Friday, December 26, 2008

Bandhavgarh, Kanha, and Pachmarhi

Ages ago, in March this year, I had written about the plan to visit the wildlife sanctuaries of Bandhavgarh and Kanha to see the local flora and fauna up close and personal. While the trip happened (and what an experience it was), sadly work and life caught up with me immediately on return, ensuring that no blogging about it happened at all.

I came back from my trip to the forests of Madhya Pradesh to find that not only do I have to give up my cozy corner in the office and move to a new place, but also change the way I worked and work on something that sounded exciting and interesting but which I had little clue about. And at my age and with the limited processing capacity of my brain, I suddenly found that I didn't have enough bandwidth to be both a cubicle dweller and a blogger. Since the former keeps my (substantial) body and soul together, resources were allocated to getting settled into my new work. It wasn't that I didn't have my weekends free. But at my age, five days of hard work on the weekdays ensure that rest and recuperation dominate the weekend plans. 

I haven't been doing nothing all this while. All the pictures of the trip have been organized, uploaded, and neatly captioned — actually I finished doing that many, many days ago. This, however, is the earliest that I could find enough energy to shake off my lethargy and find time to put up a post. As invariably happens when writing about a trip after a significant lapse of time, I find my memory of sojourn hazy. And hence instead of totting up the substantial post that I had initially planned, I am sorry, I am just going to link to the photographs of the trip (They are captioned, in detail — so that is some reading).

The pictures will undoubtedly tell you how marvelous a trip it was:
The trip was awesome. When we first booked the trip, and when my two  friends prevailed on me to agree to a wildlife safari, I admit I had my doubts. We had planned the trip for the first week of March, a time when summer is just about beginning to scorch India. Also, I wasn't sure about what to expect from the trip. Now I am a guy who likes his comforts when vacationing. A trip during the hottest months, to places that are straight out of Animal Planet or National Geographic didn't fit into my idea of having a "relaxed time." But am I glad that my friends very cordially asked me to shut up and tag along. 

If you want to read a bit on the trip, please head over to Vinod's post on the trip. Bandhavgarh and Kanha are all that he says and much more — tigers that you can gawk at from 10 paces, a huge variety of birds, and cheetals, and sambhars, and gaurs (Indian Bison). We even got to watch a pack of wild dogs attempt to hunt down a cheetal — that was easily the highlight of the trip. I can't recommend both the places enough for a visit.

About the only disappointment on the trip was Pachmarhi which turned out to be a noisy tourist trap with nothing worthwhile to engage our attention — I mean, seriously, what can you recommend about a place that has only one hotel which serves stuff that keeps you in the right spirits? Pachmarhi had come highly recommended by quite a few people whose taste and judgement I (till then) trusted without a second thought. But I don't think I will ever accept their idea of a "nice place to visit" any longer.

We, the three of us, are already planning a similar trip elsewhere to another wildlife sanctuary (plans are very much in the nascent stage) in the same timeframe in 2009. Hopefully that will workout and will be as memorable as this one.

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