Search This Blog

Friday, November 9, 2012

Kanha and my experiences

Mr. Sanjeev Kulhalli has spent more than 20 years at Kanha starting as Manager of one the resorts. We had been asking him to write down his experiences of Kanha National Park which we always hear, stories which make us jealous at times on his good luck to have spent a major part of his life at a place he loves so much. Finally here is something for all - one of his anecdote which I am sure all will cherish.

After spending close to two decades in Kanha I am frequently asked about exciting encounters or experiences with tigers or other wild animals, there have been so many that it would be impossible to pen down even a fraction of the entire collection in a single sitting. It was late in the morning after breaking our fast at Kanha museum we were on Schaller’s hide road when suddenly chital's alarm calls erupted from all over and from the circular road grasslands emerged a pack of 14 wild dogs who successfully brought down an adult chital hind, while all this was going on I was frantically trying to draw the attention of my clients who were near the barasingha enclosure in a another jeep, By the time they covered the intervening 800 meters there was nothing left of the deer ! gory! may be, brutal may be !BUT VERY REAL!!! Unfortunately that is how the wild dogs hunt.

Wild Animals at Kanha National Park. (Here we see Wild Dog, Peacock and Tiger, Photographs by Navneet Maheshwari.)

It was Christmas eve on 24th Dec. in the mid 1990'sand I was on link 7 road trying to escape the crowd as there was no restriction on the number of vehicles then, As I reached a cluster of the Indian Ghost tree ( sterculia urens) I stopped to explain the trees to my clients, When we restarted we had to cross a patch of van rahar ( a wild shrub ) and bamboo for a few hundred meters, as we turned a bend, I thought I glimpsed something streaking past at a distance I wasn’t sure what It was, the very alert guide Vinay kumar and my Jeep driver Ganesh not having reacted at all gave me the impression that perhaps I had imagined it, Never the less, I stopped the vehicle and after waiting and looking around for 2-3 minutes, I asked Ganesh to go another 20-30 metres and stop, All of us i.e. 4 clients, guide, driver and myself were trying to look beyond the bushes when with a fearful whisper Ganesh pointed from beside my right side and he was looking down and left and lo behold this tigress with a snarl on her face, her udder engorged with her belly facing us let out a thunderous roar and sprang about 3 meters vertically in the air when she landed back on the shrubs and leaves disappearing magically moaning loudly about the invasion on her privacy, We did feel guilty about disturbing her albeit unintentionally, the entire experience was exhilarating and unforgettable.

It has been a privilege working in one of the Best Tiger reserves in the country, may Kanha continue to excel in management, commitment, discipline and its glorious sightings of Fauna & flora. May it continue to lead the way in conservation.

Sanjeev Kulhalli

Mr. Sanjeev Kulhalli is presently stationed as Resident Director of Kanha Village Eco Resort at Kanha National Park.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rejuvenate with Yoga

Yoga and Meditation had been practised in Indian sub continent for time unknown with earliest identified documentation done by Patanjali in first millennium BCE in Yoga Sutras. Connection between the Indus Valley and later yoga and meditation practices is seen in some of the seals found in excavations. Physical, Mental and Spiritual upliftment are the basic idea behind yogic postures which were adopted by different religious sects and traditions in coming time.
While the Yoga Sutras focus on discipline of the mind, Hatha yoga concentrates on health and purity of the body. Many studies have determine the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer, schizophrenia, asthma and heart patients and it has been reported to have shown muscular, skeletal and mental health improvements. In the specific sense of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, its purpose is defined as chitta - vṛtti - nirodhaḥ (inhibition of the transformation of mind). Today yoga is used to alleviate health problems, reduce stress and as a complete physical and mental exercise program all over the world.

