Two  antelopes at a watering hole in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

Two antelopes at a watering hole in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

Believe it or not: There is a village in Rajasthan called Bera, surrounded by forests where leopards roam free. Along it flows the river Jawai, with the Jawai Dam built on it. And the resulting beautiful lake is home to some of the biggest crocodiles you will ever see. These are not a part of any National Park or sanctuary; most people don’t know about it, not even Rajasthanis. You will not see any madding tourist crowds here – go wildlife spotting freely, but remember you are on your own here. With leopards for company.

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There is no count of leopards, but there are more than a few. I was fortunate to spot a mother leopard with her two cubs. Although they were not very close, I could clearly see them walking along a ridge – stopping in between, playing on trees, and showing their love to one another in a way only mothers and children can. As the sun set and they walked away into the dark of the forest, my guide highlighted two diamonds glowing in the spotlights trained on them – these were the shining eyes of a male leopard on a peak. Awesome!

And the wild party continued during the morning safari. Having feasted on berries all night, I saw two bears climbing up a mountain in the early morning hours. It seemed more like they were rolling uphill – again, bears are a rare sight. I always wonder how filling can berries be for these guys?. Antelopes (also known as Nilgai or Indian Blue Bull) were all over the place – some alone, others in groups. Males are distinguished with their dark grey coats, while females are brown. Agile leopards feast on them; the lazy just help themselves to goats and cows belonging to villagers living near the forests.

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The forests are also home to hyenas, hares, foxes and birds like Pelican, Greylag Goose, Robin Accentor, Demoiselle Crane, Barheaded Goose and Indian Partridge besides others. Hope you are lucky enough to see them all!

The crocodiles too make for an unforgettable sight. Big, chunky fellows at over 15 feet in length, they were busy doing what they do best – nothing. But don’t be fooled with their sleepy demeanor – they are man-eaters. Ask the poor shepherds who take their herds to the edge of the water – not too long before I visited Bera, two shepherds are believed to have lost their lives. I saw the crocodiles sun-bathing safely far out on the islands in the lake. Incidentally, the lake is full of fish, and locals disturb the crocs when they go fishing in their small row boats.

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Your best option to stay here is Castle Bera – run by Thakur Baljeet Singh (a descendant of Maharana Pratap, one of the state’s most valiant kings). He makes for an excellent guide and a delightful host – making your visit truly memorable.

The animals were too far for my equipment – hence the poor picture quality. But I sure got great views with high power binoculars

 

 

 

A mother leopard stretching herself in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

A mother leopard stretching herself in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

 


Two leopard cubs in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

Two leopard cubs in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

A mother leopard in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

A mother leopard in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

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A mother leopard with her two cubs in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

A mother leopard with her two cubs in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

A mother leopard watching her playful cub in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

A mother leopard watching her playful cub in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

A male antelope in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

A male antelope in the forests of Bera in Rajasthan

A shepherd in Bera

A shepherd in Bera

A view of the lake by the Jawai Dam in Bera, Rajasthan

A view of the lake by the Jawai Dam in Bera, Rajasthan

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One Comment

  1. Thanks a lot for the info. I will make use of it whenever I visit rajasthan.

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