Sunday, August 3, 2014

Ladakh 9th July to 29th July 2014

What attracted me back to Ladakh was the beauty of the Place. Hills, Cold desert, High Passes, Glaciers and the scenic beauty of the area. I had been there last year and year before too and I wanted to show all these places to Kay. 
We left Tala on 9th July to reach Delhi on 10th morning. Adam and Maria were flying from UK to meet us at the airport to fly to Leh. 
I was so careful about telling others that what to take and what you will need in Leh but I myself forgot putting any warm clothes. This I realised when we were about half way to Umaria. Saving grace was my cotswool shirts.
Temperature at Leh airport was about 19C at 0740 in the morning. It was warm for Leh. Ascending ten thousand feet in 90 minutes time can create problems for some people. I was worried about Kay but she was as fit as before in that atmosphere. 
My name was suggested for Photographers pass by HH Dalai Lama's office so after breakfast I went to see the concerned person for pass. Whole press set up at Chogmalsar was very well organised and I was holding my pass within 15 minutes of submitting my papers and in next ten minutes I was right in front of HH Dalai Lama.
There were more than 100000 people sitting quietly listening to him. Volunteers were serving drinking water to each and every person. Kids as young as 3-4 years were sitting quietly. This is how they learn about their sect and respect for it.
Next day we just visited Shanti Gompa and Thiksey monastery. None of us were very much interested in Monasteries. We spent three days in Leh to prepare ourselves for Ladakh weather.
Our initial planning was to stay at Chamba Hotel Thiksey but due to HH Dalai Lama's Kall Chakra we had to stay in Leh.

As usual like any other part of India, after so many years the Leh authorities realised that their sewer system needs to be upgraded so whole of the Leh market was under construction. It was a chaos. Vegetable sellers and Dry Fruit sellers had to move to little further. 
Suddenly a beautiful market was very dirty and crowded.
Our first destination after Leh was Rumbak. We had no idea about Rumabak trek. We all were completely unaware of this trek. We had to ascend 3500 feet. I was the most unfit person there. Carrying 15 KG camera bag in that heat literally killed me. After more than 6 hours time we saw a white tent and we all thought That's it. But this was our illusion.
It was Tea Tent.

Tea Tent is run by Rumbak villagers on rotation. The lady who served us tea first day was working in field next day. She told us about this rotation system. Tea tent provides Beverages and Liquor to visitors. 

To reduce the use of Bottle water some Tour company from Britain donated a Water Filter to this Tea tent but after seeing the supply pipe line most of the people don't use it. We preferred mineral water and brought our bottles back to Leh. We hardly left any rubbish in Rumbak, even batteries came with us up till Leh. 
Rumbak is an ideal example to run the Tourism in wildlife areas of India. Accommodation and other facilities in Rumbak were adequate. It was not luxury but better than staying in a Tent in Rumbak. I wish that Rumbak idea is used in Buffer Zone Tourism in M.P. and other states. 
Rumbak plains are very good place for birds, butterflies and flowers. Brown bellied dipper and Fire Fronted Serin were regularly seen. Often Blue sheep come down for a drink in river opposite Rumbak village. Thats how we saw them.

Rumbak is used as a stop over by many tourists. It has lot to offer. We enjoyed our stay there. If that weather scare was not that great then we would have stayed another two nights there. 
I recommend Rumbak for bird, butterfly and Flower photography.
Kay with Adam Dare and Maria Dare.
Rumbak river is good place to look for Brown bellied Dipper
  Most of the monastery in Ladakh are very interesting but they all lack in providing information to the tourists. Hemis and Thiksey are two very major monastery near Leh. There are some very interesting murals in these monasteries. Flash photography is not allowed so be careful. Dont be stupid like one tourist we saw who used flash and next minute he was taken out by the monk. 



It is always better to reach early in these monasteries to see prayer because that creates more opportunities for photography.
Nubra Valley - Hunder is a land of Dogs. These village dogs sleeps for whole day and bark for whole night. We stayed in Hunder village and none of us could sleep due to dogs.
It is very unfortunate that not a single wild Bactrian Camel is left there. Feel yourself lucky if you see one without tag.
Walking around camel area is good for birding.we had some very good sightings of Pika there. Those photographs are still not sorted due to lack of ID of those Pika.  

Somehow we have an unknown face in the picture. We saw snow fall while coming back from Nubra. It was good but scary.By the time we visit this place next year the roads will be more safer at Khardungla. 
A night in Leh and next morning we were heading towards Pangong lake.Cant describe the beauty of that place. One has to see it to realise the beauty. Evening light is good for photography. Adam found Wild Ass through his telescope on top of the hill. There were another herd of some animal that we couldn't recognise.





