Part#4–Unleashing Northeast India–Land Of Lama, Rains, Rhinos and Momos by Abhimanyu

Abode of clouds - Meghalaya!

Please excuse me for writing the final part of this journey after a gap of more than a month. Was caught up in adjusting with the “new normal” way of life and remote working.

There were struggles to get the groceries and seamless internet connectivity initially but now it’s all sorted. Meanwhile, I drove down to Raipur from Pune. 1000 kms in 20 hours with a co-driver. It was good fun. 

Reading part#4 directly might not be good idea so please click on the below links to read prequels

After spending 2 days in Assam, relishing local delicacies and meeting Rhinos it was time to hit the road again. Simanta was at hotel lobby with his innova, all neat and clean.

This time for a change, we started late. After lunch around 1:00 pm.

Day#7 –

  • Kaziranga national park to Cherrapunji
  • Travel time – 8.5 hours 
  • Road Condition – Smooth and well consructed
  • Stay – Saimika Resort, Cherrapunji

Lunch served to us @Bonhabi was full of taste and spices. Exactly the way we wanted.

The drive was pretty smooth, and we enjoyed the journey through the small villages, finally reaching the mountains from the plains. We stopped at Jiva Pure Veg to refill our tummies and this place is one of a kind. Very hygienic and full of taste. We ordered momos, noodles and some biryani. Reached at Saimika, resort by 10 pm. It seemed to be a deserted place wherein there was a security guard who led us to our twin-cottages (joined from inside).

Entering the cottages, our excitement reached next level. We had a fireplace inside the cottage. I have stayed in many resorts across India, but this was the first time I had this pretty thing inside the room. We asked the security to lit it up for us. Glasses clanged again with malt on the rocks. It was good fun and very relaxing. Woke up fresh next morning and opened the door of our cottage to be mesmerized by the beauty of this resort which seemed deserted yesterday. Resort is built on a cliff in acres of land, all construction is done using rocks which gives an ancient Roman feel to this place. Looked inspired by Harry Porter movie to a fair extend.

We had some quick sandwiches at the restaurant and left the resort to reach the entry-point of trek to famous “living Root Bridges.”

Day#8

  • living Root Bridges
  • Travel time – Full day trek 
  • Trek level – Moderate to difficult
  • Stay – Saimika Resort, Cherrapunji

At the entry point of the trek, you will meet local boys renting Bamboos and claiming to be guides.

My suggestion – Take Bamboos and not the guide. Because our guide named, Risk DID NOT guide us at all. He just kept walking ahead of us creating un-necessary pressure on us to trek down faster. Guide could be useful for getting some pictures clicked for sure.        

Single root bridge

Started off the hike and reached the,” single decker root bridge” after 1500 steps down hill.

It was tiring but we had some juice left in us so after some rest we moved ahead to the prime attraction of today’s hike – the double decker living root bridge. Another 2000 steps down hill, crossing a river, a few villages, lots of sweating and knee breaking efforts we reached the architectural brilliance, man-made, double decker living root bridge.  

There is a stream flowing underneath it and thousands of fishes are waiting to welcome you from a small pond of fresh, crystal clear water.

Fishes waiting to give you a natural pedicure

We spend time relaxing by the pond side and eating the packed food that we carried from Saimika. Pranthas that were packed had lost the taste completely and I suggest to better order Maggie from small shops around the root bridge.

Some wiki gyan for youA living root bridge is a type of simple suspension bridge formed of living plant roots by tree shaping. They are common in the southern part of the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya. They are handmade from the aerial roots of rubber fig trees (Ficus elastica[1][2]) by the Khasi and Jaintia[3] peoples of the mountainous terrain along the southern part of the Shillong Plateau. Most of the bridges grow on steep slopes of subtropical moist broadleaf forest between 50m and 1150m above sea level.[4] As long as the tree from which it is formed remains healthy, the roots in the bridge can naturally grow thick and strengthen. New roots can grow throughout the tree’s life and must be pruned or manipulated to strengthen the bridge. Without active care, many bridges have decayed or grown wild, becoming unusable. *

*Source – Wikipedia

We had to trek upstairs again. Although none of us wanted to but we did as we had to.

Knees, thighs and back hurted bad but we kept walking and motivating each other. 

I will write another post on does and don’t while you take this tiring trek of Living Root Bridges. Finally reached the car parking after 7~8 hours to meet ever smiling Simanta.

Had maggie and tea and ditched all plans to see some waterfalls to reach Saimika resort so that we can enjoy this beautiful stay a little more. 

Evening was set with a lovely bon fire outside our cottages where we enjoyed endless chats under the sky full of stars, zillions of them twinkling all night long.

Next morning was a lazy one, got up late and enjoyed our pre-ordered breakfast at the gothic Sai-mika. After quick check-out Simanta took us for some sightseeing around Cherrapunji and Dawki river. The water has no colour and odour is true in the transparent river which flows from India to Bangladesh and merges in Bay of Bengal via Sundarbans. Boating is a must here and if you are enthusiastic like us the do take a dip in the freeazing crystal clear water. Left Cherrapunji by 4 pm for our next destination which was just a night halt for us.

Day#9

  • Cherrapunji to Umsning, Meghalaya
  • Travel time – 4 hours
  • Road condition – Very good and scenic
  • Stay – The Sanctuary Song Resort, Umsning, Meghalaya

All is well when it ends well. Reaching this serene resort, we thought to ourselves, what a showstopper trip end planned by the curator. Nested in nature’s lap within a forest, small stream flowing besides the resort and NO MOBILE NETWORK available. What else does a metro lad need!!

Final Night Celebration

Some local strawberry wine was bought from the reception, bon fire was lit and the night went on and on till 1 am. Crashed in our cosy beds and woke up with chirps of birds, Trisha was the 1st one to wake up and got outside to greet the birds singing in a foggy cold morning.

Day#10 was finally here when we had to board our flight back to Mumbai from Guwahati airport, which is around 3.5 hours smooth drive from the heavenly stay on earth called The Sanctuary Song Resort. I leave you with some pictures here as we end this epic journey of a lifetime with a promise to come back again soon.

Reach out to us for any queries about this trip and for planning and booking yours.

#travel-click-eat-repeat

Send your love to us in comments section and by sharing this blog as much as possible.

Meet the star – Simanta – The ever smiling Mawa Man

See you soon again!

Cheers!

Abhimanyu @yatripandit

Part#3 – Unleashing Northeast India – Land of Lamas, Rains, Rhinos and Momos!! By Abhimanyu

Arriving in Assam – land of tea, tradition & one horned Rhino!

After the lovely dinner and cosy night stay at luxurious Gonpalok home stay at Dirang it was the time to bid goodbyes to Mountains and hit the plains.

As always, we left early morning and Simanta was waiting for us with the engine on of innova. He seemed happier, may be because we were going to be in his state of Assam.

Our personalised travel consultant took special efforts to accommodate our modified plan of going to Assam. Waving hands and exchanging smiles with the sweet caretaker, we left for the state of Assam. Assam is famous for Tea, rice, history and wildlife.

Hold on, if you have landed to this page directly, please click Part#1 and Part#2 to read the prequels. Do come back here.

Day#5 –

  • Dirang to Kaziranga national park
  • Travel time – 9 hours  
  • Road Condition – Worst (mostly under construction) that I have ever seen
  • Stay – Bonhabi Resort, Kaziranga

It was not the best days of the journey. Yes, we left early but the route that Simanta took was the worst road that I have ever seen in my lifetime. About 100 Kms was totally under construction and full of bumps. It seemed we are driving on a bullock cart both by speed and jerks. Dust clouds prevailed almost on the full stretch of 100kms of that road.

Dirang to kazi

We were stopped on the mid-way of those 100kms because some blasting was going on for road construction. Here we were in the middle of nowhere, waiting on a check post. There were a few more vehicles waiting behind us. We tried to kill time by clicking some infact many pictures, taking a walk around the area.

We could find a small café which served Maggie and eggs. Yes, throughout our journey Maggie, mawa, sleeping like pigs and leaving early morning have been constants. Finally, after slowest 5 hours of my life, the post officer let us move past the barrier. Simanta, loaded his Mawa and we were back to life. Before crossing Arunachal’s border and entering Assam, we stopped to buy some more liquor stock to be brought back with us to Maharashtra.

The roads in Assam were smooth and scenic, I am sure driving would have been a pleasure on them. All off a sudden I noticed, Simanta opened his door and peeped outside the door bending downwards for a second and was back again on the wheel. We understood, he did that to spit the mawa stuff. We realised he was in his own state and his confidence was touching sky.  

Usually, we visit 1 national park every year because being in the jungle brings you closest to mother earth. The birds, wilderness and flora are the real kings and we humans are just a small part of this majestic nature. I will share the link to National part stories at the end of this post. Do read ‘em all. This time we got a chance to meet 1 horn Rhino and its friends in one of the most famous national parks of India – Kaziranga National Park.

While entering the buffer area of Kaziranga, we were lucky to see hundreds of 1 horn rhinos grazing and swaying carefree on the grasslands on both sides on the road.

One Horned Rhino - Courtesy Outlook India
Image Courtesy : Outlook India

We finally reached our resort, Bonhabi around 5pm and we were tired for sure because of pointless waiting and bumpy road. The car was full of dust and dirt, from the inside and outside.

We went to our rooms; took shower and relaxed for an hour before we meet again to clink glasses, bawaa! it was mine and Trisha’s anniversary day. Cheers to two amazing and enthralling years of married life, we had no complaints by far. We reached the dining area to find probably the best food that we had during the journey. Full credit to our talented trip curator who ensured that we were served authentic assamese vegetarian food along with a cake specially ordered for our anniversary. She also tried to arrange local rice brew but maybe it was not our day. If you have tasted, let us know how it tastes in comment section. Seeing all the food we were damn excited, and it seemed that we were never tired of today’s journey. There was a wide variety of delicacies and we could not decide from what to start and where to end. Trying to list a few below: –

1) Local white or red rice (depending on season and region)

2) Bhoot Jhukoliya (Ghost Chillis – the hottest chilli in the world) – handle with extreme care

3) Aloo and Baingan Pitika (Steamed and salted Potato and Eggplant)

4) Dhekiya or Lye saag depending on season

5) Aloo, Aloo Potol, Cabbage, Beetroot or any other vegetable in season Bhaaji (Assorted Vegetables)

6) Yellow or Black Masoor Dal (Thick Lentil Soup)

7) Khoreo (Highly pungent and delicious ground mustard served with onion, garlic and other spices)

8) Pudina, Coconut, Sesame Chutney (Mint, Coconut or Sesame paste prepared with herbs and spices)

9) Salad made from young bamboo shoots

10) Paste made from raw mangoes or ground jackfruit seeds, etc

It was indeed a beautiful evening full of chats, variety of food and lots of love.     

Next morning, we again woke up early to see our pre-booked jungle safari waiting at the resort parking area. Open Maruti gypsy it was! Hopped in to start the jungle safari with a hope to sight rhinos, tigers, elephants, wild water buffalo, swamp deer, birds and many more.

Day#6 –

  • Kaziranga national park
  • Safari time – 6 hours 
  • Road Condition – as in jungle
  • Stay – Bonhabi Resort, Kaziranga

Wikipedia: Situated on the banks of mighty Bhramaputra river, Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India. The sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site. The park is home to large breeding populations of tigers, elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Kaziranga is recognized as an important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species. When compared with other protected areas in India, Kaziranga has achieved notable success in wildlife conservation.IMG_20200213_103235IMG_20200213_093719

We left our resort at 8 am in the safari which was pre-booked by our trip curator. Agaratoli range was about 1-hour drive from our resort but we enjoyed the drive while we crossed tea plantations on both sides of the road and felt the wind pass through our hairs.

Over the last few years of travelling, I have realised the neither sea nor the mountains, but Jungle is my real calling. I love being in nature surrounded by greenery, blooms, birds, butterflies and animals other than humans. Oxygen loaded air unlike polluted one in cities. Blue skies, cool breeze rustling leaves and ant-hills of varied sizes.

We sighted no tigers, few elephants, some wild buffaloes, many birds, numerous dears and hell lot of ONE HORNED RHINOS. River Bramhaputra crosses the national park and the span of the river is massive. People in this region are used to floods every year.

It was a 6 hours safari for 4 of us which costed about INR. 3500/-.  

Our driver was our guide as well, and this was probably a mistake. I suggest hiring a trained forest guide who understands to calls (voices made by animals) precisely.

Back to Bonhabi resort by late afternoon we decided to take some rest and enjoyed the stay.  

Next morning, we were greeted by ever smiling Simanta again with a clean car, he got some time to relax and get the car cleaned yesterday. He took us to Kaziranga National Orchid and Biodiversity Park which was in close vicinity to our resort. This park houses about 500+ variety of orchids from all-over north-east India and you are briefed by learned guides about the variety, identification and importance of orchids.

