Generally, vultures get a bad rep and perhaps we have Disney to blame for always portraying vultures as the baddies in all our childhood favourites of Jungle Book, Robin Hood and Snow White to name a few.
Into the New Year and Ranthambhore seems to have come alive with promises foretold. Dispersing tigers, ungulates in their dazzling winter morphs and a host of birds – migratory and resident – all go to demonstrate that the forest is flourishing. At Sher Bagh, successive guests, some expert photographers among them, have had an incredible run at capturing this moving feast over the last couple of weeks. In the coming weeks, our guest blogs will feature more of their work, in their own words but for now, we bring you a snippet, a mere taster, of why Ranthambhore truly is the beating heart of India’s wildscape.
Seeing a leopard is and will always be a momentous occasion for anybody who experiences JAWAI. Seeing two adult leopards together is such a rare occurrence that we all are left, sitting in the jeep, with an expression of total bewilderment. You can then imagine all our faces when on one granite outcrop we had witnessed three adult leopards together.
Some of the rock formations that you see when you take a drive around Jawai are astounding and it’s hard to believe that only through weathering and erosion have these rocks come to be the shape they are now. No rock, no boulder, no hill is similar. Through millions of years of wear both above and below ground this granite rock seems to have been sculptured by someone with the same skill and imagination as Constantin Brancusi. Jawai has a dramatic landscape and these intrusive igneous rocks are the centerpieces that contribute to these regular breath-taking moments. Therefore, as you catch your breath, here are five of some of the best from Mother Nature’s collection:
“The day lies so still
Long grasses of a summer passed
don’t nod to acknowledge the season
Winter’s rest before autumn’s fall complete
An air replete with hue’s and calls as keen birds feast
And starlings gather atop the ash black leaves that chatter
To motion bare branches still.”
Miles Richardson, A Blackbird’s Year
Even in major cities (like Mumbai) you hear tales of leopards roaming the streets in search for a quick bite. India, with its vast population, has many animal-human contact, occasionally with an unpleasant outcome. There are areas though that boast a positive and peaceful relationship. Jawai stands as an epitome for mature understanding between man and animal.
For centuries, Ranthambhore and it’s fortress have been a space for historic contest. Two conflicts that stand out were Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi’s siege of the fort which began in 1299 and ended in 1301 and the Mughal emperor Akbar’s conquest of the fort in 1568.
As a Ranger in the Field Team, a lot of what we talk to guests about is the beautiful Jawai landscape that hosts both temples and wildlife, but the happenings on the ground in between these granite hills has as much of a role to play in this unique region.
As the opening of Ranthambhore National Park’s nears ever closer, the excitement heightens as we are soon to be back in the forest catching up with our felines & friends.
Like a popular book ending on a cliffhanger torturing the captivated readers as they wait for the sequel, so too do the seasons in Ranthambhore- as the park gates close during the monsoon months and the forest and all that lives and grows there have some private time away from safari enthusiasts & globetrotters from around the world.