Relishing the Natural Beauty

Sehar Siddiqui

As the New Year begins, and we all slowly and steadily learn to write 2015 instead 2014, It’s also time to plan some things for the coming year 2015. Now we all have a never ending to do list and to be frank none of us reach the end of it, most of the times. But like the year gone, 2015 will also be giving us ample opportunities to spend quality time with friends and family. Thinking how? This year too we shall be getting a couple of long weekends and if we plan them in the right way, we can all enjoy a handsome amount of long weekends vacationing with friends and family.

Lucknow has ample options when it’s come to recreation and entertainment. It is a city, which is, now equipped with almost every facility a metropolitan town has. Corporate house, multinational firms and private organisations are now a part of the commercial and employment sector of the city. Therefore, corporate living is also becoming a new addition to the lifestyle of Lucknow. Crazy work schedules, long hours at office, weekends spent in tabulating reports and making presentations is now not an unusual thing.

To make it easier for my readers, I have chosen to write about Dudhwa National Park, which is about 230 kms from Lucknow. The road conditions are good and travellers can reach the place in 4-5 hrs. The route that can be taken is Lucknow>Sitapur – Lakhimpur>Palia>Dudhwa. There is a four- lane highway till Sitapur.

The Post-Independence era witnessed tremendous encroachment towards the Dudhwa jungle. As a result the forest was converted in an agricultural land. Additionally, due to its location on the Indo- Nepal border the chances of poaching and hunting enhanced to greater extent and the trading of the wild animals increased to a massive extent who sell their products in Nepal, which being a tourist place gives them a huge market for these things. It was the perfect money making place for the poachers but it was “Billy” Arjan Singh, who’s single handed efforts made this park to reach at its richness. The great conservationist initiated an idea of converting this land into a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1965 and thus received a lot of appraisal from the wildlife conservationists and wildlife lovers across the world. In 1977, Arjan Singh approached the erstwhile prime minister, Indira Gandhi to declare the forest as a National park. In 1984-85, seven rhinos were relocated from Assam and Nepal to Dudhwa to rehabilitate a rhino population, which lived here 150 years ago. Four years later, it was declared a Tiger Reserve under the Project Tiger and currently is a major habitat for tigers in India.

The welcome song of birds chirping sitting on the branches of tall Sal trees, is one of the first beautiful surprises the Dudhwa National Park offers to its visitors. A perfect holiday destination for wildlife lovers and nature lovers, the Dudhwa National Park is among the most valued natural forests of the Terai region of the state of Uttar Pradesh.

When a visitor enters the forest reserve area, there are many awe-inspiring views that captivate the visitor instantly. The melodious song of the cuckoo, the light and shadow dance of the sun rays bouncing of branches and green leaves, the majestic Sal trees, the freshness of unpolluted air are a few things that would engulf the visitor the moment they enter the forests of Dudhwa National Park.

The three prime reasons why any wildlife lovers would love to visit the Dudhwa National Park are as follows:

  • It has two exotic wildlife sanctuaries in proximity – The Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kishnapur Wildlife Sanctuary. All the three national parks together form an important part of the grasslands of the Terai region. The thick patches of forests play an important party in maintain the ecological balance of the area.

  • The Katernia ghat Wild life Sanctuary has one of the largest populations of alligators and is world famous for having a large population of endemic aquatic reptiles of India.

  • The Dudhwa National Park is home to diverse kinds of species of animals and birds. It is also called bird’s paradise. The reserve also has many ecosystems thriving within its periphery.

 

Another interesting fact that can definitely force passionate travellers, wildlife photographers and nature lovers to pack their bags to the Dudhwa National Park is the population of swamp deer. Commonly known as the “Barasingha”, this species of deer can only be sighted in India. According to a statistics done, the Dudhwa National Park has the largest population of swamp deer, which can be easily, spotted grazing in the grasslands in herds during the jungle safari ride in the core of the jungle.

Two twinkling eyes peeping from behind the tall grass or a looking at you from the side of a thick bark of an ancient Sal tree or sighting the orange and black stripes as they come near you, definitely sends shivers down the spine. The Dudhwa tiger reserve is an important part of the Project tiger and once the park has reported the highest number of tigers. The pride of the jungle – the ever-impressive Bengal Tiger whose number is continuously dwindling in our country due to quite few reason, is one major reason why wildlife lovers would love to visit the Dudhwa National Park.

The best time to visit the Dudhwa National Park is around November and it stretched up to the month of May. An avid bird watcher’s happiness would know no end when he or she visits the Dudhwa National Park. With approximately 400 species of resident and migratory birds living inside the reserve, the national park is definitely a paradise for bird as well as wildlife lovers.

The forest of Dudhwa comes alive with the melodious symphonies of birds and vibrant colours of natures. Spending a vacation amidst nature will truly revitalise the soul and senses of the visitor. Away from the cacophony of city, the peaceful silence of the park would be like a balm to tired soul of any human. A perfect getaway, there are many resorts and hotels available at reasonable prices, where the visitors can put up.

Writer is from Allahabad, associated with newspapers and magazines.

(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 1 Issue 11, Dated 05 February 2015)

Photo credits :Adeel Ahmad 

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