Additionally this place also has a Bamboo garden, cactus garden, photo gallery and handloom display and weaving centre. One can witness the dying art of weaving the cloths by hand and also buy some shawls, stoles or gamchas to carry back home.

Next up was a stage which showcases Assamese folk dances like bamboo dance and other forms and every evening they depict special show of 1 hour. Try to catch that and let us know how was it, in comment section below. We had a good time cheering and applauding local folk artists but its sad that only 4 of us were doing so in an audience of about 25 people. All an artist need is applause and cheers, and we must do it.    

The entry fee is only 120 Rs per person and this place has a lot to offer.  

Reached our resort and packed our luggage for our last leg of trip where in we were about to experience the rains, dense forests, transparent rivers and living root bridges.

Also, as a bonus you will get to see Mr. Simanta. So, stay tuned for the last part of this journey of life time. 

While leaving kaziranga chai lovers like us purchased kilos of Tea for ourselves, friends and family.

Here are the links which will take you to our earlier travelogues about jungle trips. Enjoy reading and do share if you like them.

  1. Barnawapara – A not so famous Wildlife Sanctuary
  2. Bow Down to the King – Bandhavgarh
  3. Bastar – The land of whispering Mountains – Chhattisgarh
  4. YP Original || Rules of the Jungle by Abhimanyu

 

See you soon again!

Abhimanyu @ Yatripandit

Part#2 – Unleashing Northeast India – Land of Lamas, Rains, Rhinos and Momos!! By Abhimanyu

Part#2 – Tip toeing – Tawang and reaching Dirang!

We slept over with the Soldier’s stories of peace and altitude and how they live in extreme climate conditions at various posts across length and width of this beautiful Country called India.

@Tawang, the night temperature dipped to sub-zero and 3 layers of cloths, 2 blankets and a heater could brave us through that night.

Hold on, if you have landed to this page directly, please click Part#1 to read the prequel. Do come back here.

Day#3 –

  • Bumla Pass and Madhuri lake
  • Travel time – 8 hours tour
  • Road Condition – Good (Mostly)
  • Stay – Hotel Mon-Paradise

Woke up fresh and got ready at 8 am after eating some ready to eat poha and upma prepared by Akshata (Chotu). Reached downstairs to find our Chauffer for the day Mr. Tashi.

No, don’t think that Simanta got bored of our poha-jalebi talks and decided to part ways. In Tawang you are required to book a local taxi to visit Bumla Pass and Madhuri lake. Cost is approx. 5000/- all-inclusive and tour duration is about 7~8 hours. I think this arrangement is made to provide earning opportunities to the locals. That’s Good specially for Simanta as he got a rest day to spend with his favourite mawa and probably talk to his family over phone.

Tashi drove a Tata Sumo and could speak Hindi fluently. He had a footballer’s physique, spikes hairstyle and donned Ray-Ban aviators. He played some good music from the 90’s era which we really enjoyed.

Before moving ahead with trip, an important information is that all tourists (including Indians) need an Inner Land Permit(ILP) to enter Arunachal Pradesh border. The fess is about 250/- per person and it can be applied online. Our tour agent got this arranged for us before the commencement of trip.

Tawang to Bumla pass is about 35 Kms and takes about 1.5 hours to reach. The path is so beautiful that you would never want it to end. We visited in February and it was the perfect time as the mountains was covered with magical white fresh snow.

Tashi had to tie a metal chain on the tyres of Sumo to escape skidding on the snow.

Reaching Bumla Pass we were thrilled to the core, only Dev had seen such heavy snow before this day during his visit to Swiss Alps. It was difficult to even walk as the snow was soft, fresh and about 3~4 ft deep or even more.

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All tourists were taken to a Army shed and served free hot tea and water for FREE. You are expected to wash your glasses and keep them clean for the next lot of tourist. Before we move further in the day, let me brief you about Bumlapass, histroy and its geographic importance.

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Bumla Pass, situated at an altitude of over 15,200 ft is snowbound for almost the entire year due to its steep elevation and presents a beautiful view of the Tibetan plateau. The road to the pass takes visitors through many sleepy hamlets and scenic lakes, making the drive memorable. Elegantly maintained by the Indian Army, Bumla Pass is a must for those who want to see how Indian soldiers protect the borders in the harshest of climes. The road to Bum La is also a historical route, the People’s Liberation Army of China invaded India during the 1962 Sino-Indian War. Here in Bum La Pass one of the fiercest battles took place in the 1962 Sino-Indian War. It is the pass from where Dalai Lama entered India escaping from Tibet.

After some tea and talks, one of the army officers took all tourists for a walk towards the border, and while all of us were breathing heavily the siren hooted and we were ordered to march back towards the army shed. It was scary as we thought there is some activity from China’s side but after another free tea and talks later, the officer told us that it was a routine round from the China side and there was nothing to worry about. Let’s go again, he said.

Officer explained us about the meetings that take place every quarter between the two army’s, talks of peace and co-existence, exchange of culture and some gifts from each side. Chinese are tough nuts, he said and guided us back to the Shed. Some pictures, snow fights, another round of tea and bowing down to our soldiers for their courage and bravery later we were all set to visit Madhuri Lake(Sangestar Tso) with our Tashi.

Indian actress namely Madhuri, danced besides Sangestar Tso in koyla movie and since then locals fondly call it as Madhuri lake. Now that’s real swag!

While waiting at Bumla pass, Tashi removed the metal chains thinking they aren’t needed any more. He was wrong, as our cab got stuck in snow as on the way to Madhuri lake.

All of us got down and tried to help but little did we know that our soldier would arrive all of a sudden in a truck and get us moving in minutes. Salute them, smiling and feeling useless at the same time we got inside the cab. Trisha(my wife) started to feel heavy head. Tashi told us it normal to experience this for people from the plains like us. Altitude and extreme sun rays to be blamed.  

Right on the turn towards lake, an army officer told us that the road is blocked due to heavy snow. We could not see the lake where Madhuri Dixit danced in 1997. I was 9 years back then and other three even younger. No worries guys, this kinda stuff keeps on happening on roadtrips and hill terrains told our very own Akshata Dixit. 😛

A few minutes later curvy roads, an army officer in uniform asked us for lift and we happily stopped to invite him inside. I think all soldiers have a lot of stories and they are great story tellers as well. He narrated a few to us and then Soldier and Tashi started to talk about current Prime Minister – Shri Narendra Modi. Tashi told us that, he likes Modi very much and trust that only Modi can uplift Arunachal Pradesh. There was no college in Tawang and everyone either dropped out after high-school or had to enrol in other states for studies, but now Tawang has a basic college, told Tashi.

