Thursday, 9 June 2016

Solo wildlife trip!



Hey everyone,

I'm back to share my second solo travel tale. The first had been Pondicherry, Tamilnadu and this is in my own State: Odisha.


I had been planning to go a new wildlife sanctuary since a long time but it never happened because of fear of remote places, no company and expenses. But finally I saved some money, got some guts, Google-d stuff online, made few calls and settled everything! The place to go was 'Kuldiha'.

I had heard good reviews of the place and seemed particular closer to Bhubaneswar i.e. my city. 


To read my more detailed trip report and pictures check the link --> Wildlife trip to Kuldiha

I have a passion for bird watching in their natural habitat and with this place I had great hopes! Two and a half days with Mr. Manaranjan Das, my tour guide (who is also a birder) went excellent! I explored a beautiful new place. A complete raw and pristine forest with a positive vibe that energizes you. Forgetting the clumsy busy world, I enjoyed this calm green! At the peak hours I enjoyed plenty of bird calls and had some amazing bird sightings like Malabar Trogan, Pale-capped Pigeon, Vernol’s hanging parrot and Heart-spotted woodpecker. One late evening I was lucky to see a cow Indian Elephant drinking water with its calf. What a peaceful sight and it fills you with a feeling of awe. How beautiful is nature and its ways!

One night we stayed in 'Kuldiha' rest house which is deep in the forests with no network and limited electricity. It rained heavily that night, and guess what! I had a tent for night stay. Exciting!! I enjoyed the gossips with the locals having black tea and snacks. The next day after rains was extremely fruitful in bird watching. I saw Indian Giant squirrels, Spotted deers and some fascinating butterflies, insects and lizards. With birding I also have an interaction with the habitat; the trees, leaves, soil; everything is a part of it. You learn nature's behavior although it's quite unpredictable and that's the fun part; it surprises you!!

I felt like I challenged myself to go solo again and accomplished it. I have more confidence in me and the ways to deal with people and places. My overall view with Kuldiha was very nice. It's safe and people are nice plus within one and half hour you're close to cities.  
***
Selfie and the view from my vehicle
Me with Mr. Manaranjan Das and his wife who also had great interest in birds!
Doggy love and the nice guest house at Panchlingeswar, Balasore
Crested Serpent Eagle
Elephant and it's calf going for a drink
Shrike
Malabar trogan
Oriental turtle dove
Indian Giant Squirrel
Peninsular rock agama
Spotted deers
My tent! How adventurous :) 

***

"I was little scared to do this solo trip in a wildlife sanctuary but with Manoj bhai's help and hospitality all my fear turned into joy. Bird watching went good and all other amenities were taken care off. You don't need to worry about food or stay. It's a good place and a lot of things like water-falls and hills are nearby to see. I'll come again for that and of course birding too. Hoping to see more Elephants and Bisons as well"


You can reach Mr. Manoranjan Das at: 9937332552

www.kuldihasafari.com  
 ***


Last day when I was dropped in the city I decided to check out a nearby beach which is quite famous. So I changed two auto-rickshaws and within one and half hour I was in Chandipur beach. It was hot but the place was nice! Beaches are always peaceful and serene. I had some fresh coconut water and came back to Balasore railway station. After 3 hours I took my train and was in home in next 3 and half more hours. :)

Chandipur beach and Great Egret birds
My solo time towards beach

Hoping for a comeback to explore more ~

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Auroville Tale ~

Hey I'm back to finish my Pondicherry solo-trip tales.

~ Part Three ~

Read other two here and here!

After my amazing time at Pondicherry, I headed to Auroville. It's a spiritual township around 30 mins away from Pondicherry. I had booked to stay at Atithi Griha looking at some beautiful pictures and it turned out to be really nice. The room I got was pretty neat. I was so dead tired after Scuba diving that I dozed off. After around 2 hours I woke up, got dressed, clicked lots of pictures, asked directions and went off the see Matri Mandir. I actually lost my way but reached at the place. The night view of the amazing architecture was beautiful. I was so close and it looked magnificent. I heard and saw lots of owls probably all Spotted owlets. An excellent place for nature watchers. I got back through a scary, almost lonely dark route. Do not roam alone at night in Auroville, at least on foot.

There was no dinner at the place and eating places were quite far, so I gobbled up my snacks. Craving for some tea I asked at the counter. He said that he doesn't serve tea but would make a cup of lemon tea for me while he makes some for himself. I happily agreed. So we had a good chat over the tea. He said that he's a Nepali, doing odd jobs here. He's been here for last 10 years. Random topics came in like the Nepal earthquake, different places in India, foreign people staying there, how he gives vehicles on rent, how he waits for the bullet trains to be launched in India so that he can go home in a faster way. I shared my journey till now and he was amazed :)  After a while I was off to my room and fell asleep. Quite an exciting day it has been.
   
 
***

I woke up right before the breakfast time. There was brown bread, papaya, watermelon served along with various beverages, jam and butter. There was a North Indian family who joined there and much later a foreigner couple. After sometime a Cheery Indian girl joined me up and asked if that's it for the breakfast or she missed anything. We had a good laugh over the boring breakfast served. We Indians are used to heavy spicy food even in the morning. We chatted up while eating. I shared my side of story and she did hers. She was doing a solo art exhibition in Auroville and  has done solo trips before. Isn't amazing meeting other Solo travelers especially women. :) She was off and I has some time in hand before I left for my journey to Chennai

I simply strolled there, relaxed, looked around the place, played with the doggies & took lot of pictures.
I checked out around 11 am and walked out to again see Matri Mandir in the day light. This time I took a public route and saw it from quite far. I was awestruck with the golden look of Matri Mandir. The place was flooded with tourists. I took a bus from there to the main entrance. At the entrance one can find lots of eateries and boutiques and shops. So buy your souvenirs from there like I did! Quite an expensive place I must say. I had a typical Thali in lunch with rice, dal, papad etc and went in search of an Auto. I got with a cheap deal. The auto person left me till the main road and there he helped me find a bus to Pondicherry Bus stand. That is what was left in my journey, a travel in the local public transport. I got a seat and enjoyed the Tamil songs. 

From there I took a bus to Chennai. It went through ECR road which had the beautiful Bay of Bengal by it's side. I reached Chennai in 3 hours. After that I took my train from the Indian Railways and reached my city Bhubaneswar the next evening. 

This was a really short stay in Auroville. I wished to stay longer to understand the concept behind the place and have a learning. Somethings remain pending to happen next time. 

An everlasting bunch memories for me.


His name is Mani. I love this pic


Atithi Griha which means the Guest's home in English.


Me in my-made sparrow dress.


Nice isn't?


Camera timers :D


Matri Mandir in evening ~


A fountain there! It was so peaceful.
The morning in Auroville.


The room !


Puppy love <3


The room looked better now with Mani posing.


around the place ~


Beautiful in the day!


Read more about Auroville here : http://www.auroville.org/ 
You can book your place and volunteer for various programs through it.