Earning our stripes in India Stephen Warman | Posted: 22 August 2016
Guided walking holidays in India
Guided walking holidays in India
Guided walking holidays in India

Inntravellers Stephen and Carol Warman enter Kipling's jungle in search of the exotic...

Stephen and Carol Warman have travelled widely – enjoying, learning and teaching about wildlife and the environment. They still travel independently but are also regular Inntravellers. This account from Stephen comes from their recent trip to India with Inntravel's partners, Village Ways.

From the chaotic charm of Old Bombay with its imperial splendour and pitiful poverty, we rattled and swayed on the railway to the middle, the very middle, of India – Kipling country.

Overnight we swapped honking horns, hollering merchants and the roar of modern Mumbai for the crackle of teak leaves under our feet, the fluting of drongos and jungle babblers that wheezed and whistled like squeezy plastic toys.

We watched the birds and monkeys around the old hunting lodge at Sakata until just before dusk, and then ambled to the fields where Indian rollers perch on the crop-watchers’ shelters. Carol stopped and raised her binoculars to a dark shape. She froze:

I think I'm looking at a leopard”. I checked. The leopard was looking at her.

Next morning, we walked in the cool through open woodland where strangler figs did their slow lethal work and green pigeons stood in treetops to catch the morning sun.

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Then by car; that long dirt road with tidy villages of people and cattle: streets fluttering with the green bunting of Divali. On to the guesthouses at Karmajiri where we boarded a little jeep to look for jungle animals.

We watched a ragged jackal; spotted deer; and sambar. Nilgai stood like neckless giraffes and, to our delight, there were gaur in their ridiculous long white socks. As we were leaving the forest,

Stop!", said Carol,

There’s a leopard watching me”.

And so there was.

At dawn we were on the quiet tracks and soon stopped to listen to the jungle. Something was up…

The deer were jumpy and the langurs had climbed high, shouting. We sat silently and then sat some more. Carol patiently searched the tangle of leaves and trunks on the slope opposite. Then she whispered,

I'm looking at a…”

Privately guided walking holidays in India

*STEPHEN’S DISCLAIMER: we were extremely lucky, and Carol is particularly good at finding things in the jungle!

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