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Old 9th May 2011, 00:06   #91
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Default re: Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon

Folks, you must be wondering as to why the travelogue stopped mid-way. Well, I'm waiting for a photograph to be sent by Abheek that is integral to my story about Pench. It should be with me either tonight or tomorrow morning. That gave me time to process a few pictures in advance.

Till the next installment I'm posting a few teasers; hope you like them..

Collarwaali Tigress

Is this the Royal Kiss or the Sniff? Eyes closed, lip to bark....uummmuuaa...

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The Royal Stare

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The Royal Squirt

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Old 9th May 2011, 13:01   #92
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15th April, 2011 - To Pench via Jabalpur & Seoni

A distance of nearly 400 odd kms that would take about 5 to 6 hours normally. After crossing another section of a treacherous road of approximately 7 kms from Bandhavgarh, reached Barhi and hit a smooth metalled single lane road, that passing through some ghat section, forest buffer zone opened out to some huge flat lands. Brown, brown everywhere dotted with small villages with mud-huts. On either side of the road as far as the eye could see it was brown flat plains with sporadic farming in between. It presented a wonderful contrast.

Patches of gold amidst the browns - wheat fields famous for the MP Sharbati " गेहूं ".

Crossing Katni, reached Jabalpur and crossed a board that said Dhuadhar Falls and pointed to the right. Made a mental note of it and headed further. Lots of construction for road expansion, flyover etc., was being carried out and missed the by-pass and entered the city. The are was the famous Jabalpur Cantonment where the Ordinance Factory is located that manufactures & supplies the famous Shaktiman trucks and many other weaponry as well.

This is also the place from where the famous Jongas came. Incidentally I didn't see a single Jonga in Jabalpur. I stopped on the roadside as for the last 30 odd kms I was finding the vehicle sluggish & the steering heavy. Wanted to check. As soon as I got down saw the reason - the front right tyre had less air. Checked with the tyre pressure gauge and it was 20 psi.

A visual inspection didn't reveal any nail or any other apparent reason. I suspected that the valve would have sprung a leak. Took some water from the bottle and poured on the valve body; no escaping air bubbles. Took out the electronic tyre inflator and filled 40 psi, the tyre was hot so poured the remaining water in the bottle on the tyre and moved further in the lookout for a puncture repairer.

Reached a market area that was line with car mechanics, auto spares shops on either side but could not spot a puncture repair shop. Asked one shop owner and he said there were two on the opposite side of the road. Drove slowly looking for them and found the first. This fellow was repairing the air hose and said that it would take 20 to 30 minutes before he could attend me. Did not wait and went looking for the 2nd one. Did not find him, overshot the market and then took a u-turn and returned back to the first one. He had a smirk on his face when he saw me and said that he would do it provided the wheel is removed & brought to him. This was strange. I asked why would he not remove the wheel, for which he answered that since he doesn't have a jack two shops down the road are mechanics who remove the wheel. He would repair the puncture then. I told him that I've a jack etc., but he refused.

Totally pissed-off I drove in a huff looking for the 2nd puncture repair guy. This time I found him. I had overhsot his shop in the ealrier attempt. Stopped in front of his shop and asked if he repaired puncture of the tubeless tyre and could he remove the wheel. He nodded his head in affirmative. With a sigh of relief parked and shut the engine. The guy asked for the jack and the wheel spanner that I was more than happy to give. Removed the wheel and dipped it in a huge tub of water. From one point the bubbling started. A nail was embedded deep. Removed the nail that was thin and about an inch & half long and repaired the puncture. Filled 40 psi and dipped the wheel in the tub again. After checking the valve body thoroughly and satisying himself the wheel was refitted. I paid Rs.150/- to him for this, thanked and moved on.

A second problem struck me from here. My Garmin nuvi 310 GPS conked off. It wouldn't acquire the satellites at all. I tried everything including master reset but to no avail. So my rest of the journey commenced without my trusted GPS.

My Nokia Communicator E 90 had a GPS and the latest Google Maps, but to drive and see the tiny screen was too much for me.

After asking for direction crossed Jabalpur and via Bargi Dam, Dhuma & Lakhnadon, neared Seoni.

