Looking Back on 2016: Places Travelled to and Accomplishments Part I
Last year has been a very satisfying year for me as Mango Lady Diaries happened. When I welcomed New Year 2016, my travel blog was only a month old. However, I wanted to take my blog in another level and give it a new dimension apart from being a documentation of my travel stories. My focus was to make Mango Lady Diaries a blog that celebrates Nature and real stories, inspires people to travel and reveals the amazing benefits of travelling as a means of human growth, which I’ve experienced myself. So, while writing down the page “About Mango Lady Diaries”, I put in very simple words to describe how it all started and why. Trust me, I could write pages after pages speaking my mind on travel and how it affects me, so it was a difficult task to shape it up in few words. And I’m still struggling with it 😀
Well, coming back to talks about last year, I did travel to a number of places from my bucket list. Also, I am honoured to achieve some accomplishments for my blog within a short span of time. Here is a lookback or a throwback to places I visited last year and some of my achievements which helped my travel blog get noticed and the love that keeps pouring in my inboxes.
Travelling to National Parks in Eastern India
I wanted to strike off some of the wildlife destinations of the Eastern region of India from my bucket list and I started with West Bengal.
Gorumara National Park
Driving through the roads that lead to this park is packed in with lush green tea gardens, forests of Sal trees, river and green hills. It’s a delightful road trip that ended in Lataguri where I stayed at the end of the day. Next day, I visited Gorumara National Park, which is home to Indian Gaur, one-horned Rhinoceros, elephants and leopards. The jungle safari is great as the jeep advances in to the dense forest. The call of the insects, pea fowls and various other animals give goose bumps and a very surreal feeling.
Jaldapara National Park
Popular as the abode of one horned Asiatic rhinoceroses in Bengal, which is just next to Kaziranga National Park in rhino population, Jaldapara National Park was a very important destination to travel to. Apart from rhinos, elephant, Royal Bengal tiger, leopard, bison, wild boar, various kinds of deer, pea fowls and numerous species of birds are also preserved in this forest. The safari was exceptionally pleasing and the forest guards were extremely good in handling visitors.
Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary
Surrounded with greenery, thick forests of Sal trees and a water hole form the core of Chapramari National Park. The main attraction of this national park is the glimpses of the wild animals teaming up while drinking water from the water hole. Mainly elephants and bison are seen frequenting the location. The animal activities can be enjoyed from the watchtower of the forest bungalow. The wild animals also visit the banks of the Murti river and the location of the river camp offers exciting views of them.
South Khairbari Nature Park
Near Jaldapara, this unusual nature park was a delightful destination. A first of its kind in the entire eastern region of India, South Khairbari Nature Park is an abode of rescued leopards and tigers. Rescued from circus, forests, illicit poachers, the leopards and tigers are given proper treatment and a home in the form of a replica forest within a confined area. It’s an amazing place to study animal behaviour.
Exploring Uttarakhand. Repeat.
I visit Uttarakhand frequently as the state offers incomparable diversity. Last year, I visited multiple times and covered new locations as well as paid a repeat visit to some of the places.
A less crowded destination that offers a fabulous package of mountain forests of oak, pine, rhododendron, diverse flora and fauna and the breathtaking views of the snow-capped Himalayan ranges. Binsar is a wonderful place for hiking and experiencing untouched nature in Uttarakhand.
It’s a little known destination and the nature’s bounty is attracting investments from the government and private sectors to develop into a tourist centre. I found Dhaulchhina very refreshing. The trekking route between Binsar and Dhaulchhina is bewitching, but I could not take the trekking route due to lack of planning and I soon hope to visit the place again and explore it.
Another lesser known destination in Uttarakhand, Dharamghar flaunts lush tea gardens amidst pine, cedar, oak and fir forestation, which is not a common sight in the state. The panoramic views of the Himalayas, simple local life, the silence, the fog and haze create picturesque frames every minute.
Known for its captivating waterfall, Birthi was stunningly beautiful. A small place surrounded with mighty mountains of Kumaon, pine forests and hamlets, I regret not staying back for at least one night. On sunny days, the peek-a-boo of rainbow through the waterfall is the USP of Birthi.
Words fall short to describe the beauty of Munsiyari, a small town surrounded with Himalayan ranges. The Panchchuli Peak is at a stone throwing distance. The simplicity of the hamlets, tribal museum, warm local folks, the beguiling beauty of the Nanda Devi hill top – I fell for this place.
Uttarakhand, believed to be the ‘Devbhoomi’ (The land of Gods) of India, is replete with pilgrimage sites and spiritual places throughout the state. Though a very small spiritual town as compared to Haridwar and Kashi, it is nonetheless in spirit and faith. Bageshwar was just a stopover in my travel route, but I could not help staying back and changed my travel plan after seeing the life of this mythic place. It was a great exploration of life, faith, spirituality and liberation.
Still untouched by the fangs of commercialization and industry, Sitlakhet was rather a discovery. A lesser known destination, it is perfect for nature lovers. Hiking in the area feels great as it offers dense pine forests, panoramic views of the Himalayan ranges, hamlets, rustic life, farming, orchards and a variety of flora and fauna.
One more little known destination, I bumped into this locale and decided to stay put. Shera Ghat offers a very close peek into local life of a hamlet of Uttarakhand. Fresh and rejuvenating surroundings, greenery, the mythic Sarayu river, local schools, markets – the simple lifestyle is a great revelation of the spirit of the folks. Angling, hiking and relaxing are the only activities you can do here. However, it is one of the best locales to study local life in the midst of an inexplicable serenity.
Astonishingly beautiful like a picture, Chaukori makes one go speechless with the first step in to the location. A popular tourist destination in North India, I’m smitten by the charm of this place. Snow-capped Himalayan peaks right in front of you, the striking views of the valley, the bewitching play of colour and light on the peaks from sunrise to sunset make Chaukori a must visit destination in India.
There are many more places that I visited last year and will continue to share them in my next posts along with the accolades received. Thank you all for liking Mango Lady Diaries and for being my fellow virtual travellers.