Machhli, photographed by thousands of tourists over the years at Ranthambore National Park, died on Thursday, days after she stopped eating.
Machhli was known among park officials as a tigress with keen survival instincts.
An extremely rare event in the afternoon of 27 June, 2003 was just the beginning of Machhli’s rise to stardom. She challenged and successfully killed a crocodile in her territory.
In the last ten years, Ranthambore has earned a profit of about one crore rupees solely from those who come in pursuit of Machhli. The Malik Talao at Ranthambore is the smallest of the three lakes which sees lot of concentrated action.
Machhli suffered from a cataract in her left eye in her old age. Navin M Raheja
Machhli’s popularity was such that she has a Facebook page to her name with lakhs of fans and followers.
Machhli had given birth to nine cubs during her time at Ranthambore; in a country where tiger conservationists seem to be slowly losing the battle against falling numbers, her contribution to the rising population of tigers in the reserve only adds to the legend of Machli — Rajasthan has just 52 tigers. (Above) The imposing fort at Ranthambore casts a giant shadow over Jogi Mahal.