The Ranthambhore Season Re-opens at Sher Bagh

October is one of the most important month’s in the Sher Bagh calendar. Like every other year, for the last 13 years, Sher Bagh’s 14th Season has opened with us welcoming new guests, creating new experiences and enhancing existing features; transforming the Camp into a buzzing hive of activity.

A view of the Ranthambhore National Park as seen from a five minute walk around the corner from Sher Bagh.
A view of the Ranthambhore National Park as seen from a five minute walk around the corner from Sher Bagh.

The game experience inside Ranthambhore National Park has been nothing short of spectacular. A prolonged monsoon has produced running streams and waterfalls, restocking pools across the Park and leaving the verdure sparkling and rich. Ranthambhore’s Big Three; the Tiger, Leopard and the Sloth Bear continue to make regular appearances with a notable increase in leopard sightings, particularly across the Kundal (Zone 6) and Balas (Zone 8) areas. Of our tigers’, the following have been seen by our guests, across their ranges in the first 3 weeks of the Park reopening:

1. Ladli/Balas Female (T8)
2. Macchli (T16)
3. Brat (T19)
4. Gayatri/Guda Female (T22)
5. Ustad (T24)
6. Zalim (T25)
7. Star Male (T28)
8. Noor (T39)
9. Junglee/Laila (T41)
10. Mustanda (one of T19’s sub-adult cubs)
11. Sultan (T39’s sub-adult cub)
12. Unidentified Female (possibly T19’s female sub-adult cub)
13. Unidentified Male (possibly T19’s second sub-adult cub)

Driving into the Park through a canopy of emerald green.
Driving into the Park through a canopy of emerald green.
A heavy monsoon has transformed the Park into a lush green forest.
A heavy monsoon has transformed the Park into a lush green forest.
Rivulets and waterfalls have not yet lost their flow.
Rivulets and waterfalls have not yet lost their flow.
Ustad (T24) watches us as he relaxes by a water-hole. The abundance of rain has led to the formation of several water-holes.
Ustad (T24) watches us as he relaxes by a water-hole. The abundance of rain has led to the formation of several water-holes.
Macchli (T16) the oldest tigress in the wild in the world is a living legend of Ranthambhore.
Macchli (T16) the oldest tigress in the wild in the world is a living legend of Ranthambhore.

The abundance of water has also afforded superb sightings of birds, particularly Kingfishers, with 3 of Ranthambhore’s 4 species being regularly sighted by guests. Raptors are in great form this year. The Crested Serpent Eagle in it’s full plumage, Kites, Buzzards, Hawks and Harriers besides have been scouring the skies, more visibly than in the same period last year and are especially visible on the plateaus atop Acacia catechu trees. Spotted deer, or cheetal with new-borns, the males in their fresh velvet laced antlers continue to graze and browse their way as they have always done. Handsome Sambar deer, awaiting their thicker winter coats and the Nilgai antelope, the latter more visible inside the Park, than in recent years all jostle and jibe to partake of the bounty of the post-monsoon foliage on offer, ahead of the rutting season. The Indian mugger crocodiles, now slowly readying for a languid and soporific winter are still active, particularly around the Lake Territories while large sounders of Wild Boar (one group of 18 sighted in Lakarda) trot along churning up the moist earth for roots and other food.

The Indian Roller or Blue Jay can be seen flitting all across the Park as this is breeding season for them.
The Indian Roller or Blue Jay can be seen flitting all across the Park as this is breeding season for them.
A peacock wades through the water.
A peacock wades through the water.
A Kingfisher with the day's catch.
A Kingfisher with the day’s catch.
Raptors like the Crested Serpent Eagle are also being seen regularly.
Raptors like the Crested Serpent Eagle are also being seen regularly.
Male spotted deer in their fresh velvet laced antlers continue to graze and browse their way as they have always done.
Male spotted deer in their fresh velvet laced antlers continue to graze and browse their way as they have always done.
The Parakeets and foliage compliment each other.
The Parakeets and foliage compliment each other.
Spotted owlets can be 'spotted' all around the Park as well.
Spotted owlets can be ‘spotted’ all around the Park as well.
Ranthambhore's lakes are full or water post the monsoon. Seen here, a view from the Fort of Padam Talab and Raj Bagh in the background.
Ranthambhore’s lakes are full or water post the monsoon. Seen here, a view from the Fort of Padam Talab and Raj Bagh in the background.
A spectacular autumnal sunset over Padam Talab with Ranthambhore Fort in the background.
A spectacular autumnal sunset over Padam Talab with Ranthambhore Fort in the background.

Back at Camp, the scents and sounds of live cooking still greet guests returning from the first drive of the day, to a hearty breakfast. Lunches under the shade of cooling Neem trees and the embrace of the tents form a refreshing interlude between game drives. The arboreal lanterns still hang from the Keekars and cooler evenings have meant the campfire provides a snug locale for guests, after long hours in the bush. Wild grasses are thicker and greener at Camp as well and new pathways have been cut, others replanted to create lusher, more private rambles around. Our resident Tree-pie’s, Warblers, Parakeet and Babblers are in great evidence and though the winter ‘census’ of birdlife at Sher Bagh is still a few weeks away, an expectation for over 100 species would not be an exaggerated hope.

Live cooking greets guests returning from the first drive of the day, to a hearty breakfast at the pool.
Live cooking greets guests returning from the first drive of the day, to a hearty breakfast at the pool.
The arboreal lanterns hang from the Keekars around the campfire.
The arboreal lanterns hang from the Keekars around the campfire.

Written by Yusuf Ansari
Photographs from the Sher Bagh Collection

2 thoughts on “The Ranthambhore Season Re-opens at Sher Bagh

  1. We’ll be there in 3 days and are so excited!! Looking forward to all wildlife – birds, tigers, leopards and more! We’ve been excited since we talked to the Vartys! See you soon!

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