Dambuk breaking free

You pack your bag for the most awaited destination. You plan like a pro to not miss even the best sunset you’ve once seen in a picture and thought you’d make it. And your perfect schedule was ruined by choosing the wrong time of the year when clouds never let the sun appear or maybe because the meadow or the roads you’ve seen is now submerged. Let me help you in deciding the best time to visit for Dambuk in Arunachal Pradesh.

Dambuk has Orange Festival of Music and Adventure, orange orchards, Adi village and a river bed that remains flooded during monsoons and dries up and glisten like pearl dust for ATV rides during winters. You’ll love all of them. But if you want the juiciest oranges winter is the season. At the start of monsoon two rivers, Dibang and Sisar break in from east and west. From April till late October, the place remains cut-off as the two rainfed rivers submerge the roads. The beauty of the place manifolds, and so does the difficulty of lives. Boats become the only mode of transportation, but for the rivers of the mountain, the boats seem rickety. Everything has a pause, or a slow-down –cultivation, farming, transportation.

People still come to visit the place on elephant backs to get a submerged view of the place. (Please use other modes of communication if possible). This place is worth visiting even otherwise for an experience of the local Idu Mishimi and Adi tribe’s culture. Even without the orange festival, there are too many things going on to keep you busy. From fishing by the riverside to weaving and rice wine making tutorials, you have them all. After you’ve surveyed the orange orchards or the ruins of the battle between the active Adis and British, you may also come up with community bamboo house building parties in this village between the rivers. You can see the in-house production of the bamboos crafts and clothes in the beautiful Adi village. The orange orchards fill all the blanks of the village between the mountains.

The Orange festival of Adventure and Music (OFAM) may not be as organized as the orange orchards, but it serves a lot in covering the stoned economy during monsoon. The four days’ festival is held just before spring, during the season of the fruit, which attracts a lot of tourists from the world. That’s an inside story. The real thing is, the tangy jest of the citrus has a kick to make you jump into action. And while your adrenaline is already pumped up in the rocky terrain archery, zip lining, mud run, ATV rides, white water rafting, motocross and orange run does justice. You can’t take rest yet, for your spirit would be already high for a rock concert too. This festival has a line-up of local, national and international artists performing live. You’ll love to have a large piece of music with the hot-dog of your choice. This is a meeting point for the music lovers and the artists. Join them, cheer for them and cry your heart out with a spirit higher than the mountains itself (or keep it for the Ziro music festival). You will want to stay awake on all the four days of the festival. Go back to sleep with the sounds of the ATVs still buzzing and sand from the motor race still blurring your view, in your countless dreams after the festival, till you come back again.

The infant event does let you have some mini Utah life and a mini Ziro zest. And if you are just interested in the oranges and a rural life, it’s always there. The Adis also celebrate Aran in March that promises a festive spirit.  Just chose the time right to get what you want.

 

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Explore Salt Lake City With ATVs

 

 

If we say Salt Lake City is most populous and you ask why is everyone moving to Utah, we would probably say to ride on and off road. Salt Lake City has terrains and imprints of history that makes exploration a part of the deal when you simply visit the city. Of course with all the mountains and the hustle around it’s impossible for the adrenaline to stay calm till it gets a hit. And ATV rentals in Salt Lake City are efficiently catering to that spirit to keep you in your sports gear all day long. Why Salt Lake City? Because you can also explore the city on ATV.

The mountainous county has many temples and statues and Mormon and non-Mormon cultural co-existence. There’s a lot to see. Have you considered exploring the city on ATV? Let’s check these exciting ATV trails in and around Salt Lake City.

Wasatch Mountain State Park.

An ATV ride into the vast fields that turn out to be an elevated flatland and you get to dive into the greener flat land that takes you to the sand dunes till you come up to a peak that overlooks a wetland. You stop for a view before you blow off the sands till the water splash on your face, and you move on for more.. that’s Wasatch Mountain, State Park. An ultimate ATV experience. Let the sun rise and set on you, and you’ll still not be done. The never-ending Uinta Wasatch Cache National forest that extends into Wyoming has landscapes covering the mountains and the foothills that get you to master yourself to test every bone and taste every bit of the landscape. The terrain makes it even engaging for an ATV ride with different levels of difficulty. Atv ride Knolls OHV Area has everything you can even challenge the snow.

