Oct 16, 2008

Bhoj - Pristine Nature so close to Concrete Jungle

Recently my daughter participated in Elementary Drawing Examination conducted by the state government. It was a cue for me to remember my participation in the same event during my schooldays. While my daughter seems to be faring much better (luckily having this part of the DNA from her mom), for me that was a disastrous experience –first learning to draw & paint (apparently I was a person with two left hands -akin to two left feet of dancers - when it came to expressing myself on art canvas) & then actually attempting the exam. My best attempt could get me a C grade and that’s where my ambitions of becoming an artist ended. But during this brief adventure, my favourite drawings were those where I tried to create a scene comprising of a waterbody with huts & mountains and a temple as the backdrop, blue sky with clouds & some caricatures which were supposed to resemble the human beings on earth & birds in the sky.

This Dussera morning, we reached a place which reminded me of the scene which I had in mind but could not reproduce on papers. Here is my account of this short picnic.

The tax returns related deadlines had taken its toll with me wanting to get out of the rut as soon as possible. However, nothing seemed to be in the offing from either MBC or BNHS. Not wanting to waste the day at home, me, Minoo & Abhi decided to venture out with an idea to have a half-day picnic somewhere closeby. While scouting for the areas, I came across a few snippets about Bhoj lake near Badlapur. The snippets sounded interesting and off we were looking for the place.

We started off a little late but being a holiday, the road to Badlapur was quite empty. Despite part of the journey on pot-holes filled road, we completed this 60 odd km distance in less than 2 hours. The road from Badlapur to Bhoj had fields on both the side with Badlapur Hills as the backdrop. However, as we turned a corner, we came across a dam at a height on the right hand side, with some people washing off their auto-rickshaws and kettles at the base.

At first the place looked quite but not at all impressive. We were told however that this is the dam on the Bhoj lake and having reached this far we decided to walk up to the dam. As we reached the top of the dam, the dullness disappeared. To say the least, it was an awesome sight of a pristine environment. The lake had to its backdrop green hills and jagged peaks with their reflection in the water, a cluster of huts across the lake, a temple (Kondeshwar) at a height across the lake, a cluster of huts forming a hamlet and absolute tranquility permeating into the soul. Well, except the altitude being low and hence no snow at the peaks, the place could have given run for money to any of the swiss song-n-dance locations.

The dam wall was surrounded with wild flowers & shrubs. Dragonflies, butterflies & moths were abound. A couple of trees were sporting glory-lilies. There is a small pathway circling the lake & going towards Kondeswar temple and seemed quite interesting. However, since it was quite hot, we decided to skip the trekking and opted for birdwatching. But this was not really fruitful too. To some extent, it could be because we were late in the day with heat increasing each minute and it was too early for the migratory season. Still, we could catch the sights of Greater Coucal, Magpie & Indian robins, Drongos, a Pond Heron, Egrets, Purple Sunbird in partial eclipse, grey breasted prinia, long tailed shrikes, spotted doves, jungle babblers & green bee-eaters. There were also continuous chatters & calls of tailorbords & some other birds which we could not identify.

Finding the day getting hotter, we decided to call it a day but surely, with a resolve to return soon. I am sure, the place, while a good location to just chill out, would also be great for bird-watching.

Meanwhile, you may have a look at the pictures clicked that day on the link given below: