Thursday, February 26, 2015

Birding in SIKKIM - A dream destination - 3rd to 9th May, 2015

The long wait is over... Get ready for a birding feast in one of the "Best & Beautiful birding hotspots in the World". With over 550 species of birds, this has to be a dream destinations for any bird-watcher.

Nature India is immensely happy to announce, meticulously planned & carefully organised, Bird-watching trip to Sikkim (North-East India) from 03rd May to 9th May 2015 (Travel Days excluded). Only few seats are available, so you know what to do!! Book fast...
Bird-watching in Sikkim - A Dream Destination

With around 650,000 inhabitants, Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa in total area, covering approximately 7,096 sq. km. Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas.

Over the years Sikkim has become the most favored location for birders all over world. Sikkim is like a small piece of land surrounded on all sides by mountain walls. Within an area of 80kms, the elevation rises from 225 mtrs in Tista river valley to 8600 mtrs at Kanchendzonga, India highest & World's third highest mountain peak. Separated by Singhalila Range from Nepal in the west & Dongkya Range from Tibet to the east, Sikkim, is like a "bird catchment area." Nowhere in the world in such a small area can one find flora and fauna of all varieties - Tropical to the Alpines.

Nature India announces, for the second time, an exclusive bird-watching trip to this dream destination from 03rd May to 9th May 2015…. The details are given at the end. Amongst the places that we intend to cover are Meanam WLS, Ravangla / Damthang area, Yuksam, Kanchendzonga National Park, Pelling (Pemayanste monastery) etc...
Meanam Wildlife Sanctuary

The Maenam wildlife sanctuary is famous for Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan Satyra) which is one of the rare species of Pheasants found in Eastern Himalayas, the other star bird species to look for is Fire-tailed Myzornis. Also Rufous vented Tit, Grey Crested Tit, Rufous- fronted Tit, Green Shrike Babbler, Tibetan Siskin, Dark breasted Rosefinch, White browed Rosefinch, Spotted Laughingthrush, White collared Black Bird, Darjeeling woodpecker, Crimson breasted Woodpecker, Himalayan Cutia etc... can be seen. In The lower valleys of Tashiding the birds that habitat are the great Sultan Tit, Puff-throated Babbler and Streaked Spiderhunter. Some common birds in the surrounding are the Great Himalayan Barbet, Grey Treepie, Green Magpie, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Black Bulbul and many more. Maenam wildlife sanctuary is also home to the rare beautiful state animal of Sikkim the Red Panda or Firefox.

Damthang / Ravangla Area

Damthang is located at an altitude of 1650 meters above sea level and Ravangla at 2100 mtrs. This area is very famous among the bird-watchers visiting Sikkim. Ravangla is on the state highway connecting Gangtok and Pelling/Pemayangtse and rests at the foot of snow capped Mt. Narsing (19600 ft). This silent valley is favoured stop for birding the nearby Damtang forest (2 kms). Ravangla itself has scrub forest which attracts a rich variety of Himalayan birds. Verditer Flycatchers, Blue-fronted Redstarts, Grey Bushchats, Dark-throated Thrush, Blue-whistling Thrush, Green-backed Tit and White- browed Fantails are very common and cannot be missed. The forests around Ravangla resound with the unmistakable calls of Laughingthrushes, Babblers, Cuckoos and Hill Partridge. The rare Satyr Tragopan makes Maenam a home and the lucky can hear its breeding call from the higher reaches of Ravangla.

Kanchendzonga National Park

The term Kanchendzonga means 'the Abode of Gods consisting of Five Treasure Houses'. The Kanchendzonga National Park is situated in the North District of Sikkim (Yuksom), spreading over an area of 850 square kilometers. The elevation range from 1800 meters to 8600 meters approximately, one of the highest park in the country. The area of the park of spectacular wilderness with one of the highest mountain peaks towering above virtually undisturbed forest cover. The variation of altitude and vegetation has enriched the park area with rich variety of flora.

The birds that you might encounter are as following Streak breasted Scimitar Babbler, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Striated Bubul, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Himalyan Cutia, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler,Hill Prinia ,Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler and so on.
Pelling and Pemayangtse Monastery
Pelling is on the state highway connecting Gangtok and Yoksum and rests at the foot of snow capped Mt. Kanchenjunga. The important Pemayangtse monastery is a few kilometers from Pelling and is situated on a hilltop (2133 mtrs) which is covered by moist temperate Oak forests decorated with moss and lichens.

