Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bhetnai : The playground of Black Buck

‘Black Buck’ and ‘Orissa’- how could these to be pronounced simultaneously and be connected together!! This was the first impression to my astonished mind when I came to know that a small unknown village of our neighboring state is providing a safe play ground to hundreds of black bucks since years. Being inspired by ‘now or never’ philosophy, I rescheduled my Monglajodi trip, two more days were added immediately to the itinerary.

After birding at Monglajodi we boarded in the train to Berhampore (Bramhapore) from Balugaon in the morning. The view of moving Chilka on the left and the undulated topography on the right was so refreshing that I couldn’t realize that I was traveling in an overcrowded unreserved compartment. We reached Berhampore by 10, took an auto to reach the old bus stand and arrange a shelter for the coming night. By 10.30, we were again on our way to Aska, but this time by private bus. Excellent road, non-stop express bus journey without any jerk, window seat and cool, soothing breeze, all the elements for a successful script of a nap were present. But before I reach the climax, the shout of the conductor broke my drowsiness, “get down sir, you are at Aska”. Bhetnoi was still 12 km away. We left the high way and tried to board in a small vehicle, which I don’t know what to be called actually. It was bigger than a jeep but smaller even than a mini bus. Everywhere, other than the footboard was packed with people and their luggage. My wife some how managed to get into (probably first time in her life became happy for being a woman!), but I had no other choice but to hang on the footboard with my camera bag and tripod. After almost 20 painfully struggling minutes we reached Bhetnai. Mr. Amullaya Upadhyaya, the president of ‘Blackbuck Management Committee’ received us at the bus stop. The last lap of our journey was still remaining. We rode in his motor cycle o reach the other side of the village. We took off the shoes, crossed a ‘nullah’ and walked about 400 mts too have the first sight of an isolated male Black Buck in the field.

Cautious Observation

We were standing at the beginning of a huge open ground, partially cultivated and partially barren. The piles of harvested crop in some places produced a visual relief in the vastness of the field. 8-10 male and around 100 female could easily be seen from a distance of about 200 meters. A slight try to have proximity to get some better shots created a panic and a whole herd vanished towards the horizon in no time.

Escape


Herd of female Black Buck

I got my first lesson- over enthusiasm and uncontrollable excitation will spoil the game, patience is the key to success, so I decided to wait with a hope that they would bear our presence. I had to wait to be accepted by them, so that they allow me to explore their kingdom. Though it was just last week of January, yet the midday sun was showing no sign of kindness. There was not a single tree in the neighborhood. So, I had no other choice but to wait under the scorching heat sweating all along.

Mr. Upadhyaya had to leave as he had some prior appointments. But, he committed to pick us up whenever our job is done. I positioned myself behind a hump of that undulated field. The hump and the long grasses on it were partially hiding my gears and me. Time was passing at the slowest possible rate. Every single moment of waiting was an acid test for my patience. To make my waiting a bit tolerable I tried to concentrate on things around me. The small bluish hillocks at the farthest corner made the topography quite interesting. Flock of flying milky white Cattle Egret on the backdrop of hill was helping me a lot to ignore the sun, at least mentally. Some other birds, butterflies also kept me a bit active. After almost an hour or so, they again started to come to the open field again and the distance between us was gradually decreasing. I too tried to move by crawling through the ground. What a wonderful world it was!! Not just one, two. Three, or so, hundreds of male, female blackbuck were roaming around the field. They grazed, fought, played in front of my pierced eyes. I was so spellbound that some times forgot to press the shutter and thus missed to capture a lots of unique moments. I was wondering that whether we were in India or in an African safari.

Cleanliness


Let's Play



Jump


Together

Meanwhile, the sun began to go down, the dusk was approaching. Few farmers were still working in an isolated part of the field. Their silhouettes in front of the red fire ball will remain be vibrant in my memory for years to come.

Yet another day of struggle ends


Returning home


Dusk

We again crossed the nullah on our way to return to the road where Mr. Upadhyaya was waiting for us with his motorcycle. He took us to his home where his family gave us a cordial welcome with tea, banana, curd and the traditional and famous Oriya sweet, the ‘Chana Poda’(baked yogurt). He told us that nobody knows from where and when this black buck came actually. This region of Orissa is a very drought prone area. Long ago, during such a drought, one day a small group of black-buck arrived here. Incidentally the village received a heavy shower next day. The villagers started to believe that those black-buck were sent by God and they had brought the most desired rain. Since then the black-bucks became a beloved member of this Bhetnai Village and grew in number. After the adaptation of organized conservation effort, presently almost 1600 black-bucks can be found over an area of 40 sq km around Bhetnai.



23 comments:

  1. Sumit ..just to say an excellent effort. Carry on.
    Shyamasree

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  2. Boss Nat'l Geo te pathao ...athoba nijer ekta exhibition karo....Sukdeb

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  3. Thank you Shyamasree.

    Sukdeb, eto ta gas khaoas na re vai...

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  4. Sotti... Exhibition koro... Bapok hoeche picture gulo.....just fatafati.......

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  5. Oi bird series e 1 no a ei post tar 3 no photo ta sob theke bhalo laglo.
    bhabesh

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  6. "returning home"r "dusk" osadharon..."escape""jump"r"togather" thekeo chokh ferano day....thik bhasa pachhi na

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  7. kusanashkar er modhye diye holeo BLACK BUCK je Bhetnai er adhibashi ra sanrakhan korche,ta jene valo laglo.....

    ashadharan chobi(returning home,escape,jump,together) ar jatra-pother barnonar modhye diye Berhampore theke Bhetnai akarsoniyo hoye utheche...........

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  8. Really,fabulous!!!!!!!, r sotti "chokh ferano day....".

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  9. A GREAT EXPERIENCE FOR YOU IN THE WILD ;ALSO A GREAT EXPERIENCE FOR THE READERS BEFORE WHOM YOU PLACED THIS BLOG. OUTSTANDING APPEAL,GREAT WORK,AND REMARKABLE PICTURES

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  10. darun experience !!!

    pics gulo ekdom live....jeno chokher samne dekhchi.......darun laglo.....

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  11. Ei Muhurto gulo camera r freme bondi kore khub valo korecho. sobai thik bolche ekta exhibition koro...........................

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  12. chobi shob besh bhalo.... barite boshe tomar sathe beriye ellum...thanks....

    ONE more thing: wild life story je gram-er lokera black buck ke portect kore.... touches a chord in heart and mind....thanks for telling us the story.... amra protect na korle kichhui bachhbe na...like the house sparrow ..we should all provide food and water to them ... in the city....

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  13. Many Thanks Ushadi. Your comment will definitely inspire people to be sympathetic to animals and will compel people to think about the cruelty against animals.

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  14. black buck and farmer er pic gulo really asadharan sumit da... carry on. arro new creation er apekhate roilam. outstanding

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  15. Sumit,

    This is an excellent and informative effort. Photographs are also great.

    Atish Sen

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  16. Many thanks Atish da.. nice to hear from you dada..

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  17. travelogue ta darun r chobi gulo to just fatafati hoyeche........ "escape, jump,Yet another day of struggle ends & Returning home " are too good dada........

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    Bariloche Hostel

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  19. The blog is very needful and interesting … Photographs are excellent …
    We planned to watch/ shoot (to frame ... :) ) the Black Bucks at Vetnai village on 12Jan for full day.
    So, need some information like ….
    Is there any permission needed to visit there ?... If yes, then how should we get it...??...
    Any contact person, who can help / guide us there ...??...
    Any other formalities, if we have to do before reach there, please let us know....

    ReplyDelete