Whoever you are, whatever you do, as a human being you always need to have some time to relax and rejuvenate. Trips or vacations, chilling out with friends or family, celebrating your religious and national festivals are some of the things that help refresh your mind so that the next time you go back to school, college or work, you’re ready to kill it!
Last weekend, my grandparents had come down to our place and we went off on a trip to BR hills, a beautifully set location nearby a Tiger Reserve. We drove to the place, which took us about five hours or so, halting for breakfast in the middle. We left early in the morning, at about seven o’clock.
At first, we had to deal with the city traffic, then the rainfall near the highway which sent sprays of water splashing because of the speed of the trucks and cars on the highway… It looked beautiful… Then, as we left the city, the route took us along the riverside. There were several small ponds formed amidst the fields, all because of the rainfall. The poor farmers couldn’t help but stare at our car. We stopped at 9 AM for breakfast at a South-Indian restaurant inside a remote village. After eating, which took the five of us about thirty minutes, we left for our destination, the Jungle Lodges Resort, inside the Tiger Reserve, where we planned to reach by lunch time.
En route, we dealt with a lot of surprises… It seemed to be normal at first, as google maps guided us towards the ghats. Little did we know that the application embedded in our car had the tendency to take us via the shortest path, which was very, very narrow. We were in between tall rows of crops and the road wasn’t exactly nice. I realized that we were very close to the sugarcane and rice plantations which were being harvested by the farmers. No cars were seen ahead or behind us, and I thought we were on the wrong route. But then again, how could the application ever be wrong? We just had to continue forward. My dad said that it was off-season for tourists because it was August.
The farmers were harvesting their crops and had laid the some of them on the already-so-narrow road… AAANNNNDDD…. Here’s the part where we put our SUV to a real test. We had to go off-road on the mud and drive. We had no other option… Fortunately, our car drove through easily, causing no harm to us or the crops or the car itself. 🙂
Soon, we reached the bottom of the hills; there were cops who stopped our car because it was a forbidden area for public. We were asked to enter our details and they made sure we were legally entering the reserve. As soon as we entered the reserve, we were greeted by two beautiful creatures, a peacock and a peahen. They ran away as soon as they heard the sound of the car… As we went up the hills, we were surrounded by dense flora of the hilly terrain. It was indeed a breathtaking view. We opened up the windows and took in a deep breath of the fresh, mountain air, free of any pollution. We also realized how the temperature had dropped all of a sudden, not only due to the altitude, but also due the thick forest cover.
As we drove up the steep slope, we encountered two tusker elephants grazing right next to our car! They looked up at our car, curiously. Not far away from them, on the other side of the road, was the tallest species of wild cattle, an Indian bison also called the GAUR!! He looked beautiful, but he was dangerous. We were asked to drive away quickly if we encountered any animals. We also saw a herd of spotted deer later on…
We finally reached the resort after driving about 30 kilometers uphill… Phew! The resort was perfect. It had eight tents and eleven log-huts. We had booked two tents. The staff was really good; they showed us rooms promptly and told us about everything. There was just one other family currently residing there. They lived in a log hut. The risk of tigers and leopards coming near our resort was low during this season; but even if they did, there would be an alarm to warn us. Most of the staff was well accustomed to this kind of risk. There were quite a few conservationists present there as well. As we ate our lunch we chatted with the other family…
That evening we went on a three-hour safari in the jungle. It was perfect, the jeep had nine seats, eight for us passengers and one for the driver/naturalist. We saw lots of animals; herds of spotted deer, a few barking deer here and there, two herds of Sambar deer, kingfishers, fish-eyed owls, a few other birds whose names I cannot recollect, wild boars and some gaur. The next morning, we spotted quite a few birds, some deer, sloth bears, wild mongooses and wild red-tailed squirrels. We stopped when we saw some fresh tiger dung, but unfortunately, it so happened that we had just missed it crossing our path… 😦
The safari made me feel refreshed and it sharpened my vision because we kept looking for animals. In fact, it sharpened my vision to the point that I could actually see a beautiful blue butterfly, the blue mormon, sitting on some ferns as our jeep was speeding away. This trip gave us quite an insight into wildlife and gave us time to relax and enjoy the weather. I am now geared up for my eleventh grade (IBDP) which begins on next Monday.