Am heading to the Simhasta Kumbh ( an event held only once in 12 years) and the vineyards of Pause Wines.( creators of somras) at Nashik. ( a story 5000 years old lies hidden in the name)
( their slogan is Life can Wait)
Have traveled to the region before and written about it too. Do check out : Pune: Capital of the Peshwas ( http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com) and Forest of the Clouds.
The attire and clothes of people are so interesting and unique. Gandhi caps are rarely seen in any other part of India. Spotted these gentlemen watching a car being towed away.
While I had read a bit about the main event, the Kumbh and done a bit of homework, what took me by surprise was the magic that unfolded enroute to Nashik .
It was one of the most enchanting journeys I have undertaken by road in recent years. The camera kept clicking as there was excitement every minute. I think the car driver must have sworn never to travel with me again as I requested him to stop repeatedly as i hopped out of the car to take pictures.
I share the journey with you.
The entire route has breathtaking sites of villages. mountains and rivers .
The western ghats reveal the gorgeous black volcanic rocks of the Deccan plateau and of an era when dinosaurs once ruled the land.
Mountains, a village , a bridge and the river that descends from the mountains.
What took me by surprise were the pomegranate fruit orchards which line the highway. It took my breath away . I had never seen pomegranates being cultivated. The red van i had seen at the start of the trip was only the teaser.
For me it was sheer Magic unfolding . Pomegranates are not endemic to India. It is said they were introduced by the first Mughal King Baber ( 700 years ago) from modern Kandahar in Afghanistan.
Am sure he would have nearly fallen off his horse on this magical 200 km long drive.
What a sight.. fruit orchards along a highway. Can you match it..
The little red truck had unveiled the magic of Pomegranates.
As I sign off , keep a watch out as this is only Chapter 1 of the drive, let alone the destinations.
Cheers ( do google the book ) to Baber ( Mughal King and my friend: do read on the Jaipur Literature festival in http:// http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com to know more) and Pomegranates.
The dense and lush forests of Bandavgarh hold numerous secrets in its bosom.
“Secret unveiled” : be enchanted and spellbound at the Tala Range ( insist on visiting this range first and foremost) of the Bandavgarh Forest Reserve.
2000 year old caves draw a striking resemblance to the imaginary homes of Hobbits
( Tolkiens: Lord of the Rings)
Spiders (order Araneae ) enchant me and the first i learnt of a “Spider Walk” was my dear friend Dr Mary Catherine Frazier. So if the Tiger eludes you ( as it did me) go for a Spider walk .
This large wood spider was spotted in the washroom marked JENTS at the Tala Range of the Bandavgarh Forest Reserve. Forest Department pull up your socks please.
Moving onto the positive, Wood spider: It went to the “JENTS” section.
This Secret of Chambers ( Harry Potter fame) is real at Bandavgarh and has a history going back to 2000 years.
This gentleman ( or lady ) insisted on hanging upside down.
The movie “Avatar” connects me immediately to this enchanting forest with wildlife and trees in size Extra Large.
The Lord Vishnu is also depicted through his ten AVATAARS ( meaning reincarnations) showing the evolution of Man .
Giant statues ( 7 meters high or 21 feet high) of some of these Avataars can be seen in the Bandavgarh hill fort in the midst of the forests.
A lot seen, a lot missed: will be back
The Amazing Forests of Bandavgarh tells fascinating stories of Kings, White Tigers and a fort gifted to a brother. This is the last ( for now) and chapter 5 in the series on Bandavagarh .
Legend has it that Lord Ram gifted the fort to his brother Laxman ( do see my write up on Artifacts of the Samode Safari Lodge)
The Bandavgarh National Park and Tiger Reserve was once home to the White Tiger ( not spotted for the last 50 years now) and was the domain of the Baghela Rulers of Rewa. It was preserved by these wise rulers as a Wildlife sanctuary from the 17th century ( 400 years ago) when they shifted their capital from Bandavgarh to Rewa.
It is home to numerous monuments, temples ,caves and forts, most of which are beyond the reach of the ordinary tourist like me. A visit to the fort requires a special permit I hope I will be able to visit the 10th Century Fort in the years to come.
The caves are about 2000 yrs going back to the 1st A.D. The entire region .
I have observed that hills inhabited by ancient temples in India are often a treasure trove for environmentalists.
They are often the catchment areas of water for the region, ancient forests provides medicinal plants and in turn its inhabitants, the fauna ( wildlife) , thrives.
The Amazing forests of Bandavgarh are a wonderful example of this ancient wisdom.
There are some pictures which I am adding in Chapter 6, which will show up the deficiencies of the Forest administration at Bandavgarh.So keep your eyes pealed.
After much inner conflict I think its necessary to mention the same.
The “water world” of “Nalsarovar” is the home to the graceful Flamingos ( Phoenicopterus roseus & Phoenicopterus minor ) .It’s a sight of a lifetime.
Through the blogs titled ” enchanted forests” I attempt to unveil to the reader the numerous forms of magical and enchanting nature .
Welcome to the water forest, Nalsarovar, abode of the flamingoes.
“Sarovar” literally translated from Hindi means a Lake.
Nalsarovar is however an enormous “water forest” located a short 45 minutes by road (65 kms) from Ahemdabad. ( Gujarat, India) . It is also one of the largest “Ramsar” sites in India.
Water combined with marshy land make it an ideal habitat for hundreds of water birds, many of which migrate to Nalsarovar from the colder northern worlds.
The birds are best viewed from the flat bottomed boats which are manned by extremely knowledgeable boatmen. Follow their advice and you will be witness to one of the marvels of nature.
Personally did not go on a horse, but its an option with this cheerful young jockey. Do observe the saddle.
Leave you with the birds of this amazing water world
The parent bird was so agitated as the boat was within touching distance of its offspring ( in the foreground of the picture) that it flew menacingly to peck the boatman. Did The Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus) know who was in charge ?
I have had only a “fleeting glimpse of half a dozen flamingos” at an abandoned dock in Mumbai years ago.The sights at Nalsarover truly reveals the magic of the flamingoes. what an eyeopener: they flock here in thousands.
Do keep an eye for more on the region.