Wednesday, March 07, 2012

9 Days in Paradise - Leg 1, Nameri

It wasn’t going as I’d planned it. Sahana had dropped out of the trip at pretty much the last moment. This meant that we’d have just four people in our group to Nameri and Kaziranga as against the planned five. On the face of it, this didn’t seem much of an issue, except it hiked up the costs that we’d divided across five people. I like being meticulous in the way I plan, so this was a bit of a hiccup. As it turns out, some hiccups are for good reason.

Onward to Assam

So on 21st Feb - a day I’d been waiting for months, we set out on our journey. Raji picked me and Chirdeep up, we reached the airport well in time, met Sudhir over breakfast, got into our flight and then made an uneventful trip several hundred miles away to Guwahati. Our first stop was going to be Nameri Tiger Reserve - a quiet forest tucked away not very far from the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. Nameri is known to be a birdwatcher’s paradise and we’d planned to stay at the forest department’s Kanyaka Lodge. While the roads from Guwahati to Balipara were OK, the route from that point on was nothing but an absolute nightmare. We’d made quite a few stops on the way - a few times for lesser adjutant storks, and once for some tea at the NH52 Dhaba. So, after a five hour bone rattling drive, we made our way into the lodge and were able to stretch ourselves.

Rolling into Nameri

Nameri is not short of accommodation options despite the limited footfall it receives. Nameri Eco Camp is the most popular property in the neighbourhood and is run by the Mahseer Conservation Society in the region. I haven’t heard very good things about the Jia Bhorali resort (Email: / Mobile: 9435101614 / 9859262831), but I can’t believe it’ll be absolutely awful. We however couldn’t get accommodation in the Eco Camp, so we decided to go with the Kanyaka Forest Lodge which at Rs 800/- a night per room seemed like an absolute steal. Located right next to the 134 Eastern Planters unit which is part of the Indian Army’s Eco Task Force, the property is a good, no-frills wildlife enthusiast’s accommodation. Mr Sarat Sarma who runs the lodge on behalf of the forest department is a funny man who has limited knowledge about birds, but more than makes up for it with his enthusiasm. That first night, we slept really well - it’s funny to think how just sitting through a long flight and a long drive can tire you out.

Exploring the Wilderness

The next morning we were up early. The plan was to go rafting down the Jia Bhorali river. If you stay at the Kanyaka lodge, be sure to speak to Mr Sarma and have the boatmen either stay over at the lodge or come really early in the morning. The rafting point is about 10 kms away at a point called the 13th mile and an early start at 0630 AM gives you a good chance to spot birds. On that first day we were late, but the Jia Bhorali didn’t let us down. Ibisbill, Mallard, Ruddy Shelducks, Black Stork, Black Necked Stork, Pratincole… we found birds faster than we could call out their names. A part of me felt we were on a birding roller coaster. Be mindful though that rafting down the rapids is not an easy way to take photographs and while you’ll spot many birds on the way downstream, you’re quite likely to come back with no pictures.

Post the rafting trip and a pit stop for breakfast at the Potasali camp we set out on a forest trek with Meenaram Gogoi. At Nameri Tiger Reserve, birdwatchers need a permit to explore the trekking routes along its peripheries. You’re usually accompanied by an armed guard just in case you run into an aggressive elephant or bison. Now, it pays to have a guard who is a birdwatcher and knows the forest well. Meenaram Gogoi is one such man. From Kaziranga, he’s what you’ll call a born wildlifer. As the birds whizzed past on the canopy, he would operate without binoculars and help us identify exotic species that we hadn’t ever seen before. A little pied flycatcher flew by, as did a blue throated barbet. A streaked spiderhunter perched itself in an unusually high spot. As we went ahead redstarts and bulbuls dotted our path. A crested serpent eagle played hide and seek while a buzzard and a booted eagle soared high above us. You don’t expect to see this level of activity at 11am, but Nameri was truly a different kettle of fish.

As we trudged ahead and reached the Oubari camp, Meenaram started to get more alert. He had his mind on a more prized sighting - the white winged duck. You wouldn’t think of a duck being difficult to find, but these guys are shy and super elusive. They choose small ponds in the middle of the forest as their habitat and come noon, they go up on the trees and rest unless disturbed. We tiptoed to a haunt that Meenaram knew of. “Don’t talk, when I point out a location, look there without saying anything.” And that’s exactly what we did. As we approached the pond though, we startled an otter. The otter lunged into the water and off flew some of the most beautiful ducks I’ve ever seen. We’d seen the white winged duck, but had no chance of getting a photograph. Damn!

