Bhitarkanika: Nature’s Paradise

Posted by Alok Kumar Maharana on January 30, 2014

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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 (Click here to see on Map) , 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.


Tribal Camp @ pench tiger reserve MP

Posted by sandeep on September 21, 2013

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This camp spells true to its nature and gives the ultimate feel of being with the nature ... the wooden machaans and the decks behind each room overlooking the forest is awesome.. to feel the place log on to


Flash Flood in Kakragad....need HELP!

Posted by Santanil Ganguly on June 20, 2013

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From the phone call I received from Mr. Tashpal Singh Negi of
Uttarakhand today in the morning, I came to know that his Mandakini
Magpie Bird Watcher's Camp has been washed away by the Mandakini flash
flood. The destruction of this wonderful bird camp is a heart breaking
news to all the bird lovers. By helping Mr. Negi form this camp once
again, we shall be helping us all. One can contact him at and send
help to:
Yashpal Singh Negi
PO Bhiri
Dist. Rudraprayag
Uttarakhand 246419
Mobile No. 09412909399
Bank Acctt. Detail
SBI - Bhiri, Code - 9834, Acctt. No. 11442534733


Environment and Community Development

Posted by Remmy Raphael on March 23, 2012

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Environment and Community Development  

    Much is heard about the development of the Third World, however reality seldom matches the encouraging political discourses. 

 NGERIV emerged from a bottom down approach, where solutions are discussed and implemented at the local level, aiming to help the community as a whole. The main projects are located in Bwawani village and neighbouring villages, near Morogoro in Tanzania.

   The current situation in most rural areas in Tanzania makes development hard to achieve. Economic hardship, lack of knowledge and other structural difficulties lead families to act inneficiently and unaware of alternatives. This reality ensures the permanence of poverty and environmental depletion.

NGERIV aims to tackle the existing problems through collective community effort. It aims to empower individuals with the necessary capabilities to improve their livelihoods. Our area of intervention can be divided into three reciprocally inter-related areas:

  • Education;
  • Alternative means of income;
  • Environmental sustainability.
  • Visit our


Eco- tourism promotion for sustainable livelihood of the forest villagers

Posted by BABIT GURUNG on August 21, 2011

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Samsing Chauthary (NGO)


A group of nature conservationists, social welfare and activists for environmental support with involvement of the community basically responsible for the role of it’s efficient implementation not only for the bio-diversity but the culture and tradition which indirectly has a great impact in the ecology. We seek for the ways in the form of options addressing ecological, technological, and socio-economic and market constraints along with environmental studies which will in the long run be an aid for nature conservation along with the development of the community and achieve the result in form of collective effort for saving environment. We not only create the factors for the realization concerning to save the environment but develop and create  the alternative sources of employment and income at all level with a focus on poverty eradication rather than just on economic growth.


To save the environment and it’s aspects concerning to the ecological balance along with the certainty of the economical development of the community favoring the conservation in form of their physical, mental, cultural and traditional support.


To create alternative livelihood development for the people closest to the natural resources for conserving the biological diversity in the eco- system as it has been observed that reliance on regulatory approaches is a factor that seldom works cause every possible change are often shaped by human forces therefore conservation can only be successful with the involvement of the people closest to the resources. Hence the main objective is to create projects which will aim to improve the living conditions of the rural communities which can offer alternative sources of employment and income in every aspect.


Set against the sweeping landscapes of foothills of Himalayas veiled with green beauty of evergreen forest whose mysteries are yet to be discovered, sloping down and amalgamating with beauty of tea gardens of terai regions, The place has it’s own axiomatic sight of snow covered highlands of the Himalayas towards north and vast plains of terai touching the horizon towards south. The place spreading over a large area in the civil district of Darjeeling under Kalimpong Sub-Division covers several small villages. It is also an entry point to Neora ValleyNational Park for nature trekkers to unveil the unexplored terrain of the virgin forest and it’s rich diverse flora and fauna together. 


