………..Continued from my previous post “Days Out in Brahmaputra Valley-Part 1”
History never forgets nor forgives. So I leave the facts of Indo China War 1962 on the pages of history. We were on a day out and were going to Nameri National Park & Tiger Reserve which lies along the foothills of Eastern Himalayas. It is located 35KM away from Tezpur on the Balipara – Bhaluukpung road. Nameri is unique in having a rare assemblage of sympatric carnivores like Tiger, Leopard, clouded leopard and wild dog.
The rich and varied bird diversity of Nameri attracts people from all over the world. So far 374 bird species have been identified of which some species are globally threatened. The rare elusive White Winged Wood Duck is the added attraction of Nameri.
(Photo source: http://en.wikipedia.org)
We were nearing the Nameri and were watchful not to miss the road which goes through the forest on the right from the highway. We did not find difficulties noticing the big sign board along the road indicating the way towards the park.
We took the road going down on the right. There were two more sign boards along the road, one of them asking the visitors to keep watch as one is to pass through the Elephant corridor. The other board was written in local language describing Nameri as also the sanctuary of migratory birds.
It was then about 11 AM, we stopped at Nameri Eco Camp. This camp is managed jointly by the government of Assam and an NGO in association with the Department of Forest, Govt. of Assam. We entered into it; they have a tourism information counter in the front. Before coming we decided to have our lunch here, so contacted the reception immediately for placing the order in advance before visiting the park, but by now they were full with order of visitors in the camp. But they were very friendly and told us to enquire in another resort called Jiabhoreli Wild Resort which is located near the Jia Bhoreli River. But before that we needed to obtain necessary entry permits from the Range Officer, Nameri Wildlife Range. We chatted a while with people in the information counter and came to know that this Eco Camp offers the ideal platform to explore Nameri National Park. The camp has an excellent ambience, nice tents and comfortable surroundings. It looked like that one can just sit outside the tented cottages and spend some quality time within the camp. They also arrange evening campfire.
The Eco Camp offers to the visitor river rafting for either birding or Angling (angling now suspended) on the Jia-Bhoroli River. According to them it is the best place for rafting for beginner (Rafting here is more of a pleasure ride). One needs to travel upstream by jeep and then travel the same distance downstream by rafting. Lots of migratory birds can be seen during this trip and if lucky enough, one can even spot the Royal Bengal Tiger and the Elephant on the banks of the river.
They advised us to get the permits as quick as possible otherwise we may find it difficult to get lunch even in the other resort. It is because; this remote place is located far away from the nearest market place. The office of the Range officer is located just before this camp and we immediately rushed into it for the entry permits. Entry permits are issued from 9AM to 1PM and from 4PM to 7PM on Monday to Sunday on payment of specified fees. The permits are required both for rafting which is 14 km in length (rafting time is from 7AM to 2 PM) and also for wildlife trail walking of 5 KM starting from Potasali Ghat (Trail timing is from 7AM to 12 Noon and 2PM to 5PM). The Park remains open for the visitors from 1st November to 30th April.
We paid entry fees, guard fee and ferry charge and obtained the Entry Pass. Our journey by car began in the company of one armed forest guard. We went first to the Jia Bhoroli Wild Resort and placed order for lunch in advance, then headed towards the park and soon arrived by the bank of Jia Bhorali River to cross over the same by ferry to enter into the forest. There are no roads inside the park, so jeep safari is not available. Elephant safaris are though organized by the Eco Camp, we preferred to trail through the forest. We waited a while for the boat to ferry us.
Jainul Abedin, a 27 years old forest guard was assigned for our safety on the jungle trek. We cross over the beautiful Jia Bhoroli River and arrived on the forest camp office on the other side. Someone was waiting here for us and she was none other than Moromi, a beautiful deer tied up with a rope in middle of the forest.
“Moromi”, in Assamese means “a loved one”. She was looking at me with her pretty eyes. I could not move further. I felt like I was caught by her looks. First time ever, I felt for a deer like that. It was a love at first sight, if that exist at all. I came close to her, spread my hands for a hug and it was gracefully accepted by her.
All moment has an ending, so as my intimate moment with Moromi. Saying bye to Moromi was hard but it was time to go until we meet again. I marched forward to the jungles with my friends in search of some animals and rare species like white-winged wood ducks and the great hornbills.
We were signaled to stop by Jainul Abedin near a tree. He showed us a Gecko on the tree peeping out from its home. Tokay Gecko, a lizard species are found here. He told that such Asian lizards are grown upto 35cm-40cm in length and the local name of this lezard is Keko Saanp.
He hinted that there exists an illegal trade of such Gecko and they are sold as much as Rs. 5 lakhs in the international market. To verify the truth, back at home, I searched on the net and was really shocked by the report which was published on “The Telegraph, Calcutta, Page Northeast, Saturday, March 30, 2013”. The headline opened up a lot, “Gecko smuggling on the rise in Tezpur – The lizard species is used in making Chinese traditional medicine.” So it is China again, it has not let free the Tezpur even after 52 years of Indo China war 1962, this time in the role of a buyer, promoting illegal trade here. But can we shoulder off our responsibilities? Can we keep our eyes closed? Awareness – where it is?
…….. Thrills await us on the jungle trail ahead.