Wild Things of Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park - A Photo Essay

Friday, December 27, 2013

The low lying mist almost kissed the ground, the water and the grass. Through the mist, an orange glow slowly made its way coloring everything in its path into a shade of bright burning seinna. The jungle no longer looked eerie, it glowed along with the sun. The lazy mist would now slowly start drifting away. The animals, they would come and bask in the sunshine, just like me. Except I wasn't suited at all to be there, unlike the animals who were well-equipped to deal with the cold. It was freezing in the jungle, but with views like this I don't mind freezing some more and then some more.

When the good folks at Pugdundee Safaris invited me to spend a week in the forests of Madhya Pradesh, at first, I was very apprehensive. One, because I wasn't all that much into wildlife tourism at all. Two, because I am not a wildlife photographer. But then I realized I didn't have to be interested in wildlife tourism as long as I enjoy being in the forests and that I also didn't need to be a wildlife photographer to capture the beauty of wildlife. I loved shooting animals in their natural environment. They were part an equal part of the landscape I so dearly loved! When I put this thought together everything changed. Suddenly I was in love with shooting wildlife too, not the characterless close-ups but the grace with which they moved around in their home, our beloved forests.

At the end of a week, I felt a week was too short. With a heavy heart I left Kanha and Bandhavgarh but I brought back some splendid memories - for both you and me! :)

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
The much awaited breaking dawn, it would warm the cockles of my heart! No seriously, to be in an open jeep like this through the single digit temperatures was a chilling experience, quite literally! :)
But look how pretty the sun colored the forest! 

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
As a kid, I always thought deer looked pretty. But they didn't look so pretty when I saw in the Zoo or by the road side but here in the jungle, I finally understood. They are indeed one of the most beautiful and graceful animals.  Not to mention, they play a very critical role in keeping the predators alive. 

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Even as we were just approaching Kanha, we saw a Jackal disappear into the forest. The next morning, the first thing we saw were this group of Jackals in Kanha. And after a week, on the last night their shiny eyes glowed in the dark as the vehicle headlight flashed. They came back to say goodbye to me, in Bandhavgarh. ❤ 


Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
The different ways you could explore the forest. I only went in the jeep though. I felt too bad for the elephants.   

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Cute bird whose name I do not know came and sat next to us balancing ever so lightly on this twig. Everything around me was bathed in orange, beautifully. Notice the dew drops on the twig, the bird and blurred everywhere in the background? Love. 


Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
What do you do when such a cute fellow blocks your way? :)
You just wait and watch in awe!   


Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Look who's watching you, from behind the green grass, in a not so inconspicuous way - The Indian Gaur!

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Who doesn't love to bask in sunshine? This Langur sure is enjoying the warmth and look how it glows! :)


Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
A duck finds a moment of peace away from its herd. The mist, oh my god, I have never been more awed by anything in the recent past. What a magical sight it was - watch the mist glide over water, watch it slowly rise and disappear.

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
The rainbow colors of the Indian Roller, it is quite a sight to watch it fly away because that's when it is at its colorful best but this is no less either. 

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Loved stalking this bee-eater through the trees, loved this angle too. Loved being there that morning sipping hot tea and photographing this bird. 

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Rose ringed Parakeet, I think, but look how pretty! :D

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
It would've been awesome if a Tiger would've come walking on this path while we were there, except that it didn't. It did so before we were there. 

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Never done that before, but birdwatching was quite fun too! Here's a kingfisher looking pretty. I know I am saying pretty way too many times, but words fall short to describe the awesomeness of these wild things. :)

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Here's our National Bird, exploring the tree branches. Never seen a peacock earlier high up in a tree! Have you?

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Kanha was full of these pink grasslands! There used to be 40 odd villages inside Kanha National Park. Many of them are now relocated to outside the park but the once where villages were, the jungles can't grow anymore. All those villages are now vast meadows making the park extremely beautiful and making it wonderfully simpler to watch wildlife without the obstruction of the dense jungle!

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
The fairytale landscape of Kanha!

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Lake hunting in Kanha, this was just next to the Kanha Earth Lodge where I stayed. Watching the sunset turn everything pink, as always, was a surreal experience. 

Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park
Here's a Sambar looking at us intruders. 

And now I am looking at you eagerly, to hear your comments. How did you like this virtual Jungle Safari? :)

Previous Posts:
The Forests of Kanha - Instagrammed!
Living with the Tiger

Note - I was on this trip last month with Pugdundee Safaris, on-invitation. 
Pugdundee Safaris have properties in Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Pench and Satpura. They have been recognized as one of India's leading responsible safari companies and have been awarded for their excellence in eco-tourism, commitment to green architecture, their experienced naturalists. I had a wonderful time exploring Kanha and Bandhavgarh with them. Do check them out. 

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58 comments

  1. lovely photos, Neelima! I can understand why you so enjoyed that trip!

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    1. Thanks Anu, as long as I have the forests to see, I'll be happy! :)

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  2. lovely pictures, Neelima.. the light seems to have been great too !

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    1. Good to see you here, Sankar! :) Thanks, the light was really awesome, soft diffused light on winter mornings worked like charm.

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  3. Great shots. Loved the tone in each images. As usual an excellent writeup!

