The distant call of a wild boar was interrupted by a squeal of myna that merrily hopped from branch to branch of the tall Sal tree. The huge fireball was setting in the west, as a group of birds flew in the V formation, as if in a hurry to reach home to feed their young ones. A perfect and serene setting awaited us at the Kanha sanctuary resort where we had arrived after more than a four hour ride from Jabalpur! The busy schedule in the office and constant ringing of the phone during the previous fortnight was nerve wracking! A family outing to connect with the Mother Nature was badly needed!
The drive from Jabalpur through the narrow road to Mandla was uneventful and a cup of steaming hot tea with ‘poha’ was a perfect snack to keep us in high spirits till we reached Kanha Kisli. The gates of the wild life sanctuary were being closed. Our appointment with the tiger and other inmates had to wait till next morning. Just in front of our cottage was a ‘Machan’ about which I had only read in the story books and seen in some documentary films. Excitedly, we all climbed atop to admire the breathtaking view of the dense foliage at one end and a small stream of water just outside the resort.
It had started getting dark but the excitement of the solitude was overpowering. Occasional cries of wild animals would break the prevailing calm. A giant lizard with fiery eyes stared at the firefly on the adjacent bush. We were told by the resort manager that we could sleep on the ‘Machan’ at night if we wanted. The proposition was accepted by a voice vote. Soon there was darkness all around and except for a solitary lantern on the ‘Machan’ there were no lights except the twinkling stars and a half moon! I do not remember, when I had last witnessed such a gorgeous spectacle! Back in Delhi it is difficult to see a clear sky any day as the skyline is immersed in the radiance of neon or the envelope of dust in the air!
We kept cracking jokes and watched every move of stray animals that could be seen at a distance hoping to see the fiery eyes of a tiger! Since the buzz of insects became overwhelming we climbed down and decided to sleep in the room below the ‘Machan’.
At 4.30 in the morning we were woken up by the watchman and within half an hour we were ready to undertake an adventurous trek and ride an elephant in the jungle. We saw plenty of birds, the Golden Oriole, Red Munia, Flycatcher, Spotbill Duck besides, Langurs, Barasingha and a Neelgai. After about 45 minute of ride astride an elephant we saw the fresh pugmarks of a tiger but the animal remained elusive!
It was a memorable stay as we packed up for Jabalpur later in the afternoon after having a fun filled memorable time in the lap of the nature in midst of a jungle!(http://www.kissanpur.com/.)