It is that time of the year again when I take my annual pilgrimage to the warmer land of Terai. I am skeptical that I will see a Tiger in Chitwan National Park but still I try, each time, to see the Big Cat. This time however, I chose to be on bicycles! Yeah you heard it right, I rode 30 kilometers deep into the jungles to have an encounter with the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Chitwan National Park

                               Chitwan National Park

This being my first ever ride into the Jungles of Chitwan was very excited at the prospect of touring the forest on two wheels. My guide asked me how fast should we ride and I told him as fast as he can! Little did he know that I am a mountain biker as well.

We peddled through the villages on jeep tracks, entering the National Park boundary and I must tell you –then the real thrill began. We immediately saw many crocodiles basking in the sun by the river beach. Spotted deers galloped away meters from out track. Suddenly my guide asked me to stop and look at the marks on the road. I dismounted from the bike and took a closer look:  it was again that elusive Tiger leaving just his paw marks behind to tantalize me.

sunil 2

                                                      Tiger marks found on the trail

I am told the marks are fresh and that the Tiger may still be around. I am not hopeful though that he would linger around just waiting for me to say “Hello.” I must admit the paws marks were very exciting though.

Anyway, no face-time with the Tiger this time around either and I headed back via some colorful villages waving back at friendly kids, stopping by occasionally to take pictures with them and having a good time altogether. Finished the day with chilled beers. Thumbs up to the new activity for the adventurous – mountain biking the Chitwan National Park!

 

The above has been excerpted from the original post up on nepalsutra.com. Click here to read the full article: