Located in the western region of Nepal, Bardia is a protected area known for its rich biodiversity as it’s the largest untouched wilderness in the Terai region of Nepal. The park protects 968 sq km of sal forest and whispering grassland bordering the Geruwa and Karnali rivers. After the commercialization of Royal Chitwan National Park with immensely overpopulated and unorganized tourism, Bardia has become a new destination for nature and forest lovers with serene environment.
The park is home to more than 37 mammals including Royal Bengal Tigers, One-horned Rhinos and Asian Elephant but these animals are elusive and sightings are rare. Other mammals in the park include grey langurs, rhesus macaques, leopards, civets, hyenas and sloth bears whereas various types of deer like barking, spotted, sambar and hog deer can also be seen. Bardia also has more than 250 species of birds, including the endangered Bengal florican and sarus crane.
Bardia National Park is open year round with most wildlife visible. But for tiger enthusiastics, it’s at the end of the dry season and start of the spring and summer season from March till July, there is a greater chance of seeing tigers as they come out to the waterholes. Although november till mid-december is also a good time but due to fuggy weather of the winter, the sighting would be bit hazy. However, I started my journey during the end of December which was quite early comparing to the best sightings month of March.
My journey to the west rather started with the record 22 hours travel from Kathmandu which was supposed to be only 14 hours. Road maintenance and traffic jam were the causes for creating the travel duration record. Hence, I would suggest you to be well aware of the road update before you travel. During normal routine, you can catch the night bus and reach Amabasa around 4 am. Hotel personnel can be available to recieve you but it always better to organize and inform your travel update.
Irony aside, it was a lame adventure as my whole leg were in kind of discomfort and the destination was getting longer (was travelling that part for the first time). Around 1:30 in the afternoon, I reached Ambasssa. After 35 minutes ride from the local taxi known as “Tuk Tuk”, I could finally reach Thakurdwara as I could see the welcome gate of Royal Bardia National Park. Tuk Tuk will normally charge Rs 500 and if you share a lift it could be relatively less. One Love Resort was just few blocks away from the park gate.
As I was there for the launch of One Love Resort in Bardia, there were lot of construction staff busy working. After few hours, I could also see the beautiful sunset, one of the speciality of southern part of Nepal. Night was welcomed by the touch of campfire feeling cozy in the winter. Early in the morning, community walk was indeed relaxing full of traquility. Large number of lodge and resort are cottage style synchronizing with the wildlife nature which was appreciable. The average lodge price would range from $15 to $25 depending upon the seasonality. One could also choose to stay with the locals as there are numerous homestay available.
It looked like I would be busy with resort launch as I had not been able to visit the park . Although the launch was not on time as we expected on New Year’s Eve (but will be ready to serve guest from March 2018), it did bring glory to meet various people welcoming New Year.
Finally, on the day of my departure flight to kathmandu, I got opportunity for a jungle walk in the morning. We only had two hours of time to wander into the wild as the guide keep on saying that was not enough to sight the tiger.
The start of our short trip was welcome by three jumping deer and we kept moving into the dense forests. Our guide Rajan told us about the animal activity with some of the recent trace of Rhino, Elephant and Bengal Tiger. Me along with my friend Lorraine were learning about the rhino behaviourial activity from Rajan and even a low voice conversation become loud enough which we didnot realize. As we kept moving forward, we found the most recent footprint of tiger which we came to know from our guide that it was moving towards our direction while we were having conversation about rhino and had diverted into the wild. Speculating about where he could have disappeared, I saw nice first glimse of an object moving away from the path we were heading. I was so stunned for a while that I notified and asked my guide whether it really was what it was. From that experience, I could realize tiger really do have their strong shamanic presence or may be it was an effect of seeing my spirit animal.
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Note : Travel and Trekking is one of the great healthy habits for your physical, mental and spiritual well being.
Leaving some of the photographic moments!