 

Arapeen ATV trails of Central Utah:

The moderately elevated landscapes of Central Utah has more Panorama and extensive rides than challenges. You’ll love to see the small hills and plains forming beautiful landscapes while getting a chance to cruise in between. In the alpines, you’ll get to see the remains of the Highest Columbian Mammoth discovered. Apart from exploring history, you can go up the accessible hills and enjoy the view of the small towns and wonderful vistas. This part lets you enjoy your ATV ride more with the thrilling views and facts from history.

Paiute ATV trail:

Another beautiful and extensive ATV trail in central Utah that meets the need of both nature lover and adventurer. The terrains have difficulty levels starting from easy to hard. It is best to get a map and the guidance from the ATV rentals to explore every corner of it. The mountains and plains combine to form different patterns and you would love to get lost to explore something you think you’ve probably never seen. The Fishlake National forest nearby and the Millsite Park (which is also nearby the Arapeen ATV trails) are some places you can ride up to.

Moab’s Poison Spider:

A rocky terrain that makes you ride up rocks so steep that you face the sky. When you challenge yourself to cross the huge stairs of rock, you may have to stop for a  while to appreciate the formations and snow peak mountains, for that can’t be done while manoeuvring the tyres through the steep rocks. You’ll need focus more than thrill. The best part is when you move up to the edge of a  rock till you meet the horizon and you have to ride down the slop, you realize you’re not done yet. There’s more.

 Tour to the lost civilization of the Anasazi Indians:

While Uinta Wasatch Cache National forest gives you a challenge, a tour to the lost civilization of the Anasazi Indians will make to see the dust flying with more purpose and solidity. Your ATV ride will include some major sightseeings -of canyons and bluffs. You can tear through the rocks for more of the enormous rock formations and tableland that will give your ATV experience a Herculean feel. The remains of the village and the humongous cliffs will linger as a part of your ATV expedition memories. If you are in Salt Lake Lake city don’t miss the ATV rides to have this otherworldly experience. About the ATV rentals to this part though, information is very less. Very few offer service to this place.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes of Utah:

Blow the dust and blur the view of the table land at the horizon till it opens up to marvellous vistas. Find Wire Passes or go to the Lower Craft Creek Falls slicing down the rocks. The ATV ride along the dotted mountains opens to beautiful views along the way. You won’t miss the Lion Back Moab as much with the all-encompassing nature ride in the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Especially when the view of the Devil’s Garden entice you. You may want to leave the plains for precipices, or you may want to walk on the enormous rocks. But you’ll not be ready to end the ride.

While you make ATV your basic locomotive, make sure you take the required safety measures. And if you want some time in peace to recollect then go to Antelope Island State Park.

Camping Antelope Island State Park:

You can either visit this place and be back for more around Salt lake city or if you chose can camp on the peaceful island. It’s an open area with never-ending trails for a walk or a horse-ride. It’s best for leisure. Whether you love to watch the herds of Bisons or to spend time doing nothing in the beach, your surely love to indulge in simply enjoying the place. If you are done enjoying the view of the beach and the snow peaks, you can trek and explore more about the place –it never ends.

A hidden garden -Dzukou Valley

  • Why Dzukou Valley..

Nothing can match the wavelength of Dzukou valley’s beauty. It’s unbelievable how the tiny hills look so enchanting like a bubble of beauty, ongoing, within reach and endless. Your heart will have countless leaps when you see the countless hills sometimes covered with Rhododendrons, Lilies and other flowers, sometimes green and softened by the sunrays, and sometimes frozen with snow. Trekking through them is a joyride for all the senses. You can feel the breeze along, chase the clouds and stop by when a puff of fragrance surprise you. Close your eyes and imagine the beauty of the bloom, open your eyes and see how butterflies think alike, and be surprised that beauty can be so everlasting!

The Colors..

