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Travel > Loghouse Stay at Chinnar
Posted by V S Sankar on June 07, 2015
Log House Stay At Chinnar........



I have visited the Chinnar WLS few times over the years and never had the opportunity of spending a night in the wilderness of the beautiful place.The idea of visitng Chinnar and staying for a night came up again in this May(2010), and we packed our bags and headed towards Munnar on a fine morning.

Chinnar is one of the 12 WLS that Kerala is proud of and is adjoined by Eravikulam Natonal park,Anaimali WLS and Kodaikkanal WLS.The highest peak of Kerala,The Anaimudi is just 23kms away from Chinnar.

We reached Munnar around 8pm and stayed for the night there.The climate was pleasant and we felt really good and at least for  a few days escaping the gruelling heat down the plains.



The next day, our idea was to visit Eravikulam National Park and then proceed to  Chinnar.But the tourist inflow was very high and we saw quite a number of them lining up to get to Eravikulam NP.We decided to skip the Nilgiri Tahrs for this vist and headed immediately towards Chinnar.

We have planned to stay at one of the Loghouses that Chinnar offers.We havn't planned which particular loghouse.Any one of them would do for us.All are inside the Chinar sanctuary.

We meandered our way towards Maraiyur(which is around 40kms from Munnar).Both sides were filled with tea plantations and we stopped at a few places to take some pictures.We reached Maraiyur and without stopping headed towards Chinnar which is a further 18 kms away.

We stopped on way to view the Thoomanam waterfalls which was cascading with all its splendour.I clicked a few photos with my Canon 400D and 55-250 IS lens.




From the tourist info center we came to know about the loghouse near the falls.But we have already made up our mind to be at Chinnar proper.

We finally reached Chinnar checkpost around 2pm.A quick vegetarian lunch at the hotel run by tribals satisfied our hunger.We booked the loghouse and waited for the Tribal forest guard to come and lead us to the loghouse.

The Loghouse at Chinnar.....Spectacular surroundings

Mr.Kannan ariived at around 3pm and we immediately started our trek rowards the Loghouse.We kept only a few pieces of cloth and rest of the baggage remained in the car which we parked near the Checkpost.

Chinnar boasts of certain wild animals which can be seen only here.Star Tortoise is one among them.The white Guar is another and this an extremely rare sighting.Only a few  handful of people have seen it
and very less number of photographs exists of the animal.The largest population of Mugger  Crocodiles are living in Chinnar sanctuary.

We started our 3km trek to the loghouse in right earnest.The heat here is unbearable.Chinnar is the "Rain shadow" region of the Western Ghats.Rain shadow region is where the rainfall is minimal.The temparature can raise upto 38degree celcius at times!

I was expecting to sight elephants on  the way to the loghouse and Kannann also gave me assuarance.We passed the watch tower(Didnt bother to climb as it was early afternoon) and continued to walk towards our destination.Yellow throated bulbul is one of the 245 or so species of birds that can be seen here.

A Rock Agama has blended in with the surroundings

In around 45 minutes we reached our loghouse which was built near the Pambar river bank.Chinnar is the other river and it becomes the Amaravathy river as it reaches Tamil Nadu.

The log house is built with logs(of course) and thatched with asbestos sheets.The time was around 4:30pm and the heat was still on the higher side.Kannan informed us that the temperature will be cooler during night.



After sitting in the loghouse for some time I headed to the river.I could see plenty of rock Agamas playing around.I photographed the agamas to my satisfaction and in between dipped myself in the Pambar river.

Thommanam Waterfalls....Magnificient


A few babblers were rustling at a distance and the sound of birds reinvigorated our souls.Since my lens can reach only up to 250 mm I decided against attempting to photograph them.

I asked Kannan about the prospect of sighting a Star Tortoise.Kannan as usual was very optimistic.Darkness was approaching and we sat on the steps in front of the door and listened to the sound made by nature.Before reaching the loghouse we saw a few sambars standing and looking at us from a hill top opposite the trek path.(Of course well out of range for my lens!)

A Hawk Eagle on the way


At around 7:30 pm another guard arrived with our dinner.It was simple Parothas and vegetable curry.We can't complain about the food when you are in deep forst!

