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Showing posts with label Wildlife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wildlife. Show all posts

Top 5 Tourist Attractions in Tanzania

The travel and tourism industry contributes almost 17% to the GDP of Tanzania and employs nearly 11.5% of the country's workforce every year. Tanzania must be a preferred destination for tourists.

Tanzania (officially the United Republic of Tanzania) is an East African country located within the African Great Lake region. It is a tourism country with a wide range of the amazing tourist attractions.

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Bishnois of Jodhpur


Visit to Jodhpur has been an amazing one, but somehow internal pleasure was not there. The joy of learning new culture, meeting different people was still to be attained on this trip. It was then came to know about visiting Bishnoi region, located at edge of Thar Desert; a distance of 22 km. from Jodhpur city.

Why? What is so special about this village? Special...Special is the custom here, special is the living philosophy and above all special is the practice of preservation of trees and wild life.

This is the place, Khejarli village where 363 people sacrificed their life to preserve trees. In 1763 Mehrangarh fort was being constructed, gypsum was required in huge quantity to cement the rocks. Gypsum was prepared in those days by heating the rocks, to heat the rocks wood was the only known source. So then king of Jodhpur asked his soldiers to cut the Khejri trees which were abundant in the region around Jodhpur. As the solders reached the region to cut the trees, Bishnois obviously tried to persuade the soldiers from not cutting trees. When soldiers used force to remove Bishnois, these Bishnois simply offered themselves to be killed before cutting the trees by raising slogans of:
सिर साटै रुंख रहे तो भी सस्तो जाँण " 
सिर के बदले  भी अगर वृक्ष बच जाए तो उस बलिदान को  सस्ता ही समझना 
“Even one head chopped in saving a tree is worth and has not gone waste”
It was only when 363 bishnois were killed, the news reached the king. The king then ordered not to cut any tree from then. Picture kept at existing Guru Jambheshwar temple is self-explanatory in this regard:  

A memorial has been built as a remembrance to that act and on the place where the remains of those people who sacrificed themselves have been buried. Bishnois also do not burn the dead bodies of the gone, but bury directly in order to preserve wood, as it comes from trees only. Every year on the anniversary day of that sacrifice, people gather here in huge numbers to pay homage to ones who taught to this world the value of preservation of natural resources. 


There are around 20,000 Bishnois in this area. Bishnoi sect was started by Guru Jambeshwar in 1458 AD. Bishnoi sect is based on 29 principles (Bish – 20, Noi- 9: the name Bishnoi) which emphasize on love, peace and harmony among humans, animals and most important nature. They love fellow human beings and preserve Khejri trees (source of Kair Sangri) and worship Black Bucks. Their dedication to these principles can be seen by this: even if black bucks enter into the field of standing crop, people do not scare them or try to move the herd out of the fields. There is also a temple dedicated to guru Jambheshwar. 

In the campus there are lot of peacocks here in the temple roam around freely. Peacock is the only bird which reproduces when the female (peahen) swallows the tear of mail species. Tear come out after peacock get tired dancing in the rains/ monsoons. Till the time tear comes out, peahen calmly stands by the side of peacock.

Let’s go close to the life style of a Bishnois. They still live in traditionally house built with the cow dung and mud, no need to use fan as the interiors are very cold in the peak scorching summers too. They also have their traditionally built refrigerators out of husk, cow dung in which they keep and store food items. Food is cooked on chulhas, only the dried branches of trees, which have fallen to the ground by themselves are collected for cooking. You can see tea being prepared on a Chulha. Bishnoi Ladies are very hard working; they get up early do household work and help man in fields also. 

I got a chance to have tea made on chulha (earthen furnace). Bishnois welcome the visitors with opium tea. Though opium is banned, but bishnois have permission to cultivate for their religion and customs associated to it. Here is the apparatus for preparing opium tea. Opium is put into the long tube and tea is distilled slowly through the opium. 


