August 25, 2015

The Wild Life

Being a travel agent, new destinations and places have always lured me but nothing tempts me more than the wilderness. It’s the wild jungle that calls out to me like a fog horn draws tired ships to the shores. Every affair with the Jungle, every encounter and every rendezvous with the beasts big and small remains entrenched in my memory and gives me enormous pleasure in quiet times. In the wild, you are not the one calling the shots, the jungle rules, it’s the master and makes one realize how insignificant and incapable humans are against its fury. A safari excites me and I would choose an adrenaline pumping jungle holiday any day over lazing at a beach or visiting a museum.

In a jungle one is unable to control the twitching finger… for clicking pictures. Unfortunately, I haven’t really had an opportunity to learn the ropes professionally, but the fantastic thing is that even an amateur photographer like me feels like a hot-shot shooter in the jungle! You just cannot go wrong simply because there is so much beauty surrounding you! While India has some amazing wildlife in its 47 recognized Tiger Reserves, it is also a haven for many endemic and endangered birds & reptiles. Besides Tiger, wildlife enthusiasts can visit India for Lion Tailed Macaque, Great Indian Bustard, Niligiri Tahr, Wild Ass, Asiatic Lion and many such endemic species of flora & fauna.

The state of Madhya Pradesh, the heart of India as it’s called, alone is home to 5 extremely rich National Parks. After some longish gap, recently, I had the itch again and chose to revisit the state. The task of inspecting hotels & lodges and the PR exercises done, I took some time to literally stop and smell the flowers. The sweet intoxicating smell of the Mahua is a pleasure to the senses when it is flowering. Equally intoxicating is the local wine, the ultimate nectar as the locals describe it. Entire family can be seen picking up the Mahua fruit systematically and quietly. Many a times, one can spot up to three generations of a family picking up the fruit. Flame of the Forest with its red flowers is another tree that adds color to the skyline here and is one of my favourite trees!

Usually spotting the big cat, a tiger is the ultimate goal of a safari, but imagine a park where tiger-sighting is not a challenge but the number of tigers you spot is. BANDAVGARH is such a park. It is also a park known for its population of other mammals such as Nilgai (Blue bull) and Indian Gaur (Bison), Leopards etc. There is a 2000 years old fort, sitting majestically atop the Bandavgarh hill, looking down at the jungle below. The houses in and around Bandavgarh are painted blue and have a distinctive character that takes one back to childhood & folktales. At the northern area of the park there are also 35 sandstone caves.

KANHA, the largest Park in central India encompasses 2000sq km of grasslands. A jungle in true sense, it is as good as it gets. Thick, dense and full of adventure, the park has waterholes, which are good spots to patiently wait for good sighting of mammals. Accessed by two entry points, Mukki & Kisli, Kanha has a variety of accommodation of International class as well as local camps, providing a rustic and comfortable experience.

PENCH, is a picture-perfect park where sunsets can be mesmerizing. Park has amazing variety of trees such as Flame of the Forest and Ghost trees. These, I was told, appear like a ghost on a full moon night and hence the name. This is the only park where I didn’t regret not seeing animals. In fact one doesn’t miss them. Park is so awesome that I didn’t mind clicking just the open sky, trees, narrow winding path and almost everything that I could lay my eyes on. It abounds in bird life, water bodies, and green open grasslands that just appeared like a golf course.

More than the wildlife, it was the trees in Central India that caught my attention this time. For all of you who have a copy of ‘Trees of Delhi’ by Pradip Kishan, do look out for his next one, which will be on Trees of Central India. As I sign off, I invite all of you to experience a jungle trip in India. Safaris with ‘IWTE” offer an insight into India’s diverse flora & fauna in its various Project Tiger National Parks and Bird Sanctuaries.

Writer's Profile

My job as a travel agent has helped me a great deal explore breathtakingly beautiful places in my beloved India as well as in more than 40 countries. Off-lately I have taken up photography to capture landscapes, street life & people in my free time. My newly found love for photography has changed my outlook towards everything around me as I see beauty everywhere and try to capture it.

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