"Be the change that you want to see in the world. " ~ Mahatma Gandhi

"Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life" ~ Charles Darwin


Memories of Dudhwa National Park

Tithiparna Sengupta , travels to Dudhwa National Park, filled with expectations, returning home to muse that jungles are about forgetting time.

The expectations regarding Dudhwa were pretty high. I had visualized a dense green forest, complete with tigers, rhinos and elephants, as we boarded the Luchnow-Bereilly-Rohilkhand express.

The journey to Mailani by the Lucknow-Berelly-Rohilkhand Express was truly great, in every sense. The train was small-almost like a toy train. And the stations were straight out of the story books- quaint and beautiful. Their names evoked a sense of mystery and dream -Jharokapur, Hargaon, Deoli...

At 2:00 p.m. we reached Mailani, a small town 260 kms north of Lucknow. After having our lunch roadside dhaba, we set off for Palia. The road to Palia was through the forest with sunlight peeping through the trees, the Sharda river visible between its green banks and bushes of wild flowers adding colour. By the time we reached Palia after 4 o’clock the shadows had lengthened.

More on U.P.
Dudhwa factfile

Wildlife Travelogues
Corbett Park

More on Wildlife
Sanctuaries & Parks

Poachers' Paradise
Cruelty to Animals


Then, the moon rose. With all its glory. And we realized that it was a full-moon night. Everything around us was bathed in the moon-light. We drank in the beauty. Everything was so calm and quiet that you could hear the faint rustle of the leaves or the quick footsteps of a deer. The night shadows and the moonlight had, between the two of them, woven out a neat mystery story for us. The stars flashed their friendly smiles, trying in vain to dismiss it.

Next morning I woke up reluctantly at 7:30 a.m. I was greeted at the doorstep itself, by Moti the deer, with his large gentle eyes and wet muzzle, the picture of tenderness. Nothing could spoil the day for me, not even the fact that the sun had begun its day in the jungle without me, and I found it hard to forgive myself for missing out on the sunrise.

At 8:30a.m. we went to see the “Rhino Project”. A jeep took us to the place from where we had to climb on an elephant, Sundar, to go into the grasslands in search of the rhinos. In no time, Sundar left the beaten track to land amidst the thick grass jungle.


Apart from the birdcalls and the sound of the heavy footsteps of Sundar, it was as silent as could be. A small lake in the forest was the perfect haven for birds. The sight of the small and beautiful creatures filled my mind with peace and a deep sense of belonging to this earth- a feeling that I had never experienced before.

Sundar was soon wading through the knee-deep water of a canal. Within a few minutes we sighted a pair of rhinos: mother and child. Happily, we returned for lunch. Hoping for the best, we set out in the jungle again at 3 o'clock. This time too, on elephant back. Mission Tiger. Mission Impossible.

However, even though the tiger chose not to show himself to these lesser mortals, the mysterious charm of the forests more than made up for it. The river, Soheli quietly flowed through the grasslands, only to lose itself later in the thick foliage. Crocodiles basked in the sun on the sands of the riverbank. There were five of them, their sizes ranging from large to tiny. Together, they presented a great picture of a happy family. Our search for pythons however proved to be futile. There was a fire in the far-off grasslands, which was spreading quite fast, and we had to return quickly.


While returning, our mahout informed that wild tuskers often barge into the tourist complex, their objects of interest being the tame female elephants of the forest department. Passions are most roused on full-moon nights. Batali, the baby elephant of Dudhwa was born as a result of one such mis-adventure. Batali was sleeping when we went to meet him. He soon got up, a bit unsteadily, and went about making friends with each of us. We could see he hated remaining in the enclosure and badly wanted to get out. Living in a forest, yet still not free, is possibly the worst misfortune that an animal can have.

The following morning, it was time to leave. Since time was short we set off to say our final “goodbye” to the jungle. The sun was yet to rise. A rather tired moon smiled down on us from the western sky. We walked eastwards into the jungle. Sunrise in the forest came suddenly, taking us all by surprise. All of a sudden we could see the sun –a bright red ball in the sky. There was a silent rejoicing all around …the gentle sunrays spreading themselves on the leaves, dancing about us, weaving out patterns on the ground. The entire forest was glowing with happiness. Birds called out to each other.

We were in no mood to go back. A pugmark was spotted. In the entire process, we completely lost track of time. But isn't that what a jungle is all about - surely it is meant to make you forget time.

Home | Back | Top | Feedback

Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.