At 5 AM in the morning, there was a slight nip in the air. We had a cup of tea and were ready to leave for the morning safari. Two jeeps were booked for our group of 8 people, with each jeep accommodating four people, and a driver. As we got into the Gypsy earmarked for us, the attendants handed out blankets to us. The jungle, they said, is cold in the morning.
And, so we set out for our jungle sojourn.
The National park is divided into 4 zones – Kanha, Kisli, Mukki and Sarhi.
It took us around 15 minutes to reach the Mukki Gate. As early as 5.30 AM, there were already 8-10 vehicles lined in front of us. At the gate, a guide from the Forest Department accompanied us on the Gypsy and we entered the Kisli Zone.
A post shared by Somali K Chakrabarti (@schakrabarti1) on
As soon as we entered the forest, we could feel the fresh morning breeze. On either of the road were sal and bamboo forests, with an undergrowth of wild grass and thorny bushes. We could hear different bird songs coming from the trees. The guide made sure that we caught a glimpse of a bird called the Racket- tailed drongo, which was flying around from tree to tree, and a pair of owls peering out of a tree hole.
Thereafter, the road diverged and the two jeeps went on different routes, and soon we lost sight of our friends.
Summer, they say, is the best season for wildlife sightings. The scorching summer heat dries up the water sources in the forests, affecting the animals and birds. So, these denizens of the forest frequently gather around the waterholes to quench their thirst, after those are refilled by the Forest Department.
“A good tiger sighting would more than make up for the sweltering heat.”
This piece of advice from a trusted friend made us agree to plan for a Jungle Safari to Kanha National Park, in Madhya Pradesh, in the month of April last year. We knew that the trip would require us to brave the soaring mercury levels.
A thrilling sensation of adventure took over as we as we set out for our trip to Raipur from Mumbai. We would soon be heading for the jungle, which provided the inspiration for the tales of Mowgli and Bagheera in Kipling’s Jungle Book.
“Jantar Mantar” meaning “instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens” is situated right opposite the City Palace in Jaipur. Coming out of the gates of City Palace, I stopped at the ticket window to purchase the entry tickets to the observatory.
As I entered I found that the observatory complex is a large one, and has a collection of several (19 in all) architectural astronomical instruments that had been constructed in the early 18th century, with stone, marble and bronze. These devices were used to measure time and space, and for observing the astronomical positions of planets and stars. One of the instruments was the world’s biggest stone sundial, which gives the local time with an accuracy of 2 seconds.
Of particular interest to me were twelve instruments, known as Zodiacic Circles, which were used for measuring the latitude and longitude of celestial bodies. There are twelve such instruments corresponding to each zodiac sign.
Mabel Kwong, who is an avid traveler, pointed out that while preparing for solo travel, she plans very thoroughly and checks out if the place has been in news recently for any wrong reasons. I couldn’t have agreed more.
Monica, a travel consultant understands the initial fear of some of her clients to travel solo, and feels happy when she helps them to overcome their fear. Jennifer Jeneu finds solo travel empowering. Em Aboard believes that you definitely take in your surroundings much more when you travel alone.
‘Travelling solo helps us to connect with self and the surrounding with equal vigor,’ says Nihar Pradhan.
True that! Being in a different place and in a different context helps us to see things in a new light, and being on our own makes us more perceptive to our surroundings. Based on our perceptions of the place, we form our impressions of the place.
In this post, I share my impressions of the city of Jaipur, while on the solo trip.