The Four Cubs of Bhanuskhindi (T-17) and Chota Matka (T-109), Tadoba

By now there were eleven jungle safari vehicles gaping at the tigress even as she eyed us with nonchalance (see previous post here). And as she turned and walked away into the bamboo thickets to the left, all eyes instantly started scanning the long patch of tall grasses to the right of the path. This was it! If the cubs were indeed hidden there, they would start moving now. We didn’t have to wait too long for an answer. In a heartbeat we could see little striped furry bundles, partially hidden from view by the tall grasses, bouncing and scampering in the direction of their mother.

Suddenly, I had a decision to make. Should I watch it all through the viewfinder while capturing this singular moment as a digital memory, or should I just stand and stare – living in the moment for eternity? In a flash the decision was made; the photographer would stand down. I had only enough time to zoom out to max and put the camera in auto mode. I would shoot blind.

By then the cubs, moving in a single file, had reached the fringes of the open path. They seemed to hesitate ever so slightly to leave the safety of the tall grasses but the sight of their mother moving away farther into the thickets must have been the best impetus. Even as we watched with bated breath the four cubs shot out one after the other, clearing the path with tiny but determined bounds, bolting into the thickets on the other side to the safety of their mother.

The four 3-month old cubs were out in the open altogether for about five seconds and in that brief period my camera had done the best it could under the constraints I had placed upon it. The photographs did turn out blurry as I had expected them to, but those few seconds left imprinted upon my mind a memory as indelible as the stripes of a tiger!

[Framed: Cubs of female tiger Bhanuskhindi (T-17) and male tiger Chota Matka (T-109), Alizanza Gate, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve]

– Narendra Nayak © 2023


13 thoughts on “The Four Cubs of Bhanuskhindi (T-17) and Chota Matka (T-109), Tadoba

    1. Yes, Ma’am. There are various “gates” on all sides of the National Park and safari vehicles (option of gypsies and canters) available for safari twice a day. Bookings can be done online or through experienced professional guides.


  1. This is such thrilling and beautiful adventure! I empathize with the dilemma of whether to savor and imprint the moment as is or capture it right with the camera 🙂 I am glad you did a bit of both and shared it with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Pragalbha, for reading and for joining me virtually in this adventure! Indeed it is a sweet dilemma to have – one which cannot be described in any number of words; and can only be savoured by living in that moment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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