There are many Yoga teaching centers all over the world where you can learn the nuances of this age old tradition of living happily and healthy. One such upcoming school is – The Yoga Village Project. It is a non-profit, Eco friendly yoga centre planned in Northern Spain by Greg and Deva both well trained and experienced in science and art of Yoga. The vision is for it to be as self-sustainable as possible, using sustainable power sources and natural building materials. This will in turn sponsor a charity called The International Yoga Teacher Training Fund (IYTTF), which will support yoga practitioners all over the world who are unable to afford the expensive tuition fees.
Greg and Deva the founders of the project are currently learning a few methods essential in eco- house building and perma-culture. It is an ambitious project which will not only help people benefit from age old Yogic methods but also base itself on Sustainable living. I am really happy to see young and energetic people like them taking up a just cause to help people. Further details about the project can be checked at:

Photograph from Net.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Flying Squirrel and Owlets

Flying Squirrel are one of the rarest mammals to see as they are mostly nocturnal. We had been seeing one near the resort for last few months but could not photograph it ever. I always wanted to do so but it was difficult as I rarely use flash for wildlife photography since it disturbs the subject.

A few days back we got a chance to not only see a very rare instance but also photograph a Flying Squirrel. I am giving herewith details of the incidence as well as photograph of Flying squirrel here under.

Date: 6th April 2012

Place: Kanha Village Eco Resort, Village Boda Chhapri, Kanha National Park.

Species: Indian Flying Squirrel and Spotted Owlets


It was early morning at around 9.00 AM and we were enjoying a cup of tea. Suddenly we heard noice and turned. It was a old Mahua Tree around 60 meters from the resort which was falling down since its owner had put fire on its base night. This is how mostly trees are killed in villages either by burning the base or girdling them.

Flying Squirrel at Kanha Village Eco Resort, Kanha Tiger Reserve 

What attracted us was something flying out from the top of the tree which we could not recognise at once or may be were not very sure of since it looked like a flying squirrel. On checking with binoculars its identity was confirmed. It was sitting on another tree nearby, shaken, looking at the old tree which was also its house once, falllen down to human greed. After few minutes it jumped from that tree and glided towards the Jamun tree at the resort, just a few meters from where we were looking at it. We were watching intently and I called for my Camera kit, I never wanted to miss the chance to click my first Flying Squirrel.

FS waited on one branch for few minutes and at this point happened what we never expected. Suddenly it ran towards a hole on the Jamun tree which is occupied by our resident Spotted owlets. We have seen the Owlet family increase from 1 to 5 in last few years. All, hell broke out and started a fight between the owlets to defend their home and FS to take it over. Screeching and trying to bite the intruder, flying around and hooting, Owlets were so very agitated. And, in meantime FS settled a bit but had to save itself from continous assault. After few minutes it had to come out of the hole and again sat on a branch looking at the Owlets. It is here that we got some time to click a few photographs of the FS. It was a cloudy day so I could not get good shots but was happy to see something rare atleast.

Indian Flying Squirrel at Kanha Village Eco Resort, Kanha National Park

In the evening FS left the hole and was followed / chased by the Spotted Owlets for almost  100 meters. We have been trying to find it again for last few days but do not know where it has made its new residence since owlets are in peace, back with their home to themselves. We had expected FS to come back by next morning and waited to have a glance but it was nowhere to be seen.

Hope to see it soon.

Navneet Maheshwari,
Kanha Village Eco Resort

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bird Watching - Kanha National Park

Bird watching is one activity which attracts lot many people and numbers of serious and amateur bird watchers is increasing day by day. These colourful feathered friends of ours are very important in our ecological system and can be found almost everywhere. We have done plantation at our resort keeping in mind two things. Firstly, maximum trees being planted must be from local landscape. And, Secondly that the trees planted should be either fruiting or flowering once which attract our flying friends a lot.

Pied Myna enjoying Mulberry fruit
Kanha Village Eco Resort
Kanha National Park

Normally tourists come to Kanha National Park with sole intention to have an audience with the king - Tiger. But we feel to really enjoy a jungle we should see all those small and big animals, birds, insects which altogether keep it healthy. Any forests health depends on whole bio diversity working together and not only on any one species although presence of Tiger the stripped cat certainly shows that the forest patch is in best of its health.

Red Munia on Mulberry Tree
Kanha Tiger Reserve

This year Mulberry plants at our resort - Kanha Village Eco Resort have grown big and were full of black fruits which were attracting host of birds of different varieties. This gave us a chance to see even those birds we used to miss and increase our count of birds seen at the property and even take some good photographs. Here are a few photographs for all to see and enjoy.

