It is no news when you happen to see a tiger in the well known park such as Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Ranthambhore, Tadoba or Corbett. But when you see a tiger in a unknown and unheard wildlife sanctuary namely Udanti, it becomes a news for the entire state. Same thing happened On 12th November, 2006 when I saw a Tiger in Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary in the morning game drive along with a forest guard and my colleagues of the Department. All of a sudden we saw a Tiger resting and it appeared like a log of wood lying on the ground & rushed to the woods awakened by the sound of the Jeep. Since, no one including the Forest Guard expected to see the Tiger, we were not ready to click and missed that Golden opportunity. In fact, no forest official from Chhatisgarh had ever sighted a Tiger in the wild. This was indeed a big news and was carried in all the local newspapers of Chhatisgarh next day. Just after a 20 minutes we observed the fresh pug marks of tiger on the river bed indicating his presence.

During my posting from December 2002 to June 2008, I was able to visit number of wildlife Parks of Chhattisgarh – Barnawapara, Achanakmar, Kanger Vally, Gomarda, Sitanadi, Udanti and Bhoram Dev and Indravati. However, had to miss Sanjay Gandhi National Park in north Chhattisgarh due to intense Naxalite movement. Unfortunately, a number of parks are still out of bound for nature lovers because of Maoist problem.

Sitanadi, Udanti and Achanakmar sanctuaries have old Forest Rest houses built in 1929. I was lucky to lay my hands on the register opened on the inauguration of the rest house in 1929 with the first entry of the I F S officer in-charge of the sanctuary. What a treat to see such an old register after more than 75 years in the wilderness of Central India.

I am sharing images of Forest Rest House at Sitanadi and Achanakmar.

Forest Depatment of Chhatisgarh claims to have purest breed of Wild Buffalo at Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary although one may see them at Kaziranga National Park as well as at Pobitora wildlife sanctuary in Assam. Pug marks of tiger at the bank of Udanti river are still fresh in my mind.

About Vinod Goel

He joined Customs & Central Excise service in 1982. As a civil servant, his job takes him to various parts of India, which gave him an opportunity to capture our wild heritage, through his camera. His passion for wildlife photography started in 2004 when he was posted at Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and this passion continues till today.