On our 2nd day we all went to a temple inside the Ranthambore National Park. It was the temple of Lord Ganesha. The temple was inside the Ranthambore Fort. We went there in a jeep for some distance but then we got down and also had to walk up some step into the fort. We kept walking and found a small village market kind of place.
Then we went into a passage, barefoot, through a kitchen and to the praying area. By this time I was feeling very thirsty, but all thoughts of thirst ran away when my uncle told me there were white mice and cobra snakes in the temple! I was excited at the thought of finding one of these. Imagine a cobra! But I could not any until the Pooja ended. The priest gave us a box of laddoos as prasad. And then I saw two white mice. My uncle told me that the mice were exhausted because of the heat. And actually the mice were almost unconscious. But then they got up (i don’t know how) and put their paws into a cup from which they took out something to eat. I wanted to feed them some of my laddoos but I didn’t.
After visiting the temple, we headed for the jungle to see some more tigers. We roamed around in the jungle in our jeep for a long time without seeing any tigers. Soon we came upon four tigers! It was a family of a mother and three cubs between 1 -2 years old. the mother tiger was eating a male spotted dear, which a leopard had killed on the road but could not eat because of some disturbance. The tigers must have found it and brought it for their meal.We left them at peace with their food and moved on from there to find a tiger in a nearby pond that someone had told us about. We could not find any tiger so we went back to the four tigers we had seen earlier.
When we reached there we saw one of the baby tigers attack the mother tiger for food but the mother tiger was too powerful for the cub so she shooed the cub away. The mother tiger then took the deer carcass, looked at her three cubs and dropped the carcass near them for their meal and strode away. All the three cubs pounced on their meal and started chomping away. One of the cubs, being weaker than the other two, didn’t dare to fight for the meal so it sat down and watched the other two fight. The mother, in the meantime, went to a tree and started licking it.
“What is she doing, Uncle?”, I asked.
“She is marking her territory. Big predators do that to scare away other nomad predators”, my uncle explained.
After this fascinating scene, we moved on. We didn’t want to give up on our search for the tiger in the pond. We took a road which led us to a small pond in the open. But there was no tiger there. My uncle said, “there is a small water body up ahead. The tiger could be found there”. So we went straight ahead upto the water body, and sure enough, the tiger was sitting there. But we could not see her clearly as she was hidden by some branches. So we went to a different route to take a look at her from a different angle. As we passed, I saw a natural gate which was made of a tree arching halfway down across the path. A big leaf from the tree touched the ground, completing the arch. We moved on and got a front view of our tiger. This tiger is called ‘Arrow Head’ because she has an arrow like stripe on her forehead.
After meeting Arrowhead it was time for us to leave and this was the end of my second day. I was left with some thoughts about the jungle, some understanding of life in a jungle. My uncle had answered all of my questions. Different species have different way of living. We humans live a civilised life but animals in a jungle have their own way of living, eating, reacting to situations and sharing emotions.
It was good being in a place from where many many years ago, humans also started their first step towards civilisation. But for me it was time to get back to my busy life.
To read about my first day’s experience click here.