Mamandur Man Eater-a walk back.



Mamandur Man Eater  

Kenneth Anderson (1910–74)  was an Indian-born, British writer and hunter who wrote books about his adventures in the jungles of South India. His style of writing is descriptive, as he talks about his adventures with wild animals. I liked his stories too much and began to follow the places both virtually and physically. Virtually means by seeing the photos and Google earth images, which gives tremendous pleasure along  with reading. This is  a story of a man eating tigress in this village of Manmandur. Please read the book - Man eaters and jungle killers by Kenneth Anderson. 
 I tried to put some pages of the book in articles to rise  your urge.




Mamandur in our days 


Mamanduru (slight change in name) is a Forest Village is  in Andra Pradesh  near to Renigunta, in Kadappa highway.Now it is   A World Class Trekking Hub .History suggests that the famous composer Annamacharya walked on this path for a darshan of Lord Balaji.The trek routes from Mamanduru will culminate at Tirumala,the abode of Lord Balaji.  The last sighting of the Asiatic Cheetah is also recorded from Mamanduru Forest. Mamanduru boasts of unique fauna like slender loris the golden geko(areptile)which are found only in these hills.

Mamanduru forest village is located at foot hills of Seshachalam Hills.Beside Kadapa Highway.


Mamanduru Railway station- stop for  Passenger trains only.




Fauna in that area

About 178 species of birds from this national park have been identified. The globally threatened Yellow-throated Bulbul is seen here. Pompadour Green Pigeon, a bird of the Himalayas and the Western Ghats is quite common in these forests. The critically endangered Oriental White-backed Vulture is found in the national park. Some of the other birds found here are:

In 1984 the Asian Elephant, not seen in Andhra Pradesh for nearly 300 years, re-appeared in the southern part of Chittoor district. In 1993, a breakaway herd of five individuals moved to the Chamala Valley of Tirumala forests in this national park. This Chamala valley is featured in KA's stories. But he nevel described elephants presence in this area.
Among the predators Leopard is quite common, along with the Wild Dog. Other predators include Hyena, Golden Jackal, Indian Fox, Small Indian Civet and Jungle Cat. Sloth Bear is frequently encountered. Sambar, Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Four-horned Antelope and Wild Boar are the main ungulates. The nocturnal Slender Loris could be common but is seldom seen. The Indian Giant Squirrel and Tree Shrew are other interesting species.
Among reptiles, the most interesting species is the Gliding Lizard, found in some deep forested valleys. Another important reptile of this national park is the Golden Gecko. Originally reported from rocky ravines in the Eastern Ghats, the Golden Gecko was rediscovered from the same area in 1985
Seshachalam Hills  

As per the previous census held in 2009, the area had 57 sloth bears, 23 panthers/leopards, 150 wild dogs/dholes, 16 wolves, 12 jackals, 4 foxes, while the guards could not find any trace of tigers, wild cats, wild pigs or hyenas. By dividing the forest into clusters, the guards will not only take the pugmarks, but also the faecal droppings, which will be subjected to DNA testing to identify the animal's age and gender. However, the tiger population has almost been wiped out of this area due to agricultural expansion and urbanization. “Villagers and even our guards reported sighting of tigers recently in Balapalle and Mamandur areas. Though glad to note, it is yet to be confirmed”, P.V. Chalapathi Rao, Conservator of Forest, Tirupati Wildlife Management Circle



Then in the story



The famous writer. He had spent five days stalking the jungle paths and tying out baits when a party of men rushed into the forest bungalow to tell him that a railway man was missing.

Mamandur Bungalow



Mamandur Bungalow.





 Shot in Oct 1939, with Kenneth Anderson's camera.Thanks to Joshua Mathew and KA facebook page.






Distance from Bay of Bengal to the bungalow 54 miles.. for the cool breeze at 2 pm.

 Google Map of same place.

courtesy:Joshua Mathew and KA facebook page





The second  herds man killed here


 
place marked in image. Please read the page below 





The fire lines and the directions



Direction are not accurate as per story. But  WE CAN ASSUME IT BASED ON THE FIRELINES . THANKS TO FOREST DEPARTMENT TO PRESERVE THIS AREA STILL VERGIN.
 
 
FROM THE BOOK.
IN 2011
In 2016


 

courtesy:Joshua Mathew and KA facebook page




 The following places are seemed correctly in location with google  maps
N= north fireline
E= East fire line.
S= south fireline where tigress shot dead.
SE= South East fireline

Three buffalos and its positions 

123= spots where first, second, and third buffaloes tied  
Fireline 3. courtesy:Joshua Mathew and KA facebook page

Fire line.