Common Myna
Kanha National Park
By: Navneet Maheshwari, Kanha Village Eco Resort

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cleanliness Drive - Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park and Tiger Reserve is well known amongst wildlife lovers and general tourists alike, visited by tourists from all over the world. This tourist inflow has its own advantages and disadvantages. Certainly the local population has benefited a lot and their economic standard has improved with time. Although this has been a very slow process since earlier we had less awareness, even connectivity to Kanha was not very good as well as tourism infrastructure was very basic. But with time infrastructure for tourism has improved with it influx of tourists and development of local population.

Picking plastic and rags thrown by tourists and local people

With more tourists entering the national park certainly it will have some negative impact on the parks environment and disturb wildlife at times. But this in comparison with the awareness created and funding raised for protection and local population is very minimal.

All tourism areas have some issues which needs to be carefully understood and taken care of. Sustainable use of our natural resources and sustainable tourism should go hand in hand and this needs awareness and meticulous planning at all level. Kanha management has done this well and often tourists visiting the park can see and feel the difference in comparison to other national parks. Still, outside the national park especially with tourists and local population a lot needs to be done. One such issue is littering especially of plastic pouches, sachets and bottles. This issue has been raised amidst the lodge association and local people as well as park management many times but still no solution is visible.

Mr. Sanjeev Kulhalli, Director, Kanha Village Eco Resort
Picking up plastic pouches and rags

To create awareness amongst local people and tourists alike we decided to do a cleanliness drive from Khatia main gate onwards. We collected rugs, plastic pouches, etc, and burnt them in the evening. This was participated by Mr. Sanjeev Kulhalli, Director, Kanha Village Eco Resort and Member of Lodges Association executive committee, Mr. Karan Modi, Secretary, Lodges Association, Owner of Flame of teh Forest, myself, Krishna Jungle Resort and other staff and members of our lodges. We also requested the local public especially Dhabha units to take care and not to throw rubbish especially plastic on roads but to collect them at one place and burn after some time. It was bought to notice of all that plastic thrown around is eaten by animals harming them and also pollutes the local environment.

This was a small campaign which we are planning to do for coming weeks so as to create awareness amongst public at large. We will take up more issues with time and try to do our best keeping our responcibilities towards our environment and forests in mind especially towards our national animal Tiger and other denizens of forests.

Tiger - The King of Forest, whose home we are trying to protect.
Kanha National Park

By: Navneet Maheshwari, Owner, Kanha Village Eco Resort

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tiger of Kanha

Munna - is dominent male in Kanha zone
Here is Munna, the dominent male of Kanha zone of Kanha Tiger Reserve. His territory is very large after death of Konda he has taken up some of his area also. He is almost 10 years old and was thought to have either left his territory or died after a fight with other male since he was no where to be seen for almost a month.

Munna - Sitting under bamboo shade
He was seen a few days back and bought back smile on every ones face. Here he was sitting under Bamboo's shade and cooling off when he was seen by the Mahouts and a Tiger show was declared.

Mr. John Alexender Watson, Ms. Sarah White, Ms. Brinda and other guests from New Zealand and United Kingdom staying at Kanha Village Eco Resort got a chance to see Munna and click a few photographs.

Sighting a tiger in the wild is an experience in itself, something which cannot be expressed but only felt. Kanha National Park is home to around 60 Tigers (excluding young ones). We go on Gypsy Safari to see these beautiful striped cats. It is only when you see one of your own in the wildreness of Kanha that you may appreciate why our ancestors used to call it God or Vehicle of Goddess.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Survey of tiger reserves to check corridors for movement

Tiger at Kanha National Park
(Photograph by Navneet Maheshwari, Kanha Village Eco Resort)
 Dehradun : Taking cognisance of the fact that the elephant problem in Uttarakhand had reached jumbo proportions because the forest corridors used by the pachyderms for migration had been lost to construction and developmental projects, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) intends getting a satellite survey done of all the 41 tiger reserves in the country to check the corridors that may have been lost due to construction activity.

The survey will be undertaken by the Forest Survey of India some time in the middle of this year. The main purpose of it will be to check whether the corridors that were in the forest divisions of the tiger reserves for the movement of the felines are still in tact, or they have been lost to the rampant construction that is taking place in and around these resorts.

