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Thread: Forests of Chhattisgarh - in search of the state animal - Wild Bufallo a.k.a. Jungly/Von Bhaisa

  1. #11
    contd. from page 2
    [QUOTE]Udanti Sanctuary

    Located in Raipur district of Chhattisgarh, Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary is a small but an important wildlife sanctuary in the region. Established in 1983 under Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the sanctuary covers an area of approximately 232 sq km. the topography of the sanctuary comprises of broken mass of land traversed by innumerable hill ranges intercepted by stripes of plains. The beautiful sanctuary derives its name from the Udanti River flowing from the west to east covering major part of the sanctuary. Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its population of the endangered Wild Buffaloes. For their survival and growth many steps have been taken by the forest department officials. A large number of man-made tanks have been constructed all across the width and length of the sanctuary. On Udanti Wildlife Tour you can see this amazing animal among a wide variety of animals and birds.

    Flora and Fauna - Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary

    The flora in Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary chiefly comprises of Tropical Dry Peninsular Sal forests and Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Mixed Forests. Major flora in the sanctuary comprises of Teak, Sal, Salai, Bamboo, Mahul, Semal, Mahua, Aonwla, Tendu, Harra and Ber among others. The wildlife found in Udanti Sanctuary include Wild Buffalos, Panthers, Tigers, Chital, Four-horned Antelopes, Chinkara, Black Buck, Sambar, Nilgai, Jungle cat, Barking Deer, Sloth bear, Gaur, Wild dog, Porcupine, Monkey, Jackals, Bison, Striped Hyena, Fox, Cobras, Pythons etc. The sanctuary also has a sizable population of birds with prominent being the Parrots, Bulbul, Peafowl, Racket-tailed Drongos, Egrets, Heron, Magpie robin, Lesser whistling Teal, Pintail, Rollers and Herons to name few. A visit to Udanti sanctuary promises to be an exciting and unforgettable experience for all wildlife enthusiasts, bird watchers and nature lover[/QUOTE

    ]We now head towards the wild buffalo conservation breeding centre in Udanti WLS, Chhattisgarh, where the lone female is being kept [Read more about this here - Udanti-wild-buffalo-recovery-project

    At the gate
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    Soon the less frequented forest road soon turns to a single track

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    and then cross a river on the way to the conservation centre.
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    Through the Central India Wild Buffalo Conservation Project, the state’s Forest Department and WTI are working to conserve the species and facilitate its recovery in Udanti. In addition to the planned breeding programme of the lone female, the project monitors all the buffaloes individually. Habitat improvement activities are also carried out in the range of the buffaloes. The project also facilitates provision of relief to farmers who incur losses due to crop damage by the buffaloes.

    At the conservation centre. The fence separates the centre from the forest. Fresh grass is given for the wild buffaloes. The lone female and its cub stays over there itself. The other male wild buffaloes may turn up at those feeding times from inside the deep forest. And when the male/males show up, no one would like get caught on the other side of the fence!

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    Sweeping horns of a young male. These group much bigger than that when fully grown.
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    After some time came out from the deep forest, another young male. This one was aggressive. Seeing unfamiliar faces in us, he was cautious

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    A wild buffalo is as aggressive as it can be like any other wild big games. The stance says it all.

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    Immense good work is being done at this centre. Wild buffalo conservation does not have that glamour quotient as that of tiger - as such it remains out of news for all of us. Recently, October 2011, a new cub was born over there bringing the population to 9, a small yet significant step in bring back the wild buffalo population in Central India. Do read more about it here

    Endangered wild buffalo population count reaches nine in Udanti
    and here Buffalo baby brings new hope for India's wild buffalo

    I had known that interiors of Udanti and Sitanadi WLS has been out of bounds for travellers due to Maoist disturbances, to the point that when I had called the authorities over telephone, they had discouraged me to come. Anyway since we are here, after visiting the conservation centre headed off towards the core area of the Udanti forest. Had heard that the river Udanti that flows through it has one of the most crystal clear waters not to speak of 2 magnificent forest waterfalls namely Deodhara and Godena.

    However since we had arrived and knowing that no tourists have been here for the last 2-3 years, the situation was much more bleak than I had imagined. No one [forget tourists, forest officials themselves too] dares to go into the core areas. These are liberated areas now!

    As we came up to this gate, we soon realized that this is the maximum people are allowed to go. Only the local villagers living deep within the forest venture inside. As we talked with some the officials we were absolutely in no uncertain terms told about the situation in the core areas. I still remember the incident when I and Deban, my friend, first went to talk with the forest official at this gate. And then when the ladies and the children came out of the Safari, they never imagined that families have come till here - one of them said, "yehan to koi nehi aate aur aap log to pura family le ke eeha aaye gaye!!

    This gate the maximum one could go till
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    So that done we headed back to our Taurenga FRH for the night with a plan to visit Sitanadi forest the next day.

    A bit of the Taurenga FRH. Previously, before the Naxalite activities, this had been a great tourist spot with hordes of tourists coming from Raipur and travellers all over India. Even it was a great favourite rest house for all Chief Ministers.

