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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Phen Wildlife Sanctuary - A wildlife paradise

111 Sq Kms of pristine forest, North East of Kanha Tiger Reserve, a mini satellite core of Kanha – Phen Wildlife Sanctuary, is in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh. A nature lovers’ paradise, it is best for bird watchers and ones who love forest.  With Sal, Teak, Saja, Aonla, Tendu, Jamun, Bel, Bamboo and Bargad it has more than 800 known species of flora. Mammals and bird life abound, we can spot more than 200 bird species along with Hyena, Fox, Sloth bear, Gaur, Leopard, Wild Dog, Jungle Cat and Blue Bull and other wildlife. A few very lucky ones even spot a Tiger – the King of Indian forests.
Bamhani Dadar used to be like this when we used to visit in October” exclaimed Kalim bhai. At places our 4x4 Gypsy could not be seen under tall grass in the beautiful meadows.  “Yes, it reminds us of 20 years back, when Kanha had less tourist influx and most of it was open for tourism.” Kamal added. Ravi our guide provided by forest department had excellent knowledge of local fauna which was a treat and increased our knowledge.
“We should come back between mid-November till mid-February for bird watching, to spot migratory birds” I add. Due to very few tourists visiting the sanctuary animals here are very cautious of any sound or sight of humans. Sir, ‘Tendua’ (Leopard) exclaimed Ravi, the rosettes could be seen clearly. Walking through dense foliage it climbed up a tree, away from our prying eyes. Sloth bear pugmarks could be seen at many places. We were lucky enough to spot Jungle Cat, Blue Bull, Gaur, Wild Boar and Spotted deer amongst others.  
Kanha national park management has worked hard on restoration of forest. Villages from inside were relocated making the forest inviolate - void of human interference. Old school building of one time human settlement is being used by forest department for management purpose which has saved a lot of money on developing fresh setup, a move worth commendation.

Madhya Pradesh Tourism is starting a wildlife lodge near the entry gate, till than the only option is to live nearby at any resort in Kanha. We were carrying our own jungle hamper and thank our stars for it. Since still very few tourists visit Phen the infrastructure is not well developed and it does not have a cafeteria. Hopefully soon Phen Sanctuary will set a leading example on Responsible wildlife  Eco-Tourism in India.

If you love nature just do not contemplate, plan your tour and enjoy wilderness – undisturbed and pristine.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Step by step guide to book your safari excursion

Want to spot a tiger in the wild?
Planning a wildlife holiday to Madhya Pradesh?
Tiger at Kanha National Park
Book your safari well in advance to have a great safari experience......

Here is a how to book your own safari, a step to step guide to make your wildlife experience a perfect one and end dependency on others:

1 - Go to website

2 - Choose your Destination - Following options are available at present - Kanha national park, Bandhavgarh national park, Pench national park, Panna national park and Satpura national park. Here we have chosen Kanha.
3 - Choose your date of travel
4 - Choose your ticket type - You have 2 options to choose between full vehicle permit and single person permit. If only 2 - 3 people are going for holiday and you are comfortable with sharing with others single vehicle permit is a good option. If you are going for photography or with a larger group of 4 - 6 guests it is better to book full vehicle permit.
5 - Click on - 'Excursion Availability' tab

6 - Click on date for which you want to book safari excursion. Here in example we have clicked 01-12-2016 for full vehicle permit.

7 - Fill Zone (Kanha / Kisli / Sarhi / Mukki) and round details (morning / evening).
8 - Leave vehicle type and other details as it is and click on 'Proceed for tourist details' tab.

9 - Fill full details as required, do not forget ID proof number of all guests. Click at 'I agree' tab at last and Continue tab.

10 - Check all details, note down the booking id generated. Click payment tab.

11 - Make payment online. You will get a confirmation that your ticket is booked.

Carry your ticket printout along with original ID proof as filled while booking permit, get it checked at entry gate and enjoy your safari.

Present safari permit rate (2016 - 17 Season) is 1500/- for a full vehicle permit. You also have to pay Rs. 50/- extra as portal charges. Vehicle charges and guide charges are extra which you have to pay at the hotel or entry gate. Safari vehicle charges are between 1800/- to 2500/- at different national parks.

