Monday, June 11, 2012

Bardiya National Park

All planning don’t fare that fine but some of our unplanned impulses surely bring home a lot to cherish… yea friends, this statement holds too good with good things like a sudden trip or meeting some interesting person (is gender a issue then huh?) etc and here I’ll be narrating of the former bliss, i.e. my weekend trip to Bardiya National Park with a dozen (+2 to be precise) of colleagues in the concluding day of Nepali year 2068 BS (12th April, 2012). They had never been to a national park… had never taken an elephant safari/jeep safari… so they were freaking with the urge for the trip. But I’m really not comfortable with such get-set-go decisions and prefer sketching a blueprint on paper as well as mind before undertaking any go, however short it might be. But it had been almost half a year since I had my last tour (Jomsom-Muktinath), naturally I was starving… craving… or whatever you call it… in a nutshell I wanted to take a backpack and go out somewhere… rather, anywhere away from the odour of medicines. So I hobbled in for the idea of welcoming New Year 2069 around a campfire along with the midnight roars of wild inhabitants in the jungle. 

Now few words about our destination- Bardiya National Park… It’s a protected area in Nepal that was established in 1988, is the largest and most undisturbed wilderness area in Nepal’s Terai, adjoining the eastern bank of the Karnali River in the Bardiya district. Just now, I finished checking the geography, history, vegetation, fauna, mammals, birds etc almost everything given in nice details in our one and only OFPG (I call her Online Friend, Philosopher & Guide) Wikipedia website, so I feel it’s not worthy to copy-paste the same information like those professional guides in protected monuments… you better check it out, once you find my trip interesting. For us the better part was the entrance of the park was some fifty kilometres from our hospital, so that we could make a 2 days-1 night new year trip without sacrificing any working day! I think it’s too tiny (don’t go by the size!) a venture to write a full travel story ‘day by day’ as I normally do. Better I’m presenting this trip as a photolog with captions as much as possible so that you can get the story. For any assistance regarding making similar trip you can always mail me your query or put it in comment section and I’ll be more than glad to help you. Here I go with my camera… 
Comfort lies not in the luxury of the vehicle but in the mind of passengers. Who can decipher that we had to wait for dot two hours for this crap reserved bus to come and oblige us!
Sunbathing crocodile at a distance on the bank of Babai River captured from our moving bus.
 Once you reach the park entrance you have plenty of accommodation options.
Tariff for different services exclusively for you guys. Note the difference in the amount you’ve to pay being from some other countries!
 Professional level discussions…
Time for the elephant ride. Actually we were lucky to be able to avail the last round for the day. In case we had missed that, can’t even imagine what would have been the shape of our more than careless bus driver!
 Into the green. After a while you get to like the rhythm of its motion.
 Only luck in the two hours elephant ride! Although we had spotted a deer before this peacock but it was too shy to wait for an innocent click.
 Ideal 4WD SUVs! I’ve even heard elephant crossing bigger water bodies where they swim with perfect skill!
 Elephant can pose better than you can think of… really.
 May be this is what we call cool attitude!
 The real survivor. I was hesitant to take this shot due to the glaring sun at the backdrop but ultimately it came out to be satisfying… yea, in a different way.
 Bada hai to better hai…

 Out of the dense bushes, when we actually realised it was better inside!
 He is saying, “Elephant ride is over. Now better leave me alone you insane”.
 Sun was overhead, the subject was far (needed a hell lot of zooming) and moving, so, clarity is lacking in this photo which will be applicable for next two photographs too, immediately below this one.
 Lullabying mom and her obedient kid.
 Look I’m a boy now! Well you might be suspecting why to zoom so much and get blurred photos even while shooting ape family, the reason is very simple, the mother was too apprehensive of my undue closeness with her child… she even threatened few of my co-travellers!
 This reptile is not as calm as it looks!
 Something to learn from him… it’s Patience!
 I couldn’t wait till the little master finish his climbing up to the grass level. Slow but steady… but do they win the race in today’s world?
 Mr Rhino in his enclosure. He’s always photogenic!
 Leave me alone you shutterbugs.
 Now it’s enough. Ab tu jayega ya main ayu?
 The lady in red. Her kids were too tiny for the ability of my Macro capability.
 Soft bougainvillaea carpet.
A warm traditional welcome by Tharu girls of Dolla village where we had planned to spend our night. They have modest but remarkably well maintained infrastructure for the comfortable (don’t look for lavishness) home stay for tourists.
 Its some black tea time for tired guests.
 Dinner in typical Tharu way. I was too ignorant to take their ‘Achar’ thinking it to be some ‘Alu ki sabji’!
  Our Tharu host welcoming us with his unbearably long speech to their traditional cultural program. Look at his high sole wooden slippers which marked his position as our host whenever he walked around… and mind it, it’s not so easy to carry such footwear (we had tried for vain)!

 Firs, second, third and the last dance items! Honestly speaking, the only one I liked was the final one with sticks...
 Now it’s campfire time! French fries, roasted chicken and wine… have to be a killer combo and best way to welcome the yet to born year!
 Magical air engulfing intoxicated souls.
 My room… simple, but neat and clean home stay hospitality!
 Good night friends… that’s all for the first day.
 Start of an exciting, sun baking jeep safari! Journey which was supposed to commence at eight in the morning, rolled easily to ten’o clock. Reason being the long lasting faithful hangover of last night’s merrymaking which denied parting with some of my fellow colleagues! We had received a cordial farewell once again from the village girls of Dolla village after finishing the breakfast with Puri-sabji and boiled egg (for the first time I had witnessed such diverse geometry in the shape of their Puris… well can’t blame them… after all Puri doesn’t come under their traditional menu). First thought in the safari was occupied by the red paint of our jeepsy… why the hell they can’t paint it green I couldn’t decode… even the jeep driver had no answer and the owner was unreachable.
 Look who’re obstructing our road! Our first luck in the safari and within 10 minutes of commencing the journey! Good eh?
 On zooming we got to see the face of those blockers…
 An architecture that we found in abundance every five metres…
 Bird watching is fun but bird photography is not that easy from a moving jeep on a bouncy terrain.
 The fall of a lanky giant on our trail! There’s always a bypass though!
 Deeper into the jungle we went…
 The attention-shy couple can’t get away from paparazzi…
 Ultimately gave pose to get rid of me…
 Look carefully… there’s a big gang… I mean innocent though… deer and deer everywhere… we spotted plenty of them in our whole two and a half hours jungle safari.
 We had got down exactly in this spot following our driver to get the glimpse of a tiger who had luckily come to drink water from a pond nearby… we were quite far from the king, yet he smelled our presence and escaped from there before I could extend my lens!
  I’m lonely… Mr Lonely…
  We saw peacock on the 2nd day as well… and that too just before concluding our jeep safari.
 He seems to have ample time in hand unlike us!
 There’re numerous crocodiles, turtles and scary fishes hidden in that calm looking green water! This is when we stopped on our return journey to enjoy the breeze on the bridge over Babai River under the overcast sky.
 Opposite side view from the bridge.
 You can never guess how many ladies can fall on a single screen at a time!
 Taken from the bridge… subject was too far for the scope of the optical zoom, so, the extended digital zoom had to come to play which actually gave this unsatisfactory picture.
 Same tragedy as the previous one… from an optimist’s point of view, at least I could click them.
 Thus we came back from where we had started with some cheerful memories and some freshness to combat our daily boredom… Happy travelling friends and wish you lots of good times ahead!