SGNP: First monsoon visit of 2010
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Carpets of green in various hues - new bamboo, grasses, leaves, vines and a small sampling of predominantly white coloured wildflowers can be seen throughout.
This year, the forest department has come out with new regulations. Visitors may enjoy the Silondha and other nature trails only in minimum group sizes of 10 people. This is somewhat ridiculous considering that hordes of morning walkers traipse all over every part of the forest from 6am to 8am without any restrictions but those like us who want to enjoy a peaceful walk to observe the flora must now be forced to go in a noisy group. The official manning the Nature Information Counter or Nature Interpretation Centre or whatever NIC is supposed to stand for, eventually said that we could go if we paid the fees for 10 people @ Rs 50 per head. We felt Rs500 to be rather steep for 2 people, considering that it was not exactly wildflower season, so we opted instead to walk along the road to and from Kanheri. Nothing wrong with this route except that there is too much vehicular traffic and hordes of noisy young picnic groups. Disappointed, we went a little way along the unmanned trail leading to Jambul Mal but turned back after about 2km as the trail was intentionally blocked with bamboo. Obviously the forest department did not want people here either and we were not in a mood to continue like "thieves". There are a few smaller pathways going off the main tarred road and we followed these every now and then. Some led to Adivasi shanties, some led to riverbanks. Not the same as Silondha but not so bad either!