In the beginning of 20th Century it is estimated that there were 40000 tigers in the wild. During 1938 -39 it is as per available information Maharaja of Udaipur killed/hunted 1000 tigers. Maharaja of Rewa and Gaunpur killed 500 tigers each. The record of highest tigers killed goes to Maharaja of Sarguja namely Maharaja Ramanuj Saran Singh Deo who killed 1100 tigers in his life time.

During my posting at Raipur from 2002 to 2008 I had a chance to see the wilderness of Chhattisgarh from a close angle . I too got a chance to meet some of the royal families at Ambikapur, Kawardha and Kanker Palace. Very gentle people at heart.

During my visit to Ambikapur I had the opportunity to meet Sh Tribhuvaneshwar Saran Singh Deo popularly known as Baba ,the present Maharaja of Sarguja who allowed me to have glimpse into palace having wildlife trophies collected from all over the world ,mainly from Africa .Generally this place is open for the general public during Dusehra festival. I was told that a fire in the palace in fifties costed them very dearly and a large number of trophies got burnt in the fire. Even the remaining lot was huge as per my guestimate. One can see African wildlife animals in the big hall such as Cheetah, hippo,Thomson gazelle ,wild dog etc. The trophies require a regular treatment of chemicals for preserving them over a long period of time.

During visit to Kawardha Palce which has been converted to hotel one can observe Leopard skin hanging on the walls and stuffed tiger in the main hall.

The most interesting was a carpet made up of 4 tiger skins placed on the ground in a room for the guests. This was at Kanker Palace about 150 km from Raipur on the way to Jagdalpur,the Head Quarter of Bastar District. One can see other trophies on the walls as well as placed on the table or on the floor. A tiger killed by the father of present Maharaja as the tiger had taken away a hand of a lady going for natural call in the village.

I thought of sharing with you all to have a look to what extent wildlife was destroyed and kept into the rooms who could manage to keep them.

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.