EX­PLOR­ING INTO THE WILD

Airports India - - UTTAR PRADESH -

Em­bed­ded in the heart of In­dia is Uttar Pradesh, a land where cul­tures have evolved and re­li­gions con­verge. The great­ness of Uttar Pradesh lies not only in this con­flu­ence, but also in the emer­gence of cul­tural and re­li­gious tra­di­tions along some of the great­est rivers in the In­dian sub-con­ti­nent – the Ganga and the Ya­muna. Through­out his­tory, great cities have emerged and es­tab­lished along great rivers. Within In­dia, the Ganga and the Ya­muna have nur­tured a cul­ture be­cause of which re­li­gious faith, rit­u­als, cul­ture and in­tel­lec­tual en­light­en­ment have evolved in places along the two rivers.

Dud­hwa Tiger Re­serve is one of the finest few re­main­ing ex­am­ples of the ex­ceed­ingly di­verse and pro­duc­tive Tarai eco-sys­tem. The north­ern edge of the re­serve lies along the Indo-nepal border and the south­ern bound­ary is marked by the river Suheli. It is well known sanc­tu­ary of the swamp deer and is home to tigers, leop­ards, va­ri­eties of deer, an­telopes, ele­phants, jackal, hyena etc, amid thick green for­est and grass­land. It is also a bird watch­ers’ haven. A large num­ber of rhi­nos are also found here. This Na­tional Park is home to tigers, leop­ards, va­ri­eties of deer and an­telopes, ele­phants and birds. A quiet, tran­quil and green nest in the Tarai foothills about 230 km from Lucknow.

Ma­jor at­trac­tions of Dud­hwa Na­tional Park are the tigers (pop­u­la­tion 98 in 1995) and swamp deer (pop­u­la­tion over 1,600). Billy Ar­jan Singh suc­cess­fully han­drea­red and rein­tro­duced zoo-born tigers and leop­ards into the wilds of Dud­hwa. Some rare species in­habit the park. Hispid hare, ear­lier thought to have be­come ex­tinct, was re­dis­cov­ered here in 1984.

Dud­hwa Na­tional Park is a strong­hold of the baras­ingha. Around half of the world’s baras­ing­has are present in Dud­hwa Na­tional Park. Smaller than the sam­bar deer, the baras­ing­has have 12 antlers that col­lec­tively mea­sure up to 100 cm. One can spot herd of these rare an­i­mals pass­ing through open grass­lands. Around half of the sur­viv­ing pop­u­la­tion of Baras­ing­has is found in the park. These an­i­mals are smaller than sam­bar deer and weigh around 180 kg. Due to their slightly woolly, dark brown to pale yel­low cloak, the grass­lands acts as the per­fect cam­ou­flage.

The park has rich bird life, with over 350 species, in­clud­ing the swamp fran­colin, great slaty wood­pecker and Ben­gal flor­i­can. Dud­hwa also boasts a range of mi­gra­tory birds that set­tle here dur­ing win­ters. It in­cludes among others, painted storks, black and white necked storks, sarus cranes, wood­peck­ers, bar­bets, king­fish­ers, minivets, beeeaters, bul­buls and var­ied night birds of prey. There are also dron­gos, bar­bets, cor­morants, ducks, geese, horn­bills, bul­buls, teal, wood­peck­ers, heron, beeeaters, minivets, king­fish­ers, egrets, ori­oles, painted storks, owls.

Ex­plor­ing Uttar Pradesh along the mighty rivers takes the vis­i­tors on a mag­i­cal trip. The Her­itage Arc in Uttar Pradesh pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore the state in all its glory. The Her­itage Arc sig­ni­fies her­itage in terms of cul­tural, his­tor­i­cal and nat­u­ral as­pects. Mov­ing on this arc from one end of the state to the other, takes trav­ellers through Agra re­gion, Lucknow re­gion and Varanasi re­gion, with sev­eral ex­cit­ing des­ti­na­tions along the way.

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