November 08, 2012
I live in a captivity where there is wonderful nature and a vast flora and fauna.
I love being here.
Just a few kilometers away from my home is a lake which is home to more than 100 species of birds.
Anyways, this is not a "lake" but is a wasteyard with sewage treated water dumped there.
My recent trip on 3 November 2012 yielded me with :
- Marsh Harrier
- Crested Honey Buzzard
- Asian Paradise Flycatcher
- White Eyed Buzzard
- Tufted Duck
- Common Moorhen
- Rufous Tailed Shrike
- Rufous Lark
- Dalmatian Pelican
- Isabelline Wheatear
- Glossy Ibis
November 01, 2012
In this blog its about the Blackbucks (a species of
antilopes) in and around the Koppal district of Karnataka, the place where I hail from.
|A Blackbuck in dry grasses.
Now these Blackbucks (Antilope cervicapra) are a species of
Antilopes native to the Indian sub-continent. These have been classified as
endangered by IUCN since 2003. Blackbuck is the only living species of genus Antilope. Today, the blackbuck population is confined to areas in
Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and
Karnataka, with a few small pockets in central India.
|Female ones can be identified without horns.
There are about a few thousands of blackbucks found in Koppal
taluqs(sub-districts) about 15km away from Koppal district. These herd of blackbucks graze in a group of 5 to 20 individuals in the dry grasses near Koppal. Though these are prohibited against hunting and poaching, occasionally these are hunted down
for their flesh and skin. The only natural predators of these blackbucks are wolves other than man. The main food of these animals is the leaves of thorny shrub,
Prosopis juliflora found abundant through out the district.
The most of area in which these animals graze is black soil. These herds are found nearby small streams and more often graze into the crops of nearby villagers. The people have found it tough to avoid them from grazing
into the fields. There has been a loss of Rs. 1 crore to the farmers in the year 2010. However the farmers do no harm to these antilopes instead they request the Forest Dept. Officials to shift these herbivores to nearby sanctuaries and save their crops.
However, since there is no or very less forest land in the Koppal district, it is not possible to shift them. Also the blackbucks are sensitive animals and they may die of shock if they are tranquilized and physically
shift them to nearby sanctuaries. Since there is no forest land in Koppal district, the department may require around 400-500 acres to set up a blackbuck sanctuary. However there are no plans to setup a sanctuary as it involves a long process like huge funds
to buy agriculture land from farmers and taking permission from the state and union governments.
However the union and state governments are not in a mood to take a positive step.
October 23, 2012
October 20, 2012
Our Corbett Visit
The day I am sharing was just like another normal scheduled day to work when I was getting ready & was about to leave home
for my job. Suddenly my husband asked a very surprising but interesting question Hey! Would you like to visit Jim Corbett National Park. Amazed & awed unable to make out I said “no” I cant, I have to reach my work place in time and moreover I have not applied
for any leave. During this time, examination were going on in the college and I was on examination duty. But unable to control my zeal and emotions I applied for leave, got it approved and within an hour of packing and arranging we left for our journey to
Jim Corbett National Park. The most interesting part being, no bookings were made in advance, neither did we have any idea of the way to be followed. Unaware of anything we decided to move on. From Chandigarh we started at 11.30am & through Jagadhari , Yamunanagar
& Rorkee at 5.12p.m. we were at Haridwar. Now there was no idea and while on the way we checked for hotels, resorts and jeep safari ‘s on the internet. We got in touch with a travelling operator who kept us guiding from New Delhi. He gave us the address of
a resort called ‘ Jagaar Jungle Resort’. Lateron we came to know that he was the owner of the resort and the couple handled their business from New Delhi. I would like to mention that they were cooperative to an extent and kept guiding us till we reached the
From Haridwar taking a right turn towards Nazibabad we were on the state highway 34.While moving towards Nazibabad we
were crossing an area that was under Reserved Forests just close to Raja ji National Park. On the way we could find sign boards showing “ Elephants crossing Area; Drive slowly”. This made us more anxious and little fear had also taken over us. We were heading
towards our destination on an unknown road. This led to make more frantic calls to our tour operator asking him every now and then which way to follow, are we on safer road or not? From Nazibabad we moved towards Nagina-Dhampur-Afjalgarh-Kashipur.Our resort
Jagaar was close to Kashipur touching the buffer zone of Jim Corbett National Park. It was 9.40 pm that we reached the resort following an unpaved road through a village in pitch dark. The aura and ambience of the resort was completely raw. Small thatched
cottages with wooden doors and little bulb lights on the path leading to our cottage gave the resort a complete wild look.As we were enjoying the dinner, conversing with the staff of the resort we came to know about various stories of the tiger especially
the man-eater which was killed by the villagers 2-3 months back. Only one small latch on the door was the safety in the cottage. Initially unable to sleep, both of us were lying silently without talking to each other and hearing some strange noises from outside,
we slept saying good night as early morning at 5 we had to get a wake up call from the resort staff. At 1.00 a.m. my sleep was interrupted by some noise and I could see my husband still lying in the same position with his eyes wide open.Shockingly I asked,
what happened and back came the reply I am unable to sleep.Some stupid scary noises kept him awake.
