On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, the fifth graders at my school got to leave the classroom and head to the Ranthambore Tiger Preserve. We departed school around lunch time and started our adventure with a 7 hour train ride. Our school had 2 large train compartments reserved for all of the students so we didn’t have anyone we didn’t know come on. Our teachers gave us 45 minutes of our time, which means we could go see friends who aren’t right next to us. Then we had 45 minutes of teacher time, which means we had to do something silently in our assigned seats.
This is on the train ride with a few of my friends.
On Thursday (day 1), we had breakfast and went off to the fort! The fort is an old palace where a king lived a long time ago. This “palace” doesn’t have a grand hall or anything. The “palace” has open walkways with seperate, small buildings. There were lots of monkeys at the fort and let’s just say I have developed a new fear of monkeys because they are so scary.
The guide told us that there was only one side of the fort that the enemy could attack. There were lots of temples on the fort grounds for many religions.
After the fort we had a quick lunch and went off on our first safari.
We drove around in a cantor (pictured above) which was not very fun with the wind. There was a lot of wildlife to see. Even though we did not see a tiger on the first safari, it was really cool. The next morning at 6:00 a.m. we headed out on our second safari. It was freezing! We saw lots of wildlife on this safari as well. A little over halfway through the safari, we finally got to see a tiger!
We followed the tiger around for a while and he came real close to our cantor but he just carried on his normal business around the cantors. The tiger we saw was named Sultan. He is a well known tiger on the preserve and his father is REALLY big, but Sultan is an average sized tiger. He is about 2 1/2 years old which is about 19 years in tiger years. If you go to a zoo and see a tiger it is not the same experience as seeing it out in the wild. Sultan was really beautiful!
Tigers are poached a lot for their skin and also in China they believe that the tiger’s bones and blood have magical healing powers. In the US, they have studied this and found nothing that proves there is anything magical in them. Probably the most famous tigress in the world, Muchli, went missing for a few days on the preserve and so people assumed that she was either dead from natural causes or the poachers but a recent tour group saw her and she is still alive. Some people think that a famous tiger or tigress would be sold for more money if they were poached but really poachers don’t care if it’s a famous tiger or not, because they get the same amount of money for them. Deaths of tigers do not go in vain because there are a lot of people in India and around the world who want to help save the tigers.
You can tell that camouflage is a big thing at Ranthambore. Try to find the baby crocodile in the above picture I took.
Deer is one of the tiger’s favorite food sources.
We left Ranthambore on Friday evening and took an overnight train home to Delhi. I arrived at the school at 6:30 a.m. ready to go home and sleep a little more. It was an experience that I will never forget!