Such is the harmony here that ladies can afford to roam around in forests without any fear. This is a place where animals and birds can live without fear. One can find a lot of migratory birds like Siberian cranes here in the local water bodies and Guda Lake. Local water bodies are not encroached by any means by the locales and are reserved only to serve birds and animals.

Living on the edge of desert is not easy, but Bishnois have created a wonderful self-sustained ecosystem and are not dependent on external means for their daily requirements. We in cities might not value water so much, but the importance of water preservation is exemplified by these simple people. Hats off. Khejri tree is a prominent plantation in this region. A tree which grows/ survives/ flourishes by only rainwater. No extra water is required. Sangree is obtained from this tree, which is one of the most consumed vegetables here.



While moving around on narrow but well built roads, we were often coming across freely roaming chinkaras, black bucks and other animals. Amazed by the culture, we moved ahead to see the craftsmanship of these people, check out:



  • Pottery work; beautiful toys, images of Gods/ Goddesses, piggy banks, lanterns and utensils are much sought after. Crocodile visible in the back is also hand made by potters here. Prepare one crocodile is very time consuming and generally takes 2-3 months to make one.


Block Printing: Bed sheets with a rich mix of colors is prepared by traditional methods. these bed sheet go with number of steps and then finely a beautiful bed sheet form. You are free to buy bed sheets, good thing that they will show you bed sheets as many as you want to see, but will not insist slightly even to purchase even one. 

Bishnoi family was kind enough to show us the Dari weaving facility and told us the intricacies involved in the process. This is a community co-operative where most of the community members take part in Dari weaving. It ensures livelihoods for all of the families in this village. By this time, we were very hungry and excited as it was the time to have our lunch with a bishnoi family. Menu was Bajre ki roti, kair sangree ki sabzii, Yellow Dal and Besan ki Kadhi. Every dish was yummy and much tastier than any exotic meal in any restaurant or hotel. 


For explorers there is also an option of staying with the Bishnoi family, in their houses:

The Safari time of 6 hours in villages of Guda Bishnoiyan, khejarli and kanai passed like a second. But the take back experience of this place was awesome and worth for every moment. Take one day for Bishnoi safari and continue your journey to Jaisalmer or Bikaner.

For Information: This was the place where actor Salman Khan had killed the Black Buck, the act which was condemned widely. Black bucks are worshiped here as re-incarnation of their Guru Jambheshwar. As told by locales, had the vehicle been stopped by them, matter would have been very serious, justice might have been done there itself.

These days we keep hearing about people fighting all over the world for more resources. But after coming here, I firmly believe that peaceful co-existence is not that difficult if we learn to be happy within our means. People here are happy in whatever they have, but what makes them different is the pride in their culture and legacy. At this moment, Colossal Palaces and Forts do not look so great as compared to a Bishnoi house.

Remember: Needs can be fulfilled, but GREED cannot be. There are sufficient resources for everyone on this earth. Keep exploring Guys...
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Nahan - for real vagabonding

There are times when urge to travel is so much that destination takes a backseat and we tend to start without any destination in mind. This is when you feel like going for a "Journey without a destination".

While in middle of such a temptation, I decided for some real vagabonding in the himalayan ranges in Nahan region. Totally secluded from the hustles of any type, Nahan is an ideal place to roam around like a free bird. Once out of Delhi the excellent highway ends up adding to your impatience of reaching Nahan as soon as possible. "Resist the temptation". Nahan is a small town and headquarter of Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Lytton memorial is the entry point and a renowned landmark of Nahan.


There are a few accommodations available here, however locales advised us to go uphill 14 kms. and stay at Jamta. As we had no obligation for destination, we started meandering uphill along the snaky roads.

To our good fortunes Jamta is the highest point in the region and has some very good staying options. With such a view outside your window. One cannot say anything other than Vow, what a place...? Decision to travel without a fixed destination was paying.


This is a place to enjoy your evening tea, morning breakfast alongside the green airs of the hills. One here it was the time to further explore the virgin beauty of this region. We were surprised to know that the largest lake in Himachal Pradesh, "Renuka Lake" is separated from us by a distance of only 27 Kms.


