Thursday, February 1, 2007

Out of This Age!

National Games Village, Bangalore

Coming back from a 2-day Safari to the Kabini Resort at Rajiv Gandhi National Park.

This time, the culture shock of riksha's, left/right/center-sided traffic and overall boiling-potness of India is more than when first arriving here. This time, I was not prepared.

The 2 days at Kabini Jungle Lodges were plain fabulous. Early wakeups, jeeping, paddling or boating among wildlife. Clear, 360 degree starry skies with a full moon. Moonshine ahead of the boat, sunset behind it. Just Too Good.

Nearby the Resort are villages, which is just okay. But the conflict between these two is seemingly there. We observed a bunch of wild dogs ("rare sighting" the driver said) approaching a field where cows pastured. Anyone's guess, what would happen...

Apart from the pure amaze about the animals, and a magnitude of pictures taking a day to uncover :), there remains a question about what the next 20 years will bring. Trip back from Kabini to Mysore takes about an hour or so, on more or less bumpy roads. If they make the roads better, more people will come, and more villagers, too. The big question is how to integrate the Park and the Villagers together, into mutual benefit. I don't know, how.

Another concern would be tourism. Currently, Kabini is clearly a hidden treasure (which this Blog entry helps to erode!) but will it remain so. It has 6 tents (cheaper huts(, 6 cabins (very good quality) and has a Maharajan feeling to it. All is genuine, the guides are clearly having a heart for the park and nature, and the food is plain excellent! But this place is incapable of serving several busloads of either Indian or foreign tourists.

Perhaps Green Tourism is exactly this; hidden treasures worth hunting, with practically no advertisement but for the mouth-to-mouth rumours. Perhaps Green Tourism can not be branded, duplicated and utilized to maximum benefit. If future 20 years from now is such, and Kabini still is what it is today, I'll be willing to join the Future!

No comments: