Leg 3 : Pench to Bhopal

2nd March 2005


Got up at 6AM for a last round of the Forest, before I was to move out again. The jeep meandered through the forest, and I was again treated to the sight of a myraid number of animals and the twittering of birds. By 8:30 we reached the forest check post at Khwasa. The driver and the forest guard had been really great chaps and knew the forest in and out. Saying my good bye to them I moved to Seoni to meet the Conservator of Forest.
With the forest guards
Setting out
9:20 – 10:30
The driver escorted me to the CF’s house. Its amazing how people are so helpful in small places. Met Mrs. Gopa and her husband VNP and had breakfast with her – yummy pohas. I was also given a packed lunch of allo parantahas. Over breakfast as I was talking to her, Mrs Gopa also gave a valuable piece of advice about the fact that there would be no dhabas in MP. VNP also gave me the advice on the roads as he had just returned the day before from a road trip from Bhopal. Finally decided to tackle the road through Tamnia and Perasia.

The roads had become bad as soon as I left Seoni, and got onto the state highways. Stopped here at a relatively good stretch to stretch and give some rest to the bike. Apart from the bad roads, its quite a nice day.
Although my crib about roads in MP will probably be the biggest complaint on the whole trip, I think that the scenery in MP is one of the best in India. It is still wild and untamed – reminding me of reading about the Indian jugles in tales by Jim Corbett and the Jungle Books. I guess the bad roads have contributed to that, and in that sense I am grateful !
Relatively good roads
Relatively good roads
13:30 – 14:00     [1400]
Reached the Forest Rest House at Tamnia. It was deserted, but the view was just great. The cliffs in the vicinity were just awsome – felt like going rockclimbing – but maybe some other day. If MP was to be developed for tourism, this place should be developed as a rock climbers paradise … but the development should not strip these hills of the greenery.     Cliffs at Tamnia
14:35 – 15:00
Ouch roads. Ever since I left Seoni I was not able to exceed the speed of 40kmph on these roads. I was looking for a dhaaba …. but there was none on the way. Maybe the NH has them, but the SHs dont. Finally stopped and took out the paranthas to eat.

Better roads now.

Reached Bareili. Called up home and had a cold drink . Saw a bunch of people prostrating themselves on the road and moving one body length at a time. Found out from the shopkeeper that these people were worshipers of Hanuman, and this was their penance as they made their way to the temple in the town.
This was quite a strange part of the trip. All throughout the trip I was seeing small shrines to Hanuman … almost as if the Monkey god was keeping a watch over me. I am not superstitious, but this kind of co-incidence just starts one thinking…
At bareili
17:25 – 17:35

Feeling a bit tired now. Stopped for having tea. The road has been slowly improving and looks more and more like a NH.

Reached Bhopal as the sun was setting, and it gave me quite a nice view of the setting sun. After riding for hours alone, the traffic took me some getting used to.

After asking a few directions reached the Forest Rest House at Char Impli, in Bhopal. I stayed there for a night. Called up home to get to know that one of our neighbors were now in Bhopal, and so called up aunty. She insisted on coming over for dinner, and so there was nothing to do but go. Her son and was so enamoured with the bike (he’s in 12th) that he just could not get his fill till he rode the bike. Since it was his birthday the next day, what better present could I give to him than letting him ride the Karizma for a couple of rounds in the compound ! Happy Birthday Tanmay !

Next day I went to the Sanchi Stupas.
Sunset over Bhopal


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