Pelling and Pemayangtse are well wooded and the moist forests hold Maroon-backed and Rufous-breasted Accentors, Green-tailed Sunbirds, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatchers, Blue-fronted Redstarts, Brownish-flanked Bush Warblers, Scarlet and Long-tailed Minivets, White-tailed Robin, Coal, Green-backed and Black-throated Tits, various Yuhinas, Fulvettas, Shrike Babblers, Scimitar Babblers, Laughingthrushes and Babblers.

Trip Details & Itinerary :

Date: 03rd May 2015 (Sunday) to 9th May 2015 (Saturday)

Mode of Travel : 
Mumbai - Bagdogra - Mumbai (by Air/Rail on personal expenses)

Local travel in jeep from Bagdogra – Sikkim – Bagdogra (By 
Nature India)

Travel Details:

By Air: We suggest you to book tickets for following flight;

Mumbai - Bagdogra:
Option 1: Indigo flight no. 6E434, 07.25 (Mumbai) to 10.25 (Kolkata) & 11.10 (Kolkata) to 12.10 (Bagdogra)

Option 2: Air India Flight No. AI-675, 06.10 (Mumbai) to 08.45 (Kolkata) & Air India Flight No. AI-721, 13.30 (Kolkata) to 14.30 (Bagdogra)

Bagdogra - Mumbai:
Option 1: Indigo flight no.6E433, 16.15 (Bagdogra) to 17.15 (Kolkata) & 17.45 (Kolkata) to 21.20 (Mumbai)

Option 2: Air India Flight No. AI-880, 13.45 (Bagdogra) to 16.00 (Delhi) & 18.20 (Delhi) to 20.10 (Mumbai)

Several other options available, however, Please check the arrival & departure timing at Bagdogra for to & fro flights as per the itinerary. Book fast to get concessional rates.

Alternate Travel Option: 
Alternately (to save costing), you may travel to Kolkata by flight on 2nd May'15 and then take an overnight train to Siliguri (Just 10 kms from Bagdogra) and we shall pick you up from here.....similarly you can take train from Siliguri/New Jalpaiguri to Kolkata on 9th May'15 and then fly from Kolkata on 10th May'15......however, Nature India would not be able to assist in travel bookings as we are on tours. 

Rough Tour Itinerary (Complete details of stay etc will be provided after registration)

Day 1: Sunday, 03rd May, 2015 - Bagdogra- Ravangla
South Sikkim
We will meet at airport @ 14:00 Hrs and drive towards Sikkim - 05 hours straight but we will drive birding all the way as we come across the Tendong RF, part of Maenam WLS.
The species you will encounter in this forest are as follows.... Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Streak- breasted Scimitar Babbler, Red headed Bullfinch, Lesser Shortwing, White-browed Shortwing, Indian Blue Robin, Red flanked Blue Tail, Large Niltava, Yellow billed Megpie ,Fire tailed Sunbird, Fire Tailed Myzornis, Nepal House Martin and Fork-tailed Swift nesting on the rock slope after Damthang and many more birds.
Overnight Stay @ a Good resort in Ravangla

Day 2: Monday, 04th May, 2015 - Maenam WLS
Early morning after breakfast head via vehicle crossing Ravangla town and towards Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary entry gate 10 Km – 25 minutes drive [Maenam WLS has an altitudinal gradient ranging from 2300 m – 3263 m. The sanctuary is most famous for Satyr Tragopan ( on the top of the hill) a rear Pheasant found in Eastern Himalayas, Fire tailed Myzornis, Rufous vented Tit, Grey Crested Tit, Rufous- fronted Tit, Green Shrike Babbler, Tibetan Siskin, Dark breasted Rosefinch, White browed Rosefinch, Scaly Laughingthrush, White collared Black Bird, Darjeeling woodpecker, Crimson breasted Woodpecker, Himalayan Cutia and many more. We will scan for the state animal of Sikkim Red Panda.
Time taken to reach the top –four to six hours - Pack -lunch will be served during the trek.
Overnight stay @ a Good resort in Ravangla.

Day 3: Tuesday, 05th May, 2015 - Ravangla-Damthang road + Ralong
West Sikkim
Full day biding in Damthang and Ralong Road
Lunch in Ravangla ..... Overnight stay @ a very good resort in Ravangla.

