Leopard next door

Mandanna came running and said he just saw a leopard next to him, relaxing on a wall with its legs on either side of it. He had gone to pick up something from my Scorpio which was right next to this wall. We all rushed out and went back to see the leopard get up and jump into the tea bushes next to it. We got excited but got back to our work and Mandanna went to drop off our friends at a home stay. When he got back again after an hour, he came in and said that he saw the leopard again, this time sitting in the tea bushes.

Everyone thought he was joking, but when we went back, we saw this guy sitting without a care in the world in the tea bushes. I rushed to get my camera, but my card was out. Then it took me 5 min to find my flash and all along, the leopard was just there. In fact, a very young he or she was as curious about us and was peeping though the tea to have a look at us. We all stood there as I took a few snaps and then it started to rain. We left the guy and came off to have dinner. I also smashed my toe against a huge rock in this whole process.

As I type this, the leopard is still sitting outside less than 200m from where I am. It’s a weird felling when you know there is a leopard so close, yet you are trying to go on with your usual business. This leopard sighting credit goes to Mandanna. If you have met him before, you would know his legendary tracking skills and this time it really paid off.


  1. Giri Cavale · July 10, 2009 Reply

    Awesome, I have a Leopard next to me too… a huge 2’x3′ print :(( Enjoy.

  2. Sharath · July 10, 2009 Reply

    Wildlife seems to follow you than the other way around…too good stuff…:)

  3. Venkat · July 10, 2009 Reply

    Hey awesome!!!.
    Must be a dream come true

  4. Sandeep · July 10, 2009 Reply

    Seems like where ever you go, leopards follow. 🙂
    Had a great time with a huge male leopard at Bandipur on Wednesday evening, though he wasn’t as daring.

  5. Aparna · July 10, 2009 Reply

    The words “leopard next door” brought back so many memories of tales heard from my grandma. That’s a beautiful photograph 🙂

  6. Sudhir Shivaram · July 10, 2009 Reply

    hahaha!!!! Giri, I have a Leopard and a Tiger 🙂 Good sighting Kalyan..and yes, Mandanna’s tracking skills is awesome.

  7. Sumod · July 10, 2009 Reply

    wow awesome…. 🙂

  8. JD · July 11, 2009 Reply

    super cool!!!

  9. Deponti · July 11, 2009 Reply

    Wow. I firmly believe that all wildlife tracks you, rather than vice versa.

  10. santhosh gujar · July 11, 2009 Reply

    wow, fantastic,
    that’s an experience to remember

  11. bala · July 11, 2009 Reply

    ha thats nice….u fellows r lucky..:)

  12. Abhishikta · July 12, 2009 Reply

    You know what?! You should visit Mumbai sometime Kalyan. Leopards keep dropping in from Sanjay National park into this locality all the time.:)
    Tha picture is lovely. One cant miss those eyes.
    Your Mandanna seems to be completely dedicated to ur cause;).. cool assitant!

    • Kalyan Varma · July 13, 2009 Reply

      Mandanna and me are colleagues and more than that we have been great friends for more than 4 years now and have been doing a lot of wildlife together.

  13. Aparna · July 13, 2009 Reply

    Wow…you had sighted a Leopard that close…man!

  14. Soubhagya Mukhopadhyay · July 14, 2009 Reply

    Hi Kalyan & Mandana,

    A real good spot. Cheers….
    I will follow you guys one day…. Mandana promised me that he will take me along.
    Too good see that photo

  15. misha · July 16, 2009 Reply

    Phew!!! 200m!!
    K.V – D.M … this is truly an amazing sighting…
    Gr8 catch…

    Btw – is the ” huge rock ” all fine??? lolzz 😛

  16. supriyo · August 18, 2009 Reply

    The photograph of the leopard was truly fantastic. I wish I could see one at some close quarters someday. Have seen a couple of tigers in Bandhavgarh in January this year. Can you please tell me how to get in touch with Mandanna ? I am sure to look him up. Do please post more such photographs.
    What is the best time to visit Kanha ? Please advise.



  17. neha · May 20, 2010 Reply

    I can literally imagine d scene, its so amazing tht ur doing wht u dreamt of.. i just loved ur work.. i came to knw bout u thru d book connect d dots…

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