A First-Timer’s Tour of South India

Ancient carvings at Mamallapuram. Photograph: Ursula Kenny We’d been driving around the reserve for two hours when I finally accepted I was probably not going to spot one of the world’s most iconic and endangered mammals. Then, suddenly, the ranger’s mobile rang (with a bird-call ringtone), and we were off. Up ahead, padding

Ancient carvings at Mamallapuram. Photograph: Ursula Kenny

We’d been driving around the reserve for two hours when I finally accepted I was probably not going to spot one of the world’s most iconic and endangered mammals. Then, suddenly, the ranger’s mobile rang (with a bird-call ringtone), and we were off. Up ahead, padding along with his back to us, apparently oblivious to all the excitement behind him, was a four-year-old male tiger.

The engine of our camouflaged, open-sided truck was switched off and we were told to be silent. The ranger whispered that the animal would be totally aware of, and unconcerned by, our presence – as long as we weren’t noisy. The tiger lingered for a while omega replica, his face in profile as cameras whirred behind me. Then he was off and away; the exhilaration among us was palpable. We were all high on tiger, with the rangers as thrilled as we were.

Such levels of expertise and local knowledge were just what I’d been hoping for when I began exploring the possibilities for a first trip to India. For a complete sub-continent novice, the prospect was daunting: the heat, the noise, the sheer overwhelming colour of the place. Though safety in numbers and a chaperone weren’t particularly part of my plans, I’d opted for a group tour (with local guides) because my time was limited and I wanted a planned itinerary that would take in major sights.

Original Blog post from: The Guardian