Have you been ‘Leopard Spotting’ on your trip to Jodhpur ? Surprised, don’t be. On my recent visit to Jodhpur RIFF which by the way was awesome, I was whisked away by a close friend to Bagheera’s Camp. A comfortable three and a half hours drive from Jodhpur, passing the famous Bullet Baba’s Temple (look it up on Google if you don’t know about it); it’s a serene place in the rural heartland of Rajasthan.
We drove through semi-arid terrain and closer to the camp the panorama included unusual rock formations which are the Aravallis, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. If you are lucky enough to be driving down on a moonlit night, the entire scene is bathed in soft light reflecting off these granite mountains.
The campsite is spread over a vast area which includes two lakes, few villages and of course interesting wind eroded hills. I was promised leopard sighting when we went on our early morning safari. Being unlucky with games throughout my life I was pessimistic. We woke up before dawn, fitted our vehicle with a spot light and within twenty minutes reached a hill where there were supposedly leopard with cubs. We passed another vehicle coming from the opposite direction and its passengers, by the look on their faces had been just as unlucky as I was with all my previous game drives. Suddenly we stopped. My tracker standing with me at the back of the pick-up truck was pointing somewhere near the top of the hill. For the love of god I couldn’t figure out what he had got so excited about. Then after thirty-second of staring into black space, I saw a head move. There were not one but three leopards sitting on the rocky precipitate. These beautiful animals were gracious enough to sit in plain sight for nearly half an hour before getting bored with us and moving on. I unfortunately don’t have a telephoto wildlife lens, so my capture wasn’t world-class. On the rest of the drive we passed through villages and villagers going about their daily lives. The villagers are friendly, know your host, and welcome you into their homes. Saw the dam, which supplies water to most parts Western Rajasthan and at the lake spotted birds and crocodiles basking in the early morning sun.
I would be lying if I said that leopard spotting isn’t going to be the biggest draw for the camp. But the camp is so much more. The permanent structures on the camp site are the typical olden day’s hunter’s lodge. Right in front is the smaller of the two lakes, a protected breeding ground for birds as well as crocodiles. The tented camps (Shikari Tents- not pitched on my sudden whirlwind trip) are on the other side of this water body. Water is life and scares in this part of the world. The two lakes make sure that this region is an annual stop for migratory birds, the first flock of which I saw on my return back to Jodhpur. Don’t expect a swimming pool or a Jacuzzi, it’s not possible here. But expect complete relaxation, good food (vegetable are grown either on the campsite or nearby village farmland), wildlife spotting and great hospitality. I would suggest spending at least two nights here to enjoy the tranquility of the place.
So why not put a little adventure in your next trip to Jodhpur…
Experienced by Soumya Mukherji