The unlucky Prince of Ranthambore
The rugged forests of Ranthambore, the last homeland of the tiger in Rajasthan, offers views and vistas that are starkly different from anywhere else in India. With its massive fort overlooking vast forest stretches, Ranthambore has always been a delight for wildlife lovers. It beckons them from all over the world. Its terrain – a mix of impregnable dry, deciduous forest and open bush – has become synonymous with the tiger. There's a saying that only the real unlucky return from Ranthambore without sighting the majestic animal. There is something rare and unusual about the big cats that inhabit this national park. They don't mind the cameras and to some extent even allow enthusiastic photographers to get up close and personal. This land of the tigers is replete with stories of the imposing animal. One such story is of Ustad, also called Tiger Number 24 – ferocious, handsome, dominant and, one of the most photographed male tiger of Ranthambore. His territory was zone number 1 of the park and he took great pride in ruling it. Born to the Tigress T-22 sometime in 2005 in Lahpur area of the park, T-24 grew up with his two brothers, T-23 and T-25.