Day 4: Wednesday, 06th May, 2015 - Tashiding- Yuksam
West Sikkim
After Breakfast head via vehicle towards lower valley of Kewzing and Tashiding (02 hours straight drive) and full Day birding to look out for low altitude species like Sultan Tit, Streaked Spiderhunter, White bellied Yuhina, Black-chinned Yuhina, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, White-browed Piculet, Ashy Bulbul, Puff-throated Babbler, Long-tailed Broadbill, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Velvet fronted Nuthatch, Crested Kingfisher, Brown Dipper and Ibisbill ,little forktail in Ranjit River and many more
Overnight stay @ Hotel Tashigang in Yuksam

Day 5: Thursday, 07th May, 2015 - Yuksam - Pelling
Early morning before Breakfast Head towards Dzongri trail (part of Kanchendzonga National Park) through the trekking trail birding all the way.... The birds that you might encounter are as following Streak breasted Scimitar Babbler, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Striated Bubul, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Himalyan Cutia, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler,Hill Prinia ,Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler and so on.....return by Lunch and proceed towards Pelling .....Birding on the way.
Overnight stay @ a Good hotel in Pelling 

Day 6: Friday, 08th May, 2015 - Pelling- Pemayangtse
The entire day will be done around pelling, Kecheopalri Lake and pemayantse monastery. This monastery is renowed for the abundance in birdlife. A very small area surrounding the monastery environs may produce gems like White-tailed Robin, Snowy-browed, Little Pied, Verditer, Blue-throated Flycatchers, Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers, Red-tailed Minla, Small & Large Niltava, Green Shrike Babbler, Grey-sided Laughing Thrush and a variety of birds that will mesmerize you. ......overnight stay in Pelling.

Day 7 : Saturday, 09th May, 2015 - Pelling to Bagdogra
Early morning birding along with packed Breakfast - After breakfast head towards Bagdogra to the airport to catch a flight @ 14:00 Hrs, while birding on our way (Lunch not included)

Conclusion and farewell of the tour.....

Trip Charges: (Bagdogra to Bagdogra only)...

Rs.38900 /-only
Includes Stay on twin sharing basis at Ravangla, Kewzing, Yuksam & Pelling resort, Local transport by Jeeps, Park entry charges, Local Expert charges, vegetarian food, Entry permits for Sikkim, Articles on Sikkim and bird checklist, on board mineral water and snacks, Camera Charges if any………

Please Note: That this is the most affordable, yet luxurious trip planned with very good resorts and arrangements.
PS: Unfortunately, if any flights / trains are cancelled due to bad weather or for any other reasons, Nature India will not to be responsible for making stay arrangements. Although, Nature India will assist for hotel bookings.

Stay Arrangements:
Hotel Maenamla, Ravangla

Tashigang Resort, Yuksom

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmatory mail to and by paying a non refundable Advance of Rs.20000/- after getting a registration mail from us.......the remaining amount will be collected later as mentioned below.......Please Register at the earliest as only 12 seats are available.

Payment terms:
Phase 1 - Rs. 20000/- as non-refundable Advance to be paid immediately, to confirm the participation. We need to forward this as an advance for logistics & to block our seats.

Phase 3 - Balance amount (Rs.18500/-) to be paid before 30th March 2015.

Resource Persons:Mr.Adesh Shivkar, Mr.Mandar Khadilkar & a Local Expert

Mode of Payment: You can either
Transfer non-refundable advance amount of Rs.20000 /- directly to the HDFC A/c : (please call Mandar @ 9930318665 for A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….

Courier a cheque of Rs.20000/- to the following address and forward the details.
Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address: B/702, Neha Apartments, Ashish Complex, Dahisar-East, Mumbai-400068.

Please Note:

1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 20000/- (Phase 1) is strictly non-refundable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
3) Nesting photography is prohibited.
4) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification.
For any other queries we are available on 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar) or 9869071091 / 9820455713(Adesh)

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar KhadilkarNature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

Monday, February 16, 2015

PENCH NATIONAL PARK - Origin of the 'The Jungle Book' - 24th April to 26th April, 2015

Another long awaited trip from Nature India...This time its in the abode of "Mowgli" .... the place that inspired Rudyard Kipling to write his famous book - The Jungle Book ........

