Saturday, March 20, 2010

Radhanagari in summers

Radhanagari in summers

We left Kolhapur at around 6 o clock in the morning on our bikes and with the amount of Chill in the air no one could say that it was a summer morning. The weather was giving us the best lessons on how trees could protect earth from Global warming.

We reached at the entrance of the Sanctuary at around 8'o clock. While registering ourselves at the Forest department we enquired about the results of latest Wild animal census conducted in the sanctuary. The Forest officer told us that there are 3 Royal Bengal Tigers, around 15 leopards and more than 650 Bisons in the reserve. The numbers sounded quite a handful for a reserve that is spread in 350 Sq Km of area. The Range officer also informed us that a Tigress in the reserve has given birth to two cubs. This came as a zephyr of relief for all of those like us who are concerned about the disseminating Tiger population in India. 


It was such a pleasant feeling to see a low group of cloud over the Radhanagari Lake; I had witnessed a similar scene in monsoons as well. You can see the picture by clicking on the following link

We happened to be the first group of people to have entered the Sanctuary that day. This made us witness amazing amount of Pug marks left by the Animals during the last night. All the signs of the Pug marks on the trail were shouting loudly that the Sanctuary is still lively and active. 

The best part about the Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary is the fact that there are 3 watch towers provided at the prominent animal sighting locations; all these locations provide a clear view of the water reservoir. 

To our misfortune we could not take the snaps of the wildlife that came in front of us. They were a bit too quick for our cameras. We came across, Wild Cat, Wild Cock, Pea-Hens, and not to mention Beautiful species of camera friendly butterflies of Western Ghats. 

While exploring the interiors of the jungles and searching for Snakes we came across a cave fully occupied by the Bats. 

The Mystical snakes eluded us this time as well.

For me sightings of Butterflies has such a calming influence that I tend to forget the heat, the terrain, the tiredness everything. 

While during the exit from the sanctuary some of the beautiful flora of the Jungle waived good bye to us. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hiking in Rangna (Rangana) Forests

The Mission: Hiking to the Rangna fort for a stay of Two days and one night.

The Challenge: Hiking in Hot Summer weather, coupled along with treacherous mountain trail infested with herds of Bisons and Russell’s viper Snakes.

We a group of seven hikers led by Narayan Vishwasrao Shinde started hiking from Gargoti to Patgaon on our Vehicles and from Patgaon onwards it  was we, our hatch bags and our legs. 

The Team and the Mission in the backdrop

We had selected the Hiking days in such a manner that the night that we stayed in the fort was full moon night. 

 At the Top of the Peak

We started our hike around 1 o clock and reached to the top of the hill so as to enjoy the sun melting down in the Ghats.   The Sunsets from the cliffs of the Ghats is a mesmerizing and sublime experience. It was also those mystic day in which a full moon and sun makes a joint appearance. We could also notice the sea line of Malwan coasts in the far away west. 

As soon as the darkness fell, moon took the centre stage and enlightened the entire Jungle with Milky light. 

One thing that struck me during the night that I cannot even recall ia single night  in my entire life when I have not heard any tonking of the horns and cacophony of the urban life. 

We started preparing our food while having a mild drink. After having our typical Kolhapuri food, we went out to fetch some water search for some snakes and wild life in the Jungle on the way to the pond. All we came back with was a barb of a porcupine (Syahi). During the time of preparation of food we could hear mating sounds of Owl in the Jungle and as soon as we flashed out our torch light on the perch from where the voice was originating we got to see two glowing eyes on the top of the perch which made the confirmation to our guess of these voices belonging to Owls. 

As the night fell so did our tiring bodies as well. It was a much needed and a very refreshing sleep for the entire night. 

As we all woke at 07:30 AM, we went to Mother Nature attend our nature’s call. As soon we were fresh we went out to explore the Fort and the dense Jungle in its fold. 

It was steamy hot in Jungle and dense forest bushes added to the heat. As we went to the south of the fort on the South Gate of the fort a delightful surprise was awaiting us on walls of the Gate. It was a Chameleon, one who was not shy of sharing all its camouflage skills.


While roaming in the hot jungles appearance of these flowers made a welcome sight.

Sight of this big rock spider was also one of the memories that I will cherish forever amongst my expeditions. 

We also went to the east side of the fort in search of Snakes and Vultures but only one of them obliged. We came across this Vulture in the rock seats. To identify the seat of these vultures on the rock faces is quite easy. Just look at the white spots on the rocks, these marks are of the excretion of the vultures on these rocks. 

We started our descent at around 4 PM and we reached Patgaon by 06:45 PM. In all during these two days we all had walked around 45 KMs. Although the trek  for physically enervating, but it was nothing as compared to the mental refreshment that we received.