The hills have a soft velvety look with the carpet of grass and in summers flowers mellow into the horizon and open up to the fellow hills creating a cascade of colour. The hills remain covered with flowers from June till September, the Dzukou Lily being the most famous of all. The crystal clear water of the Dzukou and Japfu rivers flowing through the valley will ensure you are in heaven where even the rivers carry dew. Get lost like “Alice in the wonderland” and discover some more of small yet enchanting surprises in the valley -may be a wooden bridge, or a small stream or even see a hill being covered within a minute by mist. And while doing all of the these if you reach the Japfu range, have the moment of your life, for you can see the beautiful blooms cheerfully painting the hills and different colours flowing down the huge slopes. Yes, you can live this dream called Dzukou valley for this is real!!

Where is this beauty..

This beautiful valley of flower falls in Nagaland and Manipur in northeast India. The valley does have bitterness spawn by its ownership been claimed by both the states. The valley is spread impartially in the two states. Geographically Manipur has a hold over the valley of flowers with the bigger stretch of it falling within its part, and etymologically the Angami tribe of Nagaland has a hold over the place, as they inhabit the valley.

You can enter the valley through Viswema village in Nagaland or from Mount Isii of Manipur. An Inner Line Permit, ILP is required for Indian domestic tourists to enter Nagaland. So when you have to go to Dzukou valley from Nagaland, you’ll need ILP, which is not required when you go from Manipur. If the valley is nearer to the entry point of Nagaland, Manipur has a bigger area.

Just like it lay open to nature’s artwork, this flowered corner lays open a book of thoughts for the mind to imprint the views. Whether you take the valleys features as a sign of harmony or to mark demarcation, it is up to you. But the valley holds together both the states and their egos fairly. Interestingly, the name Dzukou Valley is derived from the word “Dzu-Ko” which means soulless and dull. Now that happened because harvesting couldn’t be done here due to harsh weather conditions, and the ancestors called the valley “very beautiful but dull and soulless”.

So can we say that God has made this garden just to be enjoyed and to be happy? And can we say that this valley is the favourite book for our observation, just the way it happens to be the favourite canvas of Nature? Just to observe how God has never planned to have any boundary, all He has planned is happiness you’re bound to have, and we human spoil the plan by finding reasons to be unhappy.

Five National Parks in northeast India you must visit

Did you know how exotic the backyard of colorful India is? If I say that out of 1300 orchid variety found in India, 800 varieties are found in the Northeast just imagine how beautiful will the forests look with the exotic flowers springing out to sight everywhere.

I call this region the country’s backyard because it is connected to India by a small corridor in West Bengal called Siliguri corridor or the ‘Chicken’s Neck’. But this small corridor will lead you to a massive beauty. And when conserved, it has the best of the region catered for nature lovers. So let me name some of the natural museums (I mean National Parks) of the endemic and diversity rich region. Even though I am from northeast India, I haven’t been to all of them. That’s how we are negligent towards what is easily available, even if it is one of a kind.

  1. Keibul Lamjao National Park (Manipur): 

It is the only floating national park in the world. A major portion of the Loktak Lake –the largest freshwater lake in India is in the middle of the park.

Image source: http://www.thehindu.com

The waterway through Keibul Lamjao national park gives access to canoes coming through the Loktak Lake towards the Pabot Lake.

So you can also canoe into the park.

The most interesting part of the lake is the round shaped floating decomposed plant materials called ‘Phumdis’  by locals which form almost 3/4th of the park. The floating mass is created by the accrual of organic garbage and biomass. The swamps touch the ground during the dry season and float up during the monsoons. This park which is too deep to be called marsh, and too shallow, to be called a lake, is surrounded by three hills. Summing up, with all the amazing work this is the final look of the place (a bird’s-eye view).

Image source: northeasttourism.gov.in

The wonder doesn’t end here. Let me tell you a bit about the state animal of Manipur which is conserved in this park. Shanghai or the brow-antlered deer is housed in this park. Sangai was almost on the verge of extinction. It increased from 6 individual to 14 and after continuous and strict conservation measures to around 250 now. This park is the only home in the world for the endangered beauty.

The Manipur Forest department filmed Keibul Lamjao National Park in a documentary “The Return of Sangai” which featured the endangered Sangai –the brow-antlered deer or the dancing deer of Manipur.

*Some trivia about the place:  In Manipuri tradition respecting Sangai means respecting nature, and slaying of Sangai is considered a sin.