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    1. Thanks Vijesh, I loved photographing the forest. Usually ignored in favor of wildlife but it was so very beautiful.

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  4. Loved it! Pictures are super awesome! It wouldn't be wrong if I say that these are the best jungle safari pictures seen so far! I also visited Dandeli Tiger reserve recently, but could not spot anything to speak about.

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    1. Thanks Renuka, you are too kind! :) I am visiting Dandeli in a couple of days and excited to be back in the forest.

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  5. Lovely feel and takes us on a virtual tour to the magical Kanha and to say the magical place was the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book :)

    Bird watching is very contagious, once you get hooked on to it, you are done for your life, the bug bite never ceases to subside. All the best and welcome to the world of the beautiful avians :)

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    1. Thank you, Kanha and Bandhavgarh too. :) I had no idea Jungle Book was inspired by the jungles of Kanha but seeing that enchanting forest, I can easily see why!

      I am quite enjoying wildlife actually, but just cannot afford one more expensive hobby. Let's see how I fare in the coming days. :)

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    2. well, a binocs and a field guide is all that you need to start off with :)

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    3. Sure, but the collateral is too much to handle. I'd want to see exotic birds of paradise then shoot them with fancy lenses, nope, not done! I better stay away. :P

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    4. lol, wishlist for 2015 then :)

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  6. Beautiful pictures... you had good sightings.. loved the Gaur peeking through the bushes and the kingdisher....

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    1. Thanks Prasad! Kanha is so full of life, unlike any forest I have seen so far, I mean visibly active.

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    1. As always, appreciate the appreciation. :)

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  8. Magnificent wild captures! Brought back memories of my travel to bandhavgarh and panna.

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  9. splendid pictures !!

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  10. Damnn...now I feel like going there!

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    1. Ha ha, you should. It's wonderful to be in the forests during winter! :)

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  11. Awesome Photos Neelima.Glad to be a part of it.Hope to meet you in person and enjoy the experience together.

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    1. Thanks Kushal, you should Kanha sometime, it's a beautiful place.

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  12. Your talents have always amazed me Neelima. Your pictures portray the soul of the places you visit, and your writing brings out emotion in the reader's mind. I hope you never stop travelling and keep bringing out such amazing photo-essays for all of us :)

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    1. Glad you feel so Anshul, that is the dream, that my posts should be able to take my readers with me, into the jungles and over the mountains. :)

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  13. Neelima, I have been following you for long time- your blog & write up is amazing and it helps me also to develop & innovate my blog . fantastic - :)

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you find inspiration here! :)

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  14. Beautiful photographs, Neelima. The light is so magical in the forests - and one trip is enough to make you realise that wildlife travel is so addictive. Here is wishing you lots of new adventures in 2014!

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    1. Thanks Charukesi, I have almost always been lazy enough to miss the magical light. But this time, it was a pleasure to be in the forest at the right time. Yes, wildlife travel is quite addictive but quite expensive as well! I'll have to find a way around it.
      Wish you a great year filled with lots of travel too. :)

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  15. Such a nice and amazing pices , really supb .

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  16. Very Very beautiful article till date with awesome photos,You shd try getting this published for a wider audience.

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    1. Thank you, I'm quite taken with these images too, the forest looks lovely. :)

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  17. Hi Neelima,
    Awesome snaps and writing. Thanks for this great virtual Jungle Safari :)

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    1. Glad you like the virtual trip, Anish! Thanks. :)

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  18. Stunning shots ! Loved this wild Photo Essay...

    www.Travellingcamera.com

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  19. I am absolutely mesmerized by your photographs....they look totally out of a fairy tale, for sure...great composition!!

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    1. Thanks Sangeeta, I surprised myself too, on this trip. Have never really gone or photographed wildlife exclusively but I quite enjoyed it. :)

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  20. Eye pleasing. Nature at it's best

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  21. Beautiful! Awe Inspiring all this :)

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    1. The place itself was so awe-inspiring, kind of inspires one to do their best! Thanks Tarun. :)

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  22. Dear neelima . I am also a kanha lover and have visited for than 20 times. I am taking a group of my 75 friends to kanha on 12 to 14 april. Can you join us and take a photography learning session. It would be really great.

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    1. Whoa! 75 people? I have no experience in that area at all, sorry, better to find some other professional who has experience handling workshops and such huge groups. Thanks for asking though.

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  23. The place looks amazing.... but I guess, the photographer had a role to play to bring it out in the best manner. I am a fan of Kanha and Bandhavgrah as well. Hope to make it there some time.

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    1. Thanks Supreeth, I wasn't a big fan of national parks and safaris but this trip changed all that. The forests are indeed very very beautiful.

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  24. Hi Neelima - Loved the pictures, especially the first two shots!

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  25. Morning light makes everything look so much more beautiful....lovely images..

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  26. Neeharika SatyavadaDecember 7, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    Brilliant Photographs! A great blog too :)

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  27. This is one of the best wildlife travel articles I have ever read! Amazing pictures with wonderful write up. Thanks for the virtual tour! 😊

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  28. Absolutely fantastic! Don't know how I had missed this post of yours. But anyways, better late than never ;)

    Cheers!
    Rajiv

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