The log house is comfortabel for 2 people.The guards said they would be comfortable sleeping on a rock face very close to the river.I saw some people moving in the opposite bank of the river.Kannan informed us that they are Tribals from Tamil Nadu laying nets for catching fish.

We had a good nights sleep in the middle of the Chinnar foest.That is what I have been dreaming for over a number of years.Now it has been fulfilled.Just before we retired to the bed I heared Kannn calling me from outside.On opening the door I saw a Star Tortoise baby crawling towards the door.Immediately I took some pictres using flash.


We got up early the next morning and went and sat near the river.It was a beautiful feeling to sit there just listening to the flow of water and chirping of birds.Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Amazing......A rock Agama changing colors.This happened in 10seconds!



We started our trek back to the check post around 8am.I was very optimistic about the sighting of an elephant herd on our way back.




We coudn't see any elephants but foot marks were aplenty.Kannan pointed out a particular set of foot prints which was of a tusker.

We reached the check post around 9am.We thanked Kannan for the way he has taken care of us and asuured him that we would be back agian for a stay.After having breakfast at the tribal hotel we started our journey back.


The famous Star Tortoise of Chinnar.....Head withdrawn



Another view of the Loghouse.....Away from Hustle and Bustle





The Watch Tower....


Chinnar........Get lost in this place!!!!


Travel > Kinnaur
Posted by Vikas Sharma on June 02, 2015
Kinnaur, surrounded by the Tibet to the east, is in the northeast corner of Himachal Pradesh, about 235 km (146 mi) from the state capital, Shimla. It has three high mountains ranges, namely, Zanskar, Himalayas and Dhauldhar that enclose valleys of Sutlej, Spiti, Baspa and their tributaries. The slopes are covered with thick wood, orchards, fields and picturesque hamlets. The much religious Shivling lies at the peak of Kinnaur Kailash mountainThe old Hindustan-Tibet Road passes through the Kinnaur valley along the bank of river Sutlej and finally enters Tibet at Shipki La pass. Most of Kinnaur enjoys a temperate climate due to its high elevation, with long winters from October to May, and short summers from June to September Kinnaur is a beautiful district to visit. Great natural scenes, rivers, valleys, high mountains, lakes and green pastures creates a mesmerizing scenes for tourists. Best time to visit the district is from April to October. Kinnaur is famous for its Handloom and Handicraft items like shawls, caps, mufflers, article of wood carving, metal work and silver & gold ornaments . Kinnaur is also famous for apples, almonds, chilgoza, ogla, apricots and grapes. There are many wholesale shops at Kalpa, Reckong Peo, Karchham, Tapri etc. Besides this the co-operative societies, small production-cum-training centres and Khadi gram udyog centres are looking after the local products like gudmas, shawls,wool, neoza, zira, etc. Also there are many retail price shops in every village. Local fairs, mela and festivals are the main source of shopping The district has the following wildlife sancutaries:
1. Lipa-Asrang Sanctuary
2. Rakchham-Chhitkul Sanctuary
3 .Rupi-Bhaba Sanctuary
Travel > Apple Orchards
Posted by Vikas Sharma on May 28, 2015

The beautiful appleorchards in Himachal Pradesh are a popular travel attraction of the state.While in HP a visit to these beautiful apple gardens is a must as here you canget to know more about the cultivation process along with enjoying thepanoramic view of the Himalayan ranges at the backdrop.  Shimla isimportant for apple cultivation. This picture is of the hill slopes of Theogwhere apple cultivation is the most important activity. Also you can buy lotson apples from these orchards on your way back. Apple is one of the mostimportant commercial crops    of    the   Himalayan region  and  Himachal  Pradesh  (HP) with 1.05 lakh ha area under apple cultivationwhich  fetches livelihood  for  more  than two lakh farmers. The wintertemperature and precipitation  in the form of snow are rtant  and sensitive  climatic  factors for   induction  of  dormancy, bud   break and  also  to  ensure proper  flowering  in apples.

