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Manas National Park
On 11 Dec 2020, we left Guwahati at 11:30am in a sturdy Bolero.I was accompanying Madhurima Ma'am, the Secretary of Forests,Govt of Assam who was on an inspection tour of the famous Manas National Park.It was an official duty for Ma'am while it was a dream outing for me that was realized after seven years.
When we reached Sonapur, our driver Kalita da stopped the vehicle to buy some oranges.The sun was directly overhead by that time and in that warmth, the sweet
and tangy oranges tasted heavenly.Kalita da then deftly speeded up the SUV on the smooth highways.
At 2:40pm, we reached Bashbari IB(Inspection Bungalow) of the Manas NP.The director of the Park, Amal Sarma had been waiting for us and we were warmly welcomed.Then,we were ushered inside the dining hall for lunch.As it was
my fasting day, I brought a tiffin of Sagoo Khichhri.After lunch, Ma'am and I set out for a jeep safari.As it was an open vehicle, we put on our woollen caps and sat down comfortably behind the driver's seat.Ma'am was ready with her Nikon DSLR camera to shoot any bird or animal that we would come across.We had to travel for around 3km to reach the Rest House at Mathanguri where we would put up for the night. On the way we saw Fatimabagh tea garden.After five minutes, we reached the gate of Manas NP.Inside the wire fencing of the Park, many colourful peacocks and jungle fowls were roaming around.
The driver, Ajay Ramchiary stopped the vehicle so that Ma'am could click some pictures of the birds.Ajay also acted as our guide who told us that there are 479 species of Bulbul inside the Park.We rode through the kuchha road where there are Simul trees on either side.The cool breeze that blew on our faces was becoming chilly and I put on my thick and long jacket.
At 3:50pm, we reached Buraburijhar camp where we saw hugu(a bird) and some long-tailed bird species.As we rode along, we saw Sorfully camp on the way.It was 4:30pm and after a few minutes,it became dark.We had to depend on the front lights of the vehicle to look around.I could see another light coming from behind ; it was Kalita da who was following us on the SUV. On the right side of the road, we saw a huge,brown-coloured Sambar that was drinking water from a stream.A little ahead,a group of deer were standing near the same stream.Suddenly, an elephant was about to cross the road in front of us.Ajay put on the brake in time and let the animal to pass by.After sometime a deer appeared and ran across the road before it disappeared among the bushes.Ajay was driving at a slow speed so
that we do not miss out on any sightings.His sharp and experienced eyes then sighted two burning eyes in the dark.He pointed out to us and stopped the
vehicle.Lo! a leopard appeared on the right side and it quickly crossed the road.Ajay warned us not to make any sound.In the darkness, we could spot those two burning eyes of the cat.It did not go far away but instead sitting there as if it was posing for a photograph.It was too dark to see its whole body.We knew it was moving around slightly among the bushes but we were unable to capture its pictures in the dark. With sighs of regret we moved along and reached the Upper Bungalow of Mathanguri at 6pm.This is a one-storeyed building painted dominantly with green, symbolising the colour of the forests.We climbed up the wooden stairs to the upper floor where we were accomodated in the room of the Field Director of Manas Tiger Project.The wooden floor made a creaking sound under our feet.From the verandah, we could hear the dashing sound of the Beki river that was flowing just next to the building.Ma'am and I took baths in turn and at 9pm, we went down to the dining room to have dinner.Again, I took out my tiffin to complete my fast for that day.This time I had beet halwa made with the fasting flour while Ma'am had chicken curry, dal,salad etc.I offered a little halwa to Ma'am and she liked the taste.
Tired, I slept early.But Ma'am had to sit up for sometime as she was expecting some of her office colleagues.I covered myself under the quilt and in no time, entered the dreamworld.