Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Mowgli's land

I arrived in Nagpur this evening by a direct flight from Kolkata - an unscheduled trip. It is hard for a wanderlust to stay put when there aren't too many commitments on the log. So I decided to travel to the forests of Madhya Pradesh. One of the popular area is Pench and takes about two hour's drive from Nagpur. Madhya Pradesh has many forests rich in wild life, flora and fauna. The various initiatives to save the tigers too are being implemented.
At at the turn of the 19th Century India was home to 45,000 tigers. Currently, as per official figures, there are less than 1500 tigers left in India. Despite the Project Tiger initiative, started in 1972 and after 44 specially constituted areas called Tiger Reserves and buffer zones spread over 41,000 sq km across at least 16 Indian states, tigers are on the brink of extinction.
It seems, the centrally sponsored initiative, that was set up to protect the dwindling tiger population in India, has failed to increase the tiger population.
The Pench region was the setting that gave life to some the world-famous jungle characters like Mowgli, Shere Khan, Bagheera and others immoralized in writings and works of Rudyard Kipling especially his Jungle Book series.
Pench, spread across 750 sq kms, is located in Seoni and Chhindwara districts and named after the Pench river. The sanctuary, which is the home of the Gond tribes, extends up to the lower reaches of Satpura ranges. The Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, covering an area of 118 sq km, forms the core of the reserve.
These forests, located close to the Maharashtra border, welcomes you into Madhya Pradesh. In fact the Pench dam shares the water with one state and power with another.
This is my first visit to the city of oranges and on way from hotel to the airport I heard the sounds of crackers all over the city. The driver informed me that India won the cricket match against Kiwis today and hence the celebrations.
I halted briefly at Hotel Tuli and will soon drive down to Pench. I am told that there is not much mobile connectivity in the forest area, I guess net connectivity would be a far thought.
ess bee

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