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SHIVPURI


MADHAV NATIONAL PARK

A drive to Shivpuri, then to Orchcha and back home. A total of about 700 km, a drive time of approximately 16 hours and a total trip time of about 45 hours.” My friends were baffled at my planning. Being in the medical profession, time is something I am always short upon, but my passion for birding somehow drives my crazy intent forwards. Not to be outdone I have a similar passionate friend circle. Amit, Neetu, Gopal and myself.

SAKHYA SAGAR SAILING CLUB

We left on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon. The plan for departure was a little delayed to 4.00 pm due to the late arrival of Neetu from his office. Nonetheless we took off as soon as possible. It was an approximately 330 km journey and our plan was to reach Shivpuri by 10 pm. Something that was actually quite difficult to achieve. By 10 pm we were nearby Shivpuri where we stopped to have dinner at Shivhare Dhabha. The food was quite good and soon we were all refreshed and hit the road again. By 11.30 pm we were at MP tourism rest house. We shifted into a suite and the rest of the night was spent in planning and talking and finally sleeping.

Next day morning we woke up a little late and walked along on the beautiful property. Lush green lawns along with a huge lake next to the resort, a sailing club and the scenic beauty were simply breathtaking.

Breakfast comes free when you check in into MP tourist Resorts and is actually the most fun part of the daily meals. After gulping down a heavy breakfast we were ready to hit the road.


SPOTTED DEER

Madhav National Park. This was the actual reason why I wanted to come to this sleepy town. It took me a lot of convincing to do to get my friends here. Madhav National Park has an area of about 350 square kilometers. Earlier it was called Shivpuri National Park but later on it was renamed to Madhav National Park in memory of the popular political leader Madhao Rao Scindia. At the gates we were greeted by Mr. Joshi who was supposed to be our guide for the day. Madhav National Park has the option of going on a safari in your own vehicle or you could always choose a jeep safari. We opted to save those 3000 /- bucks and drove in in our Verito Vibe hatchback- a pretty rugged vehicle by all standards.

COMMON LANGOOR

With Mr. Joshi at the helm of affairs we were given a memorable tour of this beautiful forest. We were told that Madhav National Park is one of the few parks that is open round the year as against major forest areas that shut down from July to November during the rainy season and early winters. I think it’s a good way of letting nature recuperate without any external interference.

Madhav National Park has a beautiful sailing club dating back to the colonial times. Sakhya Sagar Sailing Club was established in 1919 and served as a great entertainment spot. The place also has four well-appointed rooms which are available to the general public for stay. Booking them is through the forest department. something i find quite difficult.

RUDDY SHELL DUCK

As Mr. Joshi pushed forwards with the jungle safari, things began to become more and more exciting. The jungle is also full of historical monuments. The most famous and outstanding of these is the George Castle.


George Castle is located deep inside Madhav National Park. It is the highest point in the jungle and provides a spectacular view of the nearby area. History has it that George Castle was built By

GEORGE CASTLE

Maharaj Jiva Rao Scindia of Gwalior in 1911 AD for King George V of England for an overnight stay. Just for one night. The latter was supposedly interested in tiger shooting and the former wanted to oblige. According to Joshi ji, a turn of events led to King George cancelling his tiger shootout and the castle unfortunately since then has only seen tourists visit that place. George Castle is a remarkable piece of architecture. Beautifully built at that time using stones the place is a sight to behold. We climbed all the way to the top and had a spectacular view of all the water bodies surrounding the place.

After a photo-shoot and spending sometime at George castle, we moved on. Like most jungles

TENDU TREE. (leaf is used to make beedi)

Madhav National Park is also blessed with divine blessings. There is a Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. It’s a beautiful place, calm and quiet. We offered our obeisance and the moved on.

Something surprising that I have noted about many National Parks is the presence of Temples right in the middle of them. They have one in Sariska, in Ranthambore, in Jhalana Leopard sanctuary in Jaipur and then here at Madhav National Park. At Madhav national park once in a week it is open to all for worship.