What to do: Fishing and canoeing in the peaceful lake with scenic beauty around makes for a richer experience.

What to see: Eld’s deer, Thamin deer, Sangai, otter, large Indian civet, wild boar, Fox, Jungle Cat, Bay Bamboo Rat, Musk Shrew, Flying Fox, Sambar, fishes, and both migratory and resident birds can be seen. During monsoons, most of the animals migrate uphill.

Best time to visit the place: October to April. If you like to see the animals before their drift to the hills, come before the monsoon, if you want to see the ‘Phumdis’ floating come during the monsoons and trek the hills.

How to reach:  The park is accessible by air, rail and road. The nearest Airport is Imphal airport, and the nearest railway station Dimapur.

Where to stay: Hotels are available in and nearby Imphal. Basic accommodation of forest rest house without boarding facilities is available at Phubala and Sendra islands inside the park and at Moirang town not very far from the park.

  1. Namdpha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh:

In India, this is the only park that houses four out of five big cat species found in the country –leopard, snow leopard, clouded leopard, and tiger. This is Namdpha’s pride.

The third largest park in India in terms of area is recognized as one of the richest in biodiversity. Home to a variety of birds, big cats, endangered Hoolock Gibbon and a whole reserve of butterflies, this park became a tiger reserve under the Project Tiger Scheme in 1983.

It is the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalayas. Namdpha stretches along the international border between India and Myanmar.

http://www.jinghpawland.org/

taxidiarist.blogspot.in

*Some trivia about the place: The park derives its name from the words ‘Nam’ that means forest and ‘Dapha’ that means keeping. This indicates that forest shouldn’t be cut down. What else can cause the park to be the largest protected area in a region?

What to do: The tallest trees which are almost 150 meters add to the density of the forest making navigation difficult after a certain point. It thus offers challenging trails for trekking.

Image source: taxidiarist.blogspot.in

 What to see: Rare orchids like the Lady’s SlipperBlue VandalFoxtail and Dendrobium are found in this park. Even if you couldn’t make it to the Sessa Orchid Sanctuary, the land of orchid will not disappoint you.

Have chance encounters with any of the Leopards, Snow Leopards, Clouded Leopards, or Tigers, or maybe all of them.

Smaller carnivores like Red Panda, various otters, civet and two mongoose species can be seen.

Herbivores like Indian Elephant, Wild Boar, Musk Deer Indian Muntjac, Hog Deer, Sambar, Gaur, Goral, Serow, Takin, Bharal, Stump-tailed Macaque, Slow Loris, Hoolock Gibbon, Capped Langur, Assamese Macaque, and Rhesus Macaque are found.

The park has about 425 bird species. The park has a very wide variety of butterflies and moths. Have you seen butterflies of your palm size? You will see it here.

Best time to visit: Throughout the year. Every season of Arunachal Pradesh has wonder. The months from November to March is mostly recommended though.

 

How to reach: You can take a flight till Assam. From Assam, you can go by road till Miao. From there one has to take a link road. Yes, it does sound interesting to be linked to a place named ‘Miao’ to get to see a place full of cats. Tinsukia and New Jalpaiguri are the nearest railway stations.

Where to stay: Forest rest houses are available that can be reserved. The forest department also offers campsites in Bul-bulia, Haldibari, Hornbill, Rani Jheel and Firmbase, near Noa Dihing River.

  1. The Murlen National Park in Mizoram:

The Murlen National Park which falls in Champai district and is adjacent to Lengteng National Park is one of a kind, surrounded by six caves, small rivulets and brooks, and precipices. The total area of the park is around 200 sq km. The park has evergreen and semi-evergreen forest where some of the trees are about 350 years old.  The forest is so thick that in the area of about 80 sq. km only 1% of the sun rays can penetrate on a sunny day. Thus, gaining the name ‘losing area of seven fellow-man’ where not even a single ray of light is seen. So if you get ready to get lost in a Harry Potter forest, just avoid this spot. Stick to the caves and precipices.

Image source: thenortheasttoday.com

One visiting this park can also visit Phawngpui National Park that has the magnificent shaped Thlazuang Kham cliff. The cliff has a sight every trekker would want to behold. The mountains of Phawngpui are mostly covered with a thin stretch of cloud because of which it is also called Blue Mountain National Park.