The soldier got us some hot water to drink, which is the best way to beat the altitude sickness. Trisha felt a little better and after some time tashi dropped us to Hotel.

After lunch Dev and Akshata went on to see Tawang War Memorial with Simanta. Me and Trisha decided to rest for a while. Some chai, talks and lying around was what we needed.

After an early dinner in the ground floor restaurant and thanking Raju- the chef for the lovely food we dozed off again. Yes, like how the pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud.

Day#4 –

  • Tawang local and drive to Dirang
  • Travel time – 9+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Good (Mostly)
  • Stay – Gonpalok Homestay

Next morning, it was time for us to bid adieus to Tawang but not so quick. Simanta had some plans for sight seeing and we also have “never say never” attitude. 1st place was Tawang Monastery. Monasteries are usually serene this was more that just serene. It was surreal. We were welcomed by harmless monkeys and after spending some time in the Monastery, waved goodbyes from young kids wearing Buddhist robes and having books in hands.

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Next up was a Giant Buddha Statue, located at an elevated place. We found a small and pretty café behind the statue to spend some good time and have tea and Maggie.

IMG_20200211_083937

Last up was the Tawang local market, almost all shops sell similar stuff which are woollens, souvenirs, incense sticks, cups/ mugs and footwears. We also got some to get back home with us. I love my dragon printed cup and still have my tea in it while writing this for you.

IMG_20200211_084643

Our time in Tawang was up and Simanta was ready with his mawa filled mouth and engine thumping. Next destination was Dirang.

Dirang was not in the original plan but last night we decided to alter the plan to ditch Shillong and include Kaziranga National Park. The decision was taken as the travel time to Shillong was too much for a day and we had to celebrate Dev and Chotu’s Anniversary. So, reaching to the next place was very important.

While driving back down-hill, we all admired the innocence and embracing nature of people of the beautiful state called, Arunachal Pradesh.

We stopped at Jang for a sightseeing, you will have to stair down about 200 steps to reach a river valley. Source Wikipedia : Nuranang Falls (also known as Bong Bong Falls), some 100 metres high, is located in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, India. It is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in this part of the country, yet is unknown to many travelers. It lies some 2 kilometres away from the town of Jang on the road connecting Tawang and Bomdila, so it is also known as the Jang Falls. There is a small hydel plant located near the base that generates electricity for local use. The Nuranang river originates from the Northern slopes of the Sela Pass. Just below the waterfall it falls into the Tawang river.

We were hungry and Simanta stopped at Jaswant garh war memorial again. Remember in the 1st part I told you about the free tea and hot water. This is the same place that serves them. We got some idlis, dosas, muffins and tea. The taste, view and soldier’s passion deserve respect and admiration.

About 4 hours drive and crossing Sela pass again we finally reached Dirang. Do not miss to buy fresh fruits from the shops on the highway side. Dirang is known to produce variety of fruits.

We faced some difficulty in reaching the home stay but when we entered Gonpalok Homestay. We thought, “stay ho toh aisa.” No words can describe the taste of hot pakodas that were freshly cooked for us by the caretaker lady along with hot tea. Later in the evening we celebrated the much awaited anniversary at hotel Norphel Retreat. It was very well planned and organised by our freelancer travel agent. I leave you with some pictures to ponder on and be jealous of us that we did this the trip only a month before the country wide lock down was imposed to tackle Covid-19 spread.

 

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Sure of waking up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

Hope you liked our journey till now! Write some encouraging words in the comments section and share the link with your friends, also ask them to share and comment…

Part#3 coming soon… where we move towards plains from the mountains and see the mighty Brahmaputra river, tea gardens and 1 horned rhino.

Much Love 🙂

Abhimanyu@Yatripandit

Part#1 Unleashing Northeast India – Land of Lamas, Rains, Rhinos and Momos!! By Abhimanyu

Part#1 – Reaching Tawang from Assam via Bomdila !

It was the occasion of our 2nd anniversary when four Sharmas’ planned to explore North-east, India.

We had a fantastic company of Dev and Akshata who got married a day earlier than me and Trisha in the same month of Feb and year of 2018.

Me and Dev shared room during my 1st job in Mumbai and we jelled up pretty well for obvious reasons like being Sharmas’ from MP/CG and loving beer. Since we got married almost on the same day, we could not attend each other’s weddings, and this was the chance to cut it by celebrating the anniversaries together.

Tickets were booked in August’19 and we then finalized our itenary during December’19.

We read a few posts and then finally decided to book ourselves with a Freelance travel consultant from Assam.

7th Feb 2020, finally the day had come when me and Trisha embarked the road in our new Honda Amaze from Pune to Mumbai. Akshata arrange for a safe car parking over a week’s time in Mumbai. It was an early morning flight from Mumbai to Assam, we had our masks on as there was a buzz of Covid19 around the world already. Landed in Assam to find our driver, Simanta and pre-booked Innova Crysta.

IMG_20200208_035105
Mumbai Airport

None of us had slept last night but there was no sense of deprivation. It was the time to make memories, none of us had been to this side of Incredible India.

I decided to narrate this trip in multiple stories in sequence as it was a beautiful long ROAD trip.

Day#1 – Trip start, 0 Kms

  • Guwahati Airport to Bomdila
  • Travel time – 9+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Good (Mostly)
  • Stay – Norgay Guest House Homestay

Journey starts from plains and takes you to the mountains. Located on the Foothills of Himalayas, Bomdila could be considered as an entry point of Arunachal Pradesh. Simanta played some asamese music while driving and halted at a random café so that we can have some Momos, maggie and tea. After 1st stop Hindi music took over Assamese and we were friends with Simanta. He was a character, loved his dose of Indian tobacco(jarda or mawa) while driving and always smiling. Never said no to our demands and was a true host in all senses.

IMG_20200208_143131
Lipsmacking Taste

We also got a chance to Enter Bhutan Border, smart Simanta got his diesel tank full as it is cheaper in Bhutan than in India.

As we were driving up-hill the air was getting colder and heavier. We drove alongside a river stream (Kameng river), Simanta told us that it comes all the way from China to meet the mighty Bhramaputra before merging in Bay of Bengal. We will meet Kameng river multiple times during our journey through Arunachal. Just before reaching our homestay in Bomdila we purchased some liquor as it will be helpful in keeping ourselves warm during the course of journey and its cheaper than Goa in Arunachal. 🙂

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Bhutan Border

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River Kameng

Homestay was clean and economical, we had to pay extra Rs. 300/- for a room heater. That’s Ok we were happy and rich (as it was just the first day).