Moving on we visited the shooting range. The earlier rulers were obsessed with killing tigers oblivious of the fact that one species was literally being wiped out from the face of this planet. Not

BLUE BULL ( NILGAI )

only did they do so they invited friends to take part in this hunt. The shooting range is a living example of this stupidity. Today Madhav national Park does not have a single tiger. Although Mr Joshi said that Leopards are there in a few numbers but I really doubt that. The shooting range is coloured in bright blue and has small shutters as openings to get a good view for hunting.

Madhav National park is home to a large flora and fauna. Amongst the birds we came across, Rudy Shellduck, Spoon Billed Duck, Bar Headed Goose ( the highest flying bird in the world ), Grey Heron, Painted stork etc. Among the mammals we came across The Blue Bull ( Nilgai ), Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Common Langoor etc. According to our guide the place is home to Sambhar Deer and Indian Leopard also.

CROCODILE

The Sakhya Sagar lake is home to the crocodile.

After about three hours we had to say good bye to Joshi Ji. We exchanged numbers and goodbyes before parting ways. The past few hours had made us hungry and so we decided to have a good meal before embarking on our mission to explore Shivpuri and its historical monuments. Unfortunately we had to settle for tea and biscuits as we were way out of town and our next destination were supposedly to take us further away.


Survaya Ki Gadi is located around 25km from Shivpuri town on Shivpuri Jhansi Highway. It is a remarkable piece of architecture. Built around 10th century AD, this place was a monastery. Some

SURVAYA KI GADI

say that students here were taught to carve out of stone and that later they went on to work at the Khajuraho temples. However none of this could be validated. The place is spic and span. Beautiful lawns and elegant

structures adorn the place. However something surprising was that there was no

one around. A guard sat with a book as far as I can remember and we just jotted down our names. No guide or any sort of tickets etc. The place is an architectural marvel.



CHHATRI OF MADHAO RAO SCINDIA

Scindia Chhatri. The Chhatri’s are beautiful and graceful structures that have been erected by the Scindia”s in memory of their loved ones. There are two Chhatri’S at Shivpuri. One is dedicated to Maharani Sakhya Raje Scindia and the other one tp Madhav Rao Scindia, her son. The place is beautifully adorned with landscaped gardens, small temples and the biggest Kadam tree of India. We spent some time here and after a lot of persuasion and requests one of the gaurds showed us around telling us stories of the glorious past. What intrigued me was that in the older Chhatri the fans and bulbs were age old yet functional. It was beautiful indeed. It’s a huge campus and you have to take your shoes off, so kindly select a day that is compatible with the thickness of the skin on your feet. Preferably winters.

This was the last monument we had visited in Shivpuri after which we had planned a slight detour.

CEILING AT SURVAYA KI GADI

Heading home via Orchcha and Jhansi and then reaching home late at night. Since Orchcha was a stones throw away we thought this was a good chance to visit the famous Raja Ram Temple before heading home.

Raja Ram Temple has a beautiful story to it. The actual Temple complex built for the idols is the Chaturbhuj Temple that is located right next to the main temple complex. As the story goes the idols to be installed were brought into the palace a night before the installation

LORD VISHNU AT SURVAYA KI GADI

ceremony. Next day when all was set the king ordered the idols to be shifted to the Chaturbhuj Temple. Well after all that’s what the plan was, but not that of the Divine. The idols refused to budge from their place in the palace and no amount of strength or prayers could move them. Finally it was decided to proceed with the installation ceremony in the palace itself. Since the idols were installed at the palace and that a palace is the residence of a king, the temple thereby came to be known as Raja Ram Temple. Raja depicting king. The Lord is worshiped here in the form of a king. There are similar stories about temples elsewhere but then that is for some other time. Meanwhile the Chaturbhuj temple today stands as a ghost building right next to the temple complex.

