Friday, June 13, 2008


Jaldapara is a place in North Bengal, which falls within the Forests of Dooars. From our college, we visited the place for an educational excursion[which turned more a holiday than an excursion,as we 13 friends were together].
The Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is for its conservation of the Rhinoceros, though other animals including tigers may also be seen. We had put up at the Madarihat Tourist Logde, just adjacent to the entry of the forests. The lodge is housed way away from the main road[which itself does not have much traffic], and hence, the serene calm and quietness of the jungle greeted us. The lodge has an old Wooden building, and a new concrete building. We were overjoyed to be allotted rooms in the formers, for none of us had ever stayed in a wooden structure before.The rooms were cosy, with adjacent bathrooms[having sizes greater than the room itself].
The first evening we reached late, and hence, it was a rest-day, and we spent it chatting. The next dawn, we were woken up by our teachers,and we reluctantly got ready for a jungle safari...[half asleep].
but as our sumos entered the jungle, i felt a strange...the jungle was calm and quiet, with a certain spookyness reigning, so much so that even inside the car, we dared not talk was almost dark, and the headlights of the car behind us appeared like a ghostly lantern in a Scooby-Doo cartoon.the quietness of the jungle was broken only by the advance of our cars, and sometimes, shrieks from the wild animals. It appeared as if we were transferred to a different world altogether...a world of trees and weeds, a world where perhaps we do not have any right to disturb, a world which has remained the same for thousands of years.
Soon we reached the place where we had to embark upon elephants. the elephants soon same one by one, guided by their mahuts[my friends expectedly started comparison me n neelanjan to the elephants]. we 4 were alloted a mom-elephant with a cute baby elephant[muktarani] walking around us.....
As we entered the jungle from the clearing, we could again note the difference-the call of the wild[one of us was down with that of Nature,too].the elephant ride was a different thing altogether..coz the elephants can travel through the most interiors of the jungle, when no car can reach, and hence, the elephant ride was a more exclusive excursion of the jungle.we were travelling through streams, jungle clearings, and then suddenly into the deep jungle, where we had to lift our dangling legs to avoid being hit by the bushes and trees. around us, it was ultimate silence,and although there was little to fear, we were speaking in hushed was quite cold in the region, but the jungle was colder.suddenly, in a weed-filled clearing in a distance, we saw a tall tower rising, which our mahuut pointed to us as a watch tower from where tourists watch rhinos, and with much luck, tigers.we saw a few deers and bysons, but we were eagerly waiting to see a rhino...back here,it was a too stupid thing for being eagerly waited for, but inside the jungle, it was a thrilling feeling, to see wild animals, in the wild.The elephant went literally through bushes, hedges, underneath long trees, where we had to duck down to avoid being hit by the branches.
suddenly, partly by luck, and partly thanks to the baby elephant, who was almost leading the way, we came across a small clearing...with not one, but two rhinos standing.we felt thrilled..for the mahuut later informed us that not every one succeeded in seeing a rhino, let alone 2[we called it the BCL couple, after Agni n Ritu].soon after, the Rhinos walked away, leaving us thrilled.we continued our way through the green passage, greeted by birds unknown[we also saw a peacock sitting on an uppermost branch of a tall tree].after almost 1.5 hour of jungle safari, through the nature's lap, we came back to the disembarkment point.JALDAPARA
towards the evening, we went for a car safari, but i personally felt that the elephant safari was lot more thrilling. the car safari only took one to the watch towers from where we could see piles of salt spread everywhere. the rhinos and tigers come to consume them, thus giving a chance to the observers of the tower to watch them. sadly we saw only 1 rhino and no tigers.
the next day, we continued our way out of Jaldapara.
the jungle safari has been something i will never forget..

pictures:(from top) an elephant ride ; the jaldapara sanctuary entrance ; a watch tower ; a stream inside the forest ; elephant ride

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