PLEASANT POBITORA; THE TRAIL AND TRAVELOGUE:
The morning started on a bad note as I woke up with a sinking feeling in my stomach when the gloomy climate and the hazy morning of Guwahati peeped inside my hotel room with a lonely depressing effect. The feeling got enhanced as I heard everyone leaving in a hurry as they were all set for their forest safari. Even the lovely songs that were played from that multi facility cell phone and the hot morning coffee were not enough to pull me out of my so called depression and my so familiar mood swings!
But I guess what man proposes is often that which God disposes, for very soon I had to change my decision and boy, do I thank God for that? The car that was supposed to come for the safari, failed to turn up and it took almost 1 and ½ more hours to make new and fresh arrangements. This time lapse was enough for me to shake myself off from my gloom and low phase and within no time I got ready to join the gang and the warm smile and eagerness of everyone that welcomed me was enough to convince me that I made a right decision.
Soon, we started our journey through a picturesque natural beauty towards Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary, situated 60 kms away from Guwahati. This sanctuary has a flat land coupled with a gentle inclination in the direction of east to west, excluding the region of Burha-Mayong hillock. We reached the forest rangers’ office through eye catching scenario of hills, landscapes, lakes in almost 2 hours. As we sat in the jeep, all set for our jungle escapade, my expectations were already fluttering and wandering wild for venturing a road, less traveled. :-)
This wildlife sanctuary supports a lot variety of flora and fauna. The main attraction of the wildlife sanctuary is the one horned rhinos. With a lot of anticipation we started our forest trip, maintaining a pin drop silence with only cameras and videos to do the talking. The bitterness of the cold was already less with just a mysterious fog nestling the horizon.
The sight that brought a smile to our lips in the very beginning of our journey were two huge black wild buffaloes among the cows grazing in forlorn pastures. Soon our guide hushed our excitement and pointed at a faraway distance, on a few whitish grey shadows and we realized that we were seeing a family of those famous great Indian one horned rhinos and my thrill just knew no bounds.
Since we had enough time with us we asked the jeep driver to proceed at leisure and moved along the bumpy rocky road and the difficulty of the drive only added to my sense of adventure. Every furlong had to be covered carefully as the path, steep in most places, was strewn with boulders and littered with small stones, which slid and rolled underfoot.
It was the fall time and the trees all around were with grey and pale yellow leaves. The narrow trail, covered with rusty leaves, as well as the path ahead reminded me of the life left behind, the lashing of memories and yet so many more miles to cover, yet so much hope, still so many dreams to pursue!
The silence of the forest spoke in many voices; sometimes it was a strange bird’s twittering, then some alien grunting and suddenly the breeze whispered by and the caressing rustling of the leaves filled my ears. I was amazed to realize that the silence of the forest has its own voice and expressions that in no time transported me into a world of sublimity devoid of the daily drab drudgery.
Surprises weren’t over as suddenly the groaning of the jeep stopped and the guard got alert with his upright rifle and the driver gestured for us to be quiet. In this sudden eerie deathly calmness, there stood this mammoth sized one horned white rhino, looking straight into our eyes, just some 10 or 15 feet away! We were almost paralyzed, rooted to the spot but our cameras and videos clicked away to glory. It was indeed an experience of a life time! Soon after, we were rewarded with the sighting of another mummy-Rhino, with her baby springing and trailing behind.
A jackal with its foxy curious look watched us, sitting right in front of the path as we slowly ventured further.
A while later, as we entered into some more dense growth we encountered with a wild ferocious looking boar but soon there were more colorful pleasant surprises as we saw a large mixed flock of birds with many interesting species. The species included greylag goose, white-necked stork, black-necked stork, spotbilled Pelican, swamp francolin, greater adjutant stork, falcated teal, white-bellied heron, white Ibis, ferruginous duck, etc. and two beautiful deep yellow and indigo blue birds.
We ended our journey in a gorgeous late afternoon light basking in which the forest behind us appeared more mesmerizing. The setting and the landscape was so serene that one can easily be lulled into romantic notion. By then the limbs were sore from a jerky uneven ride but the mind was at peace as the trail of my travelogue carried soothing memories of raw yet divine jungle passion.