Next morning it was the voyage downhill to Renuka Lake. Every turn of the serpentine drive in the hills will surely keep your cameras in overdrive. Each click of the immensely artistic panoramic caricatures will only lead to click more and more. Enjoying the voyage also bought some envy, it was natural to envy the fortunes of the people living in such a heaven.


While enjoying our drive, we came across a pleasant surprise in the way. Check out the temple situated in middle of a waterfall - "Bedolia Waterfall".


During the rainy seasons the of temple beautifully chisels the down coming waterfall. As this was not the rainy season, so one more visit has to be planned to witness the helpless waterfall. One gets so much engaged here that its natural to forget that we have to drive to Renuka Lake which has been waiting for our arrival. OOPS..."Excess of everything is bad". No issues, we again started towards Renuka Lake. 

Renuka Lake is the largest lake in Himachal Pradesh and is 672 m above the sea level. Renuka Lake is named after Goddess "RENUKA", mother of lord Parshuram. Welcomed by naughty ducks in the pond called "Ram Sarovar", you have entered the place of Renuka Lake which is also very sacred and is worshipped as a holy place. This place is also birth place of Lord Parshuram. Check the history associated with it...

Time to thank the Gods for such a wonderful experience in the Renuka Temple. Every November this temple is a site for annual fair. Saints and devotees from all over the Indian gather here to witness the meeting of Lord Parshuram and Goddess Renuka. 

 


Land locked by the mountains on 3 sides, floating lilies on the water surface, Renuka Lake is as picturesque as your dreams can be...

With a circumference of about 3214 m. this lake is surrounded by a sanctuary too. A leisurely walk into the sanctuary will not disturb the inhabitants, Lions, Bears,...My favorite turned out to be bulky "Mithun Cow"...

The range of flora and fauna in the sanctuary is amazing.

This region can be described as land of valleys, meandering water streams and a place where you can drive throughout the day without getting enough of the place. This was turning out to be more wonderful than any of the expectations. As evening was approaching, settling mist was making the valleys more gorgeous. You can have the liberty of stopping your car, walking down to the bed of the streams and cherish the twilight in the woods...

Once you are back at Jamta, evening and morning tea is also a pleasure. Immerse yourself in an isolated walk in the Shivalik hills and relish the ambience.  

To reach Nahan:

Hit the Roads: 270 Km from Delhi Via: Sonipat-Panipat-Kurukshetra-Karnal-Shahbad Markanda-Kala Amb-Nahan-Jamta

By Train: Nearest railway stations are Ambala, Chandigarh and Kalka and regular bus services connect these stations to Nahan.


While returning to Delhi take the other route (via Dhaula Kuan, Poanta Sahib and Dehradun) and continue exploring more and more.

Another wonderful lake in Himachal Pradesh; worth exploring is Lake Rewalsar which is lying hidden in the mountains, 23 km. from town of Mandi...

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Green side of Jamshedpur...

So many times I have been to Jamshedpur that I had memorized every turn of the road from Ranchi to Jamshedpur. Hard luck was that every time I was coming for official work. You guessed right I was getting sick of not getting any time for sightseeing. Enough was enough, finally I asked Tata Steels' personnel to let me know a few places to enjoy my Sunday. What they told me were not exactly inspiring as the first one was a dam and the second was a zoological garden. Nonetheless "Something is better than nothing", provided me with solace.

I picked my friend Jean-Luc from his hotel and started our exploration of what we called as the "other face of Jamshedpur". First in line was a dam, the approach to the dam was not totally out of the world but was enough to stir up the spirits. Does this steel city has any other face too.









Enchanted by the greenery around, we soon reached at the top of the dam. The reservoir lake had an amazingly terrific view from the top.

Moments make life memorable, some of them are like a quiet evening in the woods, a walk with your friends.  We both were having a jolly good time.


No matter how many problems we have; one thing is sure that we Indians still know how to laugh and enjoy. Check out the young boys taking diving lessons...

If you are not a game for diving, try a long walk...

