These posts are from my earlier visit to Uttarkhand in august 2007. That was an interesting trip too - being in the monsoon, there were landslides and hold-ups galore. Nevertheless, got to enjoy the Himalayas in all its greenery. Our drive from Kaudyala to Chilla on 22nd August on the last leg of our journey was eventful as soon as we reached the checkpost at Chilla. Here is our first bonus so after passing the check post- Oriental Pied hornbills- picture cropped.

Warned that the the river bed had quite a bit of water and our humble ambassador would not be able to cross it, the driver initally dithered, wanted to take us to Muni-ki-reti & then had a change of heart. took us back to the checkpost and thence on to the river. This is the portion we had to cross. Looks like choco chips ice-cream to me!!!
At the first attempt the car nearly got stuck until our skillful driver drove us back and to the nearest shack for a cup of tea. The local tea stall owner was a former forest guard who took us on a short trail upto the river bank and back. He then offered to come with us to guide us through the most suitable portion. After some breathless moments, we finally made it and were on our way to our guest house on a very good road.
We were sure glad we did not have to give Chilla the go by. Being the monsoon, the park was closed. We however, walked through the main road of the small town in search of Mehboob Khan a well known mahout who had recently retired from the forest service. Obviously, he seemed to have a lot of contact with foreign nationals as he extended his hand immediately for a cordial handshake to the 3 ladies barging in on his dwellings.
He insisted on our downing large cups of tea and talked about his days as a mahout. Meanwhile the first of the elephants started coming back to their homes after a day chomping grass in the forest. The first was Mamta a grown female elephant whose owner was not particularly interested in her getting pally with us. the next was the tusker - Raja seen in this pix having a bathe. His Mahout, Khaleel Ahmed was cordial though the local folks thought the pachyderm was a rogue and not to be trifled with - so we kept a very respectable distance from him.

Yet I could not resist a pose with hime- so here we are giving each other a royal salute!

The next morning my friends went for a walk while I had some last minute packing to do. After completing it, I set out around 6.30 a.m. to catch up with them. Instead, I came upon an employee-Vinod of the guest house at the gate who gave me a royal salute. could not resist asking him if I could see the animals. He readily took me deep inside the forest for about 2 kms untill we came to a watering hole. The picture on the left. Seeing us a beautiful Four horned antelope immediately fled before I could catch him in my camera. Going a little further, he showed me a spot where a leopard comes during season. Within a couple of minutes there was a roar from a bush a few 100 metres to our right- yes a warning from a leopardess possibly with cubs & both my guide - Vinod & I immediately beat a retreat. It seemed very eerie to be in this dense forest with a big cat watching us from somewhere behind the bush. Looking at my rather puny little guide I realised that we had no defense or means of escape in this dense forest should the leopard desire one of us for breakfast. It was indeed magnanimous of her to give us a warning roar. Whew - really breathed a sigh of relief when we were back on the road and saw my friends again!

And now on our way back to Delhi, just as we were passing the entrance to Chilla National Park, came this charming little tusker kid - Yogi who wanted to play with us & with my camera! So here we are distracting him with biscuits instead- not content with biscuits he wanted to find out more about the biscuit box!!!

1 comment:

kat winset said...

Uttrakhand is the Original God place in this earth. This place is known as the ultimate Travels place.