The place is just 69 kms from Jalpaiguri and 70 kms from Siliguri. National highway 31 connects Siliguri and Chalsa. There are district roads, which connects Samsing. Buses, private cars, are available from Siliguri to Samsing. Journey time from Siliguri to Samsing is about 2 hours 30 minutes. Nearest railway station to Samsing is New Jalpaiguri but one can avail local train and get a drop at Chalsa railway station, which is just 20 kms away. The altitude of the place ranges from 200m to 3200m. The place receives heavy rainfall during summer season making it hot wet summer and dry winters. The inhabitation started around the year 1912 in the place with merely few tribes like Bhujels, Lepchas, Rai, Mangar, Tamang, Giri, Pradhan, Sherpas and many other tribes. The common language of the area is Nepali also known as Gorkhali, a colloquial version of pure Nepali mostly spoken by the people of Darjeeling District. The place has been divided into two parts under the same name, one is Samsing Tea Garden which is under the province of Duars (District Jalpaiguri) and the other is Samsing Busty which covers several small villages in the civil district of Darjeeling under Kalimpong Sub-Division. There are 13 villages named after the majority of inhabitants or the nature of the place. The names of the villages areSunderbusty, Compound, Lower GhumtiUpper GhumtiLower BhaluKhopUpper Bhalukhop,Lower TeenkateryUpper Teenkatery, Chipley Dara, Mandal Gaon, Bhujel Gaon, Sherpa Gaon and Fari. The central place for all the villages is known as Fari. 


Located in a valley between two rivers Suntaley and Moorty it is the central place for all the villagers and Tourists to enter Neora ValleyNational Park and avail other tourism facilities. The place comprises of several attractive places like Suntaleykhola, Bhotey Dara etc. One can avail the adventure of Home Tourism and come closer to the regional culture and tradition of the place along with the natural lusciousness of the foothills of Himalayas and catch the glimpse of wildlife of Neora Valley National Park.

The Village:

With more than 150 houses with sloping roofs the village was named 97 years ago when few families started inhabitation by using the land for agricultural purpose. The main crops they grew were millet, paddy and maize. It was during 70’s when forest department started their huge project for construction of ropeway, which was to be used for lumbering as most of the virgin forests were inaccessible for the same. The ropeway at the time was one of the longest ropeways in Asia with it’s reach till the altitude of 1170m –2058m. There were two points setup for the purpose of sale of timbers, one was the loading point at the place called Dhappar in Machuki and the other at the village calledUnloading Paakha named for the same reason. Unfortunately the saga of this ropeway could not last for long as during the agitation which took place in hills on 1986 it was totally abandoned and still it’s remains exists in the village in remembrance of it’s huge earnings to the forest department. Besides all this features the place also is surrounded by Neora Valley National Park, henceforth an entry to the wilderness zone.  


A substantial population of the village belongs to Tribes mostly Nepalese like Sherpas. The villagers commonly worship a single Goddess of forest and hence they protect the animals and plants and help in the conservation of forest. Most of the people of village serve The Indian Army joining as Gurkha soldiers in the Gurkha Regiment which has its fame all over the world for its bravery and honesty.People also grow cash crops like Cardamom, Ginger and fruits likeOranges as their occupation for livelihood. They also grow Paddy, Millet and Maize and continue the heritage of their ancestors by sowing the same breed of seeds they had started with like the breed of the rice they grow is called Zeerasari in local language which has it’s uniqueness because of it’s aroma and taste. They follow various religions like Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism.