For dinner we walked down the stairs and found a restaurant (name forgotten), but please find it right opposite Dragon restaurant. The momos and noodles which they served were the best that we had during the trip. Please let me know the name of this restaurant in comment section. I can eat those momos all my life and die happily.

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Woke up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

We were sporting jackets and woolens now. Simanta was ready to drive us to Tawang, the dreamland that I wanted to visit since the time I saw it in TV a decade ago.

Day#2

  • Bomdila To Tawang
  • 200 Kms (approx.)
  • Travel time – 8+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Hilly and average
  • Stay – Hotel Mon Paradise

Visited the mesmerising and peaceful Bomdila monastery, saw the little monks chanting and praying in sync. The whole atmosphere was so serene, that trying to narrate it here would be loud and might kill the serenity of the place. Check out our youtube video link below.

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Nam yo ho !! – Buddham Sharnam Gachhami 🙂

After, seeing the monastery we commenced our journey to the land of Lama. The car was cruising slowing with 2 constants, Simanta’s Mawa and Kameng river running alongside.

The drive from Bomdila to Tawang will always be extremely close to my heart because I was about to experience my 1st snow sighting.

Sela pass – You beauty!! I had heard that there is silent a kid within every adult, I was unaware of mine till I saw the 1st snow of my life. I could not stop myself and ran down the stairs, which led to a frozen lake called Sela lake.

IMG_20200211_110713
Stairway to Heaven

The whole area was covered with snow we were playing, while clicking some pictures on our phones and many many more in our hearts. While we were down near a frozen lake, those stairs which we walked down seemed like a stairway to heaven. God was generous and suddenly it started to snow, we had such awesome experience before we had to run back to the car as it was a hailstorm. My 1st snow was a helluva experience. Remember the liquor that we bought last night; finally we could do justice to it using fresh snow from the sky..

I even ate some snow. 🙂

Hailstorm turned violent & we had to leave or rather escape from Sela to reach our next pit stop aka Jaswant Garh war memorial. It’s about 22 Kms from Sela and 21 Kms before Tawang.

You must see this video to live Sela Pass a lil more

A bit insight about the memorial – Jaswant Garh is a famous tourist attraction in Arunachal Pradesh and it is widely visited all year round. It is dedicated to the warrior, Jaswant Singh Rawat who was killed during the Indo-China War in 1962. He was an Indian rifleman of 4 Garhwal Rifles, Uttarakhand and for his bravery; Jaswant Rawat was honoured by a memorial at the post where he fought the Chinese army. This magnificent memorial is well kept at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. A small canteen is run by army personnel offering free tea / coffee and hot water to all visitors to keep them warm in cold weather. It is unbelievable in today’s world of worshiping money as God, where almost everyone is running behind money and becoming rich leaving behind empathy towards fellow humans. We relished dosa and idli in Arunachal at such height, it still have the taste in my head while I write about it. My wife, Trisha loved the patty and muffins.

Last but not the least; there is a small shop from where you can buy jackets, socks, gloves, caps, etc to withstand the negative temperatures of Tawang.

The memorial is surrounded by beautiful valley perfect to gaze on while sipping your unlimited free tea.

PANO_20200211_133335
Panorama from Jaswant Garh

Hopped back in the innova with happier Simanta, he already had starting chewing mawa.

We reached Tawang in another 1½ hours, the sun sets early and it was almost dark by 5pm when we reached. While, Dev was co-ordinating with the pre-booked homestay owner we had some difficulties in locating the stay. Finally, have found the homestay just to realise that staying there was not a good idea. It was located far away from town in a dark and abandoned area. Girls felt some safety concerns, and we had to honour this being responsible companions. Simanta’s “never say never” attitude and always smiling face helped us find a hotel in the market area. Name of the hotel is Mon Paradise. It was freezing cold, we quickly changed and reached the lobby area with our packed food and theplas. The hotel guys were happy to heat those for us and serve it with dal, egg bhurji and rice which we ordered from them. Sharing our food with a soldier from Indian Army with a lot of border stories was the best thing that we could have thought of in this trip.

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Woke up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

Hope you liked our journey till now! Write some encouraging words in the comments section and share the link with your friends, also ask them to share and comment…

Read the part#2 of the story to see Tawang and Dirang from our eyes.

Much Love 🙂

Abhimanyu@Yatripandit

YP Original || Dholkal – A Life Changing Trek by Akash

Back in Aug 2017, a fantastic Monsoon Saturday. It had been almost a year since I started my professional stint after completing my Chartered Accountancy studies and for obvious reasons I wanted to go somewhere. Did not know where but I wanted to spend some quality time with myself. Three days back I came to know about a travel company called “Unexplored Bastar” who plan trips to Bastar, a tribal district in state of Chhattisgarh. Since, then I could not think anything else but to go and explore my state. The biggest hurdle for me was to convince my mother that I will be safe in the wild trek and can take care of myself. Yeah, I was 25 but my mom thought I was still a kid who still needs her to be around him.

It was 4:30 PM on 12.08.2017 and suddenly from nowhere I decided that I wanted to go. I informed my boss that I need a day off and handed over my work. Bought a new pair of shoes from a nearby shop and reached home at round 7:30 PM. Phew !! my mother was all set to spoil my this plan like every other plan, but this time I was rigid and convinced her with all emotional blackmail and all possible tricks which I learnt during my entire life. Finally, my friend and myself boarded the bus at 10:00 pm to Jagdalpur. My friend felt asleep as soon as he hit that “sticky ragzine’s seat” and I started to enjoy my first solo trip.

We reached Jagdalpur at 5:00 in the morning and immediately went to the office of Unexplored Bastar. At the office Dheeraj introduced me to Mr. Jeet Singh Arya, Founder of “Unexplored Bastar” and some other team members. After this formal meet and greet all guests/travellers along with team of unexplored bastar departed for Farspal village, a small village in Dantewada District.

We pitched our tents in beautiful valley of Dholkal and greeted by hand made bouquets and some local delicacies.

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Once done with the food we all geared up for experiencing this thrilling trek. We were a team of around 25 travellers accompanied by around 15 members from Unexplored Bastar. These members were from farspal village only and they had thorough knowledge about the trek and terrain. They told us that there are 10K varieties of butterflies in this forest. We had to trek 8 kms uphill to reach “DholKal Ganesha” . Initially it seems like a cakewalk but at the end trek becomes a bit tricky.

