Wilderness at its wildest
Karuna Neupane Subedi explores the untamed face of nature that tranquil Sarang Wildlife Sanctuary offers
I was all excited for this particular excursion to Sarang Wildlife Sanctuary that, by name itself, promised to show nature at its wildest best. Typical houses of the Tharu community, yellowed mustard fields and rambling livestock on our drive from Bharatpur Height to the resort had already sowed rustic vibes in us.
As I entered the resort area, I was greeted by a spotted deer, an unexpected encounter with this beautiful creature, at least for me. “This deer is called Sarang in Sanskrit after which the resort is named,” said Subodh Pradhan, owner of the resort as he pulled the jeep over to the parking area.
Perched in the midst of the woods of Meghauli alongside the Rapti River, the resort at first glimpse is a seamless stretch of wilderness. Spread over 18.1 acres of land, it boasts of small typical elevated huts with Tharu art in them while the majority of the land is left untouched. Spacious and neat rooms with dominating woody ambience and porch, both at the front and back of each room overlooking the adjoining forest is ideal for sitting out all by yourself.
A small bar shares the reception area of the resort alongside a huge dining hall, all of which has either wood or bamboo furniture. Lanterns wrapped in fishing nets used by locals drop down from the ceilings of the bar and the dining hall, and the top of the trees indoors penetrates through the roof. Interestingly, Pradhan who also conceptualised the whole interior of the resort has used natural materials at large and has managed to keep its natural essence.
As the evening wore in, the elevated huts lit up in series creating an illusion of a huge human settlement. The bar with its cosy setting is the perfect place to spend your evening while indulging in a range of drinks of your choice or a game of snooker.
I preferred to stay in the bar sipping a glass of sweet wine until we were called for dinner. The resort served a variety of Nepali, Chinese, Indian and Continental food, usually as a set buffet. With the growing darkness the creatures of the forest were growling in rhythm.
“You never know what beast may pop in here,” said Pradhan stating that elephants, rhinos, deer, wild boars, peacock and pythons are common visitors, while there have been instances of tigers strolling through the resort.
The next morning I went on a jeep safari to Chitwan National Park accompanied by Pradhan and Ashwin Gurung, a naturalist. We spotted a mother rhino and her baby, countless deer and flocks of migratory birds. “However, you really have to be lucky to spot a tiger on a short visit like this,” said Gurung.
Earlier that morning, I had spent a couple of hours riding on an elephant. The huge and gorgeous Saroswati Kali carried us to the jungle where we saw a peacock dance. Late noon, we headed to the Rapti River for canoeing. Flocks of Siberian, Australian and migratory birds from other parts of the globe flew over by the river. This is the best time for bird citing, said Gurung who surprisingly identifies birds merely by its sound. We spotted Siberian Rubythroat, Giant Hornbill, Kingfishers, Common Merganser, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Bar Headed goose among others.
On the four kilometre canoeing route, we saw more than a dozen crocodiles who slipped in and out of the river. We reached Golaghat, the convergence of Rapti and Narayani rivers and stopped to enjoy the sunset.
We drove back to the resort where the cordial staff were waiting for us. Although the resort is far from urban civilisation and modern amenities, advanced technology for security is well managed. The next morning, we silently bid adieu to this heavenly relaxed part of nature after gobbling down our breakfast and headed back to Kathmandu.
Things to do
While at Sarang one can go watch the sunrise and sunset and indulge in activities like jungle walk, jungle drive, elephant back safari, Tharu village walk, canoeing, bird citing among others.
How to get there?
Pulchowk, Narayanghath is a four hour drive from Kathmandu. One can catch a bus to Meghauli from there or can request the resort for their transport service. The resort is 27 kms away from Pulchowk and takes about an hour’s drive to reach there. It is a few minutes’ drive from the Meghauli airport.
For two nights three days including room, meals and activities Rs 9000 for Nepali nationals, USD 125 for SAARC nationals, and USD 225 for others.
Phone: 056 — 571185