

My son Bharat (co-founder of Wildnest Travel and Photography) suggested me to explore all three ranges in Rajaji Nationl Park which can be visited by making Haridwar as a base camp . Accordingly I spent 1st day at Ranipur gate and was fortunate to see three leopards in the late evening .After completing three safaris at Chilla Range on 11th and 12th June, I went for a safari in the Motichur Range. This was my first ever visit to Motichur range. Motichur range is no doubt different from others as it is full of Sal trees where apart from leopards and tigers one can see elephants from a close distance. We too were lucky to see two tuskers in the wild.

Tigress in habitat at Rajaji National Park

On 12th June, we got the information regarding a tiger sighting near water body at Ghasi Ram in Chilla Range. We also got to know from a guide about a sambar kill done by the same tiger near the same spot.

After taking entry in the gate I told my driver cum guide to take the vehicle to Ghasi Ram water body without stopping at any forest chowki. On reaching the desired spot as soon as we descended the slope cheetals hardlty 20 meters from us gave a loud and clear call. But we could not see the predator. After waiting for sometime we saw that the tiger which was hiding behind bushes on the small hillock, came out and went back to his hideout on seeing us. After about 2 minutes it came back, stood for sometime,looked at us and went back. Almost half an hour later it came to the kill looked at his prized catch of yesterday, stared at us and went into hiding.

Sambar kill at Rajaji National Park

In the absence of tiger at the kill jungle crows were having a gala time as they had their nice breakfast before them. After munching flesh they were quenching thirst at the water body adjacent to the kill.

Another 40 minutes of our waiting at a spot about 300 to 400 meters from the kill, we observed that tiger is approaching the kill from bushes directly opposite us. It came and saw us and without having anything went back trying to pretend that he is not interested in food. What I felt that the tiger were too shy to come to the kill and take feed before us. He wanted to be left alone. After realizing his shy behavior we decided to leave the spot. He was already getting disturbed from the other vehicles which were passing from that area.

Tigeress & Kill at Rajaji National Park

As far as I am concerned my search for a tiger in Rajaji National Park was over. I have been going to this park for more than 5 years. But in 2015 I made a point to first visit all the three ranges at Haridwar .This was on 12th June and the next day that is on 13th June 2015, forest revealed to me his most precious gem , THE TIGER. People believe that number 13 is unlucky but for me it has been most lucky.

From their onwards I have been visiting this park every year not for the tiger but other secrets which has not been revealed as such to anybody.

I am sure you would like to visit the park as tigers are becoming habitual to human presence.

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.