Over the years, wildlife expeditions have become a major attraction so whenever we end up in a forest, we automatically turn into tourists who sit on gypsies that are parked bumper to bumper and always rush to see the tigers. We click pictures all the time so that we don’t miss the moment, do few local inquiries with guides and head home. I enjoy visiting national parks and I have already been to a few. But this time, I wanted to visit a place where I can take my own time and know the jungle. Being an explorer, I was looking for that one forest which will bring me close to nature and wildlife and will allow me to have conversations with all its elements in a no hurry way. Because it was infamous as a tourist spot, I decided to go to Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary.
I luckily got an opportunity to travel deep through the tourist prohibited area of the forest reserve in an SUV as recommended by the forest officials. Heading to the Forest Rest House through the narrow roads, I was amazed by the surroundings that were bleeding green.
I was welcomed by the staff and they were kind enough to provide me a healthy Indian meal glazed with the earthy flavors of charcoal. The Sigdi ki Roti is to die for.
Let me tell you that these areas can only be visited after taking permission from the Range officer of that area. To stay at the rest house, you need to book it through the officer and inform prior to the caretakers about your visit. The contacts can be easily obtained from the state tourism website.
Later, I trekked down to the rocky terrains and water streams which were a playground for the black faced monkeys- Langurs. Their troops were scattered everywhere. I spotted a mother with an infant in her lap, two of them sitting against each other, one at the tree top on duty of watching the threat around, a few chasing each other, sipping water, and many others jumping from one tree to another. These jungle folks entertained me all through the day.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority has made proposals to upgrade it to a Tiger Reserve. Spread across both Raisen and Sehore District, this stretch is majorly covered with Teak (Tectona grandis) trees.
Fresh water streams and the Ratapani dam built on Barna River are a major source of water for the wildlife and for people working in the forest area. One can also spot few springs during rainy season which flow across the rocky terrains. There are vast expanses of forest clad hills that touch the skyline.
There is so much to experience in this untouched wilderness. It is hardly 50 km from Bhopal. So just get away from the city traffic and step into this quiet space that is eagerly waiting to surprise you!