Over the next two days we spotted over a 100 bird species and trekked through some of the most beautiful woodlands you would have seen. Mr Sarma played eager host, Meenaram the astute guide and Jaykumar the caretaker was a wonderful cook who rustled up some simple, yet tasty food. If you’re a birdwatcher, then there’s nothing quite like birding in these evergreen forests. As we went down the Jia Bhorali for our last trip almost all of us felt that Nameri needs a lot more time than we had planned for it. Had we stayed longer and not had a hard stop to the trip, we could have come back with some pretty decent photographs. We didn’t, so I’m sure I’ll return there at some point to photograph the avifauna of the region. Until then, I’ll live with memories.

Travel Tips

Here are a few points that’ll help you plan your trip to Nameri:
  • To get to Nameri, you can hire a taxi at Guwahati airport for about 3600 INR.
  • To book Kanyaka Lodge, call Mr Sarat Sarma (the forester in charge) at +919435381990. He doesn’t operate by email but will mark out your name in his diary.
  • The ensuite rooms are 800 INR apiece, though for hot water you’ll need to share one of the common bathrooms. You can also opt for a deluxe room with a TV and that costs 1000 INR each night.
  • Food is usually simple and consists of local vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Jayakumar, the cook is quite obliging with requests and is usually willing to do what it takes to please you.
  • Rafting and trekking require separate permits and cost 280 INR and 320 INR respectively. Mr Sarma can help facilitate this.
  • The boatmen’s charge for the rafting trip is usually the bigger amount - 3240 INR for the trip. Each boat can accommodate upto 4 people. So in hindsight it wasn’t too bad that Sahana couldn’t make it. It helped all of us be together.
  • You’ll also need to hire a vehicle to carry your raft to the 13th mile and to pick you up from the end of the trip. This usually costs 1000 INR.
  • Apart from birding, there’s also the pygmy hog breeding center to help in the conservation of this endangered wild pig. Well worth a visit and I also saw some pretty interesting butterflies in the area.

I hope you visit Nameri soon - it was leg 1 of what’s been my most productive birding trip by far. Our next stop was Kaziranga - more about that in my next post. By the way, for this post and for this trip in general I tried using my iPhone as an alternate camera. I was quite pleased with the results in several cases. I'd love to know what you thought. So please, please, please - do share your feedback. I'm guessing you'll be able to make out the ones I shot with the phone, won't you?


molarbear's posts said...

Waiting to leave for Bhadra, and enjoyed this post very much! We stayed at the Eco Camp, but it's nice to see that there are other good options at Nameri.


Tom said...

Nicely written Sumeet. Must've been real frustrating missing getting a photo of the white winged duck.

tauruskvs said...

nice report....what about those mosquitoes...what are the precautions required....
do let me know when you are planning your next trip

bwl said...


Anita said...

I love those shots. You've taken great photos in that place. You really have a great skill in photography. I wish I had the same talent in photography. Anyway, I look forward to seeing more excellent photos of your trips.

Nude Photography

pigeon forge white water rafting said...

I'm sure you had a great time while you were in the raft. Thanks.

bus to cameron highlands said...

Very thoughtful words, thank you and hope that you will give us more information soon. It is a pleasure to have this type of important information. Keep it up please.

Book Hotel Online said...

Nice work with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information which we all need, helpful iformation. I would like to thank you for the efforts you shown remarkble writing skill in this article.

car rental in singapore said...

So informative things are provided here,I really happy to read this post,I was just imagine about it and you provided me the correct information

Shelterd Life said...

How do you make this blog look this cool!? Email me if you get the chance and share your wisdom. I’d be thankful! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate Samui Property for me?

Web Design Minneapolis said...

Very nice work. Must've been real frustrating missing getting a photo of the white winged duck.

ekhtsasy said...

شركة تنظيف بيارات بالرياض
شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض
شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
شركة تخزين اثاث بالرياض
مستودعات تخزين اثاث بالرياض
شركة تخزين عفش بالرياض
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
شركة مكافحة حشرات
شركة مكافحة الصراصير بالرياض
شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض
شركة مكافحة النمل الأبيض بالرياض
شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
شركة تنظيف بالرياض
شركة نظافة بالرياض

Anonymous said...

It was a good experience to read the articles and contents on this site educational technology research and development jobs

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful post, it is a very nice site i really enjoyed to visit this site. web design classes cost

marko said...

The expense of new auto advances, then, is a mix of interest rate, sum you acquire and time of the advance, on the other hand you should likewise consider the far reaching protection arrangemen this. An auto credit merchant is an organization or person who has entry to a vast scope of moneylenders who work in automobile advances. They have the power to follow up in the interest of borrowers who need to acquire an auto advance. Payday Loans Chicago

Nama Obat Penyakit Maag Kronis Yang Manjur said...

