Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Raipur Amazing Rise

Many years back I was on my first trip to the City of Raipur in the then erstwhile State of Madhya Pradesh in Central India. An important part of extensive land of the state of MP, Raipur nevertheless was neglected. Though culturally and economically rich the telescopic management was taking its toll. 

Too big to manage with rising insurgency, the extra dimension of the state was eventually bifurcated and a new State of Chhattisgarh was born. New State, New Government catapulted Raipur into state of unprecedented development in India.          
Amarkantak - Neeraj Vegad

Development surge has not taken place solely because of new capital was being established. Raipur and its surroundings are endowed with many productive features which came into picture as the city emerged from submergence and started to scale the growth map of India.    

There is one distinct characteristic of the State of Chhattisgarh and that is its charismatic beauty, Endowed with large tracts of forests, natural phenomenon and unique topography - a virtual greenery pervades all over.    

Dominated by tribal communities, the state is experiencing an economic resurgence thanks to abundant natural resources in form of minerals and ores. Raipur now the Capital City is experiencing the fastest growth followed by neighbouring Bilaspur. 

Development and economic growth has spurned the tourism industry as well. Wildlife tourism and sightseeing have emerged as segment leaders. Chhattisgarh comprises of Sal & mixed forests some of which have been brought under state protection and declared as National Park and wildlife sanctuaries.  
Hotel Celebration Raipur

Albeit at a nascent stage, tourism is growing by leaps and bound. Some of the destinations that could boost tourism are Guru Ghasidas NP, Sanjay Dubri TR, Kanger Valley NP, Indrawati TR, Achanakmar TR and Amarkantak Hill Resort              

The State abounds in places of tourist interest, apart from natural places, it is rich in cultural inheritance from ancient times. Chhatisgarh is one of  the least explored places in India. 

From the earlier impression of a sleepy town lost in the remote confines of a large state Raipur City was a big surprise whence I last visited it.  The dimensions of the capital city were burgeoning with fast development, businesses, offices, high end hotels, restaurants, eateries, malls, all indicating towards a rising business hub. In time to come Chhattisgarh will outpace   many other states of India.           

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Destination Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Esoteric Abode of  Vibrant Life Amid Serenity 

Reclining Visnu - Sesh Shaiyya

From unknown to worldwide popularity has been the saga of this verdant paradise on Earth. Bandhavgarh National Park was erstwhile kingdom of Maharajahs of Rewa. Successive dynasties have ruled this forest kingdom. The ruins are witness to this historic upheaval of centuries of conquests. Temples, fort in ruins, stables, idols, and manmade caves are creation of the warring dynasties.    


Conquerors made their marks before being vanquished by the victors, but the forest lay unperturbed by the turbulence in its premises. The ecosystem nurtured and protected, the wilderness ruled by the tiger. No more a fiefdom of the usurpers, the destination is home to an impressive biodiversity. People of all walks of life from near and far arrive here to witness the exuberant growth of its flora and the enchanting fauna. 

Bandhavgarh first came to light whence the white tiger was discovered nearby. Since then this esoteric recessive gene has not been discovered in the wilds of tiger lands.             

Declared as a protected area, the park is a conservation unit that nurtures critically endangered animals. Tiger rules supreme as a tertiary carnivore accompanied by the leopard and the wild dog.

Other carnivores found are the jackal, fox, hyena and the wolf. The last two I have not seen since many years and they are probably on verge of extinction. Deer and antelope form the prey base while numerous life forms complete the web of life to form an ecosystem with niche habitats.    

Park is home to more impressive avian species albeit few birders arrive here to watch them. For major share of popularity has been taken over the big cats. After the films by NGC and BBC the paradise gained wide publicity and witnessed a sudden surge of tourists from all over. 

Situated at the edge of the reserve at Tala Village the Kothi of Maharani is reminiscent of a lonely past. Protected as a hunting preserve, the Maharajahs of Rewa were avid hunters and conservationist as well. The hunting privilege was accorded to few dignitaries and the woods were well protected. 

The Kothi along with the scattered ruins are now frozen in time. In the early days of tourism post independence a rest house at Tala provided accommodation to the few who visited this preserve. Then the White Tiger Lodge was established followed by plethora of lodges once tourism mushroomed in this remote quarter of Central India.  
Crested Serpent Eagle

Bandhavgarh National Park now a tiger reserve is regarded as a major conservation centre. Tourism flourishes alongside to extol the nature’s bounty and the saga of preservation.   
Brown Fish Owl

The ideal access point is Jabalpur City in MP. Connectivity by air and overnight rail is preferred while local arrivals drive from the satellite towns like, Khajuraho, Katni and Satna.  Accommodation can be availed at luxury hotels in Bandhavgarh near the main Tala Gate. 

Albeit wildlife can be experienced throughout the open season, overseas travellers prefer winter season. Wildlife photographers prefer the extensive sunlight of the scorching summer. Park is closed during the monsoon from July to September.      

When planning a tiger safari fetch along books on birds, binoculars, cloth as per the seasons and personal necessities. 

Image Courtesy Kamaljeet Hora