There were many small problems while trekking including sudden rainfall and within seconds’ sun was at its full throttle but in the end, we made it to the peak. After trekking for around for another 45-50 mins we finally reached the Ganesha Idol and believe me people this was one of the best moment of my life. It took me some time to breath the fresh air and realise that I was there, completing the trek.

The Ganesha Idol was around 3ft in height, 3000 ft. above ground level and it is said that it was built around 11th century during the period of Nagvanshi Dynasty. Idol has many serpents covering the body of Ganesha.

We spend some time at the hilltop, worshipped Lord Ganesha , decorated him with flowers and offered prasadi, lived that moment completely and then went ahead for our next destination i.e. Surya Temple. Surya Temple consist of a flat rock and it is said that first light of after dawn falls on this rock. We were told by our tour guide that when light falls on this flat rock , it is reflected on the idol of Lord Ganesha and a magnified view of shadow can be seen on the mountain behind. Due to bad weather, we were unable to experience this unique natural phenomenon.

We came back to the base camp at around 4pm and were served with evening snacks, which were very good and tasty. At around 6:30 we all gathered around for campfire and enjoyed local folk song.

During a casual chat Jeet Bhai, told us that there is immense potential in CG to develop as a tourist state but due to negligence of Govt. and also we as a people of CG never ever thought to travel our own state. He (Jeet) and his team not only developing a fan base for state of CG but also providing employment and training opportunities to local tribal people. Generally, it is assumed that CG is a state of tribes and is dominated by Naxalites but it definitely a lot more than that. After this trip, I promised to myself that I would take measures to travel often and explore CG and India more and more. Unknowingly Dheeraj and Jeet bhai created a difference in my life, thanks to them.

Love !!

Akash Sharma

NoteWe have some fantastic stories on Chhattisgarh Tourism, check the by clicking the links below :-

  1. Barnawapara – A not so famous Wildlife Sanctuary
  2. Naya(New) Raipur – A Smart City in Making

Story By

Akash

Edited By

Abhimanyu

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

YP Original || Rules of the Jungle by Abhimanyu

Spotting wild animals in the wilderness and sleeping under the sky full of stars, is what every traveler dreams of.

Running behind the colorful butterflies during the day and chasing a group of fireflies during the night hours, is what fascinates the kids when in Jungle.

Deers

Shooting (with camera) animals during an act and waiting for that perfect shot of a rare bird for hours is a photographer’s passion.

We all love jungles, don’t we?

That blissful morning with chirping sounds, that peaceful night around the bonfire, that cool breeze and the rough forest trails are the things what we crave for in cities. Don’t we?

But to keep our jungles and its inhabitants the way they are, we must abide by the some jungle rules.

We at yatripandit, have learnt these rules after our various trips to the wild.

  1. Let them cross, you must wait – We must understand the forests belong to animals like the towns belong to humans. While on a jungle safari, if you see any animal crossing the way, kindly stop the vehicle, switch off the engine and just wait till it crosses the way. However, I am sure it won’t mind you clicking some good pictures 😛let them cross 1st
  2. No-Honking – The only noise signal valid in the wild is the sound of the birds and animals. Please do not demonstrate poor manners by honking and spoiling the melody of the silence prevailing around.No Horn
  3. Do not jump out, stay in your safari – If you spot a tiger or any creature which excites you, please calm down your adrenaline rush and stay inside the safari because neither the animal nor your guide shall be responsible for any fatal accident.
  4. Do not litter – Trash, especially plastic is the biggest enemy of forests and the residents. Always carry a bag to collect trash back with you and never throw any waste in the jungle. It’s our moral responsibility to keep our jungles clean and green.Trash
  5. Be nice to your guide – Being a Jungle guide is a tough and risky job. Jungles are usually closed for tourism during rainy season and guides and jobless. Ask a lot of questions but at the same time be nice and respectful to them. Give them some tip and wishes before bidding adieu, let your guide remember you forever.
  6. Never try to scare animals – Always remember jungle belongs to animals, never try to scare them by any weapon or especially fire. Karma is a bitch and it bites back.
  7. Do not loose heart – If you could not spot a tiger, rhino or an elephant; do not be disheartened because of 2 reasons :-
                    – Their population is not as huge as ours

                    – They want you to come back soon to their territory

And as they say, “You might have not seen the tiger, but he has surely seen you.” Always leave the jungle with a smile and a promise to come back. 

I have seen u

We would love you to read our stories on some of our amazing jungle trips by clicking

  1. Kanger valley national park
  2. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve and
  3. Barnavapara

Story By : Abhimanyu_Yatripandit

Images : Google Images

Guest Post || 5 Offbeat Places To Visit Near Delhi By Yashita

The hustle and bustle of the everyday city life in Delhi wears us all down.  And the end of a long working week calls for a calm and blissful holiday. Doesn’t it? Escape from the boredom of your monotonous life, and let  The Happy Wanderer recommend  the trip you have been thinking about since so long!

We bring to you the most exotic off-beat locations near Delhi:

#1 Surajgarh Fort, Rajasthan

Property of the luxurious Kangra Group of Hotels, the Surajgarh fort lies approximately 190 kms from Delhi. The name of the palace literally means “The Castle of The Sun”. This 4 acre fortified palace gives its guests the experience of living like a Maharaja. It has fine and colourful architecture, a beautiful swimming pool and the essence of history. You can easily visit the locals there, explore the nearby forts and exotic locations on a camel back or just chill in the luxurious hotel.

Surajgarh fort

#2 Shoghi, Himachal Pradesh

Approximately 345kms from Delhi, and 15 kms from Shimla.

Located in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, Shoghi is an ideal destination for a family holiday. Sprinkled with numerous temples like the Taradevi Temple, unexplored countryside and stunning views of the breathtaking Himalayas, Shoghi is an excellent weekend getaway. Perfect for trekking and adventure walks through the jungles ,this place is far away from the hustle of Shimla.

Shoghi

#3 Dholpur, Rajasthan

Dholpur is a city in eastern most parts of the Rajasthan state of India. Only 260 kms away from Delhi, Dholpur has several tourist spots like the Van vihar Wild life sanctuary, ravines of Chambal, National Chambal wildlife Sanctuary, The Machkund temple etc. With a vibrant history and rich culture, this beautiful place takes you to a mesmerizing journey back in time.