       

Friday, May 9, 2014

School Days

Since the day I started going to school  till I passed Primary school my teacher was Late Sh Mazhar Ali, a best friend of my fathers. He would call for me at school time and I used to walk holding his finger till the school gate. There he would order me go to your class and I was free. 
It was a Government school where my father was also a teacher. Late Mazhar Ali taught us from 1st standard to 5th standard. 5th standard used to be a board exam in which all 33 students passed. Farukh, Ganga, Narayan, Jagdish Soni and I are the few I remember. We all were very happy to go to middle school. When we reached there one by one we were refused admission by the High School Principal Mr Sundar Lal Chourey. That evening my father was talking to Mazhar Ali and I was instructed by Sh Mazhar Ali to inform all the boys to come to his house with their Transfer Certificate sharp at 0700 AM tomorrow.
That morning Late Sh Mazhar Ali became our leader. He was in front of us holding all the Transfer Certificates in his hand. We were asked to stand outside Principal's office. Jhabbu Dada, School Peon, couldn't believe what was happening. He looked at us and then at Mazhar Ali. Mazhar Ali didn't ask him about the presence of the Principal in his office he simply went straight in.
We started hearing their voices going louder and louder and louder.
Mazhar Ali a lean man in his early 40's came out of the office, took us out of the school gate and said you all will say Zindabad Zindabad.
Imagine the scene. We 33 students, all about 10-11 years of age standing behind Mazhar Ali in semi circle shouting Zindabad Zindabad. 
This Inqilab Zindabad kept on going for about half an hour then Mazhar Ali turned to us and said we are sitting here till you all get the admission. By now hundred or so people were standing behind us watching this agitation.
We all sat there till school time finished at 1130.
I remember very well that on that day my father, Mr Mazhar Ali, Mr Rashid Khan and Mr Tripathi (Two teachers from Middle School ) had a meeting at my house and all were of opinion that Principal has to allow the admission to every student who has a legal certificate in his hand.
Same thing started next morning at 0700 AM. Now there were more people as spectators than the day before. 
Rashid Khan and Tripathy were standing next to Mazhar Ali. Probably they were on half day leave.
After 0930 again we started Zindabad Zindabad. Soon we were asked to come in and Mr Fazal Khan our new Class Teacher, started writing our name on register.
Think of those 33 students who were never liked by the Principal. We passed our High School under that Principal only and Mr Mazhar Ali was our leader all the time.
Principal's thinking was that all 33 students can not pass the exam. There must have been some mega cheating in exam. This attitude of principal hurt Mazhar Ali very badly and he decided to take it on and won.
That was the first agitation that we all joined and it made a mega impact on our lives. I was talking to some of my old friends today and they all agreed. Some of them cried on phone and complimented me in Bhopali. We heard each others voice after 40-45 years. Narayan Singh was the best who was an in charge Principal for some 10-12 yrs in a High School, said, I remembers it every day I go to school and I see every student like us on that day. Good on him.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

George Washington

Few things in last few days reminded me of one of incident took place in Kisli in 1979. I booked an elephant in the morning for Tiger tracking and found myself sitting on elephant back next to Mr George Washington. Once the Tiger was found and Tiger show was announced we got off the elephant. A small queue of jeeps was formed on first cum first basis. Tiger show was going on smoothly. A jeep came and it was parked out of the queue. Before anyone could ask the driver to park his jeep in queue the driver came to ask the name of Range officer in charge of the Tiger Show.  Next minute he came back asking Ranger that so and so D.F.O. is calling you. 
Ranger was asked to send an elephant out of turn to this jeep so the D.F.O. and his party could see the tiger without wait. Ranger refused. Person sitting in jeep threatened him telling him do you know who am I. I am D.F.O. of such and such place.
Now it was the turn of George Washington to reply. Sir at present I know and recognize only one D.F.O. and that's Sh H.S Panwar. The day I will come under you I will start recognizing you.
That was the discipline maintained in Kanha with full support of it's director Mr H.S.Panwar.
George Washington retired gracefully as Ranger from Kanha Ntl Park. I witnessed this incident with K.P.Tiwari, and Sabir Mahavat. Later on we found out that Mr George Washington was highly respected for dedication to his work by all the senior officers including Mr Peter, that time Principle of Rangers College Koyambtore.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bhagoda

There are so many sightings where tourists were told about Tiger ID as Bhagoda. Most of the pictures of Bhagoda that are sent to us by tourists in last three years turned out to be JOBI male. So people who keep the record of their sighting for them I am putting here a picture of Tiger that was called Bhagoda. This was Durga's male cub, who was very shy and never seen again in Tala zone after 2010 monsoon. This was the Time when B2 was still strong but Shashi / Bamera was also moving as Wanderer and dont forget that Shaki / Bokha was also a dominant male in Durga's territory so survival of a young male tiger in presence of these three strong Tigers was not possible. In those days Shashi / Bamera was fighting with everyone.  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Magadhi zone