So at 5.00 in the morning we got a call and within half an hour, the resort staff handed over to us our breakfast packed
and guided us towards Ramnagar the tiny town 8 kms away from the resort. We drove by our own car to Ramnagar. Here I would like to mention one very strange thing. At 5.30 or so we were at Ramnagar and the whole town was bustling with life. Markets open, people
shopping at early dawn. I never saw such a thing in my life. On asking some local people we came to know that from this little town buses move to various higher reaches of Uttrakhand which are far away. So markets remain open at Ramnagar to facilitate people
who are travelling. From the Ramnagar forest guest house and ticket counter we took tickets for Dhikaka forest range. We got tickets for a canter i.e. a huge truck open from all sides. Corbett National Park is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas. The
present area of Corbett National Park is1318.54 sq. km .including 520 sq. km. core area of and 797.72 sq.km.of buffer area. Corbett has four forest ranges: Dhikala, Domunda, Sonanadi, Bijrani and Jhirna. Main vegetation found at Corbett National Park is sal,
khair, ber, bel, semal, khingan, rohini and bamboo. River Ramganga is the most important river and its tributaries are sonanadi, mandaland palain. River Kosi runs proximate to the park and is also a prominent resource. We were little late and almost all vehicles
had already left for the Dhikala range. Our canter started at 7.00a.m.. As we entered the forest we first saw a Sambhar who was about to cross the road but stopped because the canter was too noisy. Suddenly the canter got slow and driver was showing us the
pug marks which were fresh. He told us that the tiger may just had passed from here few hours before after having water from the nearby Ram ganga rivulet. This raised the anxiety of every person sitting in the canter. People started watching more cautiously
and we were lucky to spot peacock and wag tail within first 10-20 min of our tour.
The canter was so noisy that everyone was getting irritated because as soon as we could spot something the driver was unable
to hear us. It was really surprising why the government has allowed such noisy vehicles inside the forest range. The animals will not come close to noise. Even as the forest department is charging hefty amounts,the vehicles are not properly maintained. What
to talk about the tiger, we could see small animals and few birds retreating from noise. Some spotted deer could be seen near the river bed. Wild Boar were moving in a group following a straight line with parents leading their off springs. Suddenly we asked
the driver to stop as a Brown Eagle was sitting in the middle of the road. We clicked 2-3 good shots and moved ahead. But we were only thinking about TIGER keeping our fingers crossed,praying just to have one look of the beautiful creature in the wild. As
we approached the Dhikala guest house we spotted tamed elephants nearby. The area was fenced with electrified barbed wires. As the driver parked the canter we saw a big Vulture on the nearby tree, feeding its young ones. People were talking about its extinction
due to excessive use of Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used by farmers to ease pain in cattle. The canter had to stop for 45 minutes so this was the time to talk to strangers exchange views photographs and get fresh. We had maggi and omlette and hot
tea. There was a notice board where people shared their tour experiences. A group saw leopard and tiger an hour ago near guest house. So the excitement grew more and we started moving ahead through the grasslands. As the canter moved through the thick long
grass we were gazing every spot with eyes wide open only searching for the tiger. The canter stopped in the middle of the grasslands where tamed elephants were eating grass. Suddenly an elephant came so close that its trunk was almost inside the canter smelling
the strangers. The driver told us about the Ramganga river flowing nearby which also is a home to ghariyals, turtles and also a major source of water in the park. By this time we
were exhausted and sad but still we were hopeful to spot a tiger. So we decided to go for another safari to Bijrani but now by a jeep.