Informed sources said that it had been brought to the notice of the NTCA that rampant construction had been done within and in the periphery of the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand , which had witnessed a considerable increase in the number of tigers over the past few years. The construction, of resorts in particular, was of all the more concern as they were coming up without due sanction from the forest authorities and were a threat to the wildlife in the region, they claimed.

They said that a survey had been done of the tiger population in the country in 2010, which had shown a healthy trend that there was an increase of almost 300 in the feline population in the country. But was damning was the fact that the survey also indicated that there was decline in the area of the tiger habitat, which meant little space for the felines, which are territorial animals.

Sources said that the survey would focus on what is the exact area of forest cover in the tiger reserves of the country and taking the feline numbers is it adequate to meet their territorial and other requirements; what are the changes that have taken place in the tiger reserves during the past two decades and how many corridors in these reserves have been lost and for what reasons.

They said that it was a matter of great concern that not only the population but activity in and around the tiger reserves was also on the rise which would affect the tiger conservation programme over the years. A large number of efforts have been put in the tiger conservation project in the past few years, and these are showing positive results, but the good work was in for a setback due to human activity in and around the reserves, they contended.

It may be mentioned here, that because of the forest corridors which were used by the elephant herds for migration in the Uttarakhand forests having been lost to development activities and rampant construction over the years, having been lost, the pachyderms were confined in pockets forcing them into direct conflict with man.

A recent study undertaken by the Wildlife Institute of India indicated that elephant-man conflict in Uttarakhand had increased manifold after 2001 and the pachyderms had killed 95 persons and injured another 65 during this period. There was also an increase in the number of incidents of wild herds entering agricultural fields and destroying the crops, because of which there were occasions when villagers also killed some elephants.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

India should create wildlife cadre to protect tigers: Valmik Thapar

BANGKOK: India should step up efforts to revamp its forest service and create a separate wildlife cadre for tigers which can work in partnership with other agencies to protect the animal, a top conservationist has said.
Valmik Thapar, an Indian conservationist, is of the view that when the British left India they also left behind the Indian Forest Service, whose primary duty was cutting of forests and use of forests.
"That scenario has changed now, it is not only about protecting the forest but also protecting its wildlife," he said adding that wildlife protection was a very tiny part of the service and not sufficient and called for a wildlife cadre.
"If India wants more landscape for tigers, a separate cadre has to be carved," he said on the sidelines of a Tiger protection conference here. "The time has come for change, new partnerships without that tigers won't be alive," he told PTI.
The Tiger conference organised by the UN office of Drugs and Crime saw police and customs heads and Tiger conservationists from 13 Asian countries agreeing to tighten controls and improve cross border cooperation to curb the illegal smuggling of tigers and other critically endangered species.
"We must take immediate and urgent action to save these magnificent animals from extinction," Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation said.
Thapar said poaching was linked to a government. "Poaching accelerate, when there is a bad and weak government as poachers exploit these gaps," he said, adding that bad governance and bad political leadership also led to the endangerment of animal species.
He felt that India's forest department did not like change. "We need to rethink otherwise we have no hope," he lamented. Meanwhile, the Global Tiger Initiative of the World Bank said India faced major challenges in sustaining the integrity and inviolability of core tiger habitats and corridors (mounting pressures from roads, mining and extraction industries).
It said that one billion US dollars were needed to relocate villages out of the core areas. Another challenge was in maintaining tiger occupancy in habitats outside tiger reserves and noted there was a 20 per cent in tiger occupancy observed habitats outside designated tiger reserves. A third challenge according to the Tiger Initiative was managing human-wildlife relationships noting there had been increased tiger-human conflict in some landscapes.

However the Global Initiative also noted that India had made some major achievements. These included addition of 2,500 km2 of new tiger habitat by establishing two new Tiger Reserves bringing a total of 54,656 Km2 under 41 Tiger reserves. This represented a five per cent increase in tiger habitat under protection, it said adding that five more tiger reserves were under establishment and another six were proposed.

It said across the country, tiger and prey estimations had recorded a modest increase in tiger numbers and that wildlife corridors connecting critical tiger breeding areas had been identified and published.
"If we lose an emblematic species like the Tiger, mankind will be acknowledging that it is prepared to lose any animal on the planet. This must not be allowed to happen," Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UNODC told the conference adding that "by our actions we must show that we have the capacity, the ability and the commitment to protect other species living on this planet." 

UP polls: When a tiger scares away 350 voters

MALIHABAD (UTTAR PRADESH): The overzealous state machinery might be sparing no effort to facilitate safe voting for a security-conscious Chief Minister Mayawati inside the premises of a school in Lucknow. But, just 28 km away in rural Malihabad constituency, people are afraid to vote, living as they do in the fear of being stalked by a tiger on the prowl.
The apathy on the part of local authorities was clearly spelt out by Lucknow DIG Police D.K.Thakur, who told mediapersons Sunday morning: "Why should people be scared of the tiger during the day, when the animal has been striking only at night?"
"After all, they have been living with the tiger around for so many weeks and it has not attacked a single human being," said Thakur, when asked if any special arrangement was being made to restore confidence of the people against the tiger menace.
Helpless villagers are least enthusiastic about venturing out to poll and risk their lives. "Why should I go to vote when the government has not cared to rid of this tiger who has made our lives miserable for the past one-and-a-half month," asked 25-year-old Sanjay of Urlapur village.
According to Ram Sewak, 57, of Dugauli village, "The route to the polling booth is so deserted and so close to the forest where the tiger has been hiding that we rather keep ourselves inside our homes."
What was strange that even wildlife authorities have failed to do anything concrete to relieve the villagers of the tension on account of the tiger, which has devoured and attacked their cattle on several occasions. The village is located in the midst of a tiny forest patch in Rehmankhera, around 150 km away, where the tiger had apparently strayed from the thick of the wild.
"The authorities do not seem to be serious because the wild cat has not eaten up any human being, they are only waiting for that to happen," said a villager.
Another villager Ramesh told IANS: "Neither political parties nor officials were bothered, because there were only about 350 votes here."
People were seen working in the fields, children were playing about, men were going about on bicycles and motorcycles, but clearly, they were scared of trudging along the 2 km road running along the forest patch to reach their polling station. A residents of Ulrapur claimed, "Even most candidates were afraid to venture out in the forest to campaign and ask villagers to vote for them."
The last round of the seven-phased election to the 403 member assembly in India's most populous and politically crucial state will be held March 3 and votes counted March 6.
Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tiger breeding: Panna strikes global first, Sariska fails - Hindustan Times

It is a mixed bag for future of tigers. A captive bred tigress in Panna, Madhya Pradesh, has become world’s first big cat to deliver in wild but pregnancy of a relocated tigress in Sariska, Rajasthan, has failed for the second time, a setback to the breeding efforts.

Panna and Sariska are India’s big cat experiment labs as both lost them due to poaching and the government re-introduced tigers from similar landscape to create a new pool. On Wednesday, Panna delivered the world’s first --- two cubs from a six-year-old captive tigress, who was orphaned six years ago and was reared in an enclosure in Kanha tiger reserve. She and her two siblings – a brother and a sister --- were trained for hunting in the enclosure. After a positive report from Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the tigresses were shifted to Panna in March 2011 and the brother, who was injured, to Van Vihar, Bhopal. “The tigress has been spotted with two cubs after mating with a wild tiger,” said R S Murthy, field director of Panna Tiger Reserve that had no tigers in 2009.

In all seven tigers have been relocated to Panna. Since the two tigresses landed, there was around the clock monitoring through Global Positioning System (GPS). In September 2011, the elder tigress, which created history, lost the radio collar and since then she was being monitored manually. The forest guards were able to spot and record the presence of two cubs with the mother on Wednesday. “It is for first time captive bred tigress has adapted completely to wild conditions,” Murthy said. But, the said news is that her sister had been badly injured in a brawl with another tiger. “She will take four to five days to recover,” he said, adding that she was slow in adapting to wild conditions unlike her elder sister. That has not happened in Sariska, which lost all tigers in 2004. A tiger and two tigresses were shifted from Rathambore and only one tigress had conceived twice. “She has again lost her baby,” an official of National Tiger Conservation Authority said, adding that the Wildlife Institute of India has been asked to investigate the reasons for repeated abortions. However, officials said the high human presence in Sariska was causing problems for the big cats there.

Tiger breeding: Panna strikes global first, Sariska fails - Hindustan Times

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tiger, Safari and Holiday

December end comes holiday season, families with packed suitcases storm to railway stations and airports to catch their preferred vehicle toward holiday destination of their choice. The basic idea behind this hush bush is of forgetting the work load at office and spend some quality time with family and friends and to get back home with memorable photographs of places visited and enjoyed.
Holiday with tiger is a good idea and visiting tiger reserves to have a glimpse of the king of the Indian forest is catching up very fast. Kanha National Park in central India is one such destination where tourists from all over the world come to see the magnificent big cat and other animals free roaming in their home territory. I have been visiting Kanha for last 18 years and have seen it growing, with villages around being sleepy once upon a time to now where everyone is trying to make a buck, earn and live happily. Local population has certainly gained a lot from growing tourism around national parks.

It was a few years back when I realized that most of the hotels and resorts around Kanha are running with only commercial angle in view. All are made up of the same brick and cement structure in which we live in cities. And came a thought, why not plan something where tourists can enjoy the tribal housing structures made of mud and clay but with all amenities. To make our town inhabitant see the benefit of age old clay and mud housing bought to perfection with time by local tribesmen. With this came Kanha Village Eco Resort, a concept which I felt will be liked by city dwellers a lot. My motive was never commercial but to just make enough money to take out my interest part with which I would have been more than happy but more so to change the concept of Tigers and only Tigers to nature walks, bird watching, tribal village visits and like.

Most of the tourists visiting national parks have only one thing in mind – Tiger, they come to see it and are not interested in anything else. For this we have Gypsy vehicles available which take you around the park for a safari in search of the stripped cat. Once forest department realized that number of vehicles entering the national park is very high and rapidly growing every year a number ban was imposed to keep a check on pollution and harmful impact of moving vehicles. With this started a woe for the tourists who come to the national park not knowing that only a certain number of vehicles are permitted and all entry tickets have been booked well in advance. So now your holiday is being wasted, no audience with his majesty – King Tiger and all money gone to drain. And, with this started problems this holiday season which I had not realized earlier.

Now a day’s many bookings come directly through online booking agencies and people do not get in touch with the hotel until a day or two before reaching. Many tourists who visited our property were stranded for not getting an entry to the national park and felt we have betrayed them. Once who had planned well, talked to people who have visited earlier or called us to check could take a safari but what about others. The idea of enjoying the holiday with picnics, nature walks, bird watching etc. etc. which I was very much interested in pushing ahead all failed. I am quoting a few incidents here along with the lessons we have learnt and hope this will help other tourists and hoteliers alike.

Our Guest Mr. SG had booked through one travel agency and paid for safaris well in advance (almost 45 days) but the travel agent failed to pass on required details even after continuous requests. In the mean time all safari tickets for requisite dates got booked. We got a call from the guest only a couple of days before coming and had to tell them about it along with that we will try our best to do something but cannot commit anything so late and also will try our best to make their holiday a memorable one. We could arrange only 2 entry tickets instead of 3 and here started the problems which we had never anticipated. Mr. SG was so annoyed that he started beating and mistreating hotel staff members abusing with all the best possible obscene words. Our staff members had been trying hard to arrange entry tickets against any last moment cancellations but with this incidence they requested guests to directly contact the ticket counter. Not only the holiday of guests got ruined our staff members had to bear for mistake of someone else.

Incidence 2: One Guest MR SPS had booked after talking directly with our resort manager who had it seems said he will try to do his best and manage but cannot assure a safari. When Mrs. & Mr. SPS reached the resort and came to know that it is not possible to get an entry ticket and about the incidence of a day earlier (Mr. SG) also that the only way out is that he will have to personally ask the ticket counter personals where a few tickets are kept for last minute travelers or if entry ticket is available due to last minute cancellations. This was possible only in the afternoon so we sent the couple for nature walk and bird watching which they seemed to be very much interested in. After coming back from nature walk, I don’t know what realization set in and Mr. SPS left for his home without any further communication. Later I was informed that he had asked for a vehicle to go to entry gate and was told we have a two wheeler available and not a car and if required we can call a taxi if he insists for four wheeler but he will have to pay for it. It seems Mr. SPS thought we are just trying to make money out of him and got a bit angry and left. Miscommunication, misunderstanding or both?

Incidence 3: We got a very last minute booking through a travel agent and clearly communicated that we are not very sure if safari tickets will be available or not but that we will try to help the tourists. These tourists were booked at some other resort well in advance and had their safari tickets made but the manager of this resort did not pass them to us rather got them cancelled. Guests had to change the resort at the last moment due to some maintenance problem at the property which was not possible to sort out immediately. Guest Mr. V was not very happy as such firstly due to change of resort at the last moment and now with availability of one safari only instead of two. One of our staff members had an entry ticket which he had booked for his personal guests and tried to help and send Mr. V and family on it but the forest department did not allow it and returned them from the entry gate. Mr. V had to settle down with only one safari but, he took it very lightly and considered our problem realizing that our staff members are trying their best to help out but we felt really bad since he had lost a safari and a chance to enjoy the forest.

I realized that mostly tourists coming to any forest area especially tiger reserve comes with the sole idea of seeing a tiger and only the tiger. They are not interested in anything like an eco holiday with other activities and so it is always the best to contact the guest directly and ask for booking of safari which if required should be done immediately.

To book a safari vehicle with seating capacity of maximum 6 people following details are needed and I request all tourists to give the details to your accommodation provider well in advance so as you do not miss a safari and ruin your holiday. Name, age and fathers / husband’s name of all guests along with address of at least one guest with a photo id proof and its number. Do remember to carry the original ID proof with you when entering the park as it is checked before any entry.

You can also book your entry ticket directly through the website of MP Online. Go to the website, click on citizen services, go to national parks under the head reservations, click on book now and book your ticket directly.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Enjoy Tribal life along with Tiger safari

Wildlife watching has come up in a very strong way and wildlife watching and Eco tourism is on the rise. Most national parks and wilderness areas are located in districts where tribal population is good. While visiting any national park for tiger safari or wildlife / bird watching a good addition can be, visit to some tribal villages to see and understand their culture and tradition.

Kanha National Park is one of the most famous tiger reserves in India where people from around the world visit to see wild animals in their home the jungles. Most visitors visit the national park in open gypsy and enjoy the Sal and Bamboo forests and grasslands so aptly described by many authors and made famous by Rudyard Kipling in his famous Jungle Book. Visiting Kanha is an experience no one would ever forget, seeing Spotted deer, Sambhar deer, Jackal, Fox, Leopard, Sloth beer and so many other animals, birds, insects and reptiles along with the Hard ground Barasingha known as jewel of Kanha or the king of the forest – Tiger makes you a true nature lover from your first round inside the forest.

Tourism in and around national parks like Kanha is restricted to wildlife watching and most tourists do not see the Tribal culture of the area. Gond and Baiga tribal have been living in this region for time unknown and a visit to their village can be a fine experience. If properly planned you can see the lifestyle of these tribal communities and even have dinner at their house to get a taste of what they eat. The ethnic tribal cuisines are made of coarse grains but are really tasty and healthy above all since most of these are grown without chemical fertilizers. Trying local bread known as 'Roti’s' made of Kodo, Maize or Makka along with chatni (Local sauce) or some vegitable and Mahua alchohol which is brewed by almost every household is an experience in itself.

If you reach on local market day, which is Wednesday for Kanha, you will be able to see small stalls with fruits, vegetables, cloths, silver jewellery, utensils, toys etc. And if it’s some religious program at any villagers house you can see them dancing happily and enjoying. Although new movie songs have entered the tribal culture but still at places you can hear the old tunes on dholak and manjira. You can even enjoy tribal dance along with bon fire and dinner at any tribal household which can be arranged by your accommodation provider. Near Kanha Tiger Reserve, Kanha Village Eco Resort is well known for its eco tourism policy and does these kind of activities for its guest which they believe is a good way of helping the locals economically as they get paid for food and tribal dance.

So, when you plan a trip to Kanha National Park or any other forest area next time do remember to take out some time to see and enjoy the local tribal culture as well. This will help you in understanding how difficult the lifestyle of these local people is but even then they are the happiest lot with whatever minimal possessions they have.