Terimakasih informasinya.
Nama Obat Penyakit Maag Kronis Yang Manjur
Ahlinya Pengobatan Jerawat Secara Herbal Alami
Ahlinya Penghilang Bopeng Bekas Jerawat
Cara Menghilangkan Bekas Cacar Air Di Wajah
Vitamin Penambah Berat Badan Herbal Anak Dan Dewasa

mahjong said...

In your blog I was happy to see your article, better than last time, and have made great progress, I am very pleased. I am looking forward to your article will become better and better.
agario skin | mahjong connect | minecraft games | my little pony games | car games | sniper games | agar io

marko said...

Unsecured auto advance don't require any guarantee. Yet, you never confound that you are being liberated of any commitment of reimbursement. When you neglect to reimburse the sum on the due date, a lawful notification can be issued to you to cover the measure of the advance. Cash Advance Corona

Glucoberry Dan Glucocoa said...

Glucoberry Dan Glucocoa

Renu Chaudhary said...

Resorts near Delhi NCR
Tree House Resort

Obat Herbal Jantung Berdebar said...

I like your article very imaginative! You're the greatest.
Obat Herbal Jantung Berdebar
Cara Pemesanan Jian Xin Capsule
Testimoni Jian Xin Capsule
Testimoni Jian Xin Capsule
Anjuran Makanan Untuk Penderita Jantung Berdebar

jaring pengaman said...

The article posted was very informative and useful
thanks for sharing..
jaring futsal | jaring golf | jaring kassa / jaring polynet | jaring pengaman proyek | jaring pengaman bangunan | jaring pengaman gedung | jaring gawang | jaring paranet / jaring tanaman | jaring safety |
jaring proyek | jaring bangunan | jaring gedung | jaring outbound | jaring truk | tali tambang |
jaring pengaman | jaring golf murah | jaring futsal murah | jaring truk sawit | jaring pengaman nylon | cargo net |

Gajraj Sharma said...

valentine wishes
valentine message for husband
valentine message for wife
valentine message for boyfriend
valentine message for girlfriend
valentine quotes for facebook
valentine day quotes
valentine quotes for husband
valentine quotes for wife
valentine quote for whatsapp
valentine quote for boyfriend
valentine quote for girlfriend
valentine wishes for wife
valentine wishes for husband
valentine wishes for girlfriend
valentine wishes for boyfriend
valentine day card for girlfriend funny valentine day poem for husband,wife,boyfriend
9 valentine poem for wife
valentine poem for husband
valentine poem for boyfriend

Lala Nirmala said...

obat hernia

Bayi rawan terkena hernia

Penyakit hernia

Penyakit hernia pada wanita

Penyakit hernia

Naruto Shipuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

Hardisk External Murah

game pc


bel sekolah

Obat perangsang wanita

Nabil Farma

Blog keuangan

Blog keuangan

Jasa Seo

Blog keuangan

blog keuangan

Blog keuangan

blog keuangan

blog keuangan

blog keuangan

blog keuangan

blog keuangan

blog keuangan

samvilale said...

Very interesting blog. Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definately interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.
geometry dash| sniper games |happy wheels game | happy wheels 2 |agario| five nights at freddy's

Pooja Singh said...

Test and rope courses present physical and mental group building difficulties intended to enhance existing interpersonal abilities and help members overcome obstructions to individual and gathering development. Low, high and versatile test and rope course exercises fortify topics of help, initiative, correspondence, criticism, critical thinking, and cooperative choice making. In Kingfisher Adventure Retreat, Botanix Resort close to Damdama Lake, Dream Island Resort, Turtle Farm Manesar, Camp Wild in Dhauj Village give these rope related exercises. Tree cottages and Tree House Resort

Family holiday packages for adventure camps kanatal

Hotels and Oysters beach water park gurgaon

Hotels and Wedding venues in Delhi

Picnic and Team day outing near delhi

Candy Sim said...

Thanks for the best was very useful for me.keep sharing such idea
s in the future as well.this was actually what i was looking for,and i
am glad to came here
earn to die play
earn to die
earn to die 3
Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the
earn to die 4
courage to go ahead and give youu a shout out from
earn to die 6
Austin Texas! Just wanted to tell
earn to die 5
good game empire

Justin said...

Clearly the sickness was a prohibition so the family had no medical coverage for yet another wellbeing issue. A couple of years after the fact it implied yet another credit that, at this point, the family could sick bear to pay. Auto Title Loans

Diara Dominy said...

The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention. Information Information Information

Related Posts with Thumbnails