Here the single lane transformed to a beautiful 6 lane road and I gathered speed as I had lost much time in Jabalpur. Night had settled in and it was 7 pm. In the meanwhile I was constantly in touch with Abheek who along with HVK was tracking me on the Google Latitude.

After taking the Seoni by-pass on the 6 lane as I was cruising at 100 kmph, I suddenly saw from the corner of my eye a furry creature shoot through the bush on the right at great speed. A loud 'thud' immediately followed by a yelp and then again a thud. I couldn't possible have taken any evasive action and felt really bad for the animal. At that time I did not know if it was a dog or some other animal.

To not get entangled with residents/villagers nearby drove on for some 20 odd kms constantly checking the instrument panel for any sign of problem. As I slowed down, I heard a scraping sound; on gathering speed the sound went away. Tried this a few times and same result. Pench was still a good 60 odd kms away. Stopped on the roadside and armed with a torch got down to inspect. The first sign of damage was that one of the two brackets holding the front number plate had broken out of its housing and the number plate was dangling and touching the road. This was making the scraping noise. Inspected the underbody under the torchlight and saw some blood spattered around.

I had a torn cloth bag in the rear that I took out, tore it further to make a string and tied the number plate with the bull-bar. The scraping sound stopped, but a new sound started; at idle the vibrating number plate made a tinkling noise that used to stop if stepped on the gas pedal. I would've to live with it till I reached back home and got it fixed.

Near a place called Nayegaon the 6 lane ended, again was a single lane and on the right side of the road there was a Petrol Pump. Though I was a bit low on fuel I thought I had enough to make it. Mistake..

The last 30 kms of the road passed through the Pench buffer crossing the Rookhad Bison Retreat on the way. With an eye on the fuel gauge that was steadily going down and adding an extra frown on the forehead with every extra kilometre, I reached the outskirts of a village called Khawasa and spotted the high mast of an IOC pump. Elated, turned into the pump and topped up the tank. The attendant told me that Pench was 12 kms ahead and I had to take a right turn from Khawasa.

Moved on and reached Khawasa and started looking for the signboard indicating the direction to Pench. Did not see any signboard, overshot the turn as it wasn't visible and instinct told me that I had missed it. There was a heavy truck traffic coming from Nagpur that was only 84 kms away.

No wonder Abheek is practically here every weekend.

Stopped and asked a person on the street and he asked me to take a u-turn and said the the road to Pench was just 500 metres ahead. U-turn and drove very slowly and then I saw the board that said Pench - 12 kms and the arrow pointed to the left. And sure enough there was this road.

So, what does this mean? People coming from Nagpur, Maharashtra have a board to let them know of the location, but for people coming from Seoni, Madhya Pradesh it is a total guess work in the night. Had it been daytime then I might have spotted.

Signboard for people coming from Nagpur

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-pench.jpg

My bookings were in a place called Bagheera Retreat and as soon as I turned left on that road, I saw a prominent board of the Retreat. I stopped near that board and placed a call to Bablu, who was to be 'Krishna' to this 'Arjun' during my stay in Pench and for the 7 safaris in the forest.

Bablu

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-bablu.jpg

More about him later.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 9th May 2011 at 13:02.
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Old 9th May 2011, 20:05   #93
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That six lane raod is very excellent to drive on , we entered on that highway through seouni intersection . After Bison retreat roads are not good and but are manageable . We were abe to spot the road to turia gate as its was sunday and lot of cars were coming out through that turia road . and road to great pench goes from here . We drove through satpura jungles , we did some extreme testing of our SRV through ghats and it came out beautifully .

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
15th April, 2011 - To Pench via Jabalpur & Seoni

A distance of nearly 400 odd kms that would take about 5 to 6 hours normally. After crossing another section of a treacherous road of approximately 7 kms from Bandhavgarh, reached Barhi and hit a smooth metalled single lane road, that passing through some ghat section, forest buffer zone opened out to some huge flat lands. Brown, brown everywhere dotted with small villages with mud-huts. On either side of the road as far as the eye could see it was brown flat plains with sporadic farming in between. It presented a wonderful contrast.

Patches of gold amidst the browns - wheat fields famous for the MP Sharbati " गेहूं ".