Image source: thenortheasttoday.com

*Some trivia from the place: The conservation of animals faced challenges due to the tradition of hunting for New Year’s feast. But the government was successful in stopping the practice of hunting by 2010.

What to do: 

The forest has peaks, rivers, caves, and plains which makes trekking a complete experience.

What to see:

Birds: Birds such as Humes Bar-tailed Pheasant, Kallej Pheasant, Grey Peacock-Pheasant.

Image source: www.flickr.com/photos/36917655@N08/4432553087) – Grey Peacock-Pheasant

Animals: the Bengal tiger, Hoolock Gibbon, Serrow, Ghoral, Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Sambar, Barking Deer, Malayan Giant Squirrel, Rhesus Macaque, Common Partridges, Hill Myna, Dark-rumped Swift and Wild Boar.

Best time to visit: The park is over throughout the year. This park is full of orchids, so visiting during spring is best to see most of the orchid varieties.

How to reach: The park is situated near Aizawl. Nearest airports are Aizawl and Shillong. The nearest rail station is Silchar. By road, Aizawl is connected with the rest of the country through Silchar. Buses and taxis are available from Silchar to Aizawl.

Where to stay: There are a number of hotels in Aizawl.

  1. Kaziranga National Park:

There is enough information about this park in Assam, hence we will keep it short. But if you haven’t been here yet, plan a trip soon. This world heritage site hosts two-thirds of the world’s one-horned Rhinoceroses. Kaziranga National also has the highest density of tigers among the protected areas in the world and was declared a tiger reserve in 2006.

image source: http://www.kaziranga-national-park.com

An orchid park which was opened in 2015 will give an easy access to get to see most variety of orchids at one place.

*Some trivia about the place: This Park has three different types of vegetation, from marshlands to grasslands (with tall elephant grass) to broad-leafed forests. The park has only three seasons -summer, monsoon and winter.

What to do: Jeep Safari. While spotting other endangered animals spot as many rhinoceroses as you can because they are found the most here.

What to see: This is the oldest sanctuary and the forest has grasslands, marshes and shallow pools. You can see one-horned Rhinoceros and Swamp Deer –the only place where Swamp Deer is found.

Best time to visit: The park remains closed from mid-April to mid-October due to monsoons, so anytime other than this period.

Image source: http://www.nenow.in

How to reach: Jorhat and Dimapur are the nearest airports from Kaziranga. Furkating is the nearest railway station. It is connected by road through NH 37.

Where to stay: There are a number of resorts in Kaziranga.

  1. Manas National Park:

Located at the base of the foothills of Himalaya and extending itself into Bhutan, it is a tiger and elephant reserve. The extended part in Bhutan is called Royal Manas National Park. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a sanctuary in 1928 and in 1985 it was designated as a World Heritage site.

The best thing about the place is the river Manas flowing through it and the Himalayas surrounding the rich habitat.

image source: www.indiamart.com

*Some trivia about the place:  The sanctuary was initially a reserve forest used by the Cooch Behar royal family and Raja of Gauripur as a hunting reserve. Later the area was increased and declared a sanctuary. It was also declared a World Heritage due to poaching and terrorist activities, but later was removed from the list of danger and was commended for its preservation efforts.

What to do: Go for a jeep safari, capture the royal beast proudly splashing the water if you are lucky to find it being sporty in the water (I am only saying so because of the picture above –lucky photographer!), or see the elephants basking in the sun or go for river rafting in Manas River that flows through the park.

What to see: Manas wildlife sanctuary is home to a great variety of wildlife like Tiger, Golden Langur, Wild Buffalo, Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog, Capped Langur, Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, Elephant, Gaur, Hog Deer, etc.

Manas has 55 species of mammal out of which 21 are India’s Schedule 1 mammal and 31 of them are endangered.

Image source: http://www.tripoto.com

Best time to visit: Throughout the year. Monsoons make the river swell, Winters make the Himalayas beautiful, and springs make everything bloom.

