Leopard is an interesting animal. It sometimes enters residential areas, attacks the pets & creates a terror amidst (otherwise terrifying) homo sapiens. Other times, it’s rarely seen. While you can certainly count the number of tigers in a forest, you can’t really ascertain the number of leopards. Why? Because it’s a super elusive animal, who loves its own company, likes solitude & stays away from any pair of ‘unfamiliar’ eyes. As it can also climb trees, it becomes increasingly difficult to spot a leopard. Even if your stars are aligned and you can, in fact, spot one, it’s next to impossible to click its photos because the leopard would go out of sight the moment someone catches a glimpse.
Are all leopards the same? May be not! Meet Rana of Jhalana – who’s been able to somewhat change its spots.
Rana is not your usual leopard. In its prime of youth, Rana looks gorgeous, stylish & charming. He is also bold, fearless and camera friendly. Like a prince, he would often take a stroll early mornings or in the evenings & would allow people to catch a glimpse of his royal appearance. If it pleases him, he would find a spot, sit there and chill for some time, in all its beauty & carefree attitude. He would look around freely, return you glances, and look away the next moment as if something else has caught his fancy. He likes outdoors. He likes his home. And my guess is that he likes himself a lot too. Rana has no qualms about anything & would go about his business innocently.
Rana is not your regular leopard. He is a cool dude who has never experienced fear in his life, has lived comfortably from the time he was born & enjoys the apex status in the Jhalana leopard reserve. You can’t help but fall for him a little bit. More than his ferocious nature, you would remember ‘Rana’ for his own personality that’s more royal, calmer & extremely stylish.
Jhalana Leopard Reserve is one of the rare few reserves in India that offer a leopard safari. With Rana around, chances of a leopard sighting are really promising. On most days, tourists get to see him, photograph him from different angles & leave the jungle with many fine moments. Also, full marks to locals and Jaipur authorities for protecting the wonders of nature by conserving this place so beautifully well.
Jhalana is located in the middle of Jaipur city, and is a weekend away from Delhi NCR. Safaris are short & can be completed within 2-2.5 hours. And if you are taking the Yamuna Expressway (especially in winters), let me recommend you an interesting route – visit Mathura first (eat kachori & pede), followed by Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. And then reach Jaipur via Dausa.
Here’s a quick glimpse into Jhalana Tiger Reserve.
Disclaimer: visually disturbing images towards the end – of a leopard eating its prey (not meant for the faint-hearted) – post 6:00 mark