Dajipur is a wildlife sanctuary south of
Itís about 8 hrs from Pune. Its main attraction is the
Indian Bison or ďGavaĀEin Marathi. With an aim to catch a
glimpse of this majestic but shy creature we set out for
Dajipur. We planned to take our 1st halt at
ďManoraĀE a watchtower just near the water hole and
continue our trek to Shivgad.
As usual the timing of trek not the best.
We ventured into the jungles of Dajipur in July, at the height
of monsoon. There were 5 of us.
We started at our trek from Gaganbawda.
The climate was wonderful!! There were some clouds, the air
was cool and the landscape was lush green! Soon we reached a
village called Padmasati (which amazingly has only 1 house!!).
It was already 1:30 pm. We took directions for Manbet and set
out again. Everything was perfect! The weather was great and
surprisingly, for the 1st time we were on right
track!! And that disturbed us. How is it possible that
we complete our trek without any hindrance?
As if to confirm our suspicions, it
started raining. In fact it was pouring!!! We were passing
through a thick forest patch and were still 3 hrs away from
Manbet. It was frustrating. We were soaked in water from head
to foot, our bags were heavier and every step took a lot of
Then the obvious happened. When you
venture into a forest and that too in a rainy season you are
sure to confront ďJaluĀEor leach! Itís an ugly insect,
blackish red in color. It sticks to your body and sucks blood
without you even noticing!! We had had no protective clothing,
and some of us wearing shorts.
We did everything possible to get rid of
them. We checked each other thoroughly, applied tobacco on our
legs but with no effect!! We were traumatized by Jalu!!! So
much so that we caught 1 every 5 min, sucking blood from our
Alas!! We reached Manbet at 5:30, which
was not what we had expected.
The trek was off!!
There was no point in continuing in heavy
rain. The light was waning. But most important, the prospect
of submitting ourselves to Jalu discouraged us. We took
shelter in an old school building in Manbet (it looked more
like a haunted house to me!!). We cooked pohe and some rice
and had a wonderful ďMehfilĀEat night.
we couldnít succeed in reaching Dajipur, the stay was worth