“Guys, guys look here”; my friend who was occupying the extreme left seat in the jeep, we were travelling in, said pointing out of the window. I quickly leaned in towards my left to see what she was talking about and what I saw left me mesmerized. I found 2 eyes, the bluest I had ever seen looking back at me, or perhaps at all of us. The panache with which the creature sat, the fine yellow coat with black spots, there sat a mighty leopard that stared back at us with curious eyes, filled with fear. When it saw all of us staring back at it with amazement, he decided to get up and run back into the bushes. The few seconds of that spectacular eye contact had left all of us hypnotized.
Although spottings like these can be credited to almost all national parks in India but The Satpura National Park situated in the Hoshangabad District in Madhya Pradesh has a very different feel to it. The vast dense forest is surrounded by the majestic hills of the Satpura ranges and is truly a paradise. Driving through the leafy carpeted path, with our DSLR’s popping out of the jeep’s window, searching for any animal big or small, and often stopping at trickling streams and gargling brooks, just to hear the sound of the water hitting the rocks, this escape in the jungle fulfilled all our purposes. For some it was adventure, for some it was peace and for most of us it was soul searching. The jungles of Satpura are lesser known to the world, hence most of the parts of the forest remain untouched by the tourists which is one of its best attributes. It remains the way nature wants it to be, wild and non-commercialized. We decided to venture deeper into the tangled heart of this primeval forest hoping it would reveal its dark secrets to us. We spotted and clicked a lot of cheetals, Sāmbhar deers and bisons. The sightings of languors were also very common. Crocodile safaris are also held in the river Denva that flows through Satpura. The colorful birds seen during the safari are alluring to the eyes and we ended up spotting many exotic ones, like the wooly neck bird Although I saw and clicked pictures of a lot of animals, birds and insects , my eyes constantly searched for yellow and black stripes amidst the green. There are about 45 tigers in The Satpura National Park and it has also been given the status of a Tiger Reserve. The mornings in the forests were beautiful and soul soothing. The early morning dew, the fresh air, the chilly weather, the music of the birds, left us spellbound. The nights were equally amazing. Every night was a starry night where the night sky was bestowed upon by stars that peeped down at us like silver asters, glittering and shimmering.
For everyone with a wanderlust and love for wildlife, or for anyone who is looking for a break from life, Satpura is the place to be. We spent four days in that forest and while leaving I risked a glimpse behind my shoulder, a world in its own which in just few days had taught me so much about life, so much about the mankind and the other civilization – the animals. The joy of being away from the fast-paced life, and the experience of putting life on hold and exploring a whole new place is just beautiful. It changed my perspective completely. Isn’t it strange that how, both the man and these animals have evolved from the wilderness, yet today their worlds are so different?
The Next time you feel the need to let go, the next time you feel the need to introspect or the next time you just feel like having an adventure make Satpura National Park your escapade and your next destination.