Neora valley national park is one of the last remaining pristine ecosystems of the eastern Himalayas with its amazing bio-diversity and home to many endangered plants, animals and birds. The area comprises the catchments and watershed of Neora River and its tributaries. The land of cute Red panda in its pristine undisturbed natural habitat with its rugged inaccessible hilly terrain together makes the park an important wilderness zone.The significance of the park lies in the fact that it provides shelter to many species included in the Red Data book of IUCN and the appendices of CITES. The park harbors more than 31 species of mammals like Red Panda, Clouded Leopard, Mithun, Ghoral, Wild Dog, Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Thar, Leopard Cat and the Royal Bengal Tiger. The dense nature of the forest bars the easy sighting of animals.

Arts And Crafts

The influence of the  tradition of different tribes and with modern education and understanding of fine arts today’s youngsters have developed a not so different but a fusion of modern arts and contemporary arts not letting the dexterity of their forefathers perish. Not only handicrafts but with their artistic vision they also seek and have a collection of various crafts with their unique shape carefully crafted by the creative hands of mother nature which gives us a realization of it’s supremacy on artificial beauty. On their way to reveal nature a group of youngsters are also trying to help the nature to maintain it’s beauty by banning the use of plastics and conducting environment awareness classes on all the schools of the locality and taking out processions along with clearing all the pollution causing wastes.

  Paintings and garments

The place also is gifted with some self-trained painters whose paintings describe human emotions in form of lines and textures. The paintings are motivational and leaves a message of spiritual guidance also some of the paintings describe the dark and bright side of man. The paintings are not with professional touch but it does have a deep emotional touch. We can also find some collection of a trained fashion designer who has made a fusion of cultural wears and modern fashion.

                                       Home Tourism

Being tired of enjoying the stay in some luxurious room with all the same items of cuisines described in the menu one can avail the homely environment with the traditional family and find a totally new feeling of getting to know the regional food habits, chance to exchange the customs and tastes, and give hand to their daily work with togetherness. It will be a pleasure to be a guest in a family sharing their different way of hospitality along with being a part of their daily life in the coziness of a family life. If at day time one can enjoy the adventure of trekking in national park or adjoining villages then at night a cultural program with items like bonfire, cultural dance and at last a feast with regional drinks and cuisines. At an affordable expense it will be a profitable tour which will save a moment of your life in your happy memories, and will be a refreshment of all the stress of a busy life when will be back to the work.

                   Leisure activities

With the launch of modern equipments for daily use in household activities the equipment used to solve the same purpose by our ancestors have been on their way to extinct. Therefore it’ll be a extraordinary pleasure to get the chance to have a look of collection of those antiquities which are still in use in some families of the village and are kept securely as a remembrance of the villagers. There are many activities like trekking, fishing, and swimming at a natural pool of mountainous river in blue transparent water for leisure activities one can chose.


•For all the nature lovers and explorers this place may be a paradise with it’s both the features of social and wild life. For the people who may not be able to cover long distances with perseverance for the wild obstacles can avail shorter routes through tribal villages and get the adventure of village trekking. Axiomatically for wild discoverers the place will be one of the best regions in India to unveil the virgin forest of Neora Valley National Park; the pine clad winding roads, the dense bamboos, the colorful birds. The different routes for wild trek are: a) Samsing Fari – Mauchuki – Samsing Fari, b) Samsing Fari – Bhotey Kharka (halt) – Samsing Fari. The different routes for village trek are: a) Samsing Fari – Bhujel Gaon – Gumba Dara – Samsing Fari. One has to obtain entry permit before entering national park from wildlife department but it’s not applicable if Chauthary group escorts one as we work in co-operation with the wildlife department.  

Chauthary Home stays, Being tired of enjoying the stay in some luxurious room with all the same items of cuisines described in the menu one can avail the homely environment with the traditional family and find a totally new feeling of getting to know the regional food habits, chance to exchange the customs and tastes, and give hand to their daily work with togetherness. It will be a pleasure to be a guest in a family sharing their different way of hospitality along with being a part of their daily life in the coziness of a family life. If at day time one can enjoy the adventure of trekking in national park or adjoining villages then at night a cultural program with items like bonfire, cultural dance and at last a feast with regional drinks and cuisines. At an affordable expense it will be a profitable tour which will save a moment of your life in your happy memories, and will be a refreshment of all the stress of a busy life when will be back to the work.

