Our 45 days south India explorer is one amazing trip that we are very proud of
The sheer variety of experiences that it offers is very unique and our travellers love it. Well it was October and it was time to start another season of overland adventures.
Tourism map of Madhya pradesh
With our expedition vehicle fully equipped and topped with gas we started our journey from our base near pench national park towards Bhopal.
We consider it to be one of the most beautiful drives in India. Just 40kms away and we were driving through the stunning Satpura valley landscape. The tarmac is very well maintained and is always a pleasure to drive on. The first breath taking view is when you hit the Tamia valley. Its a massive gorge in the middle of dense forest. The sheer size and the view around will blow your mind away. We stopped for a few pictures.
Vultures nesting point
Another important thing about this drive is that it goes through the very rich Pench – Satpura corridor. It is home to a variety of animal life. Every now and then we hear about tiger,
Tyger tyger burning bright!!
leopard and bear encounters on this road. This time we saw some bluebulls, spotted deer, wild boar, mongoose, langur monkey and rhesus macaque. Off-course birdlife was plentiful as usual. The ledges on the gorges here form an important vulture nesting spots. Many endangered vulture species have found refuge here. Continuing our drive we reach a spot where the highway gets really narrow and a sign greets you saying, ‘’drive slow, area of Satpura tiger reserve”. From here on there are continuous signboards reminding you of the presence of wildlife around.
1st gate of satpura tiger reserve close to Pachmadi(hills station) range
The road sign says Bhopal – 50 km and the forest slowly gives way to small villages and towns. It was the start of the festive season in India and that day India was celebrating two big festivals together, Dussehera for Hindus and Muharram for Muslims. For both the festivals a big part is the precession on road. We encountered numerous groups all performing on the road taking the dussehera procession to the local rivers for idol immersion. Beautifully decorated idols, pumping music and the dancing men and women. For Muslims the processions are a bit quieter but equally colourful and festive.
Taking durga idol to the river
locals are taking durga idol to the river, dancing and enjoying
locals full of mood
people are dancing and enjoying festival
street is full of dance and music
20 km away from Bhopal and the nightmare began. First you drive through the industrial belt which is extremely polluting and there are hundreds of trucks making the traffic slow. It was almost dark when we entered Bhopal. Another part of dussehera festival for Hindus is the burning of huge effigies of the demon Ravana.
The crowd had starting gathering near the celebration grounds further clogging the roads.
Dussehra ground and people came to celebrate it
Effigies of the demon Ravana.
Well negotiating all the hurdles and enjoying Bhopal’s festive mood, we finally reached our hotel. Knackered after the beautiful but long drive, we retired to our rooms. The next day was an exciting one as we had to receive our travellers from the airport and Mr. Modi (Prime minister of India) was also on his way to the city. Can you guess the fun and challenges the next day posed for us? More in the next post....