And Miles to go before I sleep...
Yes, You cannot sleep for nights once you see a jungle in Full-moon.
Satkoshia will 'shine like a diamond' in my mind for its unleashing and pristine beauty I have ever discovered in the evening of 'Rasha'.
To start the story we have to go few days back from that evening. After the long and tiring Puja season of my hotel business my brother and me were looking for a break from this regularity of our daily life. We came down from Darjeeling and were looking for a place where we could stay for couple of days in absolute silence. After many consultation we choose Satkoshia Tiger reserve-a sanctuary on the bank of River Mahanadi .
It was 17th in the month of November 2016 when all the city crowds have returned to their regular life after 'Dussera' and 'Diwali'. We two headed towards Satkoshia riding in Howrah-Sambalpur Super-fast express. After an overnight journey we reached to a small Industrial town of Orrissa- Angul. From here we took an auto to reach at the northern gate of Satkoshia Tiger Reserve(S.T.R). ( This tiger reserve has two gates - to enter through northern gate one should come to nearest railway station Angul and if anyone is willing to travel through south gate then nearest railway station is Khurda road. Bhubaneswar is the nearest Airport of Satkoshia.) From Angul station to reserve forest is 65 kilometers. A small bargain will reduce the auto fare. Depending on the season's demand they charges between Rs 600 to Rs 800. After crossing the early rising township we were heading towards outskirt. It was clearly understandable that we were crossing the 'city lights' and entering into the Jungle- more frequent bushes, Big Trees, Small Tribal settlements and the red-green sign boards of forest department indicated that we were about disconnect our relationship with 'Civilization' for few days.
After traveling 45 minutes to 1 hour finally we have reached to the entry gate of our destination. Don't rush backpackers! Here you won't get much options to stay if you are looking for. You need to book earlier if you are traveling in seasons but in off seasons you may take a risk for spot booking. But do not forget to check the availability for your preferred nature camp. you can log in Orrissa ecotourism's official site. As we had our booking previously we just entered through the gate and were heading towards our pre-destined nature camp- TARAVA. If you feel hungry after a long night journey then you should ask your auto-driver. And he will take you in some local shops of small settlements inside the forest. And never forget to taste the very unique and local flavor of Orrissa- 'Bidi Bara'. After taking heavy and delicious break-fast we started again for Tarava Camp. It was almost 13 kilometers from the check post of Satkoshia Tiger reserve. Though the place was far from the city yet the hospitality of local stuffs and Manager 'Arjun' made our days Joyfull.
That very afternoon we tried to explore local villages, trekking on the stony paths of Eastern Ghat. Later on the the din of the day started fading slowly and we completed our first day of our Satkoshia Trip.
The most eventful day was the middle one. We started early morning for Tikarpara. It is the extreme most watch point of Satkoshia Tiger Reserve. We hired a bike from a local villager and on the way we explored a small watch tower like Baghmundi.
Tikarpara is the last watch tower on the bank of River Mahanadi. As we went there we explored a small Gharial (Crocodile) research institute and museum over there. Later on we hired a small boat against a nominal charge of Rs. 20 per head and went to the other bank of River Mahanadi. The bank was full of sands and during our stay on the bank we evidenced foot prints of animals like Boar, Deer, Crocodile and I guess Tiger also. The place was directly connected to the forest and wild animals often come to drink water in the river crossing the shore. After spending sometime again we came back to the point from where we started and went back to our nature camp.
That night we slept early. But suddenly in the mid-night i woke up and came outside the camp side. It was that full-moon night I was mentioned earlier and the beauty I experienced was beyond my explanation. In our camp side all lights were switched off and entire Satkoshia was visible into the moon-light. The ever stretched horizon flushed with moon-light. I realized by that time how tiny creatures we are in this universe. No one was there with me. But there was only pin-dropped silence, the Moon, Satkoshia and me.
The very next morning after taking breakfast again we started for home as we had our train at 12'o clock at noon.
I often visit different places of India. But Satkoshia is different than others in many aspects- No electricity, No wifi, No Mobile Network but a better connectivity with nature. It always welcomes explorers joining it's hands and saying- 'NOMOSHKARO'.