Tiger Facts

The largest of the “Cat Family” and presently the most endangered species amongst the big cat, the Tiger is what we are going to explore about.

Royal Bengal Tiger There were originally eight subspecies of tiger, the Javan, the Bali, the Caspian, the Indochinese, the Sumatran, the Bengal, the Siberian, and the South China tiger, The South China tiger being the antecedent of all tigers. And can you imagine that three of the eight subspecies are now extinct. The Bali tiger met its demise in the 1940’s, the Caspian in the 1970’s and the Javan in the 1980’s. Yes, its sad reality. Of theremaining tiger subspecies the South China tiger is the most critically endangered with only around sixty living in Chinese zoos and approximately twenty in the wild (although none have been spotted for over twenty years). This puts this subspecies at the very top of the endangered species list. >> Read more…

December 21st, 2009 by admin | 4 Comments »

New advance Rail ticket booking period reduced to 2 months from today

The advance booking period for train tickets will be reduced from existing four months to two months from Wednesday as part of the Railways’ efforts to prevent touts to corner bulk tickets. “The reduction of advance reservation period to 60 days will be a deterrent for touts who book bulk tickets in advance. We hope the reduction of booking period will help genuine travellers,” a senior Railway Ministry official said.

However, all the bookings done up to April 30 under the existing advance reservation period (ARP) of 120 days will remain intact. In order to prevent touts from booking bulk tickets in advance, Railways have already increased the cancellation charges by Rs.10 to Rs.50 per ticket.

“It has been found that passengers generally book their tickets two months in advance before the journey,” the official said, adding “so the reduction of advance booking period from 120 days to 60 days will be beneficial for rail travellers.” Cancellation of the booking made beyond the ARP of 60 days will, however, be permitted. There will be no change in the case of ARP limit of 360 days for foreign tourists.

Stepping up its action on touts, Railways has also modified the Tatkal booking system to ensure that genuine passengers get train tickets. No agents are allowed to book tatkal tickets from 10 am to 12 pm over the internet.

May 1st, 2013 by admin | 1 Comment »

Amarnath registration to start on March 18th

The process of registering pilgrims for this year’s Amarnath pilgrimage will commence from March 18 for both the Baltal and Pahalgam routes through over 400 designated bank branches, said a shrine board spokesman Thursday. A health certificate will be mandatory.

According to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) spokesman, pilgrims can register at registration counters located all across the country through 422 designated branches of Jammu and Kashmir Bank, YES Bank, State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and HDFC Bank.

Full details of all the registration centres have been made available on the SASB website,www.shriamarnathjishrine.com.

This year’s pilgrimage to the cave shrine in the Kashmir Himalayas will commence simultaneously, from both the Baltal and the Pahalgam routes, on June 28 and culminate on Raksha Bandhan (Aug 21).

The traditional Pahalgam route involves a trek of 46 km from Pahalgam tourist resort 100 km south of Srinagar, while the route from Baltal, 110 km north of Srinagar, is a shorter but quite steep and arduous.

According to the SASB spokesman, the applicants will be required to submit a compulsory health certificate while seeking registration. No one below 13 years or above 75 years of age and no pregnant woman with more than six weeks pregnancy will be registered.

This year, the board has increased the number of registration counters to 422, from 276 in 2012. For the first time, SBI, PNB and HDFC banks are participating in the registration process.

For the purpose of registration, to be done on ‘First-Come-First-Serve Basis’, the requisite application form and the compulsory health certificate Form, can be collected from any of the designated bank branches or downloaded from the Board’s website. The process will be completed when a ‘Yatra Permit’ is issued to the eligible pilgrims, who will be required to submit a duly filled-in application form, compulsory health certificate and a payment of Rs.30 towards handling charges.

According to the spokesman, the provision of on-line facility has been discontinued because of the “gross misuse of this facility past year, and also due to requirement of first verifying whether a yatri possesses a valid compulsory health certificate or not”.

This year, the ‘Yatra Permit’ would be of a specified colour for each day of the week to facilitate police personnel deployed at the access control gates in determining whether a pilgrim possesses documents valid for the relevant date and route, said the spokesman.

He said the Shrine Board will provide every registered pilgrim with an insurance cover of Rs.1 lakh against accidental death within the state during the period of one week ahead of the commencement of the pilgrimage to one week after its conclusion.


