Week 1 Highlight

(>19 yrs age)

Bindu Gopal Rao, Bangalore

The Travel that Changed Me

It was my first visit to the famed jungles of Madhya Pradesh and I could not have wished for a
better place than Pench, the setting of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book to begin my jungle adventure.
Having heard so much about the elusive tigers being commonplace, I was hoping to sight my first
tiger in the wild. My wonderful hosts at the Kohka Wilderness Camp Shourabh Gosh wife Mahua
Bose welcomed me to their rustic retreat with much love. The resort itself was a lesson in
sustainable living with its own kitchen garden and fresh vegetables coming from the kitchen gardens
of the villagers around apart from rice and lentils grown locally. Being in a remote tribal area, food
was fresh, simple and I had tribal meals, a first for me. Incidentally as all food is cooked fresh,
there is no deep freezer here and even accompaniments like pickles and papads are made in house.

The best part however (no it was not the safari as I anticipated) was the work that their NGO
Kokha Foundation does. In order to boost the local community all staff here are from the village
and have been trained in-house. I also had an opportunity to visit a few of the local schools
supported by the foundation and finding myself in a classroom amidst excited kids was a great
experience in itself. The NGO also ensures that all the basic healthcare facilities are in place for
the surrounding village clusters and organizes doctor’s visits too. Finally visiting the village of
potters at Pachdhar gave me an insight into the simple yet uncomplicated life of the villagers. While
I had set out to see the tiger, this trip taught me so much about how travel can impact lives that I
know that travel will never be the same again.

Bindu Gopal Rao, Bangalore

A freelance writer and photographer based in Bengaluru who has been writing for over two decades in leading publications. Her interests include bird watching and 

looking for local and unusual angles in any destination. She believes travel gives her an opportunity to meet new people and explore.

Charity in thy Name

Ten bags of groceries have been distributed on behalf of Bindu amongst the migrant workers

stranded in Bangalore due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

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