A leafy laughter stirs a soft zephyr, the tree sap wafts in the air – the blissful fragrance of the forest – and travels through territories that we humans call Tala, Magdhi and Khitauli. In Bandhavgarh, gnawing the insides of the forests is the enduring beauty of all that is natural, all that is of the elemental earth, all that belongs to a varying story that slumbers in eternity, into the ever and ever.
Residing in these forests, along with several other animals, where grasslands and meadows yawn into themselves, are the enigmatic tigers that will stripe past you with grace and quiet dignity. In this blogpost, we’re humbly trying to capture the exquisiteness of five such striped female feline beauties.
1. Rajbehra Female
A delayed motherhood didn’t mean she was any less graceful in raising two litters. The grassland and the meadow behind the age-old splendour of the Bandhavgarh Fort make her territory, where she walks proudly because it’s her share of the forest; and rightfully so: you’ll know when you watch her amble down the alleys of the forest. In her stoic philosophy, you’ll find all emotions of a tigress gain profound dignity. In her territory, where four of her cubs from the second litter will ensnare your vision, is more natural beauty: a gurgling stream called Damnar originates in its heart, flowing with such poise that slips out of the grip of the word that tries to contain it. Her indifference to your presence in her area might leave you baffled, but…that’s how it is, you know, for she is a tigress, a tigress, after all!
2. Banbehi Female
Her dark stripes, angular features define beauty differently, newly every single time you meet her. She is an absolute hero: she lost her mother when she was only ten months old – a chubby cub – at an age when she did not even know how to hunt for herself. Her territory lies in the Bandhavgarh of yore, which has been more often shown to the world through different media than any other part of the forest. There is a hill in her area and Banbehi female, the braveheart, is now often seen with the only male cub that’s left from her third litter. When you meet her, you might perhaps see that everything about her spells courage, grit and endurance. And suddenly, everything about life itself, might spell beauty, felt to the point of a sweet, sweet poignancy.
3. Sukhi Pateeha Female
Known among the tiger lovers as one of the coolest and boldest, the Pateeha female will mesmerise you with her sheer presence. In Magadhi, in the partly hilly and mostly plain area, in the meadows beaming with lush, copious grass, you might find her sauntering with a surreal intention that you can never fathom, or with a brash self-assurance you can never word right. She has survived the heartache of losing her first litter. Her second litter includes T and D (two other gorgeous females about whom you’ll read next), and three adorable cubs from her third litter are currently in her loving vigil. She belongs where she does like how the hues of the forest merge into one another, like how everything simply is, and it’s worth watching a million miles to see what magic she weaves.
She is pretty and she is valorous – rather a rare combination. She dislodged the female when she moved from Magdhi to Tala, and now her territory is adjacent to her majesty, Rajbehra female’s area, and the Damnar stream continues to flow in her brand new territory too. She is T, exquisite and suave with her gorgeous, gorgeous stripes and distinctive patterns. Oh, the way her bones move under the curtain of her velvety gold skin as she walks like the queen that she is; her snarls and growls enamoured in sophistication; and her gaze, a piercing pair of eyes looking right through you, turning you into an almost-ghost! Her area borders a village too, and she is the heartthrob of many, many tiger lovers for her regal, frank bearing, for how utterly herself she is even in our presence around her.
She is a little more elusive than her sibling, T. She is only lovely in her bashful ways and she is enigmatic in her solitary ways. In that part of the forest where narrow roads and bamboo and sandy tracks create a maze, this creature of mystery, walks with a grace that’s celestial, with seemliness that’s not of this world. You might want to stop and ask her a question in a soft tone: “D, how old is your soul?” And if you don’t hear an answer, it’s only because it’s timeless.
And when you sign up for one of our next Bandhavgarh Photo Tours, here or here, you will likely come return with more reasons for visiting Bandhavgarh apart from the five feline beauties we are so brashly obsessed with!