|Bamera, the King|
That evening, we went to Khitauli, one of Bandhavgarh’s three tourism ranges where tourism is allowed, along with Tala (the premium zone) and Magdhi. There we heard sambhar alarm calls at a waterhole and sambhar calls being probably most reliable sign of a tiger, we waited. Finally a sub-adult male tiger walked slowly towards us (and the waterhole), but another gypsy driver was in too much of a hurry and that ensured that the tiger never came near, but walked away into the bushes. We’re Indians after all, patience is a virtue that doesn’t come easily to us.
|A tiger with wings|
|She was watching us for a while before we even realized she was there|
Back to the tigers and a dramatic final safari awaited us. As we entered the park, we immediately saw Bamera, striding in full view of all the gathered gypsies. We waited at a distance to allow him room to cross, but he suddenly veered towards us and cross the road barely 10 feet in front of where we were parked. Then regally surveyed his kingdom and headed towards his family – the Siddh Baba cubs.
|Don't you dare do that again!|
We still had time to make a recce of the Banwei area and sure enough, two of the cubs were lying in the open, the kill polished off, taking a post-breakfast snooze. We took a few pictures and left them to their nap. And we left, probably as sated as all the tigers we’d encountered that morning.
Also bear in mind that Tala is a ‘premium’ zone, so an additional Rs. 1000 needs to be paid per safari in the Tala Zone.