ABOUT: Pench Tiger Reserve is located in theSeoni District  and Chhindwara Districtof southernMadhaya Pradeshin central India.



The Reserve gets its name from thePench River that flows, north to south, 74 km through the reserve. The Pench River bisects the Pench reserve into two nearly equal parts; the 147.61 km² of the Western Block which falls in theGumtara Range of theChhindwara ForestDivision and the 145.24 km² of the Eastern Block in theKarmajhiri Rangeof theSeoni ForestDivision.


The total area of the Reserve is 757.89 km² of which thePench National Park, forming the core zone of the Reserve, covers 292.85 km², and the Mowgli Pench Wildlife Sanctuary is 118.30 km² in area. A Buffer Zone constituted byForests, Protectedand Revenue land, occupies 346.73 km².


HISTORY: This area was described as extremely rich and diverse in wildlife from the earliest records available on the 16th century.


The Pench Sanctuary was created in September 1977, with an initial area of 449.39 km². The Pench National Park, recently renamed as Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, was created in 1983, carved out of the Sanctuary. The Tiger Reserve, 19th in the series, was formed under the Project Tiger scheme in November 1992.






Places Near Pench To Visit: Bandhavgarh National Park


                                              Kanha National Park


                                           Nagzira National park


                                           Tadoba National Park

Velas Turtle Festival with TreksandTrails


I have just moved to Mumbai and I have always loved this city which has so much to offer. In the city I found my famously called -in Mumbai -pigeon holes. Coming from Bangalore it did seem that, at least it met two of my criterion. A balcony-tick. A tree in front of the balcony-tick. After squeezing in 1250 square foot furniture into this 650 square foot I found my slice of heaven.  Six months flew by and I had not explored Mumbai, exercised my elbow here and there, movies, the usual drills and I had  had enough.

One Sunday afternoon I decided this is not how I want to live in Mumbai and started reading blogs of what people did without denting wallets. I came across The Turtle Festival - I love all 4 legged things and seeing my little ninjas doing cross country across the beach, made me dwell on that page a little longer. Made some calls who were either not responsive or gave the feeling that I was wasting their time with a final call to Ankit Savla at TreksandTrails. I just had to transfer the money and everything was good to go he said (through him I learnt HDFC had become easy in terms of adding beneficiaries) Did just that and applied for the Saturday off since it was a weekend getaway . Coaxed my friend/boss into it and we were set. Friday morning a whatsapp message pops up saying Velas February 2015 and a mini group was forming. It is finally happening. The work that day was a 100 metre dash over before I knew it and was packing up my overnight bag with everything I might or will need. We had to meet in Dadar at around 10 pm where a private bus would pick us up. 

As the clock struck 10, a bright yellow tempo traveller parked a little ahead of us was looking at us curiously and we knew that was our ride. I walked in to the little group who were busy chatting away, who seemed to know each other from before, so I had to say the chirpiest Hello. Did not have the desired effect.  My boss-Siri and I squeezed in to our little seats and were literally stalking people in the bus. Overhearing conversations, looking at this guy with a cap dressed in formals who was always on the phone, another bunch teasing this guy in a  red shirt about Theplas and tea, and enquiring about someone who was a hit last tour, after a while two girls walked in, mumbled hello and moved to the end of the bus, a guy with metal in his mouth sat next to us graciously offered his soda to us. Then came a few VVIP arrivals who were fashionably late and in giggles. Looked like the cap guy who was formally dressed , this girl fashionably late and a little boy who was dropped of were all related. By then Siri was all tucked up and found a spot on my shoulders to snooze, whilst I looked at the passing scenery and thought -why am I here in the first place?-(I knew why, but that is not for this blog.)The conversations were dissipating as the vehicle movement lulled everyone into oblivion except for me and the guy in red shirt who kept having tea the whole night alongside the driver. I wanted a cup too. I do not know when I stole my 40 winks, since I woke up too  hurried voices saying 29 minutes 48 seconds …really.. How did that happen 48 seconds? 

Velas Turtle Festival 2015 – full dhamal masti

Velas beach – an awesome place. The weather was superb; maybe we were just lucky or the Gods were pleased with us! The Velas Turtle Festival is usually scheduled in March every year however based on research and local information from our village friends, it was confirmed that the Velas Turtle Festival 2015 would start early! So, we at TreksandTrails, set out on our first trip to visit our turtle friends and their caretakers on 28th Feb 2015 with an enthusiastic and determined group and stayed on till 1st March 2015.

