A sojourn to Ramsai Rhino Camp, Gorumara National Park

#1 Feb 4th, 2015, 16:26
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Greenery, cuddling fog and mist, dense forest, animals, streams and rivers, lush tea gardens, mountains and a mighty snowy Madam Khangchendzonga(our very own Kanchanjungha) beckoning at a distance - that’s Dooars. A paradise calling.

Although, being it January, we missed the hypnotizing mist around, and Mt.K for the mist alone in high altitudes, it was compensated by the sightings of all possible animals roaming in and around the Lataguri-Gorumara region, only except the Leopard, which I think might not be one found in this area. I believe they are ample in the jayanti and Neora Forests. I would like to invite all avid Dooars lovers’ opinion on this.

Gorumara has accommodations from the Forest Department in three places:
i) Ramsai Rhino Camp
ii) Kalipur Eco Village and
iii) Dhupjhora elephant camp

All of them offer similar facilities and arrange elephant safari, which can not be availed in Gorumara if had a nightstay anywhere other than these three. The package includes the stay for a night, An elephant safari in the forest, a visit to the Medla watch Tower, and all meals (morning tea, breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner) for rs.3900/- for a couple.


We booked it from Kolkata by calling the Forest Ranger office In Jalpaiguri, and set out on a chilling January night by the all-time numero uno Darjeeling Mail.
We have our uncle in Jalpaiguri, so we headed towards his house. Next morning, we left for Ramsai at about 11 in the morning. Lataguri was only 15 kms from there, and we had already collected the reservation slip from the Gorumara counter the previous day, so we were in no hurry.
#2 Feb 4th, 2015, 16:56
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It was a pleasant day. Farmers on plough, tea workers busy harvesting two leaves and a bud, cropped paddy spread beside streets for soaking in sun, here and there packs of hens and ducks roaming with chickens and ducklings under their wings, allover an extremely peaceful and refreshing ambiance it was.

On the way to Ramsai Rhino Camp









#3 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:27
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We reached the camp. The cottages are beautifully situated amidst the surrounding of tea gardens, a lovely pond, paddy fields and the forest at different sides. They have been freshly reinforced and decorated in December. We were lucky enough. There were 5 cottages which all centered the main office cum dining cottage. Ours named “Gorumara”. The cottages are nice with glass walls and clean washrooms. Although maximum 3 people can stay in one, it has enough room for 4.

The Camp



#4 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:34
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We talked to our cab driver and it was decided that he would come at 7 next morning and will take us to the Gorumara Counter where we can avail a gypsy safari to the forest. Early morning and evening were the best times for sighting of animals, but we could not arrange that because, for the first trip at 6 in the morning, people start gathering at 2 in the night near the counter to get the tickets as the number of gypsies are limited. The second trip would start at 8:30 and reach the Gorumara gate at 9, so we could avail that. There are lots of resorts near the counter and the Rhino camp is away from it. So we dropped the plan to have the first trip and opted for the second one. It was outside the package.

We had our lunch at around 1:30. It was simple and had rice, cauliflower curry, daal, alu fry, fish and a rosogolla in the menu. They announced that they would take us to the Medla watch tower at 2:30, and would start the elephant ride from there only. They called us at sharp 2:30. Wow.

We came to the point from where we are now going to take a buffalo-driven cart. Two of the buffalos carried 10 of us. Phew. It took almost 40 minutes to reach the tower in a snail speed. All the way, we found numerous birds chirping and flying to and fro. We were passing by the tea gardens and mist was setting in under the drowsy gloomy shade trees, with the leaning sun behind. On the other side, Murti river was flowing with a lean stream. It was such an enchanting ethereal environment, that the sound of silence could be heard in the sleepy woods beside the earthen road. The ride could have been boring for the slow pace, but the world was too beautiful to feel that.