It’s an effort to provide alternative livelihood opportunity to the people residing near the natural resources which will not only save environment with their support but will also provide a totally new experience to the nature and adventure lovers.

Bhujel's home stay ( Ethnic)
We have wide range of destinations with different communities and places with different culture and taste. We’ve covered the areas like RONGO, SAMSING FARI AND PAREN, so one can choose any place for exploring the difference.

We not only have classified the types of stay but the activities where one can make their stay as per our classification like as follows.

1. REST PACKAGE: - Under this range come the  silent seekers who want a memorable break out of their busy workaholic life. We do not have any adventure activities under such package. You can just enjoy the natural beauty of the place and rest. But we do provide the local organic food served and cooked in the regional way with a different taste.

DOUBLE BEDDED ETHNIC ROOM – RS 600.00 (unit-1) + fooding
DOUBLE BEDDED DELUXE ROOM – RS 1000 (unit-2) +fooding
DOUBLE BEDDED SUPER DELUXE ROOM – RS 1200 (unit-3) + fooding

2. ADVENTURE PACKAGE:- This package is for the adventure lovers who want to experience it for the first time along with the natural beauty. The activities included in such package are as follows

*Short wild trek of 2 miles with a guide
*Mountain bike ride for 2 hours.
*Bon fire at night.
*Naturopathy herbal massage therapy by a therapist.


STUDY PACKAGE :- This package is for the hard core explorers who study the nature like the bird watchers ,butter fly watchers, and botanists for whom we provide special trained guides who’ll accompany them for whole tour.


CHAUTHARY TRANSPORT , We also have involved the locals for transport facility for our guests where we have trained local drivers and  comfortable vehicles for sight seeing and pick and drop for which the charges can be known on request which will depend upon the destination.  

Chauthary is a group of nature lovers  and social workers on their way to save nature with the involvement of it’s inhabitants leaving a message to join hands and support those people who actually are the savers of nature providing them a alternative livelihood opportunity in which we do need your kind support and suggestion. For details please leave your comments on community tourism at

Please contact the the undersigned for further queries:-
Phone: 9475332231, 7384083137
                                                                 Regn.No S/1L/79108


Phone: 9475332231, 7384083137
                                                                 Regn.No S/1L/79108



