Am letting you into a closely held secret, by revealing a National Park in the heart of India. It is only here you can see tigers and leopards roam free without being accompanied by hordes of tourists.
You approach the park, not by car or jeep but, hold your breath, by boat . Designated boats of the Forest Department take you across the lovely river DENWA to the Madai entrance of the park.
The banks of the rivers are very scenic and you need to watch out for the water birds; resident and migratory.
The Satpura National Park is unique in numerous ways .It is the only Park I have been to which you can explore by foot, by boat , on and elephant and by road on a jeep.
It is a mere 3 hours or 200 kms from Bhopal ( we took 6 hours as we stopped all along the way) . Have written about Bhopal and the drive to this National Park in separate blogs ( do check out http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com) .
We stayed at the unique Forsyth Lodge, where I spotted vultures , horn bills,and numerous carnivorous PLANTS.
A tip to all who are reading this blog is: ensure you have a great guide . The key is to have a guide who knows both the flora and the fauna of the region. Go for the guides who belong to the region as only they can help you discover some of the hidden treasures of forests.
A good guide ensures you savor every moment in the forest and leave you completely mesmerized . Saleem was such a guide who showed us plants and birds I would never have noticed.
Elephant safaris are very special, make sure you do not miss out on this experience.
I prefer to make friends with the elephants before they take me into the depths of the forest.
We were fortunate to see this larger than usual ,herd of Sambar crossing a river. This rugged and extremely diverse forest encompasses both rivers and mountains.
I christened it as THE MIGRATION IN INDIA.
Some are scared to enter the water.
The crossing in progress as many swim across.
This Buzzard is all eyes.
The ants are busy making their homes from leaves and are least interested in the activities of others.
This spectacular forest in Central India has captured a special place for itself in my heart for all time to come.
The entire region is a treasure trove and the drive back to Bhopal took us to Bhimbetka.
Before I sign off i leave you with this glimpse of the rock shelters of Bhimbetka. A fantastic Paleolithic site over a 100,000 ( a hundred thousand) years ago. . It is also where I sighted my first Egyptian Vulture.