“Okay, we are ready to go, Nishit, can you, make it quick?”
As my Father called out to me, I ran out with my backpack and got into the car. I was excited,as I was travelling to Gorumara National Park for a couple of days, before we would embark on our journey to other places in Alipurduar district in West Bengal.
This trip to Gorumara National Park was 8 years ago, but some of the best moments spent there, remains etched on my mind.
The name of the national park translates to ‘The Killing of the Cow’ in English. Its beauty was encapsulating and made me realise, how these living beings, that we see on our televisions and read in our books, are such an important part of our existence and yet,we humans fail to understand their importance.
After a three hour ride, we reached the park where the formalities took some time. As our jeep reached the wooden guest house, a baby elephant came towards the vehicle and slammed his trunk against it. It was enough to shake the jeep.
The baby elephant was in a playful mood, as he sucked on his trunk, much like a human baby sucks on its thumb. At a considerable distance, the mother, though chained, looked very alert as she was trying to fathom the possible danger with the arrival of new guests.
The ‘mahout’ led the baby elephant to his mother as we got down and moved into the guest resort. The resort was made of wood and was situated right in the middle of the forest. The feeling was serene, like I was a part of nature. Looking at the lush green trees, listening to the sound of birds chirping away and watching a month old elephant playing with his mother was a feeling that cannot be expressed.
After freshening up and having lunch, we got into the jeep as we drove to have a look inside the mystifying jungles of Gorumara.
The driver, who knew the place inside out, led us inside the jungle, where we saw a plethora of species, which included monkeys, birds and even a Sambar.
A few minutes inside the jungle, the driver stopped the jeep and my dad pointed his finger a 100 metres away, to a tree, where a King Cobra stood, his hood open. It had certainly sensed danger! We made sure that we remained in our positions and looked in awe at the world’s most toxic reptile. The Cobra, seeing no movement, gradually slithered away into the bushes.
The jeep moved forward and we reached the Rhino Point Watch Tower. As the name suggested, the watch tower was built at a point where one could see the Rhinos assemble. The driver had strictly told us to remain silent once inside the jungle. Any small noise would distract the animals, as they had great hearing abilities.It was a beautiful sight to watch as the Rhinos arrive andenjoy the sun light.
Immersed in the moment, I lost count of the pictures I took of the animals. They were simply beautiful. It’s a shame that these very animals are killed for their skin and are on the verge of extinction.
(to be continued…)