India is one of the greatest players in history. All human pasts are still alive in this piece of land. A five thousand year epic continues till today. It’s people, cities, cultures, heritage, and traditions have now juxtaposed with the modern internet era and resulted in a conundrum and yet it remains refreshingly unique. From the vast and diverse landscape of India, I chose to write about Gwalior, a historic city in Madhya Pradesh – the heart of incredible India. During my month-long trip to Madhya Pradesh, I was intrigued to discover not only its world-famous forest but also the charm of Gwalior, India – the home to world’s second oldest zero!
Today, on 17th October, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty,
let me share a story of a man from a street of Kolkata in India.
A forest has a language and ecosystem of its own. Animals living there have respective rules, territories, freedom and responsibilities. It’s a different world. A forest attracts me for its wilderness. It generates a feeling of fear and excitement at the same time inside me. I feel something is going to happen abruptly; I feel the adrenaline rush in my veins. After the end of each and every safari till now, I wanted to redo it again. I simply love being a part of untouched and untamed nature. Here is a list of India’s top 4 forests to go for a wildlife safari.
Tring, Tring! Tring, Tring! I picked up the phone while I was half asleep. A voice from the other side told “Madam, this is your wake up call. Our jeep is ready and we will start sharp at 4 am”. Within seconds my sleepy and indolent body charged up. Out of curiosity, I looked outside our room in the government lodge of Bandhavgarh national park and I could see nothing; literally nothing! It was a dark moonless night. The dark in the woods was a welcome break from the never ending city lights. We hurried up and walked briskly to reach to the spot from where our forest safari in Bandhavgarh would begin.
When we reached the forest office to secure our passes for an elephant safari at the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, the morning was awakening. The unique smell of the forest was heightening my senses. I heard a morning sonata sung by the birds. When I tried looking at the forest from the entrance gate, I saw closely knit trees standing tall, giving the forest a boundary.
“Zara jaldi chalo” (Please hurry up) we said to our driver as we couldn’t afford to miss the safari that was to begin at 3pm sharp. We were excited partly because we were to embark on a safari ride and partly because it was our first day of the honeymoon. After all the sightseeing, we were ready for the new adventure. We reached the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve half an hour before the scheduled time. The complete name of this forest is The Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary and it is located in the southern part of India. We reserved our tickets and while waiting for the safari to begin, I got a cute companion.
Before I continue with the second part of the story of our honeymoon adventure, I would like to thank all my readers for your overwhelming response to this travel story. Every mail that you sent me, every comment on my Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and Google Plus are precious to me. Those who have not read the first part of the story, can read it here. Even today, the thought of those moments when we met the big cat, in Avalanche forest, makes chills run up and down my spine. So get yourself a cup of hot coffee, snuggle inside that soft blanket and read on.
Seven years have passed since that day. As I sit writing the story, I can still see the tiger before me, his bloodshot eyes adding threat to an already insistent glare like the last rays of daylight which cast a fiery glow all over. I can feel the myriad emotions that raced through me at the time, my naive shock at the scene, my confusion and my sense of powerlessness. It was a day among those golden seven days of our honeymoon in a romantic hill station named Ooty in India.