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India: Maharashtra: Ajanta, Aurangabad, Bhimashankar, Dighi, Diveagar, Ellora, Harihareshwar, Kaas, Karla, Kumbhargaon (Bhigwan), Lavasa, Mulshi, Murud Janjira, Nighoj, Pune, Tadoba, Tungi, Satara, Shivneri, Srivardhan, Thoseghar, Yawat
Kumbhargaon, Bhigwan, Maharashtra, India: Bird watchers' paradise
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Just 100 kms from Pune, on the Hyderabad highway is a sleepy little town Kumbhargaon that sits on the edge of the Ujani Dam backwaters. Come winters and the location attracts over 300 species of birds from far and wide... Siberia, Mongolia, Himalayas amongst others. A day trip to this pictursque location is indeed a rewarding experience.
To catch the sunrise which was scheduled at 6:45 AM, we left Pune at 4:30 early in the morning. With me was my son Anuj, an enthusiastic driver and his wife Mansi. The 3 of us were at the gates of Sandeep Nagare, a local who has now become an expert bird guide. Over the years, Sandeep has trained about 20 villagers to identify the birds as well as double up as oarsmen. Sandeep has 12 boats. After crossing Bhigwan, Kumbhargaon is 5 kms off the highway to the left. Keep an eye for the board.
For the trip, I hired a Canon 500 mm prime lens. It was my first attempt to handle this rocket launcher. Without a tripod my hands and shoulder had some real work to do. But then, the results that I could get sure worked as a pain-reliever. The birding season starts in December and lasts till March. To avoid the crowds, it's a good idea to plan the trip on a working day. Sure it means a loss, but the gains are many fold... tranquility which the birds also like. Noisy crowds are surely not welcome.
Generally, the boat ride is for 2 hours. We combined two rides. By doing so, we had all the time in the world to explore the shores as leisure. The cost per ride was Rs 700. Our guide was Yogesh. He did a good job with rowing and showing us around. The pictures from the trip will tell you more.
By 11 AM we finished our trips. Back on the shore, we had a homely meal with Sandeep and were ready to head back home. For those interested in staying over, Sandeep has decent arrangements for overnighters. Just Google for him... the guy is tremendously popular!
Kumbhargaon (Bhigwan) Image Gallery Photo viewer
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