We came back to the resort, got fresh had lunch and asked the resort staff to arrange a jeep safari for us. The booking was done for
at 3.30 in the afternoon. It was a tough nut to crack as only limited number of jeeps is allowed to enter the forest in the morning and evening. Now we drove again till Bijrani gate by our own car which is 12 kms from Ramnagar. The zone can be entered via
Amanda Gate and the Bijrani Zone can be found 5 kms from there. The tourists are taken around the area by a jeep and presence of guide is mandatory as they help the tourists understand the importance of the park and also the habitats of the animals in the
zone. The jeep was waiting for us and we two along with a guide and driver entered the Bijrani forest. The guide a young chap with an experience of over 5 years started telling us about the Bijrani forest its flora and fauna. But we kept asking him so many
questions on tiger. He told us what to do if a tiger approaches. Keep your body still without moving and making noise let the tiger go. He told us a story of a group who were forced to stop because a tiger came suddenly in their way. The guide told everyone
to sit and the tiger smelled the entire jeep then went. It gave us more anxiety but fear had gripped us by now as the forest was too thick. As we were heading toward Malani, a forest guest house in Bijrani, we spotted a wild tusker near the river. The guide
showed us a big owl on the tree. As we moved ahead we stopped the jeep for some time to hear the calls of the Monkeys, Grey Langoors and Deer for tracing the Tiger. But within minutes we were fearful that if the tiger is around then it can be dangerous so
we started again. We saw Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Red Jungle Fowl, Brown Eagle, Grey Langoors, Rhesus Monkeys & Black Crane. The canopies of the trees were too thick and the forest was very dense. All the jeeps inside Bijrani meet at a centre
place where there is a watch tower. The tourists and the guides exchange their tracking routes of tiger spotting if any. The slopes were steep and at times gentle. It made us to think what would happen if the tiger comes as the path followed by the jeep was
undulating. We also saw the places were tiger usually comes for drinking water. Some were man made while others were natural sources. Sun started setting and we had to move back as the time for the safari was coming to an end. On way back we saw few settlements
near the buffer zone where the forest department had put fenced barbed wires but the people had taken them off and they were fearlessly living inside the park. So the safari was over but tiger could not be spotted. In comparison to Dhikala, Bijrani is more
drier and also has more diverse vegetation. Sad yet still excited we came out and to change our mood we entered a souvenir shop where things related to tiger were being sold like t-shirts, caps, key rings,paintings etc. We were back to the resort, had dinner,
shared about our tour with the resort staff. Since we had to leave next morning so we slept in time.Next morning after having tea we were taken to a water pump near the fields where the resort had arranged for a rustic bath. My husband enjoyed bathing and
then we had our breakfast and packed our stuff. We started our journey at 12.30in the afternoon and halted at Haridwar. Here we went to see the holy river Ganges and we bathed at Har ki Paudi. Since we were running short of time we just picked fruits from
a roadside vendor and moved ahead. We had tea at Ambala and reached Chandigarh at about 8.45p.m..Though we could not spot the tiger but we enjoyed the nature at its best!
October 11, 2012
September 25, 2012
September 08, 2012
September 05, 2012
Read the interesting piece about Mangarbani at the link
.... The spry-at-78 Arthur F. Bentley professor of political science at Indiana University, however, backs Mangar villagers and conservationists because she does believe in the durability of traditional community-based models of preserving and judiciously using
common resources such as water, fisheries and forests. ......
Ostrom’s research is particularly important for India which is struggling to manage its commons, be it forests or water. Flashpoints are becoming frequent as demands of a burgeoning population and its development needs put pressure on common property. The 600-acre
Mangarbani, for instance, falls within Faridabad’s new 20-year development plan that would allow construction and other projects in eco-sensitive areas. But what they fail to grasp is that the forests are crucial to the maintenance of an ecosystem that helps
recharge the aquifers beneath the Aravalli hills. ......
September 01, 2012
5km to the side of Gurgaon -Faridabad four lane road, driving through a thick forest of Vilayati Kekar trees interpersed with construction sites, you enter Mangarbani village (wrongly spelt Manger at the direction board on the main road).
The Art and Craft Hotel raises a few eyebrows just before we enter the village. Builders are already in possession of Dream plans to convert the ancient village of Mangarbani into a "Tourist Paradise", the Hotel is probably waiting for those Dreams to take
At this sleepy village of about 300 hamlets we ask our way to the Bani. As we reach Bani, the three soldiers from Mangarbani village who started the fight to save Mangarbani against seemingly odd barriers, greet us. We, a few friends who learnt about
Mangarbani through the film "The Lost Forest", had decided to devote the Sunday Morning to see the forest for ourselves.
"Heavenly'" " So cool'" "Longest tailed peacock" "Beautiful bird sounds" remarks kept coming as we walked. The residents pitched in with their knowledge of the Bani. The first and last rule of the Bani " Do not pluck or cut anything from the Bani. If
you graze your animals inside, you raise the wrath of Gudanya Baba whose Samadhi in a cave is worshipped by the villagers.
Broken Kadamb branch-Remove it at your peril!