Crossing Katni, reached Jabalpur and crossed a board that said Dhuadhar Falls and pointed to the right. Made a mental note of it and headed further. Lots of construction for road expansion, flyover etc., was being carried out and missed the by-pass and entered the city. The are was the famous Jabalpur Cantonment where the Ordinance Factory is located that manufactures & supplies the famous Shaktiman trucks and many other weaponry as well.

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Old 9th May 2011, 22:04   #94
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15th April, 2011 - Pench - 21:40

Spoke to Bablu and he guided me about the location of the retreat and said that he would wait for me.

Those 12 kms through the forest in the night was an amazing drive. I drove on hi-beam expecting some creature to pop across the road. Nothing of that sort happened and after crossing Turiya Village reached near a junction where Bablu was waiting with his gypsy. I had already told him about the physical features of my Scorpio and he recognised it immediately.

Greeted me and escorted me to the Retreat. All things had been taken care off and we proceeded to our room on the ground floor. This property appeared to be new, the room was quite good, linen & washroom clean and an air-cooler placed inside the room.

Why could the owner not fit it outside, I couldn't understand. That was one of the jarring point out of the several that I would face over the next few days. Since there was no place for the moist air to escape, the humidity level would go high in some time.

The Bagheera Retreat

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4724.jpg

Property

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4725.jpg

Our Room - the one with red plastic chairs outside

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4723.jpg

Being on the ground floor and near a forest brought its own set of problems. Eight legged creatures..

I spotted three big Wolf spiders - killed two and one escaped through the door. I did manage to photograph one of them though.

Wolf Spider

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Fortunately my daughter & wife had not seen them or else a blood curdling scream would've emanated that would shake the jungle. Before they entered the room, I thought of making a thorough inspection. The dressing room had two common jumping house spiders - one in the cupboard and one on the dressing table and the bathroom had one wolf spider.

Jumping House Spider - this image copied from net

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Eliminated all, checked again and rechecked.

Satisfied that none of the leggy, furry and crawling creatures were around turned around and gestured them to come over. They had in the meanwhile ordered dinner. We all freshened up and went out. Bablu was waiting for me. I handed over the safari booking papers to him and asked about the sightings. The conversation went on something like this:

Me: और कुछ दिखाई विखाई दे रहा है?

Bablu: हाँ, अभी पंद्रह मिनट पहले बाघिन नाला शेरनी मेरे घर के पीछे से निकली. जबरदस्त काल्स आ रही थी और मैं टोर्च लेकर घर की छत पर चढ़ गया और टोर्च की रौशनी में देखा तो दस मीटर की दूरी पर जा रही थी. मुझे डर तो बड़ा लगा.

Wife: अभी अभी दिखा? तुम्हारा घर कहाँ है?

Bablu: जी मैडम, बिलकुल फोरेस्ट गेट के साथ.

Wife: फोरेस्ट गेट के साथ? अगली बार आउंगी तो तुम्हारे घर पर ही ठेहेरुंगी. शेरनी को देख मज़ा आया होगा? डर नहीं लगता?

Bablu: डर तो लगता है. पर आदत सी हो गयी है.

Me: घर तैयार है या बन रहा है?

Bablu: अभी काम चल रहा है.

And he took leave of us asking us to be ready by 5:15 am. Bablu being a native and a resident of the Turiya village, has ancestral land just on the fringe of the forest from where the core area starts. He is constructing his house there.

After dinner, that was excellently cooked, we retired to our room. Ever since we left Gurgaon on the morning of 12th, we were cut-off from the world. No newspaper & no TV; not even in Bandhavgarh. here our room had a TV with a Tata Sky connection. That brought a cheer to my wife & daughter's face and they plonked themselves in front of it. I readied my self for the morning and slept as I was tired driving, dreaming about Collarwaali, Badi Maa & the Baghin Naala tigress.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 9th May 2011 at 22:15.
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Old 9th May 2011, 23:05   #95
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16th April, 2011 - Pench - 05:40

I got up at 4:30, came out of the room and a very cool breeze greeted me. The freshness of the air filled my lungs. I cocked my ears to hear some jungle sounds and sure enough heard two - one a peacock called and then the rutting calls of male Cheetal.

Woke the rest of the family and we all got ready by 5 am and within a few minutes Bablu with his gypsy drove in. Loaded my camera bag and water bottles and boarded the jeep.

Pench has three gates on the Madhya Pradesh side to enter the jungle and one on the Maharashtra side as this jungle straddles two states - MP & Maharashtra. The major part of the jungle falls in MP.

The three gates are - Turia, Karmajhiri & Jhamatra. Out of these three Turia is the most popular and gets the maximum number of tourists. I had made my bookings of all my 7 safaris for the Turia gate.

Reached the Turia gate and already some jeeps were parked ahead of us. Bablu went to get the guide and submit the papers. Then I saw the famous Lallan ka Dhaba and Bablu's under construction house.

Satellite image of Turia Gate, Lallan ka Dhaba & Bablu's house

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The gate opened at 6 and we were inside the forest. Bablu was sharper and more knowledgeable than the guide. He took us through various routes and was always the first to spot the wildlife. How he did while driving is a mystery. And he always parked the vehicle at a vantage point from where one could get a good view and take pictures. We saw the grey hornbill in the early morning sunning and feeding, amorous Neel Gai, old claw marks on a tree, Indian Wild Dog or the Dhol and the Himalayan Jackal.

I shall let the photographs do the talking.

Pench Forest habitat

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Grey Hornbill

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Amorous Neel Gai

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Old Claw marks

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Dhol - Indian Wild Dog

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Himalayan Jackal

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4266.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4267.jpg

Thus ended the morning safari. Though we heard a few alarm calls, no big game was visible. Abheek was to join me for the rest of the safaris from the evening. Returned back to the retreat eagerly waiting for his arrival.

to be continued.../-
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Old 10th May 2011, 11:59   #96
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16th April, 2011 - Pench - Afternoon

Till the previous night we were the only guests in Bagheera Retreat. This retreat has 8 rooms in total. The ground floor rooms are air-cooled while the first floor rooms are air-conditioned. The retreat also has a pair of resident ducks that roam around the property. There also is a big open water tank in which these ducks swim. This water tank was to play a great role a day later.

When we returned back from our morning safari, we saw the retreat swarming with kids and their parents. On enquiring found out that they were eight families who had arrived late last night and had occupied the rest of the 7 rooms. The calm, serene atmosphere of the retreat had transformed. a group of kids and their fathers playing cricket, the ladies enjoying the swing, a few other chasing the resident ducks all over and the poor birds cackling in distress.

Like Bandhavgarh, here too was power cut and this was from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and then again from 4 pm to 7 pm. I had, the previous night only checked if they had a generator back-up and indeed they had. Since there was no power when we arrived back and I didn't hear the generator's "dhad, dhad" I thought the power has been restored. This is where the second glitch started. I buzzed the receptionist and asked why the generator was not working. His answer stunned me: " सर, बिजली अभी थोड़ी देर में आ जाएगी ". I was livid and asked him to switch on the generator immediately. Very reluctantly it was switched on.

We ordered breakfast in the room itself. The climate was getting hot. Wife mumbled something about the evening safari & the heat. All of us had a nice bath and this where the third glitch surfaced. The retreat boasted of 24x7 hot & cold water and I require warm water even in summers to take bath. When my turn to take bath came, cold water was coming out of both the taps. Again buzzed the reception and got this answer: " सर, गरम पानी बोइलर से मिलता है. आपके रूम का बोइलर खराब है. और सर, मौसम तो बहुत गरम है. " Oh boy, did I want to give the same treatment to the owner & the receptionist that I gave to the spiders last evening? Shook my head, had a cold bath & took some rest before lunch was served at 1:30 pm.

Abheek was on his way and I asked him to join us for lunch.

We reached the hot dining hall and proceeded to have lunch. In the midst of it I saw a young man with spring in his steps in a red T advancing towards our table with a wide grin. This was Abheek whom I was meeting in person for the first time. All this time our interaction was either on TBHP threads or on phone. After a warm embrace we sat down for lunch. The best part of the retreaqt was its cook. In all of my stay there, the only silver lining was the cook.

Lunch consisted of Bhuna Masaala Chicken, Daal, Baingan ki subzi, Rice & Roti. I enquired if they had curds (must have for me) and they said they didn't have but will try to get it for dinner.

It was 2:30 and by 3 Bablu would come to pick us up. Family went to the room to get ready and Abheek & I sat there conversing and exchanging notes on Pench & Sariska.

