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Monday, December 26, 2011

BHINDAWAS BIRD SANCTUARY


BHINDAWAS BIRD SANCTUARY
Panoramic view of the Bhindawas Lake

Bhindawas Bird sanctuary is situated at a distance of about 15 Kms. from the township of Jhajjar in Haryana. This Bird Sanctuary has recently been upgraded as a protected wildlife sanctuary under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 through a notification issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests dated 3rd June, 2009. The place has become more ecologically important, as the water inflow in the world famed Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan has been diminishing over the past years and thus, the migratory water birds have started nesting in this man made lake at Bhindawas. This place now attracts over 35,000 varieties of migratory water birds belonging to over 250 species.
Mustard fields in bloom

Having gathered some basic information about the destination, we started off for this place at 8.00 A.M in the morning after partaking some light breakfast. We took the Najafgarh Road and after passing through some nondescript villages like Mitrau, Jafarpur etc., we entered Haryana through the Dhansa village border. The road upto Jhajjar was very poorly maintained with the top layer of the surface almost peeled off and the answer to this antipathy was evident, as truck loads or over-loads of them, were seen carrying crushed stones from Dadri area, meant for the ongoing Yamuna expressway project road connecting Greater NOIDA with Agra. Thus, this part of the road takes a much longer period to traverse, as compared to normal circumstances. After having reached Jhajjar, one has to take to the Bye-pass connecting Jhajjar to Rohtak and take a turn towards Rohtak. After traveling for a kilometer or so on this highway, the road is bisected by another highway leading towards Mahendergarh and one has to take this road for reaching Bhindawas. This stretch of the road is very well maintained, except for an occasional road-breaker, constructed in a rather haphazard and unscientific manner, as and when one passes through a small nondescript village situated on the highway. After having traveled around 14-15 Kms. on this road, we sighted a big signboard announcing way to Bhindawas Lake, towards the right hand side. After having turned towards this rather narrow lane, we found ourselves in village Kasni, which is in the outer periphery of the sanctuary.
Peacocks resting

The road gradually gets worse as one approaches’ the lake side and when you finally leave the village road, the road ahead, which runs around the lake periphery, is a mud path and not suited for smaller vehicles, especially during the rains. However, for an urbanite seeking some close proximity with the nature, despite all the above discomforts, the effort is well compensated for with all the glimpses of the natural surroundings & sights of birds nesting. I will try to visually portray the route, supported by a few photographs & videos sprinkled in. As you leave the urban landscape behind, initially you start getting glimpses of the village life once you get past Najafgarh, however, the Delhi villages now getting urbanized largely, you only catch small glimpses of the natural yonder. After getting past the Delhi border, gradually either side of the road appeared to be engulfed in a sea of yellow as mustard plants sown all around were in bloom, with patches of deep green vegetation in between, which were identified as Wheat cultivation.
Panoramic view of the out canal
As you take a turn towards the right from the highway leading to Mahendergarh towards Bhindawas, the harmony of humans dwelling with nature becomes evident as a flock of nesting Peacocks made an appearance at Kasni village itself. As we drove past towards the Bird Sanctuary, we saw a plethora of birds like the Kingfisher, Peacocks, Bulbuls, Common Hoopoe making a cacophony of sounds and the feeling was enthralling. Having reached the embankment, we turned right and after traveling for about 500 meters reached the ‘Forest Inspection’ Rest House and having got past the lake we took a left turn along the feeder canal which drains the water out from the Bhindawas. This canal was overflowing with the ‘Water Hyacinth’ and the canal was all but choked. However, here too there were a plethora of birds ranging from the Greater Cormorants spreading their wing spans to gather some heat from the sunrays in the morning and a big flock of purple swamp hen etc. As you proceed further, the lake appears towards your left hand side and after taking another left hand turn you reach the bird observations post constructed by the forest department.
Purple swamp hens roosting in the out canal

This man made lake spread over 1074 Acres is a man made lake used to trap the excess water during power failures from the Jawaharlal Nehru Canal. However, now this place has gained immense importance due to its notification as a National Sanctuary. The shimmering lake is a treat for the tired eyes, with an area under inundation that exceeds all imagination. There are small islands within the lake and most of birds nest there and thus, it is very difficult to photograph them except, if you have lens with your Camera with above 600 mm or higher. But nothing takes away the natural beauty and the quintessential aura of this upcoming Bird Sanctuary, albeit we conserve & nurture this place.
Cranes flying over Bhindawas Lake


View of distant cranes roosting in Bhindawas

A video link of the visit -

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