POINTSMAN AND THE  SEMOPHORE LAMPS

Just imagine the railway lines of that time, deserted and eerie. There is a signal post,  the semaphore lamp posts lighted by the points men. The man had set out to light the two kerosene night lights that lay some way down the track from Mamandur station. 
Photograph by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour 5/46,A model of signal lamp used  by Southern Railways.This type of instrument was used extensively on the lines of both the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway and the South Indian Railway. It was invented by an engineer on the Madras Railway and manufactured locally in Madras by a firm called Orr & Co. Details on the mode of working will be found in Apurva Bahadur's article on India Railways Single Line Instruments.
 Normally these lights would have been lit at about six pm, just before dusk, however with the danger of the man-eater to contend with it had become the practice to set the lights while there was still plenty of daylight left, well before five. 
Renigunta  in those days with the signal post. Looking towards Renigunta staion. Photograph by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour
The time was just on six and, with the man by now well overdue, the worst was feared. Anderson quickly gathered his rifle and torch and a few other essentials and set out to investigate, alone.
He took a shortcut through the jungle to join the railway line at a point approximately half way between the two lights. A glance to his left revealed that the inner light was twinkling in the distance. Anderson concluded that the man had lit the inner light first before proceeding to the more distant light.
As he walked along Anderson carefully scoured the ground for any sign of the attack that must have occurred. When almost at the outer light he looked up and was surprised to see that the light was burning. The railway man must have been attacked on his way back! The time was now almost 7 pm and the light was fading.
The location  of culvert described in the story. Now probably it has been rebuilt for a second line, I assume. But somewhere here, the attack happened  and  KA waited for the Tiger to come back to his prey. 
Luckily an early risen moon gave the hunter enough light to see by. Almost at the spot where Anderson had joined the track was a culvert over a deep gully. As he walked back across the culvert a glimpse of something in the gully below caught Anderson’s eye.
It was part of the garment worn by the unfortunate railway man. Wedged under a boulder not seven metres from the embankment was the body. Even in the uncertain light Anderson could tell that the body had been partly devoured. The victim’s neck had been bitten through and the head lay a metre from the corpse.  
The light was rapidly disappearing and it would have been extremely dangerous, and unnecessary, to approach the kill, for the tigress was quite likely laid up close by and watching Anderson. The only place that offered any slight security was the middle of the small culvert.
courtesy:Joshua Mathew and KA facebook page
Anderson had no choice but to lay between the tracks in the middle of the short seven metre span. The winking red light of the inner signal seemed to taunt the hunter with the fact that help was close but yet so far away.
The night was brilliantly moonlit and as the hours ticked by Kenneth Anderson lay uncomfortably across the rails and sleepers. The call of Sambar and Chital deer had initially roused his hope that the tigress was on the move. These hopes were soon dashed when he realised that the calls came from different directions, indicating that various carnivores were on the move.
Perhaps it was the activity of leopards or a wild dog pack that had alarmed the grazing animals. The hunter glanced down at the body and what he saw made the hair on the back of his neck rise.
The severed head that had until now been staring at the sky had somehow rolled over to turn its eerie gaze on Anderson. No animal had come to disturb it so how had it moved?
Those few who are brave enough to take up the calling of hunting man-eaters, which often entails suspense-filled, lonely, all-night vigils over half eaten corpses, cannot afford to harbour superstitions or irrational fears.
Anderson, who in a lifetime of hunting man-eaters had seen some macabre and grisly sights, needed all his self control when the head started to rock to and fro in the sand.


 A dead head, whether human or animal, cannot move of its own accord he assured himself. He stared, fascinated by the horrid spectacle before him until the solution suddenly presented itself.
Two large rhinoceros beetles had come across the object and, for reasons unknown were trying to move it to one side. Anderson quickly returned to his vigil. He had been so engrossed by goings on in the creek bed that the tigress could easily have surprised him.
In the early hours of the morning he had to stiffly rise and vacate his waiting spot when the mail train came through. The train braked to a halt and the driver and guard jumped out to apprehend the hunter. They thought that he was a would-be suicide! That situation was quickly resolved as Anderson explained his true purpose.