Dates: 24th April to 26th April 2015 (Travel days excluded) The bookings for Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh Wildlife trip is on… your seats NOW to get the desired train bookings (see the details at the end) ..... If you want the thrill of exploring the Indian Wildlife in the most beautiful setting, it is here…

PENCH NATIONAL PARK - The origin of the "Jungle Book"

Pench National park, nestling in the lower southern reaches of the satpuda hills is named after Pench river, meandering through the park from north to south. It is located on the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh, bordering Maharashtra, in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara.Pench National Park, comprising of 758 SQ Kms, out of which a core area of 299 sq km of Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park and the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary and remaining 464 sq km of pench national park is the buffer area.

The area of the present tiger reserve has a glorious history. A description of its natural wealth and richness occurs in Ain-i-Akbari. Several natural history books like R. A. Strendale's 'Seonee - Camp life in Satpura Hills,' Forsyth's 'Highlands of Central India' and Dunbar Brander's 'Wild Animals of Central India' explicitly present the detailed panorama of nature's abundance in this tract. Strendale's semi-autobiographical 'Seonee' was the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book.

Land of the "The Jungle Book" : The Pench Tiger Reserve and its neighbourhood is the original setting of Rudyard Kipling's most famous work, The Jungle Book. Kipling borrowed heavily from Robert Armitage Strendale's books 'Seonee', 'Mammalia of India and Ceylon' and 'Denizens of the Jungle' for the topography, wildlife, and its ways. Mowgli was inspired by Sir William Henry Sleeman's pamphlet, 'An Account of Wolves Nurturing Children in Their Dens' which describes a wolf-boy captured in Seoni district near the village of Sant Baori in 1831. Many of The Jungle Book's locations are actual locations in Seoni District, like the Waingunga river with its gorge where Sherkhan was killed, Kanhiwara villlage and the 'Seeonee hills'. Local tribals, mostly Gonds, revere Mansingh Deo, a legendary figure who was believed to be a magician who had supernatural healing powers. He would ride into the local bazaar on his tiger. There are two temples dedicated to him, the Chhota Mansingh and Bada Mansingh temples.

Topography: The terrain of the park is undulating with mainly gentle slopes criss-crossed by streams and nullahs. Most of these water courses are seasonal. Many of the hills are flat-topped and allow fine vistas of the forests around. The best known of these is 'Kalapahar' with an altitude of 650 mts. The Pench river flowing through the centre of the Reserve is dry by April but a number of water pools locally known as 'dohs' are found, which serve as waterholes for wild animals. A few perennial springs also exist. Recently a number of earthen ponds and shallow wells have been developed leading to well distributed sources of water all around the reserve. 

Conservation History: In the year 1977 an area of 449.39 sq km was declared Pench Sanctuary. Out of this, an area of 292.85 sq km was declared Pench National Park in the year 1983 and 118.31 sq km remained as Pench Sanctuary. In 1992 Government of India declared 757.89 sq km area including the National Park and the sanctuary as the 19th Tiger Reserve of the country. The name of Pench National Park was changed to "Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park" in November 2002 Similarly the name of Pench Sanctuary has been changed to "Mowgli Pench Sanctuary". 

The Pench hydroelectric dam straddles the Maharashtra - Madhya Pradesh boundary. The dam, constructed between 1973 and 1988 has resulted in the submergence of about 74 sq km area out of which 54 km is in the Park, the rest being in Maharashtra.

Wildlife: Tiger is the main cat species of the park present in good numbers. Commonly seen wildlife is chital, sambhar, nilgai, wild boar, and jackal. Other wild animals found are leopard, sloth bear, wild dog, porcupine, jungle cat, fox, striped hyena, gaur, chowsingha and barking deer. There are more than 200 species of birds including several migratory ones. Some of them are peafowl, junglefowl, crow pheasant, crimson-breasted barbet, red-vented bulbul, racket-tailed drongo, magpie robin, lesser whistling teal, pintail, shoveler, egret and herons. This national park is rich with chitals i.e. axis axis or more commonly spotted deer.
There are 10 villages in the national park - 1 inside the park (Fulzari) and 9 on the periphery.

