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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Day 8&9: Eye of the tiger

After much delay in exiting Varanasi, we arrived at the Bandvangarh National Park at a sleepy 2am and took the long and bumpy road to our wonderful residence, The Kum Kum House (pronounced 'kom kom', actually) and agreed to take the early morning safari leaving in, at that point, 2 hours.

We did not make this safari.

But we did get to - perhaps for the first time on this trip - relax. Barely any cars, no horns, nothing to was bliss. Actually the manager of the Kum Kum House turned out to be something of a hero and showed us round to his mates' pool (a very luxury resort next door to ours) where we had the pool to ourselves!

We set off in hunt of the tigers that this area is famed for bright and early the following morning. Realistically what this entailed was getting in a jeep and hunting for one of 65 needles in a 11,000 squared km of haystack - make that one well camouflaged, naturally shy, solitary needle in a haystack of cliffs and grass planes and watering holes.
The odds were not with us - but almost as soon as we entered there one was! I suspect that only in India could a traffic jam form in a national park but every jeep and telephoto lense was focused on the sand bank of a stream as Japanese tourists squealed through their dust masks with delight.

As well as a snoozing tiger we saw elephants, white spotted deer, alot of cheeky monkeys, peacocks, wild boar, vultures, samba deer, king fishers and - my favourite - the red-bottomed monkey as well as some spectacular views.

All in all another 365 success! We lunched with a great couple that had checked in while we were away, picking up some good hints and tips and prepared ourselves for the scheduled taxi to Umaria train station, train from Umaria to Katni, 7 hour wait for the 36 train from Katni to Goa...

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