Kanha is Kipling country. One of the most beautiful and largest national parks in India, famous for the Sal and Bamboo forest and the lush open grasslands and lakes. And, of course, tigers…
We have spent long and happy hours there on our many trips with Nature Safari India. Our favourite guide and friend there, Sanjay Thakre, knows the park intimately; exactly where to go and at what time. We miss his gentle smile, his quiet demeanour and inexhaustible knowledge. One afternoon, deep in the kanha national park, we had not had many sightings that day, but no problem really as driving slowly there is just a delight anyway.
However, Sanjay was on an undisclosed mission. Gradually we slowed down, and to the left-hand side of the track was an artificial watering hole made for all the denizens of the forest. There, in complete serenity, was a beautiful 4-year-old tigress half-submerged in the water. Bliss!
We stayed at a respectful distance, and she was not in the least perturbed by our presence. Clearly, she was habituated with humans and those strange ‘gypsy’ things we travel around in. But, she was a little agitated. If it wasn’t us, what was it? Then we noticed that she kept flinching; small things were splashing and popping in the water around her…
then we saw and heard the Langur Monkeys in the tree directly over her head; they were pelting her with nuts! We stayed and watched her for some time whilst she became increasingly annoyed and frustrated but could do nothing about it. It was fascinating for us to watch the interaction between two totally different forest dwellers both vying for dominance.
Eventually, our tigress had to give in and vacate her afternoon siesta.
She started sauntering down the track in front of us, giving us great photo opportunities. She kept stopping and looking back to see the monkeys who had now taken over the watering hole. They were having such fun themselves.
Who would have thought monkeys could see off a tiger?!
Graham & Mary Brace