We went to Magadhi zone today morning. Not much to see but tons of information about Tiger movements. When any area gets higher density of male Tigers then male territory becomes very flexible. It's very difficult to understand their movements. Mukunda and Jobi were not seen much this year by tourists. Mukunda is in Khitauli and Jobi is in Tala Range. Mukunda started his life from a place called Mukunda, where he was born, and now he is in better part of Khitauli. He is being pushed by some male from Damdama. But who is this male is still a mystery for us. 
Blue eye is back and moving in some of the area previously owned by Jobi . Blue Eye was never strong enough to challenge Jobi after that fight in monsoon. So forced Jobi to squeeze his territory? Certainly not Blue Eye. His old wounds on his face and leg are still weeping and the hole in his leg is from abyss. So new young male those are behaving like wanderer are able to push dominant male Tigers here and there. 
That's the reason why Jobi and Mukunda were not seen regularly in their old territories. 
I agree with Boby Nowis that Magadhi is good to show the Tiger to guests but there is no beauty in landscape and wherever it was is destroyed by putting some man made object in a National Park. We forget that we don't have this concept that how a National Park should look?
When we saw a new water hole at Sukhi Patiya we laughed that now we will have the situation of Hindu Pani Musalmaan Pani in the park. (In last century this is how water was distributed to train passengers at the station) Prey and Predator will use separate water hole. A water hole is created just two hundred meters away from the stream.
Some good pictures of plant leaves and flowers. Sal, Shorea robusta is flowering well and so the Tinsa Desmodium oojeinense.
I asked our guide about Tinsa tree. He didn't knew and so the many others but same tree they recognize as Sandan. Which is another name for Tinsa. Kusum leaves are also adding some colours in the forest.


 Have you ever seen Salt Licks hanging any where else in any other National Park in the country. It did provide a good picture anyway.

 If the salt licks are put on the ground then with moisture salt seeps in the mud and even when salt lick is finished the soil of that place absorbs some salt and animal keep on licking the ground. They eat so much soil from that spot that even a small hole gets made in the ground. See the Spotted Deer in this picture. His head is in some hole.
Animals do need salt and if salt is not provided then they look for it. Here in this picture one can see the curve in the stone created by monkeys by literally licking it.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wakeeta

We were in Tala zone today. There were hardly any sighting of Tiger in this Premium zone of Bandhavgarh. I asked Driver Vinod Yadav who is coming in the park almost every day. He says there are only three Tigers that are sighted regularly in Tala zone. Bamera once in 7-8 days, then Banbehi nar bachcha once in 4-5 days and Banbehi female herself once in 4-5 days. Apart from this there are one or two sightings per week of Rajbehra or Mirchhani female.  This is very low. So what has happened in Tala zone. Let's see Wakeeta first.  She had a litter of four cubs out of which two died of starvation, one got killed by another male tiger and one cub is missing. Not seen by any tourist or any forest staff in last one month. So presently Wakeeta does not have any cubs with her. People saw her in Bhitri yesterday and today on a kill without cub so we presume she lost her last cub also.
Her three cubs from previous litter should be around three years of age. One male cubs photographs are posted by many Tourists on Tiger Nation and on Facebook but other male cub is not seen by Tourists since Nov. Similarly her female cub is also not seen. She should be raising her cubs some where by now. But where she is is not known so far. In physical presence we see one cub from previous litter age around 3 yrs moving in the park and other male is Vijya's male cub who is around thirty months old now.
Still it is very premature to say that they have left the park area because few roads on which tourism is ban so we don't get a clear picture.But this male cub is not there that's for sure. 
Tulsi is avoiding these young males and that's the reason why she has become so secretive with her new litter.   

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Damdama female aka Hami

One of my friend asked me about Hami's previous litter. Hami lives in Khitauli zone of Bandhavgarh National Park. I think it's better to put it here for everyone's information. In her last litter she had two male cubs. Those two male cubs left her in monsoon 2012 and moved away from her territory. One sub adult cub moved towards Barhi Katni and found dead, electrocuted in a poachers trap, in Feb 2013 in Katni Division about 50 KM away in crow flight from the place where he was born. Other cub is not seen or photographed till date so no news about the area he moved away. Although he is not seen in any other tourist zone. So last litter left her in monsoon 2012 and she got pregnant in Sept Oct 2013. Cubs are born in Dec some time as they are about 3 months old now. 
So now the question is - what made her to conceive so late?
What was the problem? 
We are not a scientists and don't posses that kind of back ground educational knowledge what ever we write is through our observation. I did B.Sc with Mathematics and then a Degree in Hotel management. 
I would like experts and scientists and general readers to put there views here on the blog to discuss this issue.
Do you know none of the scientific material on Tigers discuss this topic in detail.