How to reach: It is close to Guwahati Airport. It is also close to Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Bagdogra. By rail, the nearest station is Barpeta road railway station and New Bongaigaon railway station. It is connected by road by NH 31.

Where to stay: Hotels and resorts are easily available near the park.

Kaju village: Shyly tucked up in the Himalayas

In this website, I plan to discuss the unpopular places that turn out to be hidden gems. So far I am mostly aware of the places in northeast India, so I’ll start with them. When I plan on picking up unseen places to talk about why not start with the one which many haven’t heard of much.  Any information that is available on the internet about the village is blocked by the wrongly spelt name of the as Kabu village. The correct name is Kaju village. So yes, I am going to start my website with a blog on Kaju village in Arunachal Pradesh. You may find it strange that I’ve left so many happening places for this. But those who’ve been there will know why I did that.

The memory of Kaju village on our trip to Mechuka claims its presence in the simple moments of life. The red bamboo bridge that we saw in a picture was the motivator to visit the place. Well, the first mistake we made was with the name of the place. We searched for Kabu village that turned out to be incorrect. So Kaju village it is. Serene, occupied in the daily affairs with bamboo, and beautiful (needless to say. as in the case of every part of the Northeast). It was only half an hour from Along and didn’t seem to be visited by many tourists. But we couldn’t have seen a village life with more proximity in a more tourism-centric village.

Houses were all made on stilts. Two kids who didn’t even reach the height of our shoulders carrying a baby each, tied to their back with cloth passed by. Yes, people of the Northeast have discovered the convenience of the babywearing way before. A small boy busy mending a catapult and another one pulling the bamboo string of a toy car made from an empty gallon and a circular piece of wood nailed to it to form a tyre, spared only a couple of minutes to look at us. We came to the house where our lunch was pre-arranged. We would have lunch later, but we wanted our host to guide us to the bamboo bridge.

By now we got used to the smell of rice beer as every house reeked of the locally brewed beer. One thing we have noticed is that something is always drying, if not rice or chilli or fish under the sun, they have meats and fish hanging over the fireplace to smoke-dry.

We went towards the Yomgo River. At midday, we reached the funnel-shaped Bamboo Bridge and shot furiously over the semi-circles. When we were done we watched the fisherman angling from their canoe. Villagers continued crossing the bridge with loads of bamboos. The hanging bridge where we couldn’t wait to go and pose for a shot was a daily affair for the locals.

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People have pretty much nothing to do here. They are busy making things edible for nature –constructing and reconstructing everything from bamboo and retiring perfectly with bliss and finding life abundant with the limited supply.

I was happy for them. Till they have not seen the alternatives out there, in the rest of the world they are good to go. Basking under the sun, untouched by pesticides and radiations. A fair ‘give and take’ relationship with nature.

 

P.S: The river won’t leave your company till Mechuka, where it is called river Siang. If you fall in love with the clear water of the river and want to have a rendezvous with it, the hanging bridge gives a beautiful view of the river and the pebbles, and you may also get surprised by the unpredictable rain pelting into the water sometimes.

This planet is beautiful, did you do your bit for it today?

I walk the walk of nature
with nimble feet and tall steps
like the rain
I wear the smile of nature
healing wounds, yielding joy
I feel modest like nature
And lay as a doormat
I am sometimes enraged
Sometimes shaky
Burst out fire
Only for a motherly need to balance the elements.
********
And I feed you, shape you
Hold you close, for you are a part of me
I keep the vices with me and give the virtues to you
I share you with your beloved
I hold pride in your choice
Become protective when you are exploited.
Your better half harms me!
I cry, I react, not for my bruises
but for yours
in future
I’ll carry the hole in my heart
If only it would benefit you
I am dying my son
And I’m losing my healing power
Come to me once
Let me take you both in my arms
And bless you with more power
******
I lay in sleep like nature
I look over
My son with technology
They argue
Is it me?
Or is it the settlement of dues
I don’t want him to be alone!
So I say
“I won’t take space children..”
I shouted but my voice inaudible
I only wanted to heal their space
Perhaps its too late
She won’t stay, and he went along, holding her arms
For he would limp without her
For he forgot how to walk without holding her arms
I limped the limp of nature
Now it’s too late
Now I am only guessing
who’s going to die first?