10 Years of Tigging

10th 'Tigging Anniversary' Poster, © Santosh Saligram

This day in 2006 I was on my way back from my maiden trip to central India. A few days before, with a bunch of friends and an eyeful of dreams inspired by documentaries, I had stepped into Kanha Tiger Reserve, and got my first tiger photograph. It was a collared tigress resting in the grass, and upon our approach she sat up and shut her eyes, looking like a meditating sphinx (image on extreme left, above ‘2006’). Although I had seen my first wild tiger in Nagarahole in the February of 2005, this was the first time I was so close to one, and photographing it. She sat with all her devastating power and immense strength packed in the most achingly magnificent winter cloak, radiating serenity and a presence so intense, that I was soaked in both.

Since that seminal moment I’ve been truly privileged to relive that experience – that brush with the seemingly miraculous, the impossible – many, many times (although not as many times as I’d like!) and yet, the magic of the tiger hasn’t waned in the least. Ten years have flown by, but tigers have lingered in my heart, giving me unspeakable joy.

I’d like to thank everyone who’s played a part in my continued enjoyment of the feline extravaganza (they are too numerous to be named without the risk of omission), including the tigers themselves, for being so magnanimous as to allow me invaluable glimpses into their whimsical, private lives. I just hope they don’t develop an intolerance for me anytime soon!

This is an image I compiled to commemorate my ten years of tiger watching (which for informal occasions I termed ‘tigging’), and features some of the most memorable moments from my tigging expeditions (including all of them would be impossible even on a huge mural).

If you’d like a print of this poster or of any individual image therein, please write to me at santoshsaligram@gmail.com.

Until next, tig deep!

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