The other side is also too exuberant with nature at its best...

The place is so well maintained and clean that I was unable to stop myself from thinking again and again that how come this place is so well managed. The answer, the Dam and the reservoir is managed by TATA Steels.

By this time, we both were a bit rejuvenated and started for our next destination, THE ZOOLOGICAL Gardens. Any doubts about the garden, it is indeed a garden; that was the first thought came to my mind when I was treated to such a beautiful portrait.


and large number of ducks to welcome us...

Mesmerized by the awesome greenery, I have forgotten for a moment that there are other commitments waiting for both of us.

DO not dare to mess with them...

Seeing the king of jungle in the cage, reminded me one famous dialogue of hindi movies:
पिंजरे में कैद शेर को तो छोटे छोटे बच्चे भी पत्थर मारते हैं,,, (actor needs no introduction)
(even small children can throw pebbles at caged tigers)


You might take your luck for granted with these tigers. However if you have it in you, try with him.
I am too adventurous, but this time I could not get any closer to the royal king of the jungle.

Innovation is not a patent of anyone, check out this simple yet effective way devised by this intelligent monkey to keep himself cool in this scorching heat:

It was the first time I had been to a zoo, but nonetheless I was cherishing the every moment of it. For the first time in my life I met with the following:

NEELGAI

BEARS

Looks like they were also delighted on meeting with me. Don't you all feel that these lives will be better off in their original homes, i.e. the forests. 

While returning back, I was thinking that God has given me another venue to travel. This might be a humble beginning, who knows next time I will get a chance to go to Gir Forests or Ranthambore or Kaziranga Parks.

On one hand humans are destroying their dwellings to showcase their growth and later on to oblige these animals we are setting up sanctuaries, parks and zoological gardens. Whom are we trying to please or cheat..? We need to wake up in time, else when nature will seek back its due, human race will found itself too helpless and small.

"Preserve our Forests, our existence will be in jeopardy without them"
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Safari at Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary

If it would have been in my hands, I would have been living in the woods; surrounded by trees and nearby flowing river. I would have got up in the morning with the chirping of the birds, morning walk with bears and dears, farming/ cultivation in the afternoon and in the evening having a cup of Tea beneath the trees. I was enjoying the tea and all of a sudden a loud horn of the automobiles and I was out of my lovely dream. It was the time to accelerate my car. Insane traffic broke my dream but the thought was too adamant to leave my brain. I kept on thinking about the dream for some days, till I got engulfed with my routine schedule.

It was yet another visit to Agra when I spotted the sign board for "Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary", around 25 Km. from Mathura. 

At first I was wondering as I have not heard the name before and to be honest I was totally unaware that such a bird sanctuary exists and that too so near to Agra (12 km. to Agra). How come I have never noticed this park during my earlier drives through Agra? However true to my nature I had started early from Delhi, so I took the liberty of exploring the Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary. Start early whenever you are on for a road trip, you might get some surprises the way I got.

There is a very nominal entry fee, but the better part is that you can take your car inside the sanctuary. However it is expected from the visitors to not to disturb the animals and birds, so please refrain from honking. All the roads are yours, whether it is a concrete or  kucha road. Moving slowly on way which was covered and surrounded by trees from both sides, was nothing less than the royal welcome by the nature.

Extravagant nature which was outside the window panes compelled us to stop the car and enjoy the walk. You can park your car as per the convenience and enjoy the Jungle Safari:

It was the first time I got the chance to tread into the forests. Whistling woods had created a magnetic field around us and we were getting sucked inside the forests despite the warnings that tourists should not go too inside the forests. Though there were occasional sounds of snakes hissing and other animals, but those were far too small and weak to dampen our spirits.



Where there is a will there is a way. I am not a wild life expert, but still I was exploring whatever was coming my way:

Once our souls were contended of the astonishing flora, we restarted our pursuit for the unexplored. We were due for an amazing surprise in the form of "Keetham Lake". On a foggy afternoon and laden with clouds, witnessing the lake in its full natural grandeur was simply an out of the world experience. 

