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10 days with the tiger

books Updated: Dec 20, 2008 21:55 IST
Kum Kum Dasgupta
Kum Kum Dasgupta
Hindustan Times
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10 days with the tiger ||Ranthambore Valmik Thapar

A 152-page visual treat, this book on Ranthambore tigers is a pure delight. Written by avid tiger and wildlife conservationist Valmik Thapar, each photograph captures the big cats in varying moods. The author tracks six tigers over a course of ten days — the finest ten days, as he himself says. What makes Ranthambore special as well as visually enchanting is the fact that the majestic animal can be seen in equally majestic surroundings that is dotted with lakes, forts, ruins, chattris and the famous 600-year-old banyan tree.

The 200-odd photographs are accompanied by an easy-to-read day-by-day account of the trip. While the main focus of the coffee-table book is on tigers, there are numerous asides on other animals and birds and the jungle. Plus, there are some good photographs of birds including a brilliant one of an owl peering from its cozy home, a hollow in a tree trunk. Though it is difficult to mark out any favourite photographs, the book stands out for its sheer spread and majesty: a tiger sitting in a patch of tall yellow grass against the fort of Ranthambore (cover); a tiger under the huge gangly roots of a banyan tree. And the third is a photomontage of a tiger crossing a road when suddenly it comes face-to-face with passengers on motorbike. The next shots are just hilarious (sitting in the comfort of the office I can happily say so): of passengers scampering away though the animal walks away unaffected. A marvellous book but expensive. I am glad that I have the luxury of reviewing it.