Taman Negara

Posted by Anjan K das on August 20, 2010

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Occupying a huge swath of territory in the centre of Malaysia is one of the world’s largest areas of protected rain forest. This is the Taman Negara (Malaysian for “ National Park”). It occupies 4343 sq km of land spread over three states, Kelantan, Pahang and Terengannu. It is claimed that the landscape here has remained unchanged for the past 130 million years, event eh recurrent Ice Ages made no impression on it. Originally named after King George V, it received its new name after independence.
We approached Taman Negara from Kuala Lumpur driving east past the Genting Highlands. Later we left the tolled Highway system to enter the “Normal Highway”, not fenced off, with crossings regulated by traffic lights and still at least four lanes. No highway in this country has even a passing resemblance to ours in West Bengal.
We stopped for lunch in Jerantut, where we had the most marvelous lunch at a Chinese restaurant. Even here in the heart of Malaysia, all the workers were from Indonesia. I talked briefly to one of them using our driver, Mahendran as an interpreter. She had arrived just the day before, referred by an agent from her home village who had sent workers here earlier. She expected to earn at least three times what she earned at home and be able to send money home. Her situation is the same as ours, at just another level!
From Jerantut, the road became a little more quiet, traffic thinned down. Small patches of jungle appeared, giving us a brief idea of what lay in wait. Once Mahendran had to break sharply to avoid running over a water monitor which was about to cross the road. This is a familiar figure from the Bengal countryside, though not so common nowadays. We soon turned into a smaller two lane road. Now the jungle began to close in, interspersed by plantations. After about 4 hours driving we were at the Kuala Tahan. This is one of the principal entry points to the National Park and here the road ends. You have to cross the Tahan River to enter the forest proper.
Standing on its banks we began to get an idea of what Malaysia must have been like before the advent of the Europeans. The local population now called the Orang Asli were the sole inhabitants of these jungles, sharing their space with tigers, the Sumatran rhino, Malayan Gaur and the Elephant. Even today small number of these large predators adnd their prey persist together with uncountable numbers and species of birds, smaller animals and a profusion of reptiles and insects in numbers that boggle the imagination.
We crossed the river to our resort. The Mutiara resort is on the other side of the river adjacent to the forest. There are lovely chalets, with all the mod cons and if you leave the compound you are immediately engulfed by the forest which lies adjacent ready to devour these puny creations at the earliest opportunity. We were here; at other entry points it is possible to go for long treks as well as to climb the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia, Gunung Tahan.
The resort organizes all sorts of activities; these included a jungle night walk. It is extremely thrilling to walk along the jungle trails, seeing myriad forms of wildlife, mainly insects and snakes, sambar deer and something I did not know existed, a mushroom that glows in the dark! We ended with a marvelous dinner at their restaurant. Overlooking the Tahan River, this restaurant serves cuisine from all over the world. It is also possible to get a much cheaper meal at restaurants on barges moored on the river, but tonight luxury seemed to be the way to go!
Next day we went for a canopy walk. The world’s longest canopy walk has been constructed a stiff 3 km walk from the resort, its height soaring to 150 feet over the ground. It was a revealing experience as we walked from stage to stage, once coming face to face with a flock of parakeets and then seeing the Tahan river flow muddily into the distance. The trees were unbelievable, their size and girth larger than anything I have ever seen before.
The resort itself is also extremely relaxing. You can simply sit on the verandah watching the world go by, as birds flit through the trees that dot the campus. That is what Susmita did, refusing to tramp through the sweaty rain forest. We saw among others, a pair of racket tailed drongos, one of my favourite birds.
We had only the weekend there, but it is ideally suited for a long stay, when you can sit and watch the birds, walk the trails and raft lazily down the river. Staying here gave us an insight to why it is that rainforests are best approached from the river. Trying to force a way through the undergrowth is madness .It is also dangerous, It is much more comfortable to approach deep into it by Nature’s highways and that is what many tourists do. We have done the same in many occasions in the Sunderbans.
We drove back even faster, in about three hours. As we entered the lights and traffic of Kuala Lumpur, it seemed a dream that just three hours away, the primeval forest lay, ready to awe us as it has our ancestors throughout human history.