While it was hot, sunny and humid, I could see dark clouds building up in the western sky. I had heard reports in Bandhavgarh as also in Pench that over the past few days it rained in the evening. I did not want rain this time. My intuition was that the heat would force the Big Cat & other animals to come out in the evening for a drink. But the intuitions can sometime go awry.

Bablu arrived on dot and I packed my camera gear to go. In the 2nd week of March I had purchased a rain cover from Kata KT E-702 for my camera as on one of my trips to Sariska it had rained and with the hood on I couldn't see anything or photograph. Ever since the purchas, I had no occassion to use this. On my MP trip I carried this along. Seeing the cloud build-up I picked the rain cover as well for this safari. Was this a good decision? You bet...!

Kata Rain cover KT E-702

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We left and arrived at the Turia Gate. Like in the morning Bablu went in to get the guide allotted to us. Entered the forest at 3:30 sharp. By this time the weather had become cool and a cool breeze was flowing. Feeling very comfy and excited we proceeded further.

Saw this grey hornbill again. Was it the same what we saw in the morning? I couldn't say this for sure. Since the sky was overcast & grey the lighting conditions were not that good. All I could capture was the silhoutte.

Grey Hornbill

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4272.jpg

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We were hardly a few hundred metres inside the forest, that the intermittent drip-drop which had started turned into a massive downpour accompanied with strong winds. Bablu & the guide immediately pulled the hood over, Abheek packed his camera and kept it at the back, I kept my other valuables in the camera bag and handed it over to wife, took out the rain cover and put my camera inside. Told Bablu to remove the hood from above us. So, now the hood covered wife & daughter sitting at the back and Abheek, I in the middle row and Bablu & the guide in the front were getting drenched. It was enjoyable and after a long long time I was getting drenched in the rain. In that ecstasy, I had forgotten to remove my mobile Nokia E 90 and my wallet from my pocket. This lapse would prove very very costly to me.

With rain pouring in buckets, the tall Sal trees swaying dangerously and ear-drum busting thunder clap preceded by awesome lightning, I started clicking pictures. Abheek was standing up and enjoying the rain drops hitting on his face.

Rainy habitat in Pench

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4276.jpg

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Gypsies running for cover

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A wet and amorous Cheetal Stag giving out rutting call

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4280.jpg

A wet & irritated Indian Roller or Blue Jay

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4284.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4286.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4288.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4289.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4293.jpg

A wet Jackal running for cover

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4304.jpg

* some of the picture quality may not be good because, one the ISO was pumped up due to falling light and two the mist & rain drops on the front of the lens affected the focussing & IQ.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 10th May 2011 at 12:07.
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Old 10th May 2011, 20:36   #97
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Default re: Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon

When GD Sahab buys a rain coat for the camera, the gods make sure it rain, no no it pours in peak summer, that is the power.
Great photographs of rain drenched forest and especially the sequence shots of the amorous neel gai.
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Old 10th May 2011, 22:12   #98
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After searing heat, rains are like manna from heaven; it brings out the best in all, be it humans, birds, animals, insects or plants. And when the rains stop and the cool breeze wafts across, the world comes alive.

While it was pouring and we four were drenched to the bone, tiny streams of water flowing down our back and traversing uncharted territories sending a shiver, I mentioned to Abheek that if the rains stop in the next few minutes, surely a sighting would be possible. Either a Leopard or a Tiger would venture out.

How was I so sure or convinced?

I neither claim to be a wildlife expert nor am I, but whatever little knowledge I gathered visiting 9 sanctuaries made me say so. Lemme explain. A Tiger needs a minimum of 10 sq. kms as his or her own territory that extends to 60 to 100 sq. kms in case of a full grown adult male tiger. And each Tiger demarcates its territory by marking the trees, bushes, rocks etc., periodically by spraying its urine and also by its droppings. Tigers are known to patrol their territory completely once in three days. This keeps them aware of any intruder in their territory and also keeps away the tresspassers.

When it rains heavily in the forest, all the traces & scents of urine markings are washed away. Thus normally after a heavy rainfall the Big Cats come out, patrol their territory and re-mark to establish their area.

The strong winds blew away the clouds towards East, the downpour turned into a drizzle, then to a prit-prat and finally stopped. The gypsy was stopped, hood removed. folded and kept in its place and we proceeded further. Abheek told Bablu to drive towards an area where the famous Collarwaali was last seen a day back.

