Updated: Dec 14, 2020
So, I finally made it to India. The tour was pricier than my usual mode of travel (a moment of insanity at the time of booking), with hotels that were more posh than I required, but there were definite perks. The small group ended up being five of us - two couples and me. We got lucky in that personalities meshed well.
We had one primary tour guide throughout and he treated us as guests rather than tourists. We started in Delhi, went to Agra (Taj Mahal), then to Ranthambore National Park, Jaipur, then back to Delhi to fly home. There's SO much to tell, but I'm also catching up on work, so for today let's talk about Noor, the tiger.
We went out into the park, which has limited access, in open jeeps. I figured IF we got lucky enough to see a tiger, it would be fleeting and in the distance. There were three of us in our jeep with the driver and a naturalist who told us about the birds and animals we were seeing. Well into the park, the driver suddenly shouted and started driving like a maniac down the track which was basically a rough logging-type trail. The naturalist turned to us and kept saying "Tiger" - and there were three or four jeeps ahead. I was still expecting to see a tiger at a distance, probably running from the commotion.
Instead, the tiger stalked down the trail toward us, not the least frightened. Knowing how much damage an angry house cat can do, a chill passed through my gut considering how much damage this tiger could do in a matter of moments.
And she was definitely annoyed by us.
She sprayed urine at the jeep with our tour guide and the other couple - yes, definitely annoyed. These pics may be mine or Lina's (the other lady in our jeep) or maybe from our tour guide, Chanchal Srivastava.
The local drivers and naturalists were all stoked by this encounter as well. The monsoon season had just ended, so between tall grass and abundant water, they didn't really expect to spot a tiger, let alone have this experience. They said March is a better month to spot them because they'll go to the few places they can find water to cool off.