February 22nd, 2013 by admin | No Comments »

Big Bird Day 2013

sm_white_owlBig Bird Day is a yearly birdwatching event celebrated all over the Indian subcontinent in conjunction  with Delhi Bird Club. This year it is to be held on 24th of February (next Sunday), and is the biggest BBD. So far we have

● Around 230 enlisted teams / individuals so far from all over the subcontinent and even some from abroad

● More than 1100 participants

● 50 teams (covering around 40 sites) from West Bengal alone

First started formally by Delhibird group in 2004, BBD has slowly culminated in a large scale citizen  science project aimed at gathering data about birds from all over the region. Birders form small teams, watch birds in certain areas and report the sightings at the end of the day so that it can be

compiled into a cumulative list. There are participants from such far flung places as Akhnoor in Kashmir, Annapurna Conservation  Area in Nepal, Khonoma in Nagaland, Chittagong Hill Tracts and Bangladesh Sundarbans, and Sinharaja in Sri Lanka. Of course, large number of teams are participating from each urban center of  the country. Non-commercial, non-competitive, apolitical and driven only by passion for nature and conservation, it is perhaps the largest event of its kind.

With more areas being covered, the data is becoming more comprehensive and valuable in terms of measuring the actual bird diversity of the region. Accumulated over several seasons / years, it can form a rich database. An event like this is also essential in creating awareness about bird watching and conservation.

The registrations are open and anyone can take part. One needs to register with the coordinators and bird at one or multiple sites (preferably ones that are not being covered yet) throughout the day or for a shorter time on 24th Feb. By 6.00 p.m an email / sms needs to be sent to the coordinators stating the number of species. The complete list has to be sent in another couple of days.

National Level Coordinator : Bikram Grewal (09811159398, biks.grewal@gmail.com)

Coordinator for West Bengal: Kshounish Shankar Ray (09433185730, kshounishray@gmail.com)

Facebook page with more information about the event :


February 22nd, 2013 by admin | No Comments »

Tour core tiger areas but don’t build: Supreme Court

As Hindustan Times reported:

Tourists can hope to see tigers in their natural habitat once again as the Supreme Court Wednesday softened stand, saying it wasn’t averse to “regulated tourism” in the core areas of reserves.

“It’s the raised construction inside core areas and not tourists who harm tigers. Is it necessary that 100 vehicles go inside at a time? It (tourism) needs a proper regulation,” a bench of justice AK Patnaik and justice Swatanter Kumar said Wednesday.

However, the court’s ban — ordered on July 24 and extended on August 29 — on tourist activities will remain in place till September 27, when the case comes up next. The court is hearing a petition on tiger conservation.

On attorney general GE Vahanvati’s assurance, the court gave the government four weeks to draw comprehensive guidelines to take care of both tourism and tiger conservation.

Wondering if tourism was the primary reason for depleting tiger population, justice Patnaik, who wasn’t part of the bench that passed the July 24 order, said ban on tourism could lead to “several other problems”. “My experience has been if tourists go on around the area, there would be lesser scope of poaching,” he said.

Vahanvati agreed but also admitted that the 2012 guidelines permitting tourism in reserves had ignored the issue of tiger conservation. “There cannot be two set of guidelines but comprehensive one. Tourism activity will flow from the guidelines for project tiger,” he said.

On September 27, the court will also hear a bunch of petitions filed by various states, tour operators and hotels’ association, seeking vacation of the ban. It asked all the stakeholders to submit suggestions to the ministry of environment within a week.

The court’s ban order triggered a debate as almost six lakh people, directly or indirectly, depend on tiger-tourism for livelihood.

India has 41 tiger reserves where 1,706 big cats live.

Holidayhomeindia views: This indeed is a welcome stand. Not only regulated tourism should be there, but also there should be enough vigilance on whether the states are implementing regulated tourism or not. Two places, as experienced for our individual tours are specially to be noted- Kaziranga and Buxa Tiger Reserve. Very unhealthy and uncontrolled tourism exists in these two places which is needed to addressed asap.

August 30th, 2012 by admin | No Comments »

Interim ban on tourist activities in core areas of Project Tiger forests

We reproduce the Time of India Report on interim ban on all tourist activities in core areas of Project Tiger forests.

Popular destinations inside tiger reserves like Dhikala in Corbett will soon be out of bounds for tourists as the Supreme Court on Tuesday imposed an interim ban on all tourist activities in core areas of Project Tiger forests.

Irked by the lethargy of states in complying with the court’s three-month-old order directing them to notify core and buffer zones of tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries, a bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and F M I Kalifulla said if there was no action within three weeks, environment secretaries concerned could face contempt proceedings in addition to being saddled with a cost of Rs 50,000.

“Till final directions of the court, core areas in tiger reserves will not be used for tourism activities,” the bench said in an interim order passed on a PIL filed by Ajay Dubey alleging that commercial exploitation of core areas through tourism was seriously intruding into breeding of tigers and their habitat.

States are reluctant to notify buffer zones as this can mean relocation of villages and resorts which is a social and economic problem they would rather not have to deal with. The interim ban is expected to goad the states in the right direction by shutting down the core areas which in some reserves like Corbett are fairly overcrowded.