The idea was to reach Orchcha at about 5 pm, visit the temple and head home. This was of course until divine intervention took place. We reached Orchcha as planned at around 5 pm, parked the car and headed straight for the temple. The temple has a huge campus, most of which is open to accommodate the devotees. The moment we reached the temple, I was surprised to see the number of people waiting there. Probably a thousand. And to top it all this particular day was

THE CHATURBHUJ TEMPLE

supposedly an auspicious day and that the doors to the temple would open at 7.00 pm. This was it. So near yet so far. Every one of us wants to see the temple and no one wants to be late. Well the matter was discussed over a cup of tea and samosa. To be honest the samosas were delicious. Definitely not to be missed. First shop on your left just outside the temple complex. After gulping down four each we decided to stay over and hence a search for a hotel. Since we had to stay for just a few hours we decided to check into the first hotel in sight and so we did. I don’t remember the name of the hotel but in the name of amenities we had, well let’s say - a room and a toilet. Yes there were two beds also along with water for whatever you wished to do with it.


THE CHANDELA FORT

After checking in we decided to head to the Chandela’s Fort which was right opposite the temple providing a majestic view. Here we came to know that there was a light and sound show at 8.00 pm. We decided to make good each and every minute of our stay in Orchcha. At 7.00 pm we in the line at the temple literally being squashed from each and every side. Finally after the temple visit we rushed across the road to watch the light and sound show in the fort. It was beautiful, illustrating the history of the Chandela rulers. By 9.00 pm we were free. Till that time the samosa’s had made way for some dinner. After dinner we spent some time shopping in the market, mostly me and then finally at around 11.00 pm we were in our hotel. Next day morning exactly at 4.00 am we had left Orchcha. It was a long seven hours drive and most of us were dead tired, however we rotated the wheel and since everyone could drive, it gave others enough time to rest. By 11.00 am I was in my office seeing patients.

THE SHOOTING RANGE

WHEN TO GO.

I would recommend the winters. Shivpuri is in central India and the summers can be really harsh.

Somewhere around November this side and February the other side should be a good time.


WHO SHOULD GO

This I think qualifies for a family trip. Nonetheless, nature lovers, bird watchers, would love a solo drive to this place. Besides Madhav National Park, there is Karera Birds Sanctuary also.



BIGGEST KADAM TREE OF INDIA

HOW TO REACH

BY ROAD - We travelled by road. Most of the way was pretty good except for a few places where new roads are being made or undergoing repairs.

From Delhi – it’s a 460 km trip . Around 8 hours

From Bhopal – it’s around 300 km. Around 6 hours

From Gwalior – it’s around 117 km and should take around 2 hours.

From Jhansi – 96 km. Around 2 hours.

BY RAIL

Shivpuri is well connected by rail to all major towns

BY AIR

Gwalior is the nearest airport. Kindly check flight schedules before embarking on this particular mode of transport as connectivity is not good.


WHAT TO CARRY AND PACK.

BAR HEADED GEESE ( HIGHEST FLYING BIRD IN THE WORLD )
BAR HEADED GEESE ( HIGHEST FLYING BIRD )

Pack according to the seasons. A few woolens if you decide to go in winters. Shivpuri is quite a big city and hence most of the things of your requirement can be easily available just in case you forget. But then its always better to pack before.


WHERE TO STAY

In Shivpuri I would highly recommend the MP tourism resort on Jhansi road. It’s a beautiful property, lush green, surrounded by water bodies and has a sailing club. Bookings can be done on the website.

For other options there is always Make My Trip



GREY HERON

WHAT TO SEE AND DO.

Shivpuri has a lot of attractions. Unfortunately we were short on time and hence could only cover the main places. A list of the must see places is as follows:

1. Madhav National Park

2. Karera Birds Sanctuary ( we missed this one )

3. Survaya Ki Gadi

4. Chhatri’s of the Scindia’s

5. Pawa waterfalls.- Go in monsoons.

6. District Museum.

7. Badhaya Kund

8. Narwar Fort.

You could also check with a local guide or your hotel manager to help you chalk out your program. We had relied entirely on the internet for the info. Not bad actually

.

