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Join travel writer Vickie Sam Paget every day this week as she travels with Indus on its Best of North India tour…
By November 20, 2018 No Comments

Join travel writer Vickie Sam Paget every day this week as she travels with Indus on its Best of North India tour…

Searching for Shere Khan

It’s almost 6 PM and the light is beginning to fade. I stop to use the ATM in Sawai Madhopur, a small town on the edge of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan.

As I plug my pin into the ATM, the carousel of life in small-town India circles around me. Women glide by in a kaleidoscope of luminous ghagra skirts and mustachioed men on motorcycles honk and hoot their way through traffic. Guava grow in the trees, cows roam the streets and two boars contentedly snore in the dust in front of the ATM. It’s a glorious cacophony of light and noise, but it feels somehow remote: Like I’m at the end of the world.

That’s because this is the last outpost before I enter Ranthambore National Park—and tiger territory.

ranthamborePhotography: Nicholas Chanderbali,

We continue down the road and suddenly everything is darkness—apart from the occasional Bhangra-blasting and firework-firing wedding party that we pass. I imagine tigers at every turn, lurking in the shadows, sizing me up for their next meal—but I reach my lodge in one piece.

ranthamborePhotography: Nicholas Chanderbali,

Now it’s 6am and I’m bleary-eyed. I’m dunking cookies into hot masala tea and daydreaming of coming face to face with Shere Khan when my canter safari vehicle arrives. And before I know it, I’m on my way deep into the jungle of Ranthambore in search for Shere Khan.

ranthamborePhotography: Nicholas Chanderbali,

Before I know it, I’m spotting upon delicate deer in sun-dappled clearings; giggling at monkeys swinging through the trees; amazed as peacock strut (as they like to do) side by side with antelope. I smile as a herd of boar shuffle their way across a clearing, as kingfisher dart from rock to rock and as lazy crocodile sunbathe by a waterhole.

ranthamborePhotography: Nicholas Chanderbali,

Sadly, Shere Khan refuses to make an appearance, but that’s okay. If I was Shere Khan I would stay in the shadows too. But it’s fine, because the touching sight of a long-legged doe stumbling down to a waterhole as Mom and Dad look on to make sure their baby is safe, is enough to fill my heart. Shere Khan can sleep on…


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