rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Getahead » New Year's Eve in a forest!

New Year's Eve in a forest!

Last updated on: December 26, 2013 20:48 IST

New Year's Eve in a forest!

     Next

Next
Lakshmi Sharath

There is something special about spending New Year's Eve in a forest, says Lakshmi Sharath.

Cruising on the river Kabini watching the sky blush with the warmth of the setting sun, I watch a year go by while another dawns. There is something special about spending New Year's Eve in a jungle. To begin with, there are no fireworks.

And there is no loud head-banging music anywhere. There is just silence, a comradeship with nature that purges your mind and leaves it empty for new experiences. And adding to it are encounters with the denizens of the jungle that only livens up the atmosphere.


Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath

     Next

New Year's Eve in a forest!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

I have spent many a New Year's Eve in a jungle -- Masinagudi, Kaziranga -- nothing comes close to Kabini. There is something magical about the river, watching herds of elephants on the banks, some locking horns while a lone tusker tears apart the clumps of bamboo with glee.

It is my last safari for the day and I am in a boat looking at the landscape drenched in the evening colours. The elephants are undoubtedly the showstoppers for the day but I am lost in the world of the winged species. 


Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath

Prev     Next

New Year's Eve in a forest!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Creating a beautiful silhouette against the golden sky is a flock of water birds -- there are Asian openbills, Eurasian spoonbills and the woolly-necked storks. I see my first ever sighting of the peregrine falcon as it flies past me.

Along the banks are a few painted storks.

The naturalist points out to the stork-billed kingfisher. And then we are treated to three different varieties -- the common kingfisher, the white-throated kingfisher and the pied kingfisher hovering around for fish. The brahminy kites are waiting for their turn, basking in the light while darters and cormorants complete the picture. 


Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath
Tags: Asian

Prev     Next

New Year's Eve in a forest!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

We go closer towards the banks to see the elephants. A peacock struts along. The forests around Kabini are manna from heaven for these creatures as there is abundant supply of food here.

Centuries ago, however this was just a hunting lodge and elephants were hunted through an operation referred to as khedda and trained for war. 


Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath
Tags: Kabini

Prev     Next

New Year's Eve in a forest!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Drummers would drive an entire herd into a wooded enclosure where domestic elephants called 'Kumkis' were used as decoys to calm them. However a dam was built later here, separating the forests of Nagarhole and Bandipur and the maharaja's hunting lodge was converted into a wildlife resort.

Kabini soon became Asia's largest congregation of elephants and we start the new year trying to get a glimpse of them in the forests.


Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath

Prev     Next

New Year's Eve in a forest!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

It is the moon that greets me in the morning when I wake up. The stars are still shining in the dark grey sky. A nippy breeze floats through causing ripples in the water. There is nothing more beautiful than watching dawn break in a forest.

The rosy hues of the sun, the rays filtering through the branches, the mist fleeing away as the warmth of the sun spreads around, the birds singing an ode to morning -- it seems like the perfect way to ring in the new year.

We take off in the jeep watching the colours unfold around the jungles -- a palette of yellows and browns and greens meet the eye. 


Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath
Tags: 1

Prev     Next

New Year's Eve in a forest!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

My first sighting is not that of an elephant. It is not even the quintessential spotted deer that seems almost omnipresent in the forests.

It is the herd of gaur who have come to quench their thirst. We watch them rush past us and move along the bumpy stretch. The blue jay or the Indian roller stops us for a few seconds. 


Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath
Tags: 1

Prev     Next

New Year's Eve in a forest!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

A little later, it is the crested serpent eagle that greets us.

We chug along and I see a lazy pack of wild dogs in the woods. A pair stands up to gaze at us and we realise that the stare is not too welcoming. We quickly take the photographs. I still see no sign of the leopard or the tiger or the famed elephants of Kabini.


Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath
Tags: Kabini

Prev     Next

New Year's Eve in a forest!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Silence descends. We stop near a clump of bushes and a mud path lies ahead of us. After a few minutes, we see a family of elephants walking down the path. The calf hurriedly disappears into the bushes while the older elephants carry on at their own pace.

A little later, we are treated to an extreme close encounter with a tusker. We stop as soon as we see it and it gazes at us for a long time before continuing on its path.

Our final stop for the day is at a pool and there we spot a mother and her calf splashing around enjoying a mud path. 


Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath
Tags: 1

Prev     Next

New Year's Eve in a forest!

Prev     More
Prev

More

The parakeets screech around us. We watch a flock of excited hill mynahs. But the elephants are not disturbed. They are indulging in their morning ablutions. We spend a few minutes until it is time for us to head back.

As the woods fade away from our eyes, I realise that every day in a jungle is almost as refreshing as the first day of a New Year.

There are no clocks or calendars here -- just an endless tete-a-tete with nature at its best. 


Photographs: Lakshmi Sharath
Tags: 1

Prev     More