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Thread: Exotic Travel-Known and Unknown Western Arunachal and Nameri-Assam

  1. #31
    Eagle Nest [Lama Camp] towards Elephant Pass, attempting Bompu Camp

    Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area of India in the Himalayan foothills of West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh. It conjoins Sessa Orchid Sanctuary to the northeast and Pakhui Tiger Reserve across the Kameng river to the east. Altitude ranges extremely from 500 metres (1,640 ft) to 3,250 metres (10,663 ft). It is a part of the Kameng Elephant Reserve.

    Eaglenest is notable as a prime birding site due to the extraordinary variety, numbers and accessibility of bird species there.

    Eaglenest apparently derives its name from Red Eagle Division of the Indian army which was posted in the area in the 1950's.

    Eaglenest is the site where Bugun Liocichla was first discovered in 1995 and again observed and described in 2006 by Ramana Athreyaa.Birds of India: Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, India

    It was drizzling all through the night and the weather changed to worse and with the coldness and damp, we were only restricted inside the tents, which made us more frustrated. Also we were told that it would be impossible to go to Bompu Camp as the road will be all slushy and full of snow up around Elephant Pass. If stuck, there's no one to help and also people from the Bompu Camp are coming down due to inclement weather.

    As said, we wanted to really go out or even walk - we did not want to spend the last day of year [2009] like this; when I heard and saw a Gypsy slowly coming up to the camp late morning time around.

    Tenga Ledge is an important Army Camp and from there one Army officer was coming up to the Camp to have a tour of Eagle Nest. Soon we have a brief conversation - it was decided that I follow him till where possible and we set off - Finally at least some activity and surely some wheel spin.

    PS: Reminded me of the Bum La trip where also we followed the 2 Army gypsies

    Slowly as we progressed we come up to the snow line. It was snowing all through, not heavy but light flakes and it snowed all through night.

    And soon the trail became slippery and slushy. The Gypsy was slipping due to spinning [light weight and HT tyres] and we were sliding due to 2wd.

    Just before Elephant pass, the 4wd Gypsy was slipping and we were sliding much more and in that narrow track it was prudent to turn back. But then how to turn and where to turn? Slid back in back to the one and only place around here, possible to turn the Safari.

    The Gypsy also turned back soon, it was impossible and more still dangerous to continue further - with a heavy heart we too had to go back to the Lama Camp


  2. #32
    Day #10: Eagle Nest - Bhalukpong - Nameri [Assam]

    Eagle Nest WLS Map, the road to Assam via Doimara village though seen, is blocked now with landslides and in fact will not be cleared. So the only way to enter and exit the forest is through Tenga

    Birding areas in Western Arunachal

    Some more snaps of the return journey to Lama Camp.

    Though we had planned of staying 2 days out here, 1 day at Lama and 1 day at Bompu plus walking to see spot birds with the birdwatcher staff, but with weather going to worse, and again with the help of one of the staff out there, Nameri Eco Camp tent was booked. Never thought would get a place at Nameri on New Year's Eve [31st Dec, 2009]

    Eaglenest is the site where Bugun Liocichla was first discovered in 1995 and again observed and described in 2006 by Ramana Athreyaa. Birds of India: Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, India

    Coincidentally Mr Ramana Athreyaa came exactly the same that we stayed overnight along with one of his apprentice, researching birds - it was great to meet him and his student out there. They both also came down from Lama Camp as the weather was really turning out worse.

    Exiting Eagle Nest, on towards Bhalukpong to Nameri [Assam]


  3. #33
    Day #10 and #11: Nameri Eco Camp [Assam]

    As said, we had planned to stay at Eagle Nest another day, but with a bad weather with blocked trails setting in, it was futile to stay out there. A weather front had set in and the Sela Pass was blocked for subsequent 2 days, and thus Tawang was cut off. This then explained the beautiful snowfall at Eagle Nest.

    With great help for a staff there [Lobsang], a camp at the Nameri Eco Resort was booked. It was 31st night [New Year's Eve] and never thought we would get accomodation, but lucily just 1 camp tent was vacant and we had that booked.

    Checked out of Eagle Nest and connected to the Tawang-Tezpur highway at Tenga, some return journey pictures. It was dusk and with the forest cover on the road, the road was empty and the feel was quite different from when going up to Tawang.

