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Old 12th February 2010, 12:18   #31
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Beautiful place you've been to! I'm adding to my to-do list. Guess, the list is full now till 2015.
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Old 12th February 2010, 12:22   #32
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Thanks Tirthankar.

It was already time to leave Gorumara. We bade good bye to the elephant calf and again started our journey to the exit gate. We merely must have traveled a few kilometers and in midst of the dense forest suddenly Sajid (our driver) applied brakes and switched off the engine. Govinda (our guide) whispered to us to look in the left side of the road in front of us. it was unbelievable!! A huge bull bison was just about 20 meters away from us trying to figure out what was coming. I was half leaning out from the window, clicking with my camera. Given the size, it must been weighing over one and half ton (or may be two)

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Suddenly it changed its course and turned towards us coming past a tree.
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It was then Sajid started the vehicle and put it on reverse gear (it engaged properly). The sound of the engine alerted the beast and it changed its decision and course to our relief. It then came on to the road and started crossing it. Had it come towards us, we had a feeble chance of escaping. Our guide informed us later that a similar sized bull had overturned a minibus a few days ago .
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All's well that ends well. A good adventure we had. Now complete with belly full of exitement, we came out of the National Park gate. I decided to click a few pics within the time checking out formalities being done by our guide.

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We returned to our resort to get refreshed and have a fabulous lunch. We had to get ready for our next adventure to Chapramari in the evening.
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Old 12th February 2010, 13:37   #33
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A refreshing travelogue and nice pictures.
TFS.
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Old 12th February 2010, 13:49   #34
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Loving it Shantanu, please keeping going, I hope you will go back to these land again do let me know I'll be keen to join, looking at the road conditions its already tempting me I've decided to plan a trip coming April '10 before the monsoon. Will that be a good time to visit North Bengal?
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Old 12th February 2010, 14:19   #35
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Loved every bit of it Shantanu, fascinating pictures, i love wildlife and this is a perfect treat, thanks!

Cant wait for the rest!!!
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Old 12th February 2010, 16:54   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arindam_xeta View Post
Loving it Shantanu, please keeping going, I hope you will go back to these land again do let me know I'll be keen to join, looking at the road conditions its already tempting me I've decided to plan a trip coming April '10 before the monsoon. Will that be a good time to visit North Bengal?
Thanks Arindam, all the replies are very encouraging. Yes I definitely have plans to go back there and will let you know. Will be great if you come with us. i may not go in April itself. You can definitely go in April, but be sure to visit Chapramari as the watch tower has a large water hole in front of it and during summer months animals come there atleast once in the evening to quench their thirst. In fact i saw many of them there during my visit. Also Jatraprasad tower has good chances to spot wild life as Murti river is flowing in front of it and am sure elephants would surely love to bathe in it. According to our guide best time of spotting animals is Jan/feb (forest cover is lean enough due to trees having shed most leaves, grass is dried up and spotting is rather easy) or in summers (only in the morning/evening time at water hole, rest of the time they are deep inside the forest to avoid heat). If you are keen to explore the greenery of forest, visit just after monsoons (The forest is closed June 15 - Sep 15). but spotting wildlife is a chance factor, in fact many tourist who went two day after us couldn't see anything except some peacock and were extremely frustrated.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12th February 2010, 17:05   #37
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Thanks Srikanth. Coming to the next part of my trip.

We chose to spend the rest of the day photographing the sorrundings of our resort.

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Old 12th February 2010, 18:07   #38
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WOW. Look at that crystal clear water! And it's refreshing to see a travelogue where one doesn't see plastic strewn all around.
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Old 12th February 2010, 20:13   #39
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Good trip you seem to have had, Shantanu. Keep the travelogue coming. Would appreciate more details about distances, costs and info about how to book these places.
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Old 13th February 2010, 08:19   #40
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wow... the place looks amazing. The resort is looking excellent with all amenities. Great snaps. Good travelogue Shantanu.
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Old 13th February 2010, 17:50   #41
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Thanks MX6, SS and Venki for your encouraging comments.

Coming to the next part of our journey, as I said earlier, we had our lunch and were ready to start for Chapramari WLS. This is on the way to Jhalong and Bindu (as reported in the early part of my travelogue). We started from our resort at about 2.30 pm and were at the Chapramari gate at about 2.50 pm. We were lucky again as we were the first visitors in the evening (this effectively means that our car will be entering first=no dust storm raised by the vehicle in the front and more chances of spotting wildlife as they would not be disturbed by the noise of any other vehicle entering the forest before us ). However the peace was not prevailing as we reached the watch tower as we were being followed by other vehicles. Soon the area was full of noise created by visitors who were discussing all sorts of "serious" matters there (as if they have come there for a conference/board meeting) like: what they have eaten today, what is being taught in their kids classes, health problems, loudly calling each other for photoshoots

Seems they are more interested in discussing their personal matters than watching wildlife and feeling the silence of the forest. When will these people learn to behave themselves properly