Here is an excerpt from the magazine "Down To Earth"
---What sets the Bani apart from the surrounding vegetation is that 95 per cent of it comprises a slow growing tree called Dhau (Anogeissus pendula). The tree has a unique feature. If it is nibbled by cattle, it spreads out on the ground or over rocks like
thick prostrate undergrowth. If left undisturbed, it grows into a middle-sized tree. The 13-meter-tall dhaus in Mangar Bani testify to the forest’s antiquity, points out Pradip Krishen, the author of Trees of Delhi. ......
Sacred grove of Dhau trees seen from temple top
We saw Desi papri trees, Vat and Dhok trees , Seetaphal trees and Kadamb trees which were fruiting and Dhau, the endemic tree of the area which were sprouting all over after the rains.
Sweet fruit of Seeta Phal tree
Dhau sprouting through rocks
Take the Dhau outside Mangarbani and they refuse to grow. The Dhau is believed to be one large organism in Managrbani which propagates through root grown saplings only. Untouched by the British ( The British never discovered this village tucked away in
the interior, according to locals) and the Forest Department, Vilayati Keekar is absent in the village. No bougainvillas and no lantana bushes are seen anywhere. The Forest has remained natural as it was 3000 years ago. A Natural Museum worth presrving
for the next generation!
Under the shade of ancient trees
Mangarbani, a serene forest
Besides the Bani being the Preserve of fauna and flora endemic to the Aravalis (probably the only patch in Rajasthan-Haryana-Delhi, where Aravalis have survived in their original glory), this unspoilt forest is most likely responsible for water recharging
and safeguarding water veins underground. Destroy this vegetation cover, build on it and we could end up blocking/destroying any number of water veins under those impenetrable rock-systems.
Gurgaon and Faridabad have seen Surajkund, Badkhal and Dumdama lakes disappear within the last 25-30 years, once vegetation in Aravalis was destroyed and hilllsides dug up for minerals/stones for construction and/or levelled for putting up buildings. The
ban by the Supreme Court on all mining cant restore those water bodies, they are gone for ever.
Will the Gurgaon-Faridabad-Delhi residents let the unspoilt Aravalis in and around Manger Bani disappear? They could be destroying the most important water-recharge System/Preserve that could have sustained the coming generations by providing much needed
elixir of life 'WATER'
SAVE THE ARAVALIS THAT WE STILL HAVE------REHABILITATING THEM MAY BE BEYOND ALL OF US. AFTER ALL THESE MOUNTAINS TOOK MILLIONS OF YEARS TO BECOME OUR BENEFICIARIES------
Listen to the young men from Mangarbani making an appeal
Major Sunil Kumar, SM
August 12, 2012
ONE PLACE WHERE YOU ALWAYS FOUND YOURSELF WITH A CUTOFF FROM YOUR CELLPHONES, COMMUNICATION, AND YOU ARE NOT APPROACHABLE UNLESS YOU WANT YOURSELF TO DRIVE OUT YOURSELF 23 KMS AWAY FROM THE LOCATION TO LOCATE YOURSELF THROUGH MOB SIGNAL TOWER. THERE ARE
QUITE A GOOD GUEST ROOMS OF FISHERY DEPARTMENTS, ELECTRICITY BOARDS AND THERE IS NO HOTEL SYSTEM.....WHAT PEOPLE CALL THERE IS SWEET HOME CONCEPT. THE BUILDING IS 4 TO 5 STORY AND IN THE GROUND FLOOR THE OWNER HAS MADE HIS LITTLE SHOP TO PROVIDE YOU THE LITTLE
EATS WITH LITTLE AMOUNT OF OVER PRICE....AND THE ROOMS ARE RS 200/- TO 300/- PER DAY NO BEDDING REQUIRED, JUST YOUR OWN CLOTHS TO WEAR..... IN BAROT ITS A TROUT FISHING FARMING PLACE AND PEOPLE WEAR WARM SWEATER 24X7 365 DAYS.... SO YOU CAN IMAGINE... YOU
GET FISHING ANGLES TO SPEND TIME AND THABAS THERE FOR YOU TO EAT YOUR MEALS....IF YOU THINK YOU CAN EXPLORE THAT AND WANT TO GO.....FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME .....i AM NOT AN AGENT I AM JUST A TRAVELER LIKE YOU AND WANT MORE PEOPLE TO KNOW AND LIVE THE MOMENT
IN LIFE...i WILL TRY TO POST THE PICS ALSO IN CASE YOU WANNA ASK ME ... WITH LEAVING LITTLE OR MORE QUERY IN YOUR MIND .....TAKE CARE ....WARM REGARDS....MAJ SUNIL KUMAR.