The bench pointed to the gravity of the situation, saying, “The effect we can see is that tigers are virtually on the verge of extinction. You will only have statistics to count upon.” It came down hard on Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra for delaying notification demarcating core and buffer zones under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The bench took exception to non-compliance of its April 3 and July 10 orders asking states to notify the core and buffer boundaries with only Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan reporting full compliance. It imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on non-complying states.

Former deputy chairman of Uttarakhand Forest and Environment Advisory Committee Anil Baluni reacted sharply, saying this would deal a death blow to tourism in Corbett as popular tourist destinations Dhikala and Bijrani fell in the core area. He said he would move the court with data to apprise it about interdependence of tourism and conservation.

However, senior advocate Raj Panjwani, who assisted the court as amicus curiae, said it was a good order for conservation of tigers. He also requested the court to approve the guidelines framed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on eco-tourism, which attempted to strike a balance between tourism and protection of the ecosystem in tiger reserves. The court posted further hearing on the PIL for August 22.

The NTCA, in its report to the Supreme Court, had recommended ban on tourism activities in the core areas and wanted it limited to buffer areas. “There is a need to adhere to the amended provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act in terms of the core/critical tiger habitat or critical wildlife habitat that have defined the need to provide inviolate core and buffer areas (designed for co-existence) in tiger reserves,” It had said.

The core area is kept free of biotic disturbances and forestry operations, where collection of minor forest produce, grazing and human disturbances are not allowed. The Act defines buffer zone as the area peripheral to the critical tiger habitat or core area providing supplementary habitat for dispersing tigers, besides offering scope for co-existence of human activity.

The NTCA had said, “The buffer zone of a tiger reserve will not have the status of a national park or sanctuary. Buffer areas with forest connectivity are imperative for tiger dynamics, since such areas foster sub adults, young adults, transients and old members of the population. Habitat management and improvement activities will be carried out in the existing habitat of tiger and its prey species through active involvement of local communities.”

During the earlier hearing, the court was told that buffer zone constituted of fringe areas of tiger reserves up to a radial distance of 10 km, which had in the past witnessed largescale construction of hotels, mass tourism, and night safaris — all disturbing the roaming of wild animals at night in search of corridors.

The NTCA had said that fringe areas had corridor value and their ecological sustainability was important to prevent the area from becoming ecological sinks on account of overuse of resources and unwise land use.

July 25th, 2012 by admin | No Comments »

Tadoba on Red Alert

Bringing the spotlight back on the serious crime of tiger poaching, the state government has issued a red alert, following an intelligence input that international smugglers have paid an advance to the Baheliya community to poach around 25 tigers in Maharashtra.
According to senior forest officials, field officers have already been asked to keep a check on the waterholes in the forest region, where poachers generally lay traps to catch the wild cats.
Chief wildlife warden of the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in the Chandrapur district, S.W.H. Naqvi said, “We had received specific intelligence input on May 15 that poachers will be active in the state for killing tigers on May 15. Accordingly, a red alert has been issued in the state.”
Mr Naqvi said that all the field officers have been asked to stay alert and keep a tight vigil on the waterholes in the region.
Sources said that around `40 lakh has already been given to the poachers (the Baheliya community from Madhya Pradesh) to kill at least 25 tigers in the state because of the rising demand in China. However, Mr Naqvi remained noncommittal on the figures.
Moreover, a National Tiger Conservation Authority member Pandu Dhotre, who also runs an NGO in Tadoba for protection of tigers, said, “After we received the intelligence input, we deployed around 300 uniformed volunteers, who have been asked to remain alert. Our volunteers work in coordination with forest officers. We have asked our men to pass on information about any suspicious-looking persons found in and around the forest area.”
According to authorities, poachers generally lay traps near waterholes. During the summer, natural waterholes and other natural reservoirs of water in Tadoba-Andhari are likely to have dried up. Hence, most animals approach artificial waterholes in the reserve.
On April 27, a tiger was killed, while another sustained severe injuries to his leg and paw, after they fell prey to the jaw traps laid by poachers in the Palasgaon range in the reserve. A jaw trap of the kind laid in Tadoba-Andhari has a ring at the bottom, which forms the trigger for the jaws.

May 18th, 2012 by admin | No Comments »

The forgotten Silk Route – Jelep La

This article is contributed by Korak Basu, holidayhomeindia expresses its sincere gratitude to Mr. Basu

East Sikkim is a place of virgin beauty. Most of us are unaware of the rich flora and fauna and wildlife of this region. So there we were- a group of enthusiastic travel-men ready to trace the forgotten silk route of east Sikkim. Before the Chinese aggression, Jelep La used to be the main trade route between India and Tibet.

