On the Tiger Trail...

Trip Start Jun 07, 2008
Trip End Jun 28, 2009

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Flag of India  , Madhya Pradesh,
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yesterday we left Khajuraho and drove for over five hours to get to the Bandhavgarh National Park, to see tigers! Lu and I slept for the first half of the drive because we are so tired from so many early mornings. On the second half, the roads were very bumpy and some were made of dirt. We passed lots of small villages and saw guys campaigning for the next elections. They drive around in trucks with big loudspeakers. We also stopped at a small farm to see how they make wheat. The farmer, Mr. Singh, was very nice and invited us to see his garden and also his house. He is growing lots of things in his garden, like papaya, and a small round Indian fruit, plus bananas, almonds, and other things. His main crop is wheat, which is sells. There were guys separating the wheat from bad parts by putting the kernels in a special basket and shaking it while the wind blew out the unedible parts. That was fun to watch. At his house, we met his wife and they served us some of the round fruit which had been soaked in honey, and also some fresh papaya.

When we arrived at the national park, we went to our lodge, Mahua Kohti. Mahau is a flower or fruit that the sloth bears like to eat - it makes them drunk and crazy and dangerous if they eat it. Kohti means a house. Indrajit told me that - I am very excited he will be on the game drives because he knows everything about tigers. He helped design the tiger enclosure at the Singapore Zoo, even, and he has studied tigers and helped villages learn how to live with tigers, too. As we drove in, we could see people walking and living right next to the park. This seems crazy because there are no fences, so tigers could come right into your house, but that is how it is here.

We went on our first game drive after lunch, with our guide Pravid and with Indrajit, two experts on tigers. On our drive, we saw chettal, a type of deer, and also monkeys, and a stork, and sambar (the tiger's favorite antelope to eat.), but no tigers. We did see tiger scratch marks on some trees, which was cool. We had dinner on the roof under the stars and fell fast asleep.
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