Giant



Tea garden under the quilt of mist



#5 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:40
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We reached the threshold of the forest. Kunki (tamed by the Forest Department) Elephants were getting ready for the evening stroll. Our cart driver had shown us them bathing in the river from a distance on the way. Now they were having Banana trees in the lunch, after finishing which, they would allow us climb on them.

Medla Watch Tower





Coming from a good bath

#6 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:41
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Great going Bias... Amazing Photos..
Waiting for more...
A Journey declined is a Learning denied...
______________________________ ___

My Andaman Diaries. | Amritsar – Wagha Border. | Krishnanagar-Mayapur-Murshidabad |
Rajasthan | Deoghar-Rajgir-Bodhgaya
#7 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:42
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We used the time to move to the Medla Watch Tower, which was just beside. We had already seen monkeys and peacocks, now it was time to see real the thing we had come here for. The Asian One-horned Rhino. It was standing by the salt-lick and was close to the tower. I had seen my first Rhinoceros, so I was very excited but managed to maintain silence. He knew we were here and erected his head up. But a Rhino is always a rhino. It would barely move an inch. Some of our fellow travelers doubted it was a stone Rhino, but I was the first to locate him, so had the rare opportunity to see him move. I spotted one more on the other bank of the river. It was drinking water. It doubled our enthusiasm.



#8 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:45
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The elephants were ready for the journey. We rode on “Phulmati.” On an average, 3 people other than the “Mahoot” can sit on an elephant. We did not enter the forest. Instead we crossed the river and moved into the Grassland. The tall elephant grasses were now dry and brown. So animals would very easily hide behind them.

Ready after lunch







#9 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:47
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Thanks Suman. Will be trying my best to narrate well.
#10 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:49
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Suddenly our mahout whispered – “Bisons”.
We threw our gaze behind the bushes and found a herd of bison dispersing. But the grasses being tall enough, we could see only their head and a little portion near their spine. Next we spotted a bunch of deer jumping away. But the newborn being really little, was unable to even flee away. It was looking at us, timid, frightened. We compassionately spared him and moved ahead.

Find the bison



Frightened fellow:

#11 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:52
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Dusk was setting in. The sun was now flopping in a haste. The forest was getting covered under the blanket of fog and darkness. We crossed the river and reached our starting point where the buffalos were waiting for us. As we reached our camp, night had fallen. A curved moon had risen above. To add to the feel-good factor, hot pakoras were there.



Sun hiding behind the forest





Night falls in Gorumara

#12 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:53
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They had arranged tribal dance program in the dining hall in the evening. Dinner was simple, and this time, they served chicken curry instead of fish. Absolutely little in amount I must say. We went to bed early as the next morning would come earlier than usual.

Cottages in the night

#13 Feb 4th, 2015, 17:54
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I never saw dew falling like drops of rain. I came outside our cottage and was about to step on the stair to come down, when I discovered it to be completely drenched. The roof was dripping dews from the blades. What a morning. The grasses were all wet. The sun reflected in the pond. Ducks flapped in the pond. And the road ahead was vanished in fog.



#14 Feb 4th, 2015, 18:01
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Our car had come. They had already served us tea and packed our breakfast. We left for Gorumara Forest Counter. We reached there in half an hour. There were already quite a few groups lining for the tickets. We managed a gypsy and other tickets and permits, and started. A forest guide returning from the morning trip advised our driver to rush as there is a pack of bisons beside the Berry tree. The gypsys I say are really in a miserable condition. Ours broke down twice in the road alone. There were a few cars standing and people pointing inside the forest. They saw we missed the herd for a minute or so. We had a hearty grudge on the 30 years old beast and cursed the driver and the guide as an alternative.







Entrance to Gorumara National Park

#15 Feb 4th, 2015, 18:04
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Anyway, we were surrounded with tall trees and expected a lot more to see in between them. So better resolve the anger and move on. We reached the Gorumara Gate which would open at 9. We got to hear that the cars that arrived before us did not see the bisons either. Ah! How happy I was.

No entry after this point



Forest trail





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