This was a leisure trip, no trek; simple yet an awesome tour awaited us. The Yellow bus started from Borivali National park gate on Friday night at 10pm. The plan was very simple - reach early in the morning to take our first chance to see the turtle hatching and do some photography. Reaching the village at 06:00am was bang on.

Velas Turtle Festival Video



Pit Stop 1: 

A tea break for our Yellow bus driver near Imagica, Khapoli. Hiren ensured that he had enough tea and theplas for this break, of course along with the driver; many of us savoured some sips. Looking at all the deserted rides from outside at around 12:30 am in the morning was a different feeling.  Most of in the bus were still strangers to each other. Introduction was still pending. For all those to called and confirmed their participation had spoken to a “treks and trails – who was nowhere to be seen. After refreshments, the yellow bus engine roared to life again, the journey began once again. While some of us were catching forty winks, we passed Pali – home to the Ballaleshwar Temple, the third temple to visit while on the Ashtavinayaka yatra.  We also crossed our very own Ashram shala where we had conducted our free old clothes distribution drive and Free Medical camps last year.

Pit stop 2:

Around 20 kms away from Velas, we stopped again and had some more tea from Hiren’s flask. Surprising the tea was still hot. Three cheers!

ओ "कासवसिर्फ तुम्हारे लिए......

महाराष्ट्र का कोंकण क्षेत्र अपनी प्राकृतिक छटओं के लिए जाना जाता है। कोंकण के इसी क्षेत्र में रत्नागिरी के पास एक बेहद खूबसूरत गांव पड़ता है वेळास। दुनियाभर के पर्यटकों की नजरों से बचा रहा, अरब सागर के किनारे बसा करीब15 सौ की आबादी वाला यह गांव अब पर्यटन के नक्शे पर अपनी जगह बना रहा है और इसकी वहज है यहां के समुद्री किनारों से निकलने वाले छोटे-छोटे कछुए , टर्टल फेस्टिवल और उनका संरक्षण कार्यक्रम। 

वेळास के समुद्री किनारों पर हर साल बड़ी तादाद में मादा कछुओं की एक प्रजाति अंडे देने के लिए आती है। आॅलिव रिडल नामक कछुओं की यह प्रजाति लुप्तप्राय यािन एडेंजर्ड घोषित की जा चुकी है। वेळास में इन कछुओं के आने और अंडे देने का सिलसिला वैसे तो वर्षों से चला आ रहा है लेकिन जानकारी के अभाव में जाने-अनजाने इसी गांव के लोग इन अंडों और इनसे निकलने वाले कछुओं को नुकसान पहुंचाते रहे थे। या तो स्वाद के लिए वे अंडों को पकाकर खा जाते थे या बच्चे निकलने पर तस्करों को उन्हें बेच दिया करते थे। 

अंडों और कछुए के बच्चों को बेचने की कुप्रथा में 2002-03 के बाद बदलाव आना शुरू हुए जब एनजीओ सहयाद्री निसर्ग मित्र ने गांव-गांव और घर-घर में जाकर ग्रामीणों को पर्यावरण में कछुओं के महत्व के बारे में बताया। यह सब इतना आसान नहीं था क्योंकि गांव के लोगों को कछुओं की स्मगलिंग से मोटी कमाई होती थी और कछुओं का सरंक्षण करने पर वे इस कमाई के साथ और भी फायदों से वंचित रह जाते। ग्रामीणों को कछुए मारने से रोकने से ज्यादा कठिन था उनकी मानसिकता को कछुओं के प्रति सकारात्मक बनाना। एनजीओ के सदस्यों ने घरों के साथ ही स्कूली बच्चों को कछुए के संरक्षण के लिए प्रेरित किया और करीब चार-पांच सालों की मेहनत धीरे-धीरे रंग लाने लगी। एनजीओ के सदस्यों के मुताबिक आज गावं में एक भी शख्स अंडों की चोरी या कछुओं की हत्या नहीं करता बल्कि यहां आने वाले पर्यटकों को गांव के लोग अपने घरों में ही रुकने और खाने की व्यवस्था करते हैं। ओ कासव (कछुए को मराठी में कासव कहा जाता हैसिर्फ तुम्हारे लिए......यहां आने पर आप महसूस कर सकेंगे कि वेळास गांव का हर शख्स अब शायद इसी विचार के साथ जीने लगा है।


Surfy Roxxx!