The magic of wild India

May 06, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

A glimpse of the magic of wild India....

It is often sounds and smells as much as sights that transport you back into your memories.....The haunting call of the peacock, the warning call of jungle fowl, the barking of deer, the rustle of bamboo in the wind and the roar of a tiger so deep and strong that it vibrates within your chest......these are the sounds that conjure up the forests of central India in my imagination.

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The heady perfume of wild gardenias, the smell of dry baked land, clouds of red dust and the distinctive scent of wild herbs...these are the smells that will forever trigger my memories of India's wild places.

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Imagine for a moment these sounds and smells surrounding you as you weave your way through winding forest trails, between clumps of bamboo and tall Sal trees that rustle in the wind sending chestnut and gold coloured leaves wafting slowly to the ground as shafts of sunlight pierce the forest canopy. 

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A muntjac deer barks as you near his territory and skitters across the road before beginning to browse again once he had determined you were no threat. 

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Overhead Alexandrine, Rose-ringed and Plum-headed Parakeets chatter as they feast on the flowers of the flame of the forest tree, resplendent in bright red.

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As you pass over a small stream the damp ground  has attracted hundreds of butterflies including Blue Tigers, Crimson-Rose, Spot swordtail and the Orange Oakleaf. As you pause to admire the butterflies a jewel-like Green Bee-eater flits from tree to tree in the forest surrounding the stream and you hear the tock tock tock of the white-naped woodpecker searching for termites echoing through the trees. A family of Ruddy mongoose rustle in the carpet of fallen leaves searching for food, popping up their cute faces and bright eyes to observe you every now and then.  

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The antics of a troop of Langur Monkeys draw your attention as they shimmy up and down trees, jump from branch to branch, sometimes in play, sometimes chasing each other after loud disagreements! Some of the troop are sitting on the ground soaking up the sunshine filtering through the leaves. There are some very tiny babies clutched tight to their mothers but slowly their curiosity wins out and they pry themselves away from their mothers and edge closer for a better look at their strange human cousins.

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Moving on and leaving them in peace the road leads you past a small lake where a stunning white throated kingfisher stares intently into the water looking for his next meal. 

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Next you emerge into a sunlit meadow filled with peacefully grazing sambar deer drinking at the sparkling stream in the clearing and wild boar fossicking in the soft earth around the edges of the stream. Then alarm calls sound and all the animals turn in one direction, standing tensely with tails in the air staring into the thick bamboo thickets on the edge of the clearing. As if by magic from the striped shade of the bamboo emerges the most magnificent of creatures slowly padding through her kingdom......the tigress regally paces past the alarmed animals and pauses to study you with her molten gold eyes. She then calmly crosses the road and disappears silently once again into the forest as if she was a dream but leaving the memory of her piercing golden eyes forever etched into your memory.

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Although it is difficult to describe with words the ethereal and surreal nature of the wild forests of India and their almost mythical inhabitants I hope that my memories of just part of this one incredible day might begin to paint a picture for you of the magic of wild India. 


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