Posted by Anjan K das on August 20, 2010

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In medieval times the route to Central India from the North lay through a gap in the Aravalli mountains, south of Jaipur, or rather, Amber. To guard this route developed the fort of Ranthambhore. It got its name from its situation above the Tambhore hill. This combined with the adjoining Rann Hill gave it its name. It was built by the Chauhan Rajputs in the tenth century and became their refuge after Prithvi Raj Chauhan was defeated in the battle for Delhi in 1192. It was lost to Muslim invaders and then recovered by the Rajputs and has had a chequered history since. The last major siege took place in the last year of the sixteenth century by none other than Emperor Akbar. Later it was taken over by the Jaipur throne after the heydays of the Mughals and was with them till independence.
Today it occupies pride of place in the Ranthambhore wildlife sanctuary which it overlooks. Ranthambhore is one of the important Tiger Project Parks in India and it is one of the last remaining bastions of the Royal Bengal tiger. About 40 of the remaining 1411 (wonder where we got the figure) live here.
We reached Ranthambhore by train from Jaipur. There is a convenient Intercity Express that leaves Jaipur at around 11 am and reaches there by lunchtime. The station is built like a Rajathani haveli, the turrets a reminder of the martial traditions of the Rajputs. We caught an auto and were transported to the Tiger Den where we were staying. The road skirts the park and we could see several hotels which had encroached on the buffer zone. I remember reading about a controversy that rocked this place some years ago when prominent hoteliers were accused of encroaching on Forest Department land. They included some prominent wild life experts and conservationists, who, in keeping with Indian tradition felt that rules were for other people.
Be that as it may, the Tiger Den is a collection of cottages grouped in clusters, all fronting on a lush green lawn. One group of cottages fronts the swimming pool. The compound has been planted with trees and it backs onto a lovely guava orchard which alas was separated form it by a barbed wire fence. There is a bare plain in front of the resort and this ends on the road that leads to Madhya Pradesh, and beyond this the jungle starts. The vegetation s mainly dry deciduous, but the principal trees in the forest are the Dhok trees. These trees which make up the majority of the vegetation in this park, remains ostensibly dry and lifeless throughout most of the year. It bursts into life at the onset of the Monsoons and stays green for about two or three months before reverting to their dry condition again. There are also plenty of palash, some palm trees and of course the babool. The advantage of this is that animal viewing is easy, infinitely easier than in the green vegetation of the Eastern Indian forests.
You can visit the forest at two times, early morning and late afternoon, using either jeeps or canters, Canters are large vehicles. Seating up to 30 odd people, it is surprisingly maneuverable. However jeeps are much better in that they travel faster and can reach areas where the canter can’t. We went for three safaris, two in the morning and one in the afternoon. Game viewing is not the only reason I visit a forest. Forests are for enjoying the trees, the topography, the water bodies, the birds and then the animals. There is a huge thrill in seeing the tiger and other large carnivores, but it is a mistake to suborn the whole experience of entering the forest to seeing the tiger. This prevents one from enjoying many other things that are an integral part of the forest experience. For the record we saw a huge leopard, but no tiger.
But we did see a vast variety of birdlife both inside and outside the park. These included water birds and forest birds. The tree pies here are astonishingly tame and come easily to ones outstretched palm in order to pick up crumbs from them. On one occasion as many as three tree pies sat on Susmita’s palm pecking at biscuit pieces!
The Ranthambhore Fort is now a magnificent ruin, a Ganesh temple inside it is the focus of local piety every chaturthi. About 50000 people circumambulate the Fort before climbing the 250 oddd steps to the temple to pay homage. We were there during Chaturthi and I was amazed to see old men and young, flighty girls and portly maidens all walking barefoot in the forest to cover the 6 km distance around the fort. The wildlife however makes itself scarce during this time, so that is a disadvantage for the tourists.
The weather specially was so very comfortable. This is the best time to visit North India. The skies were clear and the sun reasonably tolerable even at high noon. The nights were crisp and cool and Tiger Den fed us very well, so that we were really sorry to have to return to Delhi on the way home. Till we come again, may the Dhok trees bloom every monsoon!


Rafting in Kali- Dandeli- Anshi Tiger Reserve

Posted by Natasha on July 19, 2010

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On one of my trips to Dandeli, we had a day to spare from work. I had always wanted to go rafting and finally my colleagues agreed for it. :) Rafting in Dandeli is organized by Jungle Lodges. So we headed to Jungle lodges from Kulgi. We met Mr. Shashidhar, who took us to the Supa dam, which is an hour’s drive from the Dandeli city. (Here when the water is let out from the dam during the morning and evening rafting is possible.)

River Kali (Kalinadi) is a daunting River since its black. The river has its origin at Diggi in the Western Ghats and flows westwards to join the Arabian Sea near the town of Karwar. She is the fastest west flowing river and many dams have been constructed to produce electricity.

So as we reach the banks, there’s a briefing on the rules of rafting. We choose our boat a small one since we were 4. (Choose the smaller one as its lighter and you have more fun on the water). We have a guide who goes through the standard procedure of rafting. We have our safety jackets and helmet on. We are excited as ever. Once the rapids start its amazing they v named each rapid point.