As per 2011 Tiger Census ; There are 25 tigers under this umbrella of the Park. 39 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians. Apart from mammals and other land-based wildlife, the park is also rich in bird life. According to an estimation of the wildlife authorities, the bird population in the park counts to be over 210 species like barbets, bulbul, minivets orioles, wagtails, munias, mynas, waterfowls, kingfishers etc.

Vegetation: The high habitat heterogeneity favours high population of Chital and Sambar. Pench tiger reserve has highest density of herbivores in India (90.3 animals per sq km).The forests are mainly Southern tropical dry deciduous and dry mixed deciduous forests.Teak Tectona grandis dominates, comprising 25-50 per cent of the species. Moyan, Mahua, Mokha, Skiras, Tendu, Bijra, Garari etc. are associates of teak. Dhaora Anogeissus latifolia, lendia/seja Lageostroemia parviflora, saja Terminalia tomentosa, salai Boswellia serrata, bija Pterocarpus marsupium, bhirra Chloroxylon swietenia and sirus Albizzia lebbeck are other trees. Bamboo occurs sparsely, restricted to some valleys. Chiltai, mahulbel and palas bhel are common climbers in areas along the river and large water sources.

In Chhindwara, you would see weeds like chirota Cassia tora and gokharu Xanthium strumatium while in areas around Chedia, Alikatta, Tikari and Ambar village, Lantana camara predominates. Parthenium is found in submergence areas along the Pench river. Heteropogon contortus, Digitaria cilliaris and Eulaliopsis binata are common grasses.

Nature India has organized an exclusive trip to Pench National Park, from 24th April to 26th April, 2015 the details are given below.


Tour Itinerary & Other Details: (Nagpur to Nagpur)

Day 1 (Thursday 23rd April'2015) : Departure from Mumbai by 12289 Nagpur Duranto Express from CST @ 20:15 Hrs

Day 2 (Friday 24th April'2015) :Arrival at 07:20 hours to Nagpur - Breakfast - Proceed to Pench - Check-in the Mahua Vann Resort at the edge of the Park - Relax - Lunch - Evening Park Safari in Touria range in Open Gypsies - return to Hotel - Discussion of Days sightings - Dinner and Night stay at Mahua Vann Resort

Day 3 (Saturday 25th April'2015) :  Early Morning Park Safari @ 5.30 am in Touria Range - Return to the resort - Lunch - Proceed for the Evening Park Safari in Touria/Karmazari range - Return back - Dinner - Night stay at Mahua Vann Resort

Day 4 (Sunday 26th April'2015): Early Morning Park Safari in Touria range @ 5.30 am - Return to the resort - Packup - Proceed to Nagpur - Bird-watching on the way - Lunch - Concluding discussion - to Board 12290 Mumbai Duranto Express @ 20:40 hrs

Day 5 (Monday 27th April'2015) : Arrive at Mumbai by 07:55 Hrs


Trip charges (Nagpur to Nagpur) : Rs. 16300/- only

(Includes A/C room stay in the wonderful, palatial & comfortable 
Mahua Vann Resort, on twin sharing basis, Travel charges from Nagpur to Pench to Nagpur , 4 Local safari travel by 4x4 Gypsies, Park entry charges, veg/non-veg food , Still photography charges, Guide charges, Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water)

This does not include travel charges from Mumbai to Nagpur to Mumbai station or any charges other than the above.

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmation mail to and by paying a non refundable Advance of Rs.9000/-after our registration confirmation by email…..The remaining amount will be collected on the day of travel.

Kindly register soon as the train bookings are not easily available on this sector.

Stay Arrangement: Stay arrangement is on twin sharing basis in AC rooms in the famous Mahua Vann resort, Tauria which is renowned for its ambiance and service. visit their web site 

Resource Person: Mr. Adesh Shivkar / Mr. Mandar Khadilkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to HDFC Bank A/c (Please call Adesh @ 9869071091 / 9820455713 for A/c No.).. please mention your name, date and other details….OR

2) Courier a cheque of Rs.9000/- as advance amount to the following address
Name: Mr. Adesh Shivkar
Address: D-8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Near Sion Signal, Sion (East), Mumbai - 400022

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 9000/- is strictly non-refundable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
3) Nesting photography is prohibited.
4) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 or 9820455713 (Adesh) and 9930318665 or 9967518665 (Mandar)

Thanks for your patience..... we value your time and faith on us.

Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

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