    This is the old FRH since British times
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    Though now totally in a dilapidated condition
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    And this is new FRH next to the old one. But now with almost no tourists out here for last 2-3 years, it is slowly and slowly going to state of disuse. And just to note that since there were no tourists for the last 3 years, there is no register book as such. In fact the forest officials said that we were guests and took no room rent from us, even us insisting, Their only word was that we had come from such a long way when nothing is happening over here tourist wise, that itself made them happy! What can we say, we were just overwhelmed!!
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  2. #12
    Sitanadi Sanctuary

    Located in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh, Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most famous and important wildlife sanctuaries in central India. Established in 1974 under Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the sanctuary covers an area of approximately 556 sq km, comprising of highly undulating and hilly terrain with altitudes ranging between 327-736 mts. The beautiful sanctuary derives its name from the Sitanadi River that originates in the middle of sanctuary and joins Mahanadi River near Deokhut. Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its lush green flora and rich and unique and diverse fauna and has great potential to emerge as one of the finest wildlife destinations in central India.

    Flora and Fauna - Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary

    The flora in Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary chiefly comprises of moist peninsular Sal, Teak and Bamboo forests. Other major plants in the sanctuary include Semal, Mahua, Harra, Ber and Tendu. The rich and lush vegetation cover supports a wide variety of wildlife in the sanctuary. The major wildlife found in Sitanadi Sanctuary include Tigers, Leopards, Flying Squirrels, Jackals, Four-horned Antelopes, Chinkara, Black Buck, Jungle Cat, Barking Deer, Porcupine, Monkey, Bison, Striped Hyena, Sloth Bear, Wild Dogs, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Gaur, Muntjac, Wild Boar, Cobra, Python among many others. The sanctuary also has a sizable bird population with prominent being the Parrots, Bulbul, Peafowl, Pheasant, Crimson Breasted Barbet, Teetar, Tree Pie, Racket-tailed Drongos, Egrets, and Herons to name few. Sitanadi Sanctuary is also being prepared to develop it as an important tiger sanctuary in the region. A visit to Sitanadi sanctuary promises to be an exciting and unforgettable experience for all wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.

    The sanctuary is at a distance of about 173 km from state capital Raipur which is also the nearest airport. Dhamtari Railway Station (95km) is the nearest railhead from Sitanadi Sanctuary. The place is easily approachable through the Raipur-Deobhog State Highway

    Early morning we headed towards Sitanadi forest department at Nagri for taking permission for going into Sitanadi forest, taking the State Highway through some dense forests
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    We were headed towards Nagri at the Forest Department for papers and permission
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    And the Sitanadi Forest spread out on both sides of the State Highway.
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    As we passed over this bridge, we stopped for...

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    Zero tourists, deep forests, pristine nature. Golden yellow river bed sand, never seen anywhere!
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    And we meet these local boys, just enjoying a winter morning sun. They have come over here from some nearby village just to while away some time. Simple minds and simple joys!

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    And these great innocent smiles remind of this pic from our self-drive Zanskar-Kashmir travel. Different places, different people - yet again, simple joys and simple minds
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    As we reached and talked with the forest DFO, we were strictly told to go back. Sitanadi is definitely out of bounds due to severe conflict. As for staying, one could stay at some of the rest houses built in the small towns but as said no one can go into the forests nowadays.

    So just these snaps of the rest house at Sankara near Nagri and some distance chart pic.

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    So a return back to the Taurenga FRH of Udanti by the State Highway through the pristine forests again

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    Back later on a bonfire and some local chitchat with the chowkidars, it was the last night of an unique travel.
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    So next day after a warm winter sun breakfast and lunch, and some relaxation - one of them being this most uneven matched game in the world that saw two grownup men score goals against a couple of small kids!
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    After such whiling away, we left Taurenga FRH for a direct drive to Kolkata of 1200 km journey, with a planned journey time of around 22 hours.
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    We purposely left around afternoon, so that the overnight journey falls from around Sambalpur and also such that we enter Kolkata early morning. As dusk fell along the Chhattisgarh forest state highway towards NH6, all fell quiet reminiscing of all the good moments of the some great days spent.

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    It was a non-eventful yet great overnight journey with a night dinner stop at a lonely dhaba on NH6 near Chhattisgarh-Orissa border. We though got stuck at around 3:30 am near Dhenkanal, Orissa, due to dense fog traffic jam, which in fact helped me to catch a short power-nap, and from there again a full speed run to Kolkata, reaching safely home at 7 am, taking a total of around 27 hours.

    That's it then for this travel story that took place in December year end of 2010. This may not be a glamorous journey, but what satisfying it was. Just like other travel, we met some of the most friendly yet simple people in some distant lands, saw some pristine nature, went to a place in where calm, silence, and nature rules till now, and plus as always a great self-drive too. But most important was the objective success for which this travel was undertaken - to see some of the very few remaining wild buffaloes, i.e., Von Bhaisa, of Central India.

    Hope you all enjoyed the travelogue and thanks as always for going through it. So till next travel, ride, drive or trek , bye for now!!


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