Thursday, January 23, 2014


Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary, Travel Tips

Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is around 140 kms from Mumbai and is supposed to have the densest population of wildlife around Mumbai. Phansad is famous for a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It was the hunting ground for the former princely state of Murud-Janjira. It has a good combination of forest, wetlands and grasslands. For me, its USP is that you can go on foot for the safaris. All vehicles are banned within the sanctuary. To experience the wilderness on foot was a very enjoyable experience. 

The entrance to the sanctuary is at Supegaon which is around 10kms from Kashid. We booked our stay at Friends and Family Restaurant which is a budget hotel very near to Prakruti Resort in Kashid. [This is a budget hotel and the rooms are clean. Meal options were limited but the quality was good.] Tent accommodation is available within the sanctuary and is very reasonably priced. There is a small eatery at the entrance of the Sanctuary which is operated by the local Mahila Bachat Sanghatana. The food served here is divine (and cheap as well). In case you intend to have your meals here, inform them in advance. 

There are a number of watering holes in the sanctuary which act as good spots for wildlife. We went to Chikhalgan and Savratgan. The trail to each of these watering holes is around 6 kms from the ticket window. The ticket window for the park opens at 6:00 in the morning. We went into the sanctuary at 6:00 and took the Chikhalgan trail. From here we came back by around 1:00 pm. Had delicious lunch and then took the Savratgan trail. Both the trails are well marked. Ensure that you carry sufficient water, caps and a torch in case you are likely to get late.

On the Chikhalgan trail we were able to get sightings of the Green Vine Snake, Grey Hornbill, Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow Footed Green Pigeon, Black, Ashy and White Bellied Drongo, Golden Fronted Leaf Bird, Jungle Owlet and White Throated Kingfisher. During the evening trail to Savratgan, we were lucky with sightings of Indian Giant Squirrel, Jungle Fowl, Rufous Treepie and another sighting of the Paradise Flycatcher.

Use the link below to see more photos from that trip.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Tawang Photos, Tawang Travel Tips
Tawang was brought in to limelight of Indian tourism by Madhuri Dixit Nene because of the movie Koyla. Though the movie was below par, the beauty of Tawang shot during its making soon made it a popular location. But given its distant location, it still doesn't see many tourists. 

We decided to go to Tawang and plan our tour around it. The nearest airport with good connectivity, is Guwahati. We booked our airline tickets in advance and then started planning for the tour.

The initial plan was to go to Guwahati, travel to Orang National Park and then go Tawang using Pawan Hans helicopters. Orang National Park is around 2 hours drive from Guwahati airport and is famous for its Rhino population. Additionally, park has good bird sightings, the highlight being the Bengal Florican which is on the critically endangered list. The below link from Assam Tourism has more information about the park

We tried to get in touch with numbers for Divisional Forest Officer and Range Forest Officer mentioned in the link in order to plan our stay there. But we werent able to get through. The other thing that happened, was that we came to know that Pawan Hans had suspended operations in Arunachal Pradesh after the Arunachal CM died in an accident. 
[Pawan Hans has now started operating helicopter flights from Guwahati to Tawang. Check link below for your bookings Am sure it will be a amazing journey]

With this, the logistics seemed to be getting difficult and we started checking on whether there is a tour operator to operates in this region. We then came upon the Essential Poorvanchal tour operated by Aradhana Travels. My parents had done multiple tours through them and were very happy with the experience. I am not a big fan of guided tours, but this looked to be the only option. I can now say that I just loved the tour and was glad that we did it through Aradhana Tours. The tour is meticulously planned, good hotels, a caring manager (Mandar Kirane) and divine food. Even though there are some long drives involved in the tour, carefully chosen stops means that you dont really feel tired.

The tour covered Shillong, Cherrapunji, Tezpur, Tawang and Kaziranga. The north eastern states are beautiful. Through this tour we got our first glimpse of their natural beauty and we decided to return back for more.

Below are some photos of the tour.