    Reached Nameri Eco Camp. Nameri Eco Camp, is great tourist camp to stay close to the Nameri Forest. It was Dec 31st night and all the tents and cottages were occupied with ours luckily being the last booking.

    Managed by Assam's veteran society's Ronesh Roy, the Eco camp is a basic but clean and quite comfortable staying option at the Nameri National Park.

    A sumptuous buffet dinner was organized, this was 3 star style food, with fruits and bread and meat and what not, we gorged on everything. It had been a hard journey for us, and this was like a proper hotel in a forest, eco tourism as they say. And then as the last day of 2009 comes to an end, a local Assamese [Bihu] dance was organized. Thus the last day of 2009 comes to end, as all retire for the night.

    January 1, 2010 and it is the New Year's morning. No one, if staying here, should miss the morning at this Eco Camp. The local residing birds are varied and one must listen to the sounds that they make from early in the morning

    After a hearty breakfast, we see the fields behind the Eco Camp and just have a walk around.

    Another place to stay at Nameri, is the Assam Tourism's Prashaanti. Its newly made and thus it lacks the wooded feel of Nameri and thus its resident birds calls

    Second half of the day we booked for the 5 km trek inside Nameri Forest, this is the only way one can see forest, no other transport is available.


  4. #34
    Day #12 and #13: Nameri Eco Camp [Assam] - Siliguri - Kolkata

    Nameri National Park is a national park located in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in the Sonitpur District of Assam, India, about 35 kilometres from Tezpur.

    Nameri shares its northern boundary with the Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary of Arunachal.Together they constitute an area of over 1000 of semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests with cane and bamboo brakes and narrow strips of open grassland along rivers. This is excellent elephant country and ideal habitat for a host of other animals including the tiger. Leopard, Bisons, Sambars, It is also home to the Leopard, Bison, Sambar, dhole (the Asiatic wild dog), Hog Deer, Muntjac, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Capped Langur, Indian Giant Squirrel etc., Nameri is a birder's paradise with over 300 species of birds - including the white winged wood duck, four distinct species of the Hornbill, Blue-bearded Bee-eaters, Babblers, Plovers etc., Nameri National Park
    The Nameri Forest is located on the other side of the River, Jia Bhoreli, and only walking is allowed inside the forest. A 5 km trek is the designated route and we set off with a forest guard. Bisons and rogue elephants is what the gun for, to scare them. Ferry men help cross the river. The walk should be done early in the morning for the birds and late evening for the wild life. We took up the last slot, the evening trek.

    The most common and a favourite fruit for all in Nameri is the Elephant Apple.

    So with that 5 km walk through Nameri and great dinner again at the Camp, we are truly on our way back. Its long journey again, Nameri to Siliguri and then stop over at Siliguri for some hours for sleep and refreshing up to start the final journey to Calcutta. A 1000-hour strike was on at Lower Assam and the roads were almost empty. Assam Police assured that the forest areas patrolling was ongoing and we can proceed.

    As we entered Siliguri, late night, around 2 am, it was fog I like never seen. Hardly can see beyond even a feet. Was thinking of stopping when instead of going to the shoulder of the road, I go into the trench beside the road. The road had turned at that exact point I thought would park and such was the fog that even from the driver seat it was impossible to see. Suddenly we felt going down the slope of the road and the Safari rested like this. With some maneuvering and seeing the area around with a torch, the only hope was if I could take it up by back gear. Did that 5-6 times, to make a track and with a the VTT engine redlining, we made it to the top. It was a huge relief and great escape.

    No more incident again and we made safely back to home on late Saturday night, January 2, 2010.

    So hereby ends one heck of a travel, a great journey to known and unknown places, meeting up great and wonderful people all throughout, from the hotel people, to the local drivers, to the staff at Eagle Nest, it was truly a memorable journey.

    Thanks again to all of you for following it up and surely it also gives me that sense of going through the journey again as I share it out over here.


  5. #35
    WOW. this is inspirational. I have to undertake such a trip before i leave this world.
    Last edited by mdjawedkhan; 24th May 2011 at 02:41 AM. Reason: spelling correction

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