Observing the lake from the distance was not my cup of Tea, so I took the plunge downsides to be at the closest point of the lake. The moment was nothing less than being in a wonderland. There were a lot shells were lying on the bed of the lake, we too picked a few as a souvenirs. Suddenly I went back recalling my dream, which had met an abrupt end due to the city traffic. I got the walk in the woods and a nearby lake too, it was the time to thank the Gods for their benevolence.

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As we were about to start back a forest guard told us not to miss the Bears. You guessed it right he was talking about the cute animal.


We took no time in reaching the bears' place. The fenced boundary wall visible in the below picture is the official residence of the "Bears".  

However to meet the resident we had to walk to the nearby watch tower. But it was very difficult for me to resist the temptation, so I tried to see the animal by going atop a tree. My efforts went in vain as I was not able to get any sight of the Bears. Hard luck, I started to walk again.

All is well that ends well. The moment we reached at the top of the watch tower, there was a very huge bear in front of us, Bear did not kept us waiting.


With that we were almost at the limit of our available time. It took us around 2 hours to go around the Sanctuary, but the memories gathered were much more. When ever you plan to drive to this side keep some time for romancing the woods.

From the next time on wards whenever I will be driving to Agra a stop at this Bird Sanctuary will be a necessary part of the schedule. 

So Friends keep on enjoying the world and keep travelling....

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Romancing the Wilds "JIM Corbett"

How many times we long for cool breezes, a walk in the woods, sitting alongside a river, hearing birds' chirping  and watching animals in their natural self and finally adoring the blue skies and counting stars at night...

To be honest we all crave for such delicacies of lives. What a life it will be if I get a chance to say at such a place. However our cities have become a concrete jungle, where even getting fresh air is a luxury. In the race to achievement we become so occupied that we miss out the charming aspects of the life.

A well know saying - "No matter how much you are busy, one can still take out a few minutes for a BEER with Friends". Same way -
"No matter how much we are occupied with our hectic schedules, we should try for taking out a few days out of our busy lives to spend some time in the arms of Mother Nature". 

But the multi million question - Where to find such a place to spend the weekend and rejuvenate ourselves. Since I stay in Delhi, my choice for such a place is obviously around Delhi only. One such places is Jim Corbett National Park. Situated at a distance of 290 Km. from Delhi, Jim Corbett is an ideal resort to unleash yourself in the arms of mother nature.
Isn't it enticing...
A picture is worth 100 words. However this is just a trailer, in reality the place is much more spectacular than what it looks in the pics. No camera can capture the grandeur of this place. That's why wise people say - "Seeing is Believing". 

The beauty of Corbett National Park draws thousands of visitors from all over the world. It did not left me untouched even, to soak myself in cool breezes and rain soaked mountains, I started on 16th September, 530 AM from Delhi. Within in 40 minutes I was on NH 24 and moving towards Corbett. The route is easy and even first timers can drive without any hassles. In between you will come across Garh Mukteshwar, where if you wish can have a bath in river Ganges. Roads are in fairly good condition, except for a few small hitches. 

There is also a drive through MacD to take care of your taste buds (around 45 km. before Moradabad). Drive straight till Moradabad bypass, turn left after crossing Moradabad bypass (Landmark - 2 toll collection points within 2-3 Km.) and you are 90 Kms. away from Jim Corbett Park. 

Thakurdwara - Kashipur - Ramnagar and 10km. further you are in the Corbett Reserve Area. You will notice river Kosi, Himalayas and a number of resorts/ hotels on your right hand side.

By 1:30 PM, we were inside the resort. If this was the indication for the things to come, the "Club Mahindra" resort was as beautiful as anything.
 A swimming pool and a well equipped Gym was like icing on the cake. I was imagining the extent of enjoyment I will be having for the next 2 days.

Also I got the rare chance to stand on the riverside, watch the mountains out of the balcony and see the falling rains. What more you need for a weekend trip...? The resort is strictly for families.