As we were approaching that area near a T point, we saw two gypsies racing towards us and frantically gesturing. The guide asked and was informed that Collarwaali was on the move in the bushes and would cross over. Bably immediately turned right at the T point and positioned his jeep at the pole position.

Now here I witnessed Bablu's skill in staying in the lead, maintaining a safe distance from the Tiger and driving in such a way that you could take photographs without blurring. The time was 5:15 pm, light was falling fast.

Bablu stopped the car and waited and sure enough in the bushes there was Collarwaali moving languidly. Her path indicated that she would cross in front of our jeep. Abheek mentioned that she would walk on the track. Excitement mounted as we thought she might have her cubs also along. But that was not to be. She was alone. It meant that she was on a hunt. There was no alarm call as the deer & langurs must've taken shelter in the rains and failed to spot her. She was seen by those gypsy guys by chance.

She walked, sniffed the trees, drank some water from a puddle on the track, peed & pooed, was spotted by Cheetal & Langurs who started an orchestra, turned around and looked in their direction in annoyance, cocked her ear, walked lazily and then transformed suddenly into an animal of grace, speed & power. She had seen and locked on to a herd of Cheetal. With stealth she moved into the deep, running, stopping, stalking and running again. Though it was a failed hunt, surely she would try again later when we all would leave and sanity would return to the jungle.

It was here that I got to see & meet Amolpol, a fellow TBHPian with his 18 month old daughter and a friend.

I shall not bore you with the narration anymore. Let the pictures talk.

COLLARWAALI TIGRESS - 5+ years old & so called because she has been radio collared by the Forest Department to keep track of her and her cubs as she has successfully given birth & raised twice. This third time she has given birth to 5 cubs (4 females & 1 male) and according to the latest reports has successfully taking care of them. Turning out to be the "Machchali" of Pench.

Crossing over to the track from the bushes

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4305.jpg

Drinking water from the puddle on the track

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4319.jpg

Marking the first tree on the left of track

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4333.jpg

The Royal Catwalk

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4337.jpg

Sniffing

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4342.jpg

Marking the second tree on the left of track

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4344.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4347.jpg

Turning around and giving an irritated look to the following gypsies & the calling Cheetals & Langurs

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Marking the third tree on the right of track - managed to catch the spray

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4365.jpg

Marking the fourth tree on the right of track - not even the best jacuzzi could generate that pressure

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4370.jpg

Droplets of urine in the air

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4371.jpg

Marking the fifth tree on left of track - in B&W

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4378.jpg

Marking the sixth tree on the right of track - the gush of urine

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4388.jpg

Droplets of urine in the air

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4389.jpg

Crossing over to the left

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4394.jpg

Crappy, crappy

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4407.jpg

Then again to the right and looking towards the left - what caught her attention? These gypsies had come in the forest after the rains stopped and the tourists had the best view as they could shoot the face

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4417.jpg

Spotted the herd on the right and stalking

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4426.jpg

The run

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4438.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4440.jpg

And then she vanished into the thicket. We waited there for a while to see if she emerged somewhere else as the Cheetal was calling insistently. Slowly the calls moved away to a distance and then faded. It was 5.25 pm. It lasted all of 10 minutes but for us appeared like an eternity.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 10th May 2011 at 22:21.
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Old 10th May 2011, 23:37   #99
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Default re: Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon

@gd1418: Excellent visuals with great narration with events unfolding as it occured.

Just felt like re-visiting my Pench trip with Abheek in end-March, but still haven't found time to put the journey in words.
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Old 11th May 2011, 11:29   #100
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Marking the third tree on the right of track - managed to catch the spray

GD Sahab,

Not only managed, but captured it at three different shutter speeds.
As expected your thread is only getting hotter.
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Old 11th May 2011, 12:35   #101
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Lol!! So just because you had a rain coat for your camera you went ahead with the safari in the rain and let everyone get wet in the Gypsy. I like!!!

I am really enjoying this travelogue as it seems to have everything so far. 2 Punctures in one Tyre, broken gps, killed animal on the road, broken car, Golu the knowledgeable driver, lots of history lessons and ofcourse more flaura and fauna than any other thread can boast off. And all so well presented!!