 


Wildlife > The Superstar of Ranthambore National Park-T24
Posted by Vikas Sharma on May 12, 2015
Ever imagined a tiger so bold to eat his prey in the middle of a busy highway. That’s "T24" or the "Ustad" apparently, been spotted on the highway more than once. During our 3-day stay, in Ranthambore and on one of our visit's to the park, we heard calls just near the park's entry gate. We could see few people climbing nearby rooftops of the buildings and houses to have a peep into what was actually going around. oops!!! It was T24 our own very dear Ustad.
It is believed that
 T24 had some problem in his legs around 18 months back. A splinter of wood was the trouble shooter for him. So, the forest officials took him away to remove the splinter and treat him further. This took about 1-2 days and during this period, T24 had enough time to be around humans leading him to be completely fearless of the presence of humans around him. And since then, he has been responsible for creating the fear of God in man.
From the main gate of the National Park, there is a public road that goes till the Ranthambore fort and many people use it regularly to offer prayers to the famous Ganesh mandir inside the fort. This road falls within tiger territory and on many evenings, tigers can be spotted. Now this road comes under the territory of T24 and another female tiger as well. A male will have a larger territory overlapping a few female tigers.
Now since that T24 has killed around 4 people it is being given a thought of it being a man eater. But many experts still believe that tigers don't become man eaters till the former is unable to hunt due to some physical ailment or its territory is being trespassed time and again. In the case of T24 the reasons quite obvious have been the latter where fear of the presence of human beings around him has vanished completely. However mighty the human may think he is, but the side is always flipped when it comes to the ruler of the jungle.
Man Animal Conflict > Man-elephant conflict
Posted by Susan Sharma on May 01, 2015
Conservationist Ananda Kumar, who created an SMS warning system to help workers live safely among elephants wins global recognition.

“It’s very difficult to make out elephants in the dark. It’s a huge animal and looks like a rock and will be standing very still when they notice people.” On the Valparai, high in India’s Western Ghats, tea and coffee companies have flattened 221 sq km of prime rainforest for their plantations. The cleared land is now home to 70,000 workers, who live surrounded on all sides by the rugged, deeply forested Anamalai (Tamil for ‘elephant hills’).

“Elephants are strongly related to their ranges, this is scientifically established. It’s a part of their home, which is lost to plantations because of historical exploitation,” said Kumar, who has spent a decade working on a system of text messages, television alerts and warning lights that keep track of elephants. The programme won the Whitley award for its novel and pragmatic approach to the elephant-human conflict, which kills 400 people and more than 100 elephants across India every year. 
 (courtesy report in The Hindu)

Watch a short film on the innovation made by Dr.Ananda Kumar

Photography > 2015 | 04Apr15 | Jayamangali Blackbuck Reserve
Posted by Arun Kumar Mathivaanan on April 21, 2015
Landscape - Unique forest made of wide open grassland :: Mammals ::
Hero of Jayamangali Blackbuck Reserve
Blackbuck - Male
Blackbuck - Male
Blackbuck - Female
Blackbuck - Female with calf
Hare| Indian
:: Birds ::
Sandgrouse | Chestnut-bellied
Barbet | Commersmith
Shrike | Bay-backed
Shrike | Long-tailed
Shrike | Long-tailed
Hoopoe | Common
Hoopoe | Common
Silverbill
Francolin | Grey
Warbler | Blyth's Reed
Sunbird| Purple
Minivet| Small - Female
Minivet| Small - Male
Minivet| Small - Male
Bushchat | Pied - Female
Bushlark Indian
Pipit | Richard's
Bee-eater| Green
Iora| Common
Iora| Common
Dove | Eurasian Collared
Dove | Eurasian Collared
Babbler |Large Grey
Buzzard | White-eyed
Starling | Brahminy:: Insects ::
Roberfly
Nature Trails > Bhitarkanika: Nature’s Paradise in Odisha
Posted by Alok Kumar Maharana on February 28, 2015
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After fulfilling months of hard work, one definitely wants to take rest away from the din and bustle of city enjoying the beauty of nature in a serene atmosphere.

 

Bhitarkanika with its lush green mangroves, the fiery crocodiles, migrating birds and turtles, water tracks, the ever beautiful nature surely invites the visitors from all walks of life to spend time leisurely as well as think and explore the beauty of nature. Represented by the 3 protected areas “The Bhitarkanika National Park”, The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary” and “The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary”, it is always a place for nature lovers, scholars, scientists and tourists.