Day 1: Hopping around

After taking the breath and our lunch, we started looking out for nearby spots. Hardly 100 m. from our resort, we were in for a surprise in form of a signboard in right hand side, pointing towards a Lord Shiva Temple. Without a second thought our feet started following the direction.

In store for us was an out of the world trekking adventure. We were going up the stoned way, which used to get constricted  too much and at places it we had to cross the falling waters. It was like a walk in the woods at places and at some places we used to use our hands to move ahead. Well, Manual trekking is indeed enthralling.



If this was good enough, you have to reconsider your thoughts. The small but graceful temple of Lord Shiva was a sheer pleasure to eyes. This was a very ancient temple, dating back to the days of Pandavas. A sight of antique statues, was enough to captivate you. After performing the rituals and thanking god for providing us with such an opportunity, we started back to our resort.






By the time we returned back, it was all dark. Since the swimming pool had closed by then, we decided to hit the Gym. After sweating out for an hour we went back to our apartment. By then our stomachs had started craving for food, food food....Dining under the skies was our moment which we will cherish for rest of our lives. Thanks to Club Mahindra for the memories

Day 2: Visit to Girija Devi Temple. 4 Km. from our resort was the Temple of Girija Devi. 

What a morning it was "We got up to the pouring rains". Quickly served delicious breakfast at the resort ensured that we can go out for adventures at the earliest. Also resort has number of activities to indulge, if you prefer to stay indoors. As soon as our batteries were charged to the full, we were sketching the our route for further exploration in the Corbett Park.

The best way to explore the place is by foot. We too started our quest, on feet to see the magnificent sights. The road was too captivating and the scenic grandeur was beyond comparison. Check out yourself:
Amazing Natural beauty at this place


One could have come by car, but the thrill of crossing the roads when water is rushing down will be certainly missed. Embracing chilling waters with bare feet...Vow... who need shoes...
 
Crossing several turns, bridges and trekking from the forests, meandering the wilds for 4 km. we were at the Girija Devi temple. The history of this temple goes back to the days of Mahabharata.







If the history is not enough tempting, it is situated on a hilltop, surrounded by river Kosi amidst gorgeous mountains on three sides.


Walking over the bridge to cross Kosi river to reach the temple presents you with a panorama par excellence. It is easy to get carried away, but please keep our concentration intact. I would not give too much efforts in describing in words the Magnificence of this pace. Check out for yourself:



Feeling the chilled waters of river Kosi bestow you with a heavenly experience. However I was unable to enjoy it for long as the temple personnel asked me to come out as the river was flooded at that time. Well big things come in small packages.

I failed to notice that it had started to rain. What can be more amazing than having the snacks in a make shift dhaba (hotel). Chowmein and Tea never ever had or will taste better.

I might have returned back without shopping, but with my wife alongside me, I had to loosen my purse strings for some souvenirs. I am still working on the Rubik Cube puzzle, I purchased from there.

While returning, it had started to rain, this time in tandems. So evenings were reserved for the Gym for the second time in second day. Food looked tastier after sweating out for an hour or so.

Day 3Return Journey

All good things have to end, so was it. Since it was raining heavily for the last 2 days, we decided to start early on Saturday.
I was thinking that it was too early to end our tryst with adventures. Looks like GOD was listening as I got a chance to drive through such falling waters. We were fortunate as NH-24 got closed for traffic the following day.  


"To summarize I would like to thank the weather GODS for making this visit a truly memorable one." So what are thinking guys pack your bags and VROOM...to Jim Corbett.
"Jim Corbett park is one of the favorite tourist spots of people from all over India and people from across the world. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas Corbett National Park is the Home to a variety of flora and fauna, it is famous for its wild population of Tigers, Leopards and Elephants. Corbett national park was established in 1936, as the Hailey National Park.
This 201 square mile park was renamed in honor of the late Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter-naturalist turned author and photographer who spent most of his years in this area and contributed in setting up the this park. With the help of the World Wildlife Fund, Project Tiger was launched in Corbett National Park in 1973 and this park was one of the first such tiger reserves in the country."
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