Jaipur tiger snub to Jagger
RAKHEE ROY TALUKDAR
Jaipur, Oct. 20: A rock legend came calling but the big cats couldn’t care less.
Mick Jagger, the lead singer of Rolling Stones, flew into Ranthambhore yesterday with his nine-year-old son, a woman guest and a posse of security guards.
The national park, in Sawai Madhopur district 130km from Jaipur, is home to 32 tigers and 14 cubs. But not one of them would give the 65-year-old Sir Michael a darshan.
Jagger, said to be smitten by the rugged beauty of Rajasthan, is also a patron of the Rajasthan International Folk Festival.
The event, scheduled in Jodhpur this month, was cancelled after the Chamunda Devi temple stampede. But Jagger, who was in Rajasthan last year as well, decided to make the trip anyway.
The rock star spent the first two days of his visit in a Jaipur heritage hotel and then decided to go looking for the famed tigers of Ranthambhore. He landed at the Chakchainpura helipad yesterday and straightaway headed to the Oberoi Vanya Vilas.
But what VIP guests from Bill Clinton to Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra have had a chance to see eluded Jagger.
“Jagger could not see a tiger since his vehicle, with a posse of security guards, drove way behind other tourists’, probably to avoid prying eyes. Although many of the other tourists could see a tigress, by the time Jagger’s vehicle came up, the big cat had stepped away,” deputy conservator of forests R.S. Shekhawat told The Telegraph.
Yadvendra Singh, the guide who accompanied Jagger and his woman guest around the sanctuary, said they took VIP route No. 2, known for tiger sightings.
Jagger then went back to the Vanya Vilas hotel, also an ideal base for scanning the tiger territory as it stands on the edge of the park. But here too, not a glimpse.
VIPs have usually been lucky with Ranthambhore sightings. Priyanka and husband Robert, who were here last December, saw two tigresses, a tiger and three cubs.
Clinton had been awed by the majestic tiger, Bambooram, in March 2000, describing the experience as “one of the memorable moments of my life”.
With the tiger trail going cold, Jagger went back to Jaipur, where he spent most of the time in his room, occasionally taking walks around the hotel’s lush, green lawns, sources said. It was not known if the rock star had been inspired enough to pen a song. He had once said: “I usually go somewhere quiet to write.”