 

Located in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, Bhitarkanika is surrounded with Mangrove Forests criss-crossed with streams and mud planes. In 1975 Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary (BKWS) was established to conserve the rich biodiversity and the pristine beauty in the Brahmani-Baitarani (Dhamra) deltaic region of coastal Odisha. Later the Sanctuary was designated as Bhitarkanika National Park in the year 1988. Yet again in the year 2002 it was re-designated as the Ramsar site or The Wetland of International importance. Even steps are being taken to include it in the World Heritage Site List.

 

Bhitarkanika river system has few giant saltwater crocodiles. The length of these crocodiles is around 20ft. The nesting behavior of mother Saltwater crocodile is different from other two Indian Crocodilian species. She builds up a small mountain in a secluded place by collecting available nesting material which includes aquatic fern species (Acrostischum aureum), Hental (Phonix paludosa), etc. Then the nesting mother crocodile actively guards her nests for about 70-75 days, till the young crocodiles hatch out for moving into the creeks. The un-disturbed river bank is the favoured basking spot for Saltwater crocodiles. An abode for the highly poisonous snake, King Cobra, Bhitarkanika is one of the few

 

Bhitarkanika mangrove forests provide an abode for the deadly poisonous snake, King cobra. This is one of the few locales in the country where a good population of King cobras are seen.

 

With Monsoon water birds flock Bagagahan, a place closer to the famous Sujhajore creek. It is an amazing view to observe 50,000 birds including the new ones chirping and flying.


Then, one needs to steal his view for the rare spotted deer’s who have got adjusted to the climatic prevailing conditions of this ecosystem. With a increase in their population they can be found around the Crocodile Research Centre at Dangmal as well as along the river banks.


The best times to see these spotted deer’s are either in the morning or in during sunset along the river banks. Though few of them can also be seen the FRH at Dangmal during night hours.


Cor more details about Bhitarkanika and it's accommodation facilities, please visit - http://www.bhitarkanikanationalpark.com/tariff.asp 


 OR INSTANT BOOKING, CONTACT


sales@sandpebblestours.com / info@bhitarkanikanationalpark.com 
Tel: +91 (0) 9937047574, 9238447574 


 

Nature Trails > Greenwoods Nature Camp - Truly a camp within Nature
Posted by Sam on February 27, 2015
Greenwoods Nature Camp (www.greenwoodsnaturecamp.com)  is located in the boundary of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve Forest. The backyard of the camp is the forest and is situated in a tribal hamlet. 
The camp is eco friendly and provides clean facilities with nice food. (homely).

There is a experienced guide who takes to the nature trails in the mornings and this a experience of lifetime. The staff and people in camp truly respect nature. There is also additional activities like private jeep safari to Mudumalai / Bandipur, barbaque and camp fire.

The camp is surrounded by lush greenery and is located in a rustic ambiance. Do not miss staying the European Tented Cottage which is a customized tent (feels like a room from inside and has attached toilet).

The nature and wildlife lovers would appreciate that loud music / alcohols are not allowed in the camp as this would disturb the wildlife. 


This place is truly for nature and wildlife lovers who respect and appreciate nature. The staff's are very friendly and price is economical. (Greenwoods Nature Camp).
Nature Heals > Every kid in a Park
Posted by Susan Sharma on February 25, 2015
The same day President Obama designated three new national monuments, he unveiled the "Every Kid in a Park" initiative to connect children and their families with the great outdoors. Fourth graders and their families from coast to coast will be granted free admission to our nation's national parks, and the National Park Foundation will award transportation grants to schools in need. "A walk in the woods will change a child's life," says Jackie Ostfeld, director of the Sierra Club's Our Wild America campaign, "and President Obama understands that not all kids have the same opportunities to connect with nature." 

Learn more about the "Every Kid in a Park" initiative. 
Eco-tour > Nature Based Eco Tourism in West Bengal
Posted by Kallol Pan on January 23, 2015
If you are thinking of running away from the din of this materialistic city life and coveting a few days in the lap of nature, we can help you out too. We specialise in various eco tours covering some of the most remote forests of India like Topchanchi, Achanakmar, Manas, Simlipal, Sunderban and others. Our all-inclusive eco tour packages would help you to find the much needed peace of soul you were searching. You simply don't have to worry about the hotel bookings and permissions - we'll have it done all in advance.
For more Details please visit - w
ww.clubdestinationholidays.in  or mail to kallolpan@gmail.com.
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