We took to the roads early morning and checked into our hotel just before lunch. While our rooms were being readied, we confirmed our safari booking. We then picked up the keys and headed towards the rooms.
Our rooms were towards the back of the property in a separate compound. On entering, we were greeted by a small lawn with a cluster of bamboo plants in the centre.
Near the edge of the lawn stood a Sambar deer with the most majestic set of horns. What a welcome!
We rushed to our room, dumped our belongings and went to meet our host.
Not wanting to frighten him away, we maintained a fair distance. Having clicked away to our heart’s content, we moved closer. The deer didn’t seem to mind. We walked further ahead until we were less than 2 metres away.
He humoured us for a while, patiently posing for portraits for a good fifteen minutes. He probably got bored and slowly began turning back. He scratched his horns against some bushes and then disappeared into the thickness.
That thickness was an opening into the Sariska Wildlife Reserve.
Being at the edge of the forest, we were told it was not advisable to go out alone at night. And for good reason. The next morning, our safari guide confirmed that pug marks were found just outside the hotel. One of just 13 tigers in the 800 square km forest had paid us visit while we were asleep.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “(Extra)ordinary.”
PS: This beautiful creature is a Sambar. The south Indian dish frequently accompanying idly, vada and dosa is pronounced SambAAr.