GRADE

Easy.


MY RECOMMENDATIONS.

SPOON BILLED DUCK

1. Like I always say, travel in a group. The fun is doubled. Be it friends or family but I think company is a must.

2. Plan for at least two nights and three days so that you get ample time to soak it in rather than be on the run.

3. Make sure that the places I have mentioned are on your list.

4. Stay at MP Tourism resort. I can assure you that you will not repent it. It’s a beautiful property like I had mentioned earlier.

5. Carry some snacks as most of the places are far from the city limits and it never hurts to grab a quick bite.

6. Karera Birds sanctuary and Madhav National Park are a must visit.

7. Last but not the least make sure you carry a binocular and a camera to take home memories



IDOL OF LORD VISHNU

As I wind up I am reminded about a beautiful incident during my school days in the beautiful hills of Mussoorie. Although at a tender age in class 5, this incident had a remarkable influence on me and I have narrated it quite often to my near and dear one.

We were all excited for one of our excursions from Mussoorie to Cheibroo beyond Dehra Dun. From early morning we were all up planning and packing our backpacks and filling water bottles. Each had a different requirement. Someone wanted lime to prevent nausea while someone else wanted biscuits for in between snacking. Soon two buses full of young kids were rolling down the road with songs and laughter emanating from them. All of us were having fun oblivious of one simple fact. We were heading from the beautifully pleasant climate of the hills to the deadly high temperatures of the plains. As kids we really did not know that this would be a huge thing for us. Soon the heat wave hit us. Everyone was either sipping on water or searching for it. We saw quite interesting things like a dam and the turbines etc. All was good but complaints were high. By night we were in familiar grounds and all slept well.

The next day after assembly class 5 and 6 students were asked to stay back. The idea was to discuss how memorable our trip had been. Our Principal Sr Beatrice and physical instructor Mr Gordon stayed on to hear us out. As soon as we were asked “Does anyone want to say anything “, numerous hands shot up, including mine. One fellow started his narration with “No one was sharing water”. The other fellow added another no one and so on a few minutes passed by till Sr Beatrice intervened. She said, “We will not point fingers. So next time if you have to say something say about yourself. Say I didn’t share water instead on no one”. We were asked to raise our hands once again to participate in the discussion. No one rose their hands. All were dumbstruck staring at the ground. Sr Beatrice went on to say “its very easy to point fingers at other and so difficult to point it at ourselves” Lesson learnt.


The story has great implications in today’s scenario where the pandemic has reached beyond

PAINTED STORK

everyone’s imagination. The social media is rife with fingers pointing at everyone. But before you point fingers at others ask yourself- “What have I done to prevent this pandemic? Was I wearing a mask every time? Am I sanitizing my hands? Did I get myself vaccinated? Have I spread awareness as an indivual to other people?

Have I been of any help to people around me? Did I stay home or was I secretly visiting friends? And so on”

Point made. Stop complaining, start acting.


“Ask not what your country can do for you

Ask what you can do for your country” – John F Kennedy.


Go on, go out there and help someone. Be the change that you desire.


ADD LIFE TO DAYS

NOT DAYS TO LIFE


Take care

Ravi

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5 Comments


amitv1980
May 23, 2021

Well written piece with vivid descriptions and personal musings. Please add more photos, Bhaiya. Do you keep a diary to remember everything :)

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www.unknownbirder.com
www.unknownbirder.com
May 24, 2021
Replying to

Thank you. I am happy you enjoyed the blog. No i usually remember things rather than keep a diary. :)

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casadeflores1969
May 19, 2021

Awesome.👏👍

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www.unknownbirder.com
www.unknownbirder.com
May 19, 2021
Replying to

Thank you. I am happy you enjoyed my scribbles🙂

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drvivektripathi
May 19, 2021

Eagerly waiting for the post. Thank a lot for sharing.

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