Sunday, January 10, 2010

Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary (Angul Side)

Mrs Iyer asks Raja Chauhary, an aspiring wildlife photographer about his next venture towards the end of the movie ,Mr and Mrs Iyer. Raja answers “Lobang , a forest in Orissa on the banks of a gorge full of Crocodiles on river Mahanadi ” .“My my where is this place” I asked myself.I never knew that this line would create a curiosity in me that will keep on flickering for last seven years. This incident happened way back in 2002 and in 2009 end I got a chance to see the beauty of Satkosia.

Entrypoint at Pampasar

We had booked one of the tents in the eco tourism complex in Tikarpada and after having wonderful experience at the Nayagarh side of Satkosia it was time for capturing the gorgeous Satkosia from Angul side. Let me honestly accept that me and Bubun were not that much excited to come to this side after experiencing Nayagarh side. Reason was that its much crowded this side and so chances of sinking completely in the beauty of Mahanadi was less. I collected the forms from the Ecotourism office in Angul and reached Badkera on the Sambalpur Highway. After having an Okay type lunch in the Dhaba, we moved quickly towards the Entrypoint of Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary. It was already getting dark and we were late by 4 hours. Time for reporting at the eco tourism complex at Tikarpada is 12 in the afternoon(I was not informed about the same). We collected our entry permits at Pampasar Check gate and proceeded towards Tikarpada. Road inside the sanctuary was superb.We reached the complex around 6 in the evening. The whole place was setup on the banks of river and is surrounded by the tall hills of Satkosia. On the front side we could see the forests where we had been the previous night. I tried to sink in the environment but the small Raja Chaudhary inside me didn’t allow that to happen as i went on imagining and imagining the dawn at that place. How it would look like in the morning...which shots will be the best...whether there will be mist in the morning....these are some of the questions that i was asking my self. I and Bubun sat over there in the banks till 8 in the evening and were discussing the tiger stories. We decided to take a stroll on the banks and then come back for dinner. sometimes you need to take a call on whether to be an admirer of nature or lover of hot steamy fish curry. We choose the former and hence suffered. We were told that dining hall had been invaded by a group of fish loving Bengalis and hence we had been left with some chilled, half broken Meerkalis. Never trust Bengalis when hot steamy fish curry is prepared in kitchens(on a lighter side).
Our tent was a small cozy one with 2 beds and to our surprise there was a toilet behind the tent with a commode. With outside temperature dipping to somewhere around 10deg, the blankets were like gifts of heaven. Time for us to retire to bed after another hectic day. The silence inside the forests are sometimes quite frightening but at the same time if you listen carefully, sound of dew drops falling from the woody trees of Sal and Mahogany on the dry leaves will revitalize your senses. The fragrance of wild flowers mixed with the chill of the winter air will make you ask questions like “Is it worth staying in Cities and running after the “A” ratings in the PMS exercises of organizations which hardly care about you. There may not be Tigers roaring always, but you can sense its presence around. Now that’s what I call a Leader. The leadership competency can’t be taught in the most expensive Programmes that Corporates are blindly spending on and making the Trainers their “Apple of the Eyes”. I am sorry to state this being in the HR function. The black striped, yellow furred beauty may be kilometers away but the King of the Jungle will have it’s rules clearly written on every nook and corner of the Forest. The rules set by the King of the jungle are imprinted in your mind even though there are no so called “Vision, Mission and Values” printed on glossy cardboard cuttings and fixed on false walls of security. The corporates are the most insecure and so are the employees. And here is a king who actually lives like a king with a pride unlike the CEOs of organizations who are busy calculating the pay perks, attending High Teas and travelling in Business Classes. “What am I doing?” was the question I kept on asking before falling asleep amidst the beauty of Satkosia in a setting flanked by gorgeous bottle green waters of Mahanadi, surrounded by the wooded hills engulfed by the setting mist and lighted by the twinkling fireflies. It was one of the wonderful nights that I have experienced in recent years. I thanked the “Raja Chaudhary” in me.

Inside our Cozy Tent

As the alarm bell rang at 5 in the morning, we were on the banks in a flash. The setting was perfect and I was unable to control my excitement. The mist rising from the frozen waters of Mahanadi was unbelievable. This setting was what I had exactly expected last evening and had told Bubun. I was able to sense what the place was going to turn in to coming few minutes. We both waited and my long term enemy, impatience had completely overpowered me. I was unable to wait for the Sun to rise and so was my friend who in decades had got out of the bed so early to see the beautiful sunrise at Satkosia Gorge. Camera was ready, shutter was rearing to open up, cells were heating up to pump in energy and more importantly fingers were readily placed on the button sensing the smoothness of the alloy. From behind the Garhjat range of hills, came out the sun lightening the mists. The way candle flickers, sun had set the water flickering. One of the most amazing sites that one can come across. In matter of 10 minutes i captured something like 100 photographs and from every possible angle and point. In the morning winter, mist on the river was rising as if somebody had put the whole area on fire. I felt so overwhelmed and rich. It was my Orissa. So beautiful and so much treasure hidden from the rest of the world and perhaps from Oriyas living in Orissa itself.

Amazing Satkosia at the dawn

For your desktop

Gorgeous Gorge

Colours of Satkosia

Enjoying the Sunrise and Cofee in one splendind Winter Morning....
a dream come true

Fireworks on water...unbelievable

Baisipali Side standing tall


I am blessed to be here

After having breakfast , it was time for us to leave the eco tourism complex at Tikarpada and move towards exploring the rest of Satkosia. Some of the places on the itinerary were Kandhaida Game tank,Bhimdhara,Purunakot and of course who can forget Labangi Forest Rest House.Reason....Rahul Bose had described its beauty in the movie Mr and Mrs Iyer.

Coming Up....
Day 2 at Satkosia in detail with photographs.