For starters, an off day from work and I am supposed to be finishing my assignments, but I just couldn’t today. It was not such a productive day as I struggled to finish them amidst body pangs and a mild dull chill which was spread throughout the day.
An instant thought got me thinking about some long lost memories, memories buried under everyday work pressures and constant movement. There was no stillness in the thought process. I just wish I could zap myself onto some far off place with some me-time and no little buggers to bother me. ( I do have occasional pangs of escapism from the city but alas ! it only happens in my head. )
One such beautiful memory came back to me from the summer. Summer of 2017 where I was so very lucky to be made part of a string of wildlife camps wherein a world existed completely unknown to me. Since then, I’ve written about my experiences with Corbett, Ranthambhore, Tadoba but there were two more gems on the list – Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks, but due to too much information crowded in the brain, couldn’t find inspiration or enough motivation to pen it down.
Visiting Kanha National Park has been one of those magical moments like visiting Corbett – You can check it here – its one of those jungles which overwhelm you. The sunlight slowly, playfully creeps in to welcome you while the waning sunset slowly bids goodbye to yet another day. I enjoyed every aspect of it, from the hectic train journeys Pune-Mumbai to the constant smell of the ever crowded waiting room and the same menu of Chinese every damn time ( We usually gobble up gulabjamuns ONLY. 😛 ) Waiting for the next connecting train to Jabalpur amidst all the hullabaloo and the stink of the fish that fills the air. . . .
Having visited Bandhavgarh earlier than Kanha, I thought both of them would be the same. A preconceived thought that was proved wrong once I reached there !
The resort we stayed at was characterized by mud structures and demure lights which gave soft rustic jungle-wale vibes. It was beautiful to experience the quietness in the air, with wild sounds of birds especially the brain freezer bird which was so funny to hear once you get to identify the pattern.
I am no expert on the whole wildlife thing. Rather I am just a curious traveler who really got lucky. So this blog or my any other blogs might not have very detailed information. But that’s the whole point kind-of. I usually forget all the specifics and just enjoy the nature and the whole point of being there, so for someone like me, its really difficult to incorporate all the factual data. I’d rather look after the logistics and managing part and leave the details to the experts 😛
Because the children are so smart, you get one bird wrong and then you cannot even hide your face! Its better to let other trained people give vadapav than me dishing out some poorly constructed fact all the while wishing I wouldn’t screw up. .!
Back to Kanha. Like every National Park, it has gates..Kanha, Kisli, Mukki and Sarhi. It is situated in Madhya Pradesh, Central India. Nearest airport is Jabalpur and it is accessible from Nagpur too. Both have rail connectivity as well. It takes roughly around 5 hours to reach Kanha from Jabalpur. Ofcourse you have to take the mandatory stop at Indian Coffee House – Read about it here. It is the quintessential thing to do while in Jabalpur after Dhuadhar Waterfall.
Moving on to the essential part…the vast hinterland of the forest is home to the soporific
amourous sal trees which is the green cover of the otherwise barren land and home to the Tiger and the famous but very scarce – The Barasingha. To be honest, we as in my gypsy did not have much luck in sighting the tiger, something which I hold a grudge against my other teammate well because, the hell he got lucky in every safari while we were reduced to jibes and ridicule once back at the hotel.
Well we did see one tiger, but it was so far off that it couldn’t be counted as one. Every trip to wilderness has that anew fascination and excitement about the big cat no matter how many you witness in your lifetime. We did see lots of spotted deer, sambar and peacocks though. Bird life was in general very shy as we rarely did see any. It seems they were hiding in the lush greenery. But it did not matter to me as much as it affected the children who had come with high expectations.
The zone which I loved the most and was looking forward to was the Kanha zone. It is something which cannot be described in words, it feels as if you are driving deep into an enchantment, with the trees and the lush refreshing streams ; a sight for sore eyes ; and the air is heavy with amorous whiff of the sal trees. I did fall asleep in the gypsy at one point as it was very chilly and with all sleep inducing elements lead to it.
After jibes and ridicule of not spotting the big cat, we were on our way back to have some more coffee and the hop on the train to Jabalpur. It is a skill really, and I admire my colleagues who excel in them, to get to know the staff on the trains. Soon enough, I was acquainted to the ‘ apla nescafe coffee wala ‘ as we refer to him fondly because the slightly ‘panchat‘ coffee he concocts beats the filter coffee. After two three cups apiece, we are satiated.
All these memories are special, all the meats and potatoes that make a journey successful are in the small ordinary things. A relaxed mind, some me time, also could be said as wanting to escape the current position makes one wander back to such fruitful travels. All this while, there is a smile on my lips, the minds eye traversing back to the scenes, collecting and recollecting the small incidents, the touch the feel the smell of the forest…a short escapism for a while.