#4 Chakrata , Uttrakhand

A secluded hillstation with a peaceful environment, Chakrata is a fascinating weekend destination in the Dehradun district of Uttrakhand, approximately 310 kms away from New Delhi. It is a picturesque place with splendid places like The tiger falls, , and is an ideal destination for nature lovers, bird watchers and adventure enthusiasts.

Chakrata

#5 Kasol, Himachal Pradesh

Kasol is a small village in Himachal Pradesh, stretched along the Parvati River. With the view of snowy mountains this place is a famous travel place for explorers and travelers. This village also known as Mini Israel is situated approximately 520 kms from Delhi. You’ll find cuisines from all over the world here. Low on rates and high on value, this place is a must go for you all!

Kasol

You can easily reach there either by your own car, or by taking a Volvo. The nearest airport is located in Bhunttar (Kullu) (but the flight rates might just create a hole in your pocket!)

Yatripandit’s addon- If you wish to camp – the hippie style please click Secret Camping Destination

And if “mainstream” is your style of travel, click on Raiding Mighty Himalayas

Got bored of mainstream so fast !! Read about this “offbeat” place called Lanjhini

About the author in her own words:

22549478_10157187173469852_4565936185188160482_nYashita Mahajan, 22 –

My love for exploring the world makes me write, click and follow my dreams. And this is the reason why I started my blog The Happy Wanderer.  I am currently pursuing my MBA from Hyderabad.  I believe that it’s the little things and experiences in life that keeps us going, so live each day, and keep the negativity away!   You can reach me on yashita0405@gmail.com

 

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Cheers !!

Guest Post || 3 Days of Grace @Goa by Rommanne

Goa is one of the most beautiful and popular destinations of India! Planning a romantic outing, Go Goa! Reunion with school friends, Go Goa! Family holiday where the planned destination is a beach, Go Goa! You want to go parasailing with your loved one or go for a beautiful boat-ride to watch the sunset with dolphins jumping in the background, Go Goa! If you want to try your luck at a casino and let your hair down, Goa it is! If you want to be a part of rave parties to enjoy the nightlife of the place, Goa definitely is the best place. If you are fond of sea food, then this is the place to be! And if you are looking at having a relaxed weekend with chilled beer, then you are in luck as the taxes levied on alcohol is much less than any state in the country!

Here’s a list of activities to do in Goa. Before I share my itinerary, I would like to give you the various options Goa has to offer so that you can decide to tweak your itinerary to whatever suits you. I have divided the place into three categories, so that you can choose where to spend most of your time.

North Goa:

North Goa is famous for a number of beaches which is a must visit! This place is lively, full of folks in a holiday and merry making mood! There are a few activities on the beach like parasailing. If you wish to be a part of the hullabaloo then you should be at the Baga beach around 4:00 pm and wait till the sun becomes a huge red ball of fire and sets into the horizon.

Places to see in North Goa:

  • Baga beach
  • Calangute beach
  • Vagator Beach
  • Anjuna Beach
  • Fort Aguada (Fisherman’s Cove)
  • Chapora Fort
  • Arambol Beach – know why Arambol beach is so awesome by clicking Arambol

Restaurants to eat in North Goa:

  • Tito’s
  • Ratnasagar Hotel
  • Suza Lobo
  • The Capricorn
Blueberry cheese cake under attack at Titos!

South Goa:

If you like your beach less crowded and want a quiet walk holding hands with your loved one, then you must be at the southern end of Goa. If you dream of beautiful candle light dinners by the sea under a starry night then you have chosen the right place. There are local boat rides available to watch dolphins play in the sea, and to the virgin beaches situated a little away from the shore. Crystal clear water and warmth of the sands makes one wish that time stops for some time while they soak in the bliss of the tranquil surroundings. South Goa is definitely home to the best beaches of the Konkan coast of India.

Places to see

  • Palolem Beach
  • Candolem Beach
  • Colva Beach (Babumoshai)

Places to eat

  • The Pentagon
  • Palacio do deau
A romantic candle light dinner at Palolem beach. Flames from the sea shell buried in the golden sands made the evening even more romantic and beautiful
Get set and eat! You can choose the fish you want ( read prawns and crabs also), the choice of sauce and ask them to barbecue it! Tastes delicious.

Panjim:

The capital of Goa, Panjim houses the most beautiful and quaint churches in the area. Vasco-da-Gama arrived at India in the 15th century but has left behind a Portuguese culture in the streets of Panjim.

Places to see

  • Church Square
  • Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church
  • Goa State Musuem

 Places to eat

  • Fisherman’s Cove
  • Anantashram
Feasting on Fish Fingers! At the Fisherman’s Cove.

 

How to travel in Goa?

The best and most pocket friendly option is to rent a bike. That is the best way to go around Goa. You could also rent a car. Remember to keep your driving license with you since the Goan Traffic Police is pretty strict when it comes to checking documents. Buses are a very few, and getting public transport during the night can be difficult, plus they charge you exorbitant rates.

Shopping at Goa

Flea markets are very popular in Goa and you will find a lot of stalls on the road and in crowded destinations. You don’t have to visit a shopping area as such. Plenty of beautiful skirts and blouses are available in floral patterns along with accessories. If you haven’t had the time to pack beachwear, you will find it in plenty on the streets of Goa.

Goan specialities

Thanks to the international tourist population, you will find all kinds of cuisines in Goa. There are plenty of restaurants serving continental food. However, do find time to taste the coconut gravy delicacies of the Malabar Coast which will steal your heart. Also try the local liquor Fenny (also called Feni), made of cashew or toddy palm. 

What to carry?

  • Beachwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Good Camera
  • A small torch
  • Cash as not many places accept cards
  • A good book
  • Light music

My itinerary in Goa:

Day 1:

Relax in South Goa. Run to Colva beach in the morning and be back by noon before the sun sets ablaze. Post a shower you can dine in one of the restaurants in South Goa. I loved the restaurant called Babumoshai in Colva beach for serving delicious pomphrets. But you can pick any restaurant of your choice.

Move to Palolem beach in the evening.Be there by 4:00 pm. I would highly recommend a boat ride to Honeymoon Island. Tip the boatman to take you to areas where you can see dolphins play and lap in nature.

Watch the sunset from the beach. If you’re lucky on a non-cloudy day, the red ball disappearing into ocean blue is a sight to behold. Take a walk by the beach line. Find yourself a restaurant on the beach and enjoy candle light dinner.

On a boat ride, heading towards the orange sun before it kisses goodbye!

