Kanha Stag

Don’t stand under the trees Teresa –
Lesson one in the wild life park!

The State in the very centre of India is Madhya Pradesh. Our first visit there was in November 2017 to the area of Kanha forest which has a large wild life park of around 1,000 square kilometres. We have sequentially been there on four great occasions, staying at the superb Singinawa Lodge. An outstanding holiday and with so much to see and enjoy. We had visited other wild life parks in the hope of seeing a tiger – all without success.  At time of writing I can now say that we have had sightings of seven different tigers. Some two, three or even four times. In total, close on 20 sightings. Some people visit wild life parks just to see tigers, but there is so much more life in Kanha Forest that one needs to go back more than once to encompass so much of interest, beauty and fascination in this wonderful wild life park!

The Naturalists at Singinawa are highly experienced and really make everything so interesting for us with their knowledge. But I must tell you of an experience that we still laugh about. Well I and our naturalist, Sachin laugh about it but it took Teresa a day or two to find it amusing!

Kanha Forest

How could it possibly be raining? –
the sun was shining!

We stopped under a tree beside the forest track. The Naturalists in Kanha do not just drive around mindlessly in the hope of sighting animals. We had stopped with a nice view through the trees listening to the noises around us. Langur monkeys are among what must be the most amusing
animals one can see. All animals in the forest are accustomed to humans in off-road vehicles and it is rewarding when we can stop within just a few yards from them with them fearing our proximity.

The first tiger we saw – Dhawajhandi – walked towards us on the track, passing around our vehicle within about six feet – completely unconcerned about us and without any fear. Spotted deer watched us from the side of the track as we passed them. Same with Langurs, Jackals, Dholes (Indian wild dog), Gaur, Sambar and many others. One of the most amusing sights was four Langurs, with babes in arms, sitting in a semi-circle looking as if they were attending a baby clinic…..But back to the story and Teresa and her experience. Sitting at the side of the track we suddenly felt rain. How could it possibly be raining? – the sun was shining! “Sachin – it’s raining” Sachin leapt in to the drivers seat and hastily drove the vehicle out from under the tree. It was not rain. It was a Langur relieving itself and his ‘water’ was being sprinkled by the branches and over Teresa’s hair….And yes – first thing Teresa did on return back to the lodge was take a good shower! But alas Teresa still suffers our story every time we have something amusing to say about our holidays in Singinawa Lodge!

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It was a Langur relieving itself and his ‘water’
was being sprinkled by the branches and
all over Teresa’s hair….!!!

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One of the most amusing things we saw on our travels in the Kanha Forest, a large wild life reserve. We were ‘using up’ the last few minutes of our time in the forest, recognising we had to leave by 6 pm – the scheduled time for the park to close for the night. These timings are strictly observed and all visitors and every vehicle were ‘signed in’ and out at given times. With around 30 minutes to go, Pranad Patel, our driver (PP to us) – A Naturalist decided to take an alternative route over the land and hills we had not visited before. We came to a stop beside a small muddy pond, quite small and only about three metres in diameter. A large Samba stag was digging, rolling and tearing up mud and soil with its hooves and metre-long antlers.

The Stag was covered from head to hoof with thick black mud. When finished he walked away from us black, wet, shiny and very smelly. Despite being just a few metres from him and in full view of us and the vehicle, he paid scant attention to us and walked off without even looking round or acknowledging our presence near him! A few ‘guesses’ by us is that the stag was enjoying the cool mud, cleaning its coat of parasites, or perhaps simply making itself look tempting for the ladies!

Whatever the reason it was a few minutes of hilarious entertainment, not seen ever by any other person. Although a fairly interesting day, this made the whole day worthwhile. See the pictures above, click on an image to see a larger version.