A photo of Renigunta West Signal Cabin,  May help you to assume the conditions at that time. Photograph by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour 10/46
Situated at the west end of Renigunta Junction station in 1946 was this interesting cabin. It has no windows, and no walls below floor level - just a a paling palisade. However, in British terms, it isn't a signal box at all but just a "ground frame", manned as required and supervised from the station.
This view looks west along the broad (5'6") gauge single line towards Guntakel and Bombay, with the Eastern Ghats forming a backdrop. The overbridge in the distance carries the metre gauge line from Gudur, which swings round to call at the opposite face of the one platform at this station. The station is only a "junction" in respect of interchange.

The train crew listened askance. “You have been lying here in the open by yourself since evening?” they asked incredulously. “You are quite mad,” stated the driver, and his companions nodded in complete agreement. The locomotive crew quickly reboarded the safety of the train and chuffed off into the night.




2016 photo

The shoot 


 
 The following places are seemed correctly in location with Google  maps
A=  first herdsman mauled by the tiger,and first buffalo
B= Second Herdsman killed by the tiger
C= The culvert were points man killed.
D=the nullah
E= East fire line.
X= spot where tigress shot dead, this route now a trekking route to Tirumala Temple.

Last Day 

When the sun had been up some little while the weary hunter made his way back to the station and told the station master that the grieving relatives could collect the remains for burial. At 4 pm he awoke after a good day-long sleep, had a substantial meal and set out to check all the baits. None had been touched.
Sunset came soon enough and, shortly after the bright moon illuminated the countryside. A plan hatched itself in the hunter’s mind. Perhaps if he borrowed some flowing white Indian clothes and walked the jungle firebreaks he could draw the man-eater to himself.
Although the moon was bright the shadows cast by the bushes and trees on either side of the firebreak were thick and black and could have hidden a dozen tigers. Anderson realised that he would have to rely on his hearing and his sixth sense.
Like that greatest hunter of man-eaters, Jim Corbett, Kenneth Anderson had at times been aware of the presence of such an animal without having perceived any normal sensory clue. As he stalked carefully along he whistled snatches of tunes in an attempt to draw the tigress.
He had walked for hours and seen a great variety of wildlife when suddenly from less than one hundred metres ahead came the moaning call of the tigress. Anderson hastened to close the gap to fifty metres before stepping behind a large tree, cocking his 405 Winchester and giving the call of a male tiger.
Within thirty seconds the shape of the tigress drifted like a silent grey ghost up the firebreak toward the hunter. He remained perfectly still and waited until she had gone just a little past him before shooting her behind the ear from a range of about three metres.
The tigress was dead before her body hit the ground and Kenneth Anderson, who was used to much more hair-raising conclusions, felt that it had been too easy, and in the end, perhaps unsporting.
Thanks to KA for this wonderful story. 



Disclaimer: This article is not proven its authenticity, and not indented to any referral purpose. All of the details are author's  assumptions, imaginations,  and can be wrong by  100 percentage. Please correlate  your views and kindly correct if you find something  missing or wrong.


Links to other blogposts related to Kennath Anderson stories:

The Man-eater-of-crescent-mountains


11 comments:

  1. Wonderful narration. Amazing work tracing the steps of our hero.

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  2. beautiful place, awesome writing and amazing effort

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts and I
    am waiting for your further write ups thank you once again.

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  4. Great work! Thanks!

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  5. Hey,
    Great article on Mamandur. I was planning for my visit to Andhra Pradesh. I definitely add this place to my list.:)

    - Vinay Prasad

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  6. I wish to retrace the steps of K.A someday.Beautiful narration and nice work tracing the steps of the famous hunter-Suvayu

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  7. Thank you for your comments. I wish you all should visit the place, take photos and share your experiences, that can be added for next enthusiasts.
    Vinay Prasad, do the visit earliest and post it in FB page.

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  8. I went to Mamanduru last week end and visited the famous bungalow on the hillock. From there I took the south westerly fire track and reached the railway culvert where KA waited for the man eater to return. The old culvert had been widened to make way for the new tracks. However the remnants of the old track can still be seen. I also experienced the wonderful 2.00 clock afternoon sea breeze. It was a very memorable trip.

    Pictures uploaded in
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/124729079@N08/albums/72157661812004174

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  9. Thank you Namo for sharing your experience here. So the 2 pm breeze is true. Delighted

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  10. I am just about to start reading the Mamandhur Man Eater chapter in Omnibus Vol1....Just thought of making a google search and find out for any info about Mamandhur.I am aware of the fb page and visits often.....I am sure this story will also be as exciting as the other ones!...Thanks for this blog.I enjoyed reading and looking at the pics.

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