One very interesting thing that I learnt here (never read it anywhere else). A mother of a kid was explaining what a bison is (and loudly enough to enable us to hear it from the top of the watch tower-she and her kid were standing in front of the tower). It was something like this " beta, bison is a 'cow' which wears white socks"

Suman & me in front of the Chapramari gate
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The Chapramari watch tower
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The water hole and salt pit (a white dot behind the waterhole in front of the animal corridor). You can see a path in the middle of the forest behind the water hole. That is the corridor from where the animals come to the water hole. You can see an electric fencing in the lower left corner of this picture. This fencing is all around the watch tower and the FRH behind it.
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A bird drying its feathers atop a dried tree trunk in the middle of the water hole.
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Some common egrets and on the bank of the water hole and some ducks swimming in the water hole
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Sun on its journey towards western horizon
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After about waiting for nearly 40-50 minutes we had the first glimpse of a bison that was coming to the water hole.
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Our guide Sajid patiently waiting besides the watchtower on a platform type of ground for more view of wild life. In fact I found this place to be better for photographing wild life as it is directly facing the corridor behind the waterhole and salt pit which is used by animals to come here. And many of us used this place for our next photographs.
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Suddenly he called me by giving hand signal. I along with all others came down of the watch tower and went near him. We were speechless. A huge tusker was entering the water hole and a bison was closely following it.
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Old 13th February 2010, 22:10   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shantanu Sarkar View Post
...visitors who were discussing all sorts of "serious" matters there (as if they have come there for a conference/board meeting) like: what they have eaten today, what is being taught in their kids classes, health problems, loudly calling each other for photoshoots

" beta, bison is a 'cow' which wears white socks"
You should have posted some more of the conversation, preferably in the vernacular with translations, for better impact and entertainment!

May I refer you to this thread for your inputs?
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Old 14th February 2010, 20:30   #43
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Shantanu,

Good to see that you finally you took NH34 ,
Did you use Siliguri bypass while going / coming
from Doars ?

I have stayed there in Murti WBFDC
cottage 6 years back, it was very good service
then. Next month I will drive again to Doars this
time I booked Eco Tourism Cottage in Dhupjhora
Elephant camp and Rhino Camp in Ramsai.


Keep it going .

P.S. For Doars Lovers - Grab a latest copy of Magazine
"Wrong Route " which is exclusively on Doars , with Driving
Directions , Booking information on FRH / Rest Houses /
Eco Resorts.


Cheers
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Old 14th February 2010, 20:39   #44
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Rightly said SS-traveller.

This is the photo of the approaching elephant towards the water hole
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The bison that was first to come to the hole saw the elephant coming towards the water hole and it started behaving uncomfortably. It seemed to give out a distress call to its fellow bison's and then something incredible happened. About 6-7 bison's came out of the surrounding forest immediately to join the loner.

Bison giving out distress call
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Fellow bison's joining the loner.
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The elephant was a bit confused to see so many of them together and it stopped and started to keep an eye on the bison's who were now more closer to the water hole and were enjoying their share in the salt pit.
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The tusker keeping an eye on the bison's
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We were speechless and were waiting for a confrontation to happen, seeing the reluctant mood of the tusker, however, after standing for sometime and watching the bison's, it seemed to have changed its mind. It turned away from the salt pit.
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and went away on the other side to have its dust bath. It was just wonderful to see the tusker sprinkle dust all over its body. It felt it was grooming itself for an evening party. A few pictures of the elephant enjoying the dust shower.
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After having completed its makeup with dust it again took another try to come near the water hole from another side (closer to where we were sitting and watching them).
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However after giving it a second thought, the tusker, dropped the idea of confronting a bunch of bison's and went back to the forest. Our guide said that had there been a herd of elephants here, bison's would have given them the way and left the place. This shows how they peacefully co-exist in the small patches of forest cover that we have left for them to survive and we human's cannot. A lesson for me.

The tusker going back to the forest
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Bison's enjoying the salt pit after the tusker left.
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Having seen all this, we chose to leave the watch tower this time and go to the exit point for our next destination, Chapramari Wilderness Camp, to witness Nepali song and dance by local tribes. It was almost approaching 5 pm and the daylight had begun to say good bye for the day. As our next journey will involve travelling through dense forest in darkness, we (all the vehicles going to the Wilderness camp) were supposed to be guarded by a forest department gunman. As we reached the exit gate, we learnt that the gunman has not arrived and we have to wait for him. So time for another snap.

Convoy of cars waiting at the exit gate.
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Old 15th February 2010, 21:46   #45
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Soon our wait was over and we were on our way to watch the cultural program at the Chapramari Wilderness camp:

The journey to the place through the forest:

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An abandoned watch tower on the way
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The Chapramari Wilderness Camp
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The cultural program
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The return journey from here was most thrilling with total darkness all around any only source of light being the headlights of our vehicle. We could see many glowing eyes but could not see the animal. However in one place a leopard came over the path behind our vehicle but was visible for a second or so by the headlight of the car following us.

Exited with so many experiences, We were planning our next days trip to Jaldapara WLS.
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