This place is excellent for birding and a walk along the banks will help you capture some amazing shots of the bird life. All my birding was from the boat. I noted River terns, Darters, Black-capped Kingfisher, Malabar Pied Hornbills, Grey headed Fishing eagle, Brahminy kite and Honey buzzard to name some.

The rafting is 9 km long and is exciting. You pass islands and the flora is spectacular.
Towards the end they let the rapid water come on you full force:)

The whole time you enjoy the adventure. :)

A photolog of this amazing experience :)


Birding in Northern India

Posted by Uday on June 26, 2010

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I was bit taken aback by the reach of urbanity as we neared Bharatpur bird sanctuary. The feel was missing but not for long. The wetlands as I discovered are a paradise for bird lovers. I was leading a group of Germans and this was my first trip to Keoladeo Ghana. 

The Sibes have gone but the sanctuary retains much of its glamor. At Bharatpur a two day trip yields a checklist of more than 150 species of wetland birds. Some of the bird we check listed here and at Bund Baretha include:

Little Heron, Black-crowned Night-heron, Glossy Ibis, Siberian ruby throat, Bar Headed Geese, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Asian Open-billed Stork, Red-breasted Flycatcher,  Barn Swallow, Wire-tailed Swallow, House Martin, Hume’s Warbler, Black Bittern, Cotton Teal, Northern Pintail and Eurasian Coot. Grey Francolin, Tickle’s Thrush, Brown Crake, Booted warbler,  Great white pelicans,   Spot-billed duck, Sykes Warbler,  Common Crane, Sarus Crane, Black necked stork, Dusky Fish Owl, Purple Swamphen, Wood sand piper, Spotted redshank, Green Sandpiper,  Bronze-winged Jacana, Greater Spotted Eagle, Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Lesser spotted eagle,  Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, King Vulture, Temminck’s stint, Oriental Darter, Grey Heron, Indian Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Purple Heron, Painted Stork.

We could sight Indian skimmers at Bund Baretha but could sight whiskered tern, Ferruginous pochard, Spanish sparrow, oriental skylark, Russets sparrow and more....

Our next destination was Chambal River Sanctuary more than an hours drive from Agra. It is a pristine river parts of which are designated as river sanctuary. Chambal is a unique destination as apart from birding this is a good place to see Gangetic dolphin, Marsh crocodile and the endangered Gharial. On a boat trip we could come across Indian skimmers, sand lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Brown Crake,  Long Legged Buzzard, Variable Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Bonelli's eagle on nest, brown fish eagle, booted hawk eagle and brownhawk owl.

A day is enough at Chambal River Sanctuary for birding trip during winters. Most of the bird watching is done on the boat ride but substantial number of birds can be seen on the banks. The boat ride is about three hours and covers a long distance.              

For avid birders Chambal is a must see destination. Most of the tour operators include this destination in their itineraries for birding in Northern India. 


Mahogany Forest, Kerala

Posted by Susan Sharma on November 10, 2009

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A visit to Kerala is never complete without a peek into the deep forests the State can still be proud off. Waiting nearly two hours to get permission to drive through the Illithod Mahagony Forest was forgotten once our vehicle entered this near pristine forest. Till recently, we were told, the access to the forest was unrestricted and the area was a favourite with plastic throwing tourists. The State forest department stepped in and went a step further. They managed a court stay on the Aquaduct which was being constructed on the banks, parallel to the River Periyar. The completeion of this canal would have meant no access for the animals to the river. For now the animals are happy! candle flowers grow wild on the roadside entrance to the mahagony forest canopy of mahagony leaves an enveloping tree trunk Periyar River (300km long) flows through the dense forest floor. strangler figs abound (thanks to abundant bird life) the mahagony survives and grows, unstrangled!
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