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I finally crossed back into India after three weeks in Nepal as a part of the Great Himalayan Drive; I had entered the country on its western border and came out from the west into India’s North-East. The plan was to keep driving till the Himalayan roads ended in Arunachal Pradesh – a long journey requiring multiple night halts. The first of these happened at the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary.
I never knew of this forest’s existence until I started asking around for a place to spend the night. Seems like it is quite a popular destination especially amongst Bengali travellers – the two Government run lodges were both full up. But I was lucky to get a room in the Hollong Lodge, located deep inside the forest – the management usually keep a room free should a last-minute VIP land up. My luck no one ‘important’ was passing that day. It turned out to be a gem of a property – will write about it later for sure.
The stay was only for a night – I had leave the following morning for Manas National Park in Assam. But it gave me enough time to explore the sanctuary a bit. Some things of note:
* At night, the authorities leave mounds of salt for animals like the bisons; these animals need their intake of salt just like we humans do.
* Managed an elephant safari lasting an hour early morning. The elephants were look quite under-nourished though despite the abundance of natural grass and other foods to eat. The guides did show us some varieties of deer, a rhino and some peacocks – but the ride was too rushed to get any good pictures.
* Interestingly, I was asked to park my car inside the garage at night – lest any passing by wild elephants damage it.
The sanctuary has lots more to offer – as you can see in the images attached – but like for any wildlife spotting, one needs to set aside time and be patient. Next time for sure.