Sunday, June 29, 2014

Patna Bird Sanctuary: an ignored potential ( Part I)

we are at the heart of Agra city, well dressed executives of reputed travel agencies and receptionists of star hotels with their valuable ideas and tips are helping peak season's clients to finalise their itinerary. But nobody knows where this hell " Patna bird sanctuary" actually is. "Are you sure sir it is not in Bihar ?" - asked  one travel agent even.
          Having no clue , I dialed the number of Pragati Vershney , an activist and conservationist who alone is fighting for giving PBS a place in UP's tourism map. I collected her number from a source and saved for emergency help, had a couple of calls before leaving Kolkata. Fortunately she managed to make my hotel officials understand the approximate location of PBS. They arranged a cab accordingly at last and I went to sleep in the dead of night.
          Next morning I left the hotel at 7 O'clock but end December fog made it impossible to drive without headlights on. Our driver followed NH2 towards Tundla. On the way we found at least three wrecked vehicle amidst sea of broken glass pieces, a result of rash driving in densely fogy night. A break of almost 30 min for breakfast and tea didn't improve the light condition significantly. We slowly headed to Rajawali Choraha, and followed Jalesar Road. Our driver started to ask people frequently about PBS. Following those instruction when the car reached Sikandra Rao - Jalesar Road, he looked a bit scary. My repeated query made him declare - " Shaab, hume 3 bajne se pahle yahan se nikal jana hoga". Further investigation revealed that robbery and snatching from the outsider is a very common phenomenon in this area. Our driver Javed vai himself once suffered from such things. Problem increased from late afternoon. So , we have to leave this area before that.
          By this time a roadside board by forest department indicated that we are close to our destination. I spotted a pair of Sauras Crane in the vast agricultural field by the road and got off the vehicle to take some photos. Light conditions was not so bad as it was in the early morning, which allowed to take some reasonably good shots of the largest flying bird of India , which is considered as holy and symbol of fertility in many parts of the country. At last our car drove through the entrance of PBS. After fulfilling necessary formalities  I started to explore the whole area.