The Bengal tiger, also known as the Royal Bengal Tiger or the Indian tiger, is the national animal of India and also its pride. This gorgeous creature has an imposing beauty. It has thick legs, strong teeth and jaws and a patterned coat. The skin in its belly has a beautiful shade of yellow to light orange colour. The Royal Bengal Tiger is Royal in every sense. Is legs are White or Cream with Black, Grey or Brown stripes running vertically down from all its body before the tail, where they forms rings. No two Bengal Tigers have the same stripes arranged in the same way. These stripes help the Tigers in camouflaging while hunting for preys. This grand being is utterly attractive even when it walks. Its muscle makes a wave like movement when it walks and it’s splendid to watch, more so when the morning rays of sunlight falls on it and seems like it has formed a Halo around it. The females are equally majestic creature with its fluid movements. India has the maximum number of Bengal Tigers and few are also found in Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Bengal tiger inhabits the tropical rainforests, marshes, and tall grasses. Global Tiger Day, also known as the International Tiger Day, is celebrated on 29th of July.
Once upon a time, there were nine subspecies of tigers namely the Bengal, South Chinese, Siberian, Indochinese, Malayan, Sumatran, Caspian, Javan and Bali. Caspian, Javan and Bali are sadly extinct. South Chinese tiger is extinct in the wild and the harsh reality is that the rest are endangered.
Bengal tiger: Less than 2,000
Indochinese tiger: 750-1,300
Siberian tiger: Around 450
Sumatran tiger: 400-500
Malayan tiger: 600-800
South Chinese tiger: Extinct in the wild
Caspian tiger: Extinct
Javan tiger: Extinct
Bali tiger: Extinct
Tiger sits at the summit of the food chain. With its razor sharp teeth and powerful legs, it is the top deadliest predator and keeps the population of wild hoofed animals in check, thereby maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed. The attendance of tigers in the forest is a measure of the well being of the ecosystem. When a species become extinct, it leaves behind a scar, which affects the entire ecosystem.
Saving Tiger will in return save us. How? Our forests serve as a basin or reservoir to collect water. Therefore, it’s not just about saving a beautiful animal. It is about making sure that we live a little longer as the forests are known to provide ecological services like clean air, water, pollination, temperature regulation etc. This unique animal plays a crucial role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. The dwindling number of this top predator is an indication that its ecosystem is not sufficiently protected, and neither would it exist for long thereafter.
The despicable man eater was the Champawat tigress who savoured 436 recorded victims in Nepal and India. Jim Corbett, a famous hunter, born on the 25th of July, shot it dead in 1907.
‘The last all-India census occurred in 2014, when tiger numbers stood at 2,226, up from 1,706 in 2010. With state surveys reporting notable increases, some estimate that the tiger population will cross 3,000 during the 2018 count.’
The main places to spot a tiger are Ranthambore in Rajasthan, Bhandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench in Madhya Pradesh, Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarkhand, and Tadoba in Nagpur.
Once a famous hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur, the Ranthambore National Park is today one of the largest and most known national parks in Northern India. The park is based in the southeastern Rajasthan in a district called Sawai Madhopur, which is round about 130 km from Jaipur. The park lies in the meeting point of the Aravali Range and plateau of the Vindhyas. Spread over 1300 square kilometres, this National Park is a safe haven for this untamed beauty to stroll along in its natural habitat in the laps of the wild. Since tiger sightings are fairly common here, don’t be surprised to catch the big cat in action, chasing down its predator. But remember the motto of Ranthambore National Park-‘Take Nothing but Photographs; Leave Nothing but Tire-Tracks.’
Madhya Pradesh, the throbbing heart of Incredible India is also a paradise for Tigers. It is bestowed with Bewildering Bandhavgarh, Kaleidoscopical Kanha and Pretty Pench.
Bandhavgarh National Park used to be the hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa. Bandhavgarh National Park spans over the Vindhya hills in Madhya Pradesh. The park comprises of a core area of 105 sq km and a buffer area of approximately 400 sq km. The park has been split into three major zones named as Tala, Magdi and Bamera out of which the Tala zone attracts major number of tourists by offering the tiger sighting opportunities. The park authorities are also focusing on the Magdi Zone by providing more opportunity to spot tigers. Bandhavgarh National Park has the highest density of The Royal Bengal Tiger which roams the rough terrain of this park. The sight of the majestic tiger infront of your eyes will leave you awestruck.
Rudyard Kipling derived its inspiration of ‘Jungle Book’ from the lush verdant greenery of Kanha. Kanha National Park is nestled in the Maikal range of Satpuras in Madhya Pradesh. Sprawling over 940 acres, it is one of the biggest parks in Madhya Pradesh where there is a good aggregation of the Royal Bengal Tigers. Kanha National Park was where the National Geographic’s award winning ‘Land of the Tigers’ was filmed. The majestic cat is frequently sighted roaming freely in the wilderness of its natural habitat at Kanha Wildlife Sanctuary.
Pench National Park is nestled in Chhindwara and Seoni districts of Madhya Pradesh. Pench National Park has been named after the river Pench which meanders through the park from north to south. Pench National Park has been layered with history as its richness and natural wealth are depicted in the Constitution of Akbar which was a 16th century document penned down by Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak who was the vizier of Emperor Akbar. Get thrilled with the ‘Sher Khans’ who has made this park their abode and prowl on their games in this rich woodland.
The world famous hunter- Edward James Corbett better known as Jim Corbett was born on 25th July 1875 in the Nainital districts of Uttarakhand. ‘Man-Eaters of Kumaon’ is one of the best works of Corbett. Apart from being a hunter, he was also a naturalist, a pioneer conservationist and played a key role in the establishment of present Jim Corbett National Park. The Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest National Park in India which is in the Nainital districts of Uttarakhand, the hometown of Jim Corbett. It encompasses an area of over 520 square kilometres. The park is a healthy dwelling for tigers. Jim Corbett National Park exudes excitement among the travellers to catch a glimpse of marvellous creature up close and personal.
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve or Tadoba National Park is a unique eco-system which lies in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra state. It is centrally located in the reserved forest occupying an area of 1727 sq. km. It is Maharashtra’s one of the ‘Maha’ National Park, its oldest and also counted among the finest. Tadoba National Park is fondly known as ‘The Land of Tigers’ as its India’s top habitation for tigers. Tadoba National Park is popular for noticing The Royal Bengal Tiger.
All the aforementioned places are hotspots of Tiger Tourism in India. They are always teeming with avid tiger lovers, travellers and devoted photographers from India and all over the world.
The love for tigers doesn’t end simply with spotting one but it also involves capturing this magnificent being in all its grandeur. So embark on your photography expedition of these exclusive Tigers and the wildlife as a whole. Photographs are not just pictures; they are memories in snap and a thousand unspoken words!