Just Another Day In Paradise – Chhattisgarh, India

Only when the mild light illuminates the ceiling of the cave, is when one sees the magnificent ancient limestone stalagmites dripping from above and the stalactites rise up from the muddy floor of the cave. A small water collection in a corner is home to the blindfish here and the smell of the bats precede the sound of their flapping wings-all in all an enthralling picture surrounds you. Patterns formed by the rigor of weathering over thousands of years look like paintings on the walls of the cave.

One can hear the gurgling of the Kanger Dhara stream from a small clearing along the road near the entrance of the Kutumsar Cave. This is the sound of the Kanger River, which feeds many villages along the way and is the main lifeline for animals inside the forest. Sit by the river for a while and you may be lucky enough to spot an animal along the edge.

Barnawapara wildlife

BARNAWAPARA SANCTUARY – Christened after ‘Bar’ and ‘Nawapara’ villages that lie in the heart of this jungle, the Barnawapara Sanctuary is a robust offering of undulating terrain of forested hillocks. Naturally, wildlife is abundant—the Indian bison (Gaur), cheetal, sambar, Neelgai and wild boar are not hard to spot.

ACHANAKMAR TIGER RESERVE – Overlapping the same forest, it is ideal for its reticent key occupant, the tiger, to make it its preferred dwelling in Chhattisgarh. The rich green, almost virgin forest spread is bifurcated by several blue capillaries on the map; these are tributaries of Mahanadi, River Balamdehi and Jonk River. Adding to the rich sprawl of nature’s bounty are the saal, teak and mixed forest trees, stretching towards the sun, leaving the undergrowth below in a palate of a million shades of green.

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