Maharajah Jungle Trek is a self-guided walking tour of native Asian wildlife in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park.
Maharajah Jungle Trek is a trail through the Royal Anandapur Forest. Since ancient times, the rajahs of Anandapur hunted tigers in the forest. In 1544, King Bhima Disampati decreed the forest as a royal preserve only open to the royal family and their invited guests and built a Royal Hunting Lodge in the forest. Enclosing portions of the forest in walls, he would use these spaces to lure and trap the tigers, which proved to be his downfall when he was killed during a tiger hunt. Afterwards, his successors would focus more on protecting wildlife and living in balance with nature, before the palace was eventually abandoned. In 1948, after the end of British colonial rule, the Royal Forest was given to the people of Anandapur, who turned the ruins of the old complex into a nature preserve to protect the remaining tigers and wildlife as well as a key watershed for the Chakranadi River.
After passing through the guardhouse at the entrance to the trail, a Komodo Dragon can be found lurking on the rocks by a stream, with Lion Tailed Macaques living in the shadow of cliffs nearby. The macaques were added in 2016, as the habitat originally hosted Malayan Tapirs until 2010.
Built onto the side of the cliffs is Atavika Station #12, a local community center located next to a habitat for Rodrigues Fruit Bats and giant Malayan Flying Foxes. The center is dressed to host lectures on the center's resident bats and terrariums containing small animals can also be found within the space. The viewing area for the Bat Cliff is open air and the building is divided in such a way that visitors can bypass the bats.
Leaving the station, the trail continues through the ruins of the royal hunting lodge. Amidst the crumbling ruins and mosaics of the past kings of Anandapur, tigers have become the palace's new reigning royalty, with pools and fountains for the cats to play in addition to whatever enrichment activities are introduced to their three different habitat locations. When the attraction opened, Bengal Tigers were the main inhabitants, though as of 2016, endangered Sumatran Tigers have become the main focus. Near a local drinking water station that hosts a set of drinking fountains, various herbivores can be found grazing in the fields just out of the reach of the tigers. Inhabitants in this exhibit have included Elds Deer, Blackbuck, Water Buffalo, Banteng, Indian peafowl, Sarus cranes, ruddy shelducks and bar-headed geese.
Crossing a bridge over the third of the tiger habitats, the trail passes by the ruins of the Tomb of Anantah, the founding ruler of Anandapur, with bas reliefs telling the foundational myth of Anandapur, with Anantah upsetting the balance of nature after cutting down a sacred tree, and after being plagued by natural disasters, replanting and learning to live in harmony with nature. A nearby Red Temple, built by one of Bhima's successors, holds the relocated sacrophagus of Anantah as well as the entrance to the Aviary, the last exhibit area of the trail.
The Aviary is hosted in the ruins of the palace's Great Hall, a walled garden built by Bhima's brother. Mostly reclaimed by nature, the ballroom is now host to small shrines and feeders for the palace's resident birds. Among the 50 species found within the Great Hall are:
- Palawan Peacock Pheasants
- White-rumped Shamas
- Fruit Doves
- Indian Rollers
- Masked Plovers
- King Parrots
- ↑ http://www.jamboeveryone.com/2016/03/lion-tailed-macaques.html
- ↑ http://disneyshawn.blogspot.com/2011/04/lets-gather-at-atavika-station.html
- ↑ http://disneyshawn.blogspot.com/2011/04/legend-of-tree-of-life.html
- ↑ http://disneyshawn.blogspot.com/2011/04/red-temple.html
- ↑ http://disneyshawn.blogspot.com/2011/04/ancient-rulers-of-anandapur.html