Now waiting and wanting more

P.S.= Forgot to add the petha's and Kachori's in the thread!!
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Old 11th May 2011, 13:01   #102
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Thanks Deky, and driver's name is Bablu... You know what, the rain helped us in a way. As soon as the thunderstorm started, the Forest Department stopped the entries of the jeep at the gate waiting for the rains to stop. Since we were the early birds and had entered as soon as the gate opened, I could manage to click pictures of the rain soaked forest. The Kata rain cover gave me back its money's worth.

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Lol!! So just because you had a rain coat for your camera you went ahead with the safari in the rain and let everyone get wet in the Gypsy. I like!!!

I am really enjoying this travelogue as it seems to have everything so far. 2 Punctures in one Tyre, broken gps, killed animal on the road, broken car, Golu the knowledgeable driver, lots of history lessons and ofcourse more flaura and fauna than any other thread can boast off. And all so well presented!!

Now waiting and wanting more

P.S.= Forgot to add the petha's and Kachori's in the thread!!
We still had an hour left inside the jungle. Abheek asked Bablu to take us to the spot where a Leopard was seen by some the previous morning. We neared that are. I think it was called Bijamatta. It was a rocky terrain with tall branched green trees; perfect Leopard hideout.

And sure enough we heard a call of the Cheetal. It was faint at first then grew louder and closer. Two days back a strange male Tiger was also seen in this area. It could be that too. And then we saw a pack of Langurs climb up to the highest spot on tree on thin branches. It surely was a Leopard on the move. We waited patiently, talking in whispers and not making any movement. Leopards are very shy, elusive and clever animals.

That entire area of jungle had come alive - "yump, yump, yump, khok, yump, khok, khok, khok, yump".

And then first the "khok" of Langurs stopped followed slowly by the "yump" of Cheetal. Waited some more time and decided to move on further as the Leopard had slinked away in the deep.

Exit time was getting closer and we slowly moved towards the gate. Enroute saw this Mother with her infant sitting all alone on a fallen tree branch trying to dry herself. What attracted me was that the light fell on them in such a way that a part of the face of both the mother & child was illuminated and I was happy to catch the 'eye'.

Mother Langur & her infant

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4449.jpg

Nearing the gate we stumbled upon this another set of Mother & Child. This was also my first Bison viewing in the wild.

Gaur's Eye

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4473.jpg

Mother Gaur & Calf

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4483.jpg

Gaur crossing

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4511.jpg

As we approached the gate saw this Cheetal cross the road.

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4513.jpg

Sighting of Collarwaali called for celebration. Invited Abheek over for dinner. Sat outside the room with cool breeze blowing, munching bhakarwaadis waiting for dinner to be laid. Now was the time to check the damages. My mobile that I had forgotten to remove from my hip pocket and keep it safe was totally drenched. Removed the battery and kept it under the fan to dry. In the 99% darkness deep inside my heart I was looking for that 1% brightness.

I was to be without a mobile and out of communication for the rest of my trip till I returned back to home.

Called it a day as all had to get up early for the next day. We had decided to reach early as wanted to enter the forest first in the morning. Little did I know of the morning ordeal that I would suffer at the retreat.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by manson : 12th May 2011 at 13:02.
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Old 11th May 2011, 13:15   #103
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Default re: Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon

Excellent pictures and narration. I have never been to a wildlife sanctuary yet in my life. Considering the sudden spurts of travelogues related to same has put an itch into me. But, my calendar for this year is already full. Perhaps, 2012 is the lucky year for me.

Btw, rated this thread 5*. Please continue....
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Old 11th May 2011, 16:44   #104
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Thanks mobike, for liking & rating the thread. Sudden spurt....ha ha ha. Last year it was Leh & now sanctuaries.. What next?

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Excellent pictures and narration. I have never been to a wildlife sanctuary yet in my life. Considering the sudden spurts of travelogues related to same has put an itch into me. But, my calendar for this year is already full. Perhaps, 2012 is the lucky year for me.

Btw, rated this thread 5*. Please continue....
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Old 11th May 2011, 17:01   #105
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Fantastic narration. Damn, I am glued to this thread. I am running out of time to prepare the presentation for a meeting today evening. Nevertheless, I will back on this thread waiting for your updates and of course the rest of the story with the usually fantastic pictures.

Keep em coming.

Added 5* rating.
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