Ensure you have a rented bike or have booked a taxi back. You may not find transport if you are really late. Also, lock your rented bikes well. People often find fuel stolen while they were away and are stranded at night.

Tuck in!

Day 2:

Book a cab and go towards Panjim. Leave early morning, and see if you could carry your bags with you.

Once in Panjim, visit the church square and eat at Anandashram near the Honda showroom. Walk down the narrow lanes with Portugal influence. Visit the church and head to North Goa beaches.

Baga beach is a good place to be. Try some water sports activites and enjoy the view of the crashing waves. Tito’s, at Baga Beach must be in your bucket list.

Parasailing at Baga Beach

If you are a party lover, you must visit Anjuna beach. Curly’s is an awesome place with great music and good food. There are other places in the neighboring region as well.

Crash!

 Day 3:

Visit Chapora Fort and Fort Aguada. Do not miss Fisherman’s Cove, a lovely restaurant on Fort Aguada Road.

Spend some time in the flea markets and shopping centres and relax.

Head back to the beach in the evening! You can visit Calangute or Vagator beach.Or go back to Baga! Plenty of good food in the vicinity there.

Have a great trip to Goa and bring back wonderful memories. I am sure it will be worth a thousand smiles and wonderful moments that you will cherish in the years to come. Do mention what about Goa intrigued you the most!

 

cropped-13906890_10155214073928636_2127596217741220551_nAbout the author in her own words:    A Bengali brought up in the cosmopolitan city of Bangalore, I believe in living life to the brim. I have spent years to hone up my technical skills to get the coveted tag of an “Engineer + MBA” and worked with some of the best brands of the corporate world. I love to splash colors on canvas, disappear into a different world by picking up a good book and flipping a few pages, put together some spices and meat to please my taste buds, sway to my favorite tune each time I hear good music and of course explore a new place every time I get a chance! Well, this doesn’t even sum up 0.1% of me! Each article here is a bit of me, a bit of what I think, a little of what I feel and are pieces of the jigsaw puzzle which makes me, Me!

This is her second featured post on yatripandit.

You can check other amazing stories by Rommanne at http://www.rommanne.com

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Cheers !!

Hawa Mahal- An Architectural Marvel

When we visited Jaipur Pink City last time, our schedule didn’t allow us to visit Hawa Mahal, but this time we made sure it is on our list.

Hawa Mahal is an architectural marvel, you will be in awe after witnessing the beauty and engineering of the palace.

The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. It was designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god.

Its unique five-story exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas

The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen since they had to obey strict “purdah” (face cover).LRM_EXPORT_20171214_114431

Windows (Jharokha) has colorful panes so it will light the hallways with different colors.

Stay tuned for our upcoming story on Garadia Mahadev – Grand Canyon of Rajasthan

Story & Pictures by Utkarsh

Please click on the ads which appear on the website. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

 

Barnawapara – A not so famous Wildlife Sanctuary

At yatripandit, we believe there should be no boundaries on travelling especially when it comes to jungle and wildlife. It is the only one, out of 543 wildlife sanctuaries in India where you can drive your own car inside the protected area. When we came about this unique fact about Barnawapara, we were already inside our Ford Ecosport heading towards the Jungle.IMG_20170203_155409672

My younger brother suggested us this trip and 3 of us along with him, left from the capital city of Chhattisgarh, Raipur at 2pm and within 2 hours we were at the entry gate of Barnawapara. The highways are maintained in tint condition and cruising on them gave us great adrenaline rush.

Where to stay: We chose to stay at CG Tourism’s, Hareli eco resort ditching the more famous ones like Muba Resort and celebration. We did not regret the stay and hospitality even one percent and saved some bucks as well. The resort is well maintained, wide spread, and located on a lake side. Its service is fabulous as well and can be booked from various online platforms.

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After getting our room keys and dumping our luggage, we boarded our car and headed straight to the protected area entry gate. A guide, who are usually local village boys can be hired from the entry gate at a nominal price of 300-500 INR. Getting a guide is a must otherwise you might get lost forever in the wilderness(just exaggerating a little more).  It was a good 1.5 hours ride on bumpy jungle roads. And we were lucky to spot a sloth bear lazing around by the road side, wild boar and a heard of deer.

Deers

Back to our machan like rooms in the Hareli resort, changed and got fresh to have a relaxed time sitting in balcony sharing some talks from our old jungle trips(read about Bandhavgarh and Bastar), laughs,  relishing some drinks with freshly cooked snacks and doodling over music. All we needed after that was a good dinner and some nice sleep. The dinner was cooked on demand and was more like a home cooked food. We truly enjoyed every bite of it.

What to do: Jungle safaris are all about waking up before dawn and in Hareli resort the chirping birds played our alarms clocks. Within minutes we were driving in our Ecosport again and reached the entry gate driving through the fog and mist in no time. Hired a new guide and there we were inside this beautiful jungle which is spread over an area of about 245 sq km in the Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh. Bird watching in Barnawapara is one of the most enjoyed activities. The major fauna of the Barnawapara Sanctuary include Tigers, Sloth Bear, Flying Squirrels, Jackals, Striped Hyena, Wild Dogs, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Gaur, Muntjac, Wild Boar, Cobra, Python, Antelopes, Leopards, Chinkara, Black Buck, Jungle Cat, Barking Deer, Porcupine, Monkey, Bison, to name a few. The sanctuary also has a large population of birds that include Parrots, Bulbul, White-rumped Vultures, Green Avadavat, Lesser Kestrels, Peafowl, Wood Peckers and the list can go on and on. We could spot many of these but tiger. 😦

IMG_20170204_080922
Africa look alike lake

Do not miss climbing to the highest watch tower and observe the forest silently breathing pure and light. That greenery; spread till the horizon is the best treat you can offer to your eyes, tired of laptop and cell phone screens.

 

When to go: The protected area is closed for tourist during Monsoons(June to Sept) every year. The most suitable time of the year is winters i.e. November to March.

Not to worry if you donot have your own can to offroad, Gypsy’s and jungle safari’s can be hired at the entry gate or Hareli resort can arrange the same for you.

Bidding adieus to this self motorable jungle; we were back again to smaller concrete Jungle(Raipur) in 2 hours and next day to a bigger one(Pune). We captured many memories and pictures. We surely are returning back to this jungle very soon.

Stay tuned for our upcoming story on rules of the Jungle (Which are NOT location specific).

Story by: Abhimanyu

Please click on the ads which appear on the website. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media