Enjoy your forest excursions at Tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh, Cheers!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Safari details for season 2016 - 17

The Tourism Rules for season 2016 - 17 has been notified by Madhya Pradesh forest department through MP Online.
2)      Here onwards, there will be no more differential rates for Indian & Foreign Tourists in all Parks of MP
3)      The Park Entry Fees will be Rs. 1500/- Per Permit (the increase is approx 10%)
4)      Premium Zone Concept abolished, No more Premium Zones in Kanha & Bandhavgarh.
5)      Single Seat introduced with 10% Quota from On-line Tickets & in Current Bookings.
6)      Premium Ticket Concept is scarped.
7)      Add-On Facility will be continued with following changes ...
·         In the Original Ticket, Minimum 2 tourist names are must with the photo ID number.
·         Now, We will pay Only Rs. 1500/- as One time Charge for this Add-On facility (not per add-on of guest)
·         We can add maximum 4 Guest through this add-on facility.
·         Only One Time Edit, will be possible.

8)      Wait Listed Ticket Concept: 25% of the Day’s Ticket Quota, will be issued as Wait-Listed Tickets, such tickets will be automatically stands cancelled, if not confirmed before 6 days of date of travel.

9)      Any photo ID of the tourist will be acceptable at the gate for verification.

10)   Guide Charges will be Rs. 360/- Per Round from the coming season

11)   No entry fee for children up to 5 years of age, Half Entry Fee for Children between 5-12 yrs in single permit

12)   In all tiger reserves of MP, the date of tiger census will be declared well in advance to avoid any inconvenience to the tourist.

Enjoy your holiday with Tigers in national parks of Madhya Pradesh

Friday, April 15, 2016

Depection of Mother Goddess as Mother Earth in Hindu religion

सनातन हिन्दू धर्मानुसार माँ के ३ मुख्य स्वरूप दिखाए जाते है, अगर हम ये माने की माँ यहाँ पर पृथ्वी माँ है तथा बताये गए स्वरूपों को समझने की कोशिश करें तो हमारे समझ में आयेगा की हमारे पूर्वज कितना सही सोचते थे.

In Hinduism we are given 3 major portrayal of mother goddess. If we take mother goddess as Mother earth and correlate all three with what is happening around, we see a lot of similarity in the way our ancestors have described mother. If we try to interpret what they actually wanted to say it looks like -

देवी अन्नपूर्णा – हमारी हरेक मनोकामना पुरी करती थी, हरे रंग की साड़ी पहने हुए दिखाई जाती है, शांत स्वरूप – कितना सही है, जब पृथ्वी देवी पूर्ण रूप से वनों से आच्छादित थी हरेक जीव को सब कुछ मिल जाता था, न खाने की फिकर न काम की.

Devi Annapurna – Pleasing green attire, always ready to provide what any living being requested for. No one had to work as all your demands are fulfilled. How true it is, when mother earth was covered with greenery / forests we had everything we wanted.

देवी दुर्गा – लाल वस्त्र धारण करती है, भक्तो को केवल माँगने से नहीं वरन तप (कर्म) करने से फल प्राप्त होता है. जब पृथ्वी माता के हरे वस्त्रो ने लाल मिट्टी का रूप ले लिया हमें खेती व अन्य कार्य करने पड़ते है कुछ भी प्राप्त करने हेतु.

Devi Durga – Red attire, riding on tiger, living being had to do ‘Tapa’ i.e. work for getting anything, to fulfil its demand. When we started destroying forests, started cultivation on earth everything changed. Now we had to work hard to get what we wanted, to fulfil our desire. When seen from the top it looks like mother earth is wearing a red attire (agricultural fields).

देवी काली – कोई वस्त्र धारण नहीं करती, नर मुंड की माला ही उनका वस्त्राभूषण है, रक्त पान करते हुए चित्रित किया जाता है. जब हम जंगलो को पूरा ख़त्म कर देंगे तब हमें यह स्वरूप देखने को मिलेगा. काला स्वरूप – प्रदूषण के कारण हवा, जल, नभ सब काले,  संपूर्ण संसार में सब तरफ नर मुंड पड़े होंगे पृथ्वी माँ के श्रृंगार के रूप में.

Devi Kaali – Is depicted as black coloured, without any cloths on except bones and skulls as her adornments, drinking blood from a skull. When we finish all forests, pollution level goes up, everything including air and water will turn black due to pollutants. We will find skulls and bones of dead lying around everywhere on earth.

The three depictions above are very clear and tell us importance of saving our forests and conservation.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Saundraya Lahiri

Monday, March 21, 2016

Real prosperity - ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

ॐ द्यौः शान्तिरन्तरिक्षं शान्तिः

पृथिवी शान्तिरापः शान्तिरोषधयः शान्तिः ।

वनस्पतयः शान्तिर्विश्वेदेवाः शान्तिर्ब्रह्म शान्तिः

सर्वं शान्तिः शान्तिरेव शान्तिः सा मा शान्तिरेधि ॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om Dyauh Shaantir-Antarikssam Shaantih

Prthivii Shaantir-Aapah Shaantir-Ossadhayah Shaantih |

Vanaspatayah Shaantir-Vishve-Devaah Shaantir-Brahma Shaantih

Sarvam Shaantih Shaantireva Shaantih Saa Maa Shaantir-Edhi |

Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

OM, May Heaven Prosper, Sky Prosper,

May Earth Prosper, Water Prosper, Plants Prosper,

May Trees Prosper, Gods Prosper, Brahman Prosper,

May all Prosper, May that prosperity, real prosperity be mine,
Om, Prosper, Prosper, Prosper

It is really amazing how far our elders thought thousands of years back. They understood that our prosperity lies on prosperity of nature. The above shloka which is read by us in all religious functions has such a deep meaning.

Heaven - Sky - Earth - Water - Plants - Trees - Gods - Brahman - All - Me

How well it goes starting from Heaven ending on Me. They knew that real prosperity lies in prosperity of all especially all natural constituents. They knew that only when Earth, Water, Plants and Trees will prosper that we will be able to really prosper.

Today we are running after economic prosperity leaving all others behind. The way we have polluted our water, degraded our forests (plants and trees) we will not be able to realize that REAL PROSPERITY.

They realized that real prosperity will only be there if all prosper, by all they don't mean only we humans but all living beings be it a small ant or largest of all Whale. The cycle of life, death and rebirth has been so well devised. Only good karma will lead you to better life in next birth but finally you have to reach the parmatma only then your soul will rest in eternal peace with its maker. For reaching the parmatma you have to do good deeds, righteous karma and breach the continuous cycle of death and rebirth.

How correct they were, only your righteous karma will bring prosperity for all.

Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Monday, March 14, 2016

Inner strength - way of living

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Forests, Culture, Nation - the web

The recent debate on JNU and right to speak ignited a thought process on nation, nationality and nationalism. First let’s understand what nation and its symbols stand for:

Nation – a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own.

National symbols – As per Wikipedia: “A national symbol is a symbol of any entity considering itself and manifesting itself to the world as a national community: the sovereign states but also nations and countries in a state of colonial or other dependence, (con)federal integration, or even an ethno cultural community considered a 'nationality' despite having no political autonomy.

National symbols intend to unite people by creating visual, verbal, or iconic representations of the national people, values, goals, or history.

These symbols are often rallied around as part of celebrations of patriotism or aspiring nationalism (such as independence, autonomy or separation movements) and are designed to be inclusive and representative of all the people of the national community.” (Part in bold is subject of my thoughts)

National symbols as described in government of India’s website: : “This section introduces you to the National Identity Elements of India. These symbols are intrinsic to the Indian identity and heritage. Indians of all demographics backgrounds across the world are proud of these National Symbols as they infuse a sense of pride and patriotism in every Indian's heart.”

As per above website national symbols of India include our national: flag – the tricolour, anthem – Jana Gana Mana, song – Vande Matram, emblem – Sarnath lions, bird – Peacock, animal – Tiger and flower – Lotus amongst others. Off these 3 are living symbols – Peacock, Tiger and Lotus.

I have been thinking of the kind of debate that has arisen in last few days, everybody from top to bottom, media and people are talking about how a few students (they are not sure if they were students or outsiders) raised slogans against our mother land and even went down to say they will fight till they break us. How and why? From where did they get the guts to even say something like this for our mother land? Is it that we Indians have not raised our children to love our country? Is it that we no longer think of our country first but only about ourselves? Is it that for us now our country is not our mother land but just a chunk of land? Is it that we are a total failure, a land of corrupt people and what Sir Winston Churchill said was right?

It seems it all zeroes on our system. Today we have become more money conscious, we just want to be economically sound and don’t care where our nation and our culture is going. We from a nation which respected our country as mother land, lived sustainably, revered nature and forests have become ‘pro development’ even if it is harmful for us and our coming generations in the long run. Recently I read about a decision passed at the Supreme Court of India, it was about Tigers and its habitat. Yes, it was only about an animal not our national animal, the symbol of free and united India, the symbol of patriotism and valour. I have not yet read the whole order but as per media reports it said: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said conservation of tigers was important but could not be at the cost of movement of human beings from one place to another and general economic development of the country. ( Although it also said that “……. go before the HC and inform it about the measures that needed to be taken for conservation of tigers.”

But, the harm was done. The message went out very clearly – economic development projects and we humans are important and not Tiger our national animal, our symbol of independent India. When we don’t care about our living symbol of nation where will our national flag and anthem stand with time? The message which goes by above order in no way helps us in increasing love for our nation or its representing symbols but says economic development at cost of symbol of our independence, even our coming generations health and security is more important. When any nation doesn’t care about its symbol of nationality of which we should be proud of where is the nation heading? Where is that sense of pride and patriotism?

In October 2002, a judgement was passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in a PIL filled against opencast strip mining operations in Kudremukh national park which said: “By destroying nature, environment, man is committing matricide, having in a way killed Mother Earth. Technological excellence, growth of industries, economical gains have led to depletion of natural resources irreversibly. Indifference to the grave consequences, lack of concern and foresight have contributed in large measures to the alarming position. In the case at hand, the alleged victim is the flora and fauna in and around Kudremukh National Park, a part of the Western Ghats. The forests in the area are among 18 internationally recognised ‘hotspots’ for biodiversity conservation in the world”. Central and state governments were ordered to look into implementation of eco-restoration plan at the cost of KIOCL and to evict all KIOCL equipment, building, machinery, etc., to clear the area for reclaiming by nature.

What has happened in these less than 14 years? What has caused this turn of mind? When even our Supreme Court thinks that Tiger is just an animal and human rights come above everything how can we expect our citizens to have that love for our nation our mother land and our national symbols. Where is patriotism?

Our Indian philosophy says that every living being be it a small ant or a big elephant, trees or even humans have equal importance as all have ‘Atman’ in them which changes its body – the outer shell time to time. It says Tiger is vehicle of mother goddess. Tiger – which is revered by our tribal community as their elders or Bagh deo. When we finish all our free roaming tigers and its habitat what will we say to our reverend mother goddess – Oh mother sorry we have finished all your vehicles, but, don’t worry, I will give an extra dakshina of 50/- just take a taxi when I need you, but do come to save me??????? In a country where it was right of living for all, where we revered our forests and our rivers, today we have left all this back and are only living for our own self and that also with so short sightedness that we don’t care what will happen to our coming generations when all forests are cleared, rivers are dead and air full of pollutants.

What happened at JNU, where a few people were hooting our mother land, shouting slogans against our nation and no one objected says it all. We have taken a wrong path and need to turn right now before it is too late. Just do not boast about our culture and religion, follow it with pure and true heart, respect what it says, love life.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Trip to Bandhavgarh National Park to see Tigers in India

Trip to Bandhavgarh National Park to see Tigers in India: Tigers are the beautiful creatures on earth. India is one of very few breeding grounds that produce this magnificent wild cat. In India Bandhavgarh ranks first where you have maximum possibility to meet the ferocious yet beautiful tigers. We organize jungle book show for you to see Indian tigers in natural abode. Get ready to see tigers with us that require only 1-3 days, stay near national park in a character accommodation, enjoy Indian delicacies and jeep, elephant safaris.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Little Rann of Kutch - Wildlifers Paradise

Little Rann Of Kutch, also known as Chota Rann of Gujarat is one of the best places for wildlife and nature lovers. Known to have more than 300 bird species and one of the best place to see Indian Wild Ass - Khur / Gudkhur. Recognised by UNESCO as a Biosphere reserve it is the last refuge for the Indian Wild Ass. Declared a wild ass sanctuary spanning almost 5000 Sq Km, it is traditionally used for Salt panning and now for shrimp farming.

I got a chance to visit this beautiful land when I was invited by Rotary Club of Wadhwan City for giving a presentation on Indian wildlife. Here is a glimpse of what you can expect at Little Rann:

Cranes at Little Rann of Kutch

Flamingos - come in thousands at Rann

Flamingos in Flight

One of the best places to study and photograph Flamingos - Little Rann

Flamingo at Little Rann of Kutch

Indian Wild Ass - Khur

Pelicans can be observed at Little Rann with ease

Little Rann of Kutch - the last refuge for Indian Wild Ass

Indian Wild Ass at Wild Ass Sanctuary, Gujarat

Flamingo searching for food in Little Rann of Kutch

I would like to Thank Mr Chetan Bhai and all members of Rotary Club of Wadhwan City because of whom this trip could materialise. And last but not the least my Dear friend Vikrant Patel, My Pleasure Holidays, Ahmedabad who accompanied me for the trip.