Sunday, May 31, 2009

Of colors in stone

Captain Forsyth described it as a "Gorge in the River Narmada" though simple English the phrase appears to be poetic - by all means. Marble Rocks or Bhedaghat, the latter precisely means a gorge is actually composed of rocks of raw marble saturated with hues of mind boggling colors. Through the steep rocks flows the river Narmada.

The river enters the gorge at Dhuandhar Falls. The fall was once impressively deep, but after Bargi Dam was built the water level has risen reducing the depth. Never the less the spread of the falls is still impressive, the speed with which the waters gush through makes it enchanting.

The white waters rush through the narrow and steep inlet of the gorge at a break neck speed. At this juncture the river is impossible to navigate. The boat rides at Marble Rocks begin at the right bank of the river at place called Panchavati. The river is spread wide here, but soon narrows down as the cliffs arrive. The slow hand rowed boats offer the greatest pleasure in boating betwixt the amazing color splattered rocks of marble. Visitors are wonder struck by the hues of colors. The shapes intrigue as well.

The fast rushing waters make boating a little tense affair nevertheless the boatmen are highly experienced lot. Before inundation by Bargi Dam, the river was much more placid in summers and boating was a serene experience. This river ecosystem harbored many life forms including crocodiles once. I have seen them myself in younger days.

Marble Rocks in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh is worth visiting for the magnificent falls and boat ride in the river Narmada. The place is about thirteen kilometers from main town Jabalpur with private taxis, buses and other means of accessing it.

There is an old temple on the hills called "Chausath Jogini" with set of idols. The idols have been plundered by a barbaric Moghul invader, but nevertheless the place is worth visiting.

Accommodation is available in Jabalpur Hotels and  for those interested in a night stay at Marble Rocks MPTDC owns resort nearby. The booking can be done from MPTDC office at Railway station or through MP online kiosk or regional offices.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gujarat Wildlife & Birding Tourism

Though still not a very popular travel destination in India Gujarat has lots to offer. It is not only the holy pilgrimage to Krishna's Dwarka, Gujarat state is one of the finest birding and wildlife destination in India. The Dwarkadhish Temple is built in he honor of Lord Krishna and is visited by thousands of pilgrims ever year.

Gujarat also boasts of a marine National Park at Pirotan of the Jamnagar coast. Apart from mind boggling marine life forms birds such as Flamingos, Godwits, Puffins, Cranes, Herring Sea Gulls, Blackhead Gulls, Crab Plovers and other interesting wetland avifauna can be seen here with ease.

Wildlife & Birding

Gir National Park is the home of Asiatic Lion the only one in the World. About 350 lions survive in this National Park in Western India. The park is close to the district of Junagadh and is famous for lion safaris in Gujarat in India. Gir National Park is an excellent among top birding tour destinations in India with wide variety of bird species seen. Animals seen in wildlife sanctuaries and National Parks in Gujarat are Lion, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Hyena, Wild Ass, Caracal, Indian Wolf, Blue Bull, Sambar Deer and Spotted Deer. Many lesser mammals like chinkara, jungle cats and other species can be sighted in many places in Gujarat in India.

Little Rann of Kutch this magnificent salt desert is home to Greater and Lesser Flamingos which breed here. Indian Wild Ass, Great Indian Bustard, Hubara Bustard and Macqueen's Bustard are found here. The Rann of Kutch is home to great number of birds . I t is included in itinerary of western India birding tours by package tour operators in India.

Among well known birding destinations in India are Velavadar, Dassada, Nal Sarovar and Thol apart from Gir and Rann of Kutch. Besides Bustards and Flamingos one can see variety of birds in Gujarat - pelicans, geese, wintering ducks, desert birds, and many forest and wetland birds in India.

There is luxury and budget accommodation available in wildlife places and birding spots in Gujarat. Government based Gujarat Tourism corporation offers package tours and travel services to many destinations in the state.