Posted by: lindsaygoes | March 12, 2009

Bandhavgarh and Varanasi

After Khajuraho we had a long drive to our next destination, Bandhavgarh (don’t ask me how to pronounce it!). I’d thought the roads were bad before, but they got even more pot holed and bumpy.
Once we got to Bandhavgarh we had our first safari. We saw Spotted Deer, Samba deer, macaques and elephants (although they belonged to the park and get ridden by the rangers). No tiger’s though!
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The next morning we had to get up really early to go on our next safari. We were starting to lose hope of seeing a tiger (the best time is in the morning) but then word came that someone had spotted one. We managed to catch a glimpse through the bushes of two, one lying down cleaning it’s face and one carrying a kill it had made. The one that had made the kill ended up going to the waterhole we staked out and so we managed to get a better view. Incredible!
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In the afternoon safari we heard the warning cry of some barking deer that a tiger was nearby and managed to spot one in the distance through the grass. After watching the area for a while we didn’t have any luck, but our driver got a call that a tiger had been seen at another waterhole. He told us to hang on and we were off! I think he was trying to see how fast he could drive through the park. Once we got to the waterhole the tiger had just left so we spun around and it came out of the bushes a couple of meters away from us. We then followed (read chased) it as it walked along the road spraying. You have to try and imagine about 30 jeeps all doing this on a one lane track (although they were managing to fit three jeeps along the lane, spilling on to the side) with tourists hanging out of all of them trying to get photos (none of which turned out well because of all the dust from the jeeps!)
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So we were very lucky to see four tigers all together.
The next day was really just travelling from Bandhavgarh to Varanasi as the initial drive to the station took three hours and then the train took 10.
In Varanasi we had an early morning boat ride on the ganges. I can’t believe people bathe in it, especially after we read some of the statistics! We had a bit of a wander around the old city and we went to Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon.
That night and the next day we were pretty much told to stay in our hotel, as it was Holi (the festival of colour) and we would be pelted with liquid and powder dye. When we got the train from Varanasi to Delhi we saw quite a few other westerners who’d really been hit, so we were glad we took that advice!
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