A Summer in the Jungle
Why you must travel to the Indian Forests – Pictorial Guide
- Varun Mani -
India is a hot country, effervescent and concentrated, bursting at the seams, yet just about in equilibrium on the whole.
Yet, there remains a semblance of tranquility in the countryside, and around the Indian National Parks.
Yet still, why would one want to travel to a wildlife sanctuary in the hot summer in India where temperatures hover around 42 °C or 108 °F ?
The answer is:
In the deciduous forests of Central & South India, most trees lose their leaves, the bushes dry and grasses shrink, leaving for us a void wherein we can see the inhabitants of the jungle who, unbosomed from their camouflage, adapt on a daily basis in their struggle of life and death.
The water holes dry up into muddy wallows, the various river channels recede and the now damp river beds provide some nourishment in the form of fresh shoots and resultant strategic sites for an ambush.
Some larger water bodies contain water throughout the year, else forest rangers ensure that watering holes are filled up for the benefit of the Big Cats and other wildlife.
Why the summer is a good time to see the Tiger in India:
- Tigers are massive animals, and having evolved from a colder place, feel the need to submerge their bodies almost completely in water where available – often doing so for hours together in order to cool off sufficiently.
- They may do so after a large meal, or to cool their bodies off after a night’s work of attempting a hunt or patrolling their areas. Female tigers bring their cubs to the waterhole to quench their thirst as well as, in their naivety, expel a lot of energy as they learn about their instincts while “playing” with each other.
- The waterholes also attract herbivorous animals rarely seen in the open such as the Sambar Deer, Barking Deer, Gaur, the Langur, Rhesus macaque and of course, herds of Spotted Deer as they come out to for a drink. Many-a-hunt has taken place just by the Tiger or Leopard waiting for the right moment in complete feline stillness.
Hence, it is true that the summer brings the tiger out of its dark and dense environs and into plain sight.
However, it is generally not the season to find a magical Indian forest where, set against a more greenish-blue hazy background of winter, the contrasting colour and beauty of the tiger can truly be felt.
We leave you with some photographs of the Indian Jungle in Summer clicked by us on our travels across National Parks of India: