Anything one says about Bardia National Park in west Nepal, would be an understatement. Such are the ways of the forest, anyway. You cannot describe it, well enough. You can only experience it.
After a decade since I was first introduced here, I was back in Bardia last week. These are some images.
1. One of the most striking sights during this trip was forest fires. This article states that around 280000 hectares of forests in Nepal has been affected, and is the worst of forest fires that Nepal has seen. What I saw was distressing enough. All the way from the outskirts of Kathmandu to interiors of Bardia, there were fires razing. This image was taken somewhere in mid-Nepal, en route Kathmandu to Bardia.
2. An amazing thing about Bardia (and other protected areas in Nepal as against most in neighboring India) is that one can experience the place on foot.
We went for a half-day trek. The day began with a distressing sight of a python (wrongly identified as a viper) whacked to death for having killed a chicken.
3. Once inside Bardia, however, it was easy to forget the ills of humanity and immerse in the purity of the wild. Wooded grasslands like this one is a characteristic micro-habitat of this region.
4. For the tiger-thirsty tourists, Bardia must be among the world’s best places to see wild tigers while on foot. Of course, we saw a tiger, cooling itself in a river for over 30 minutes, to avoid heat incensed by fires and lack of rain.
However, a more exciting and unusual sighting was a mugger crocodile eating what seemed to be a python.
5. This area is also filled with amazing micro-fauna. Here’s a spider that alarmed me to hell (I will share a video on what this guy did, soon).
6. Staying nearby in a place owned by a local bird expert (who discovered the black-capped kingfisher here) Jit Bahadur Khadga, who was my mentor and guardian during my stint in Bardia earlier, I noticed this Callotes basking. Stalking to get some images, I managed to capture it hanging on its forelimbs…and pooping.
7. Cultural or anthropological history of Bardia (and the Terai region) is as fascinating as its natural history. This region was previously exclusively inhabited by the Tharu tribe. They were the only ones resistant to malaria and could survive these mosquito-infested forests. Here is a Tharu kid playing capture-release with a frog.
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