Namieri National Park

The Pujas are here, and so , unexpectedly are we! In Siliguri I mean. For various reasons, mostly personal we are staying put in Siliguri this year instead of joining the usual Bengali emigration to other states and countries. Last year the Pujas were slightly later than this year and we visited Western Arunachal Pradesh, including the Tawang area. On the way back we turned away from the Bhalukpong Guwahati road to enter the wonderland of Namieri. We stayed at the Eco camp. This a is a collection of tents and some bungalows placed around a green. Run by Ronen Sen, a wildlife enthusiast and avid angler, this pace is really worth visiting. The Forest department has its camp just adjacent. Close to the camp is the entry to the Namieri tiger reserve and if you walk about a kilometer you come upon the Bhoreli river. The river reminded me of the Ramganga river at Corbet except that there was little evidence of human movement, though I am told, there is extensive poaching in this area.
If you cross the river you enter the real jungle where in addition to over a hundred species of birds you can see elephants, many large ungulates and the tiger. Frankly, we spent two mornings walking the grassland and the forests of Namieri but were unable to spot any of the large mammals except a herd of elephants. Perhaps the poaching story is true, though the forest officials vehemently deny it.
But Namieri in my opinion is the place for birds. The oriental pied hornbill, also seen nearer home at the Mahananda Sanctuary is easily spotted as are its cousins the great hornbill and the wreathed hornbill. Commoner birds are seen fairly easily, Barbets, different species of woodpecker and ducks abound. later in the year it is likely that more ducks would be seen.
The forest officials are a friendly lot. The gentleman in charge is married to a nurse who works about a hundred kilometers away. Hardship posting! However they are enthusiastic and very helpful. And knowledgeable as well! Those of us who read the writings of naturalists tend to get the impression that all the foresters are corrupt and innocent of any knowledge about the flora and fauna they are supposed to preserve. While they may not match the theoretical knowledge of the PhD holding naturalists who write for the papers and scholarly journals, whenever I have met these people who work for peanuts in difficult conditions, I am always amazed at their breath of knowledge and enthusiasm for their job.I think that blaming them for the faults committed by politicians should now stop.It is because of them that we are still able to see some of the wealth of nature that was a part of our heritage till the other day. I vote for them over the Rahmanis and Narains any day.
I want to visit Namieri in winter sometime, maybe this year? I want to float down the Bhoreli and photograph migratory birds and just sit still on its banks watching elephants in the further bank feeding on the elephant grass. Lets see.


Sajiv Kapoor said…
I am an avid reader of your Blogs.Always wait anxiously for regular updates.Your writings are top class and the descriptions very vivid. I have marked each of the places that you have written about as MUST SEE places. Keep writing! Your healhy activism for green causes and the underprivileged is inspiring.Hope I have not bloated you with too many superlatives.
Talked to Romin Puri the other day.As usual Alok Vanshyalla was the conduit. A few updates on our class mates. Adil Mistry has turned Prof at BIT,Goa. Saund,living very close to Romin,has turned into a recluse and religious.
Happy writing!

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