We took an evening train from Kolkata and landed up in New Jalpaiguri Station the next morning. It was a Friday- Good Friday to be more specific. We had already hired a van (courtesy- Sebastian Pradhan of Rishi Eco Tourism Resort) and in no time were on our way to Rishikhola. We reached there around 1 pm after witnessing a Good Friday mass in Pedang. >> Read more…

May 13th, 2012 by admin | 3 Comments »

National Park Status for Jaldapara

The Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to famous one horned Rhino and many other varied and endangered willife species has bagged the status of a “national park” as issued in a notification by the Union Forest and Environment Ministry.

The State Wildlife advisory board had sent the proposal to the central Wildlife advisory board for promoting Jaldapara into a National Park which got the nod of the Union Forest and Environment Ministry Central Board.

Jaldapara received the “wildlife sanctuary” status in the British Era in 1941 when its area was 141 sq. km. Situated beside Hollong River, Jaldapara is now spread over in an area of 216.51 sq. km and with a Rhino population of more than 160.  Other important species includes Bisons, Deers, Leopards and numerous birds including the famous Great Hornbill.

The previous recommendation with the same plea was rejected on ground that there were too many forest villages in the buffer zone of the forest. Congratulations Jaldapara.

May 11th, 2012 by admin | No Comments »

Bouddha Bihar discovered at Dantan

The ruins of a Bouddha Bihar and many a relics of the late Gupta era have been excavated out in Dantan of West Midnapore district of West Bengal recently. The relics include a two metre long 10th century Buddha idol, a map of the Bouddha Bihar and a dozen other figurines. Experts of Calcutta University have opined that this discovery could lead to other significant find outs.

According the experts – There were 10 Bouddha Bihars in the country, out of which three happen to be in present day Bengal. This particular Bouddha Bihar at Mogolmari seems to have been built between the seventh and the tenth centuries – the late Gupta period.

March 27th, 2012 by admin | 4 Comments »

Melanistic Leopard Cat

In continuance to yesterday’s news of the rare find of Melanistic Leopard Cat, TOI today reported its find and published the image captured by camera traps in the Sunderbans. Bengal Forest Officials had sent the two picturs taken by camera traps to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) three days ago and got a reply on Monday morning.

WII senior scientist Y V Jhala said that “Such a cat has never been photo captured anywhere in the world.

March 27th, 2012 by admin | 1 Comment »

Melanistic Leopard Cart found in Sunderbans

24 ghanta channel reported today that cameras at Sunderbans National Park has recorded images of very rare Melanistic Leopard Cat which is heard for the first time in India. A very good news for wild life enthusiasts indeed.

March 26th, 2012 by admin | 1 Comment »

Greater Flamingo’s dies electrocuted

Almost 400 Greater Famingos, who came from Siberia after covering thousands of miles to breed in the warm marches of the Khadir region in Kutch have been electrocuted to death as reported by the TOI today. Although the Official counting stood at 130, the locals estimated the death to be much more than that.

Mostly, the death takes place during dark, when the Flamingos are forced to fly due to passing vehicles. The birds fly directly into the cables and get electrocuted. Harriers also contribute to the killings by creating a flutter within the Flamingos, forcing to fly abruptly and many go diretly into the cables. The Centre for Desert and Ocean had recommended for rubber insulated cables instead which has been reiterated by the Forest Department which has opined for either insulation or underground installation of the cables. The matter may be moved further if organisations like Greenpeace takes up the issue.

December 1st, 2011 by admin | No Comments »

Vibrant Vijaywada

Vijayawada is the third largest city in Andhra Pradesh and is located on the banks of the famous Krishna River. It is an important transport hub and a major transit point. It is also one of the busiest railway junctions in India. The Praksam Barrage, built accross the river Krishna, at Vijayawada, has created a panoramic lake. Its three canals that run through the city give it a Venetian look. The Kanaka Durga temple placed on Indrakeeladri hill overlooking Vijayawada, is a famous pilgrim destination. Numerous devotees from and around the city visit here during the Dussehra festival, to offer prayers and seek the blessings of the Goddess Durga.

Vijayawada is also a centre of Andhra craft and culture. Kondapalli village, situated 16 km from Vijayawada has gained National and International recognition for its beautiful hand-made toys. Other places of tourist interest in and around Vijayawada are the famous St. Mary’s Church, Gunadala, Gandhi Hill, Victoria Museum, Moghalrajpuram and Undavalli rock-cut caves etc. A short drive from Vijayawada, are Mangalapuri temple, Manginapudi Beach, Kuchipudi Village, and several ancient Buddhist sites, of which Amaravati and Ghatasala are the most prominent.

>> Read more…

November 18th, 2011 by admin | No Comments »

Tripura at a glance

The Princely State of  Tripura acceded to the Indian Union in 1949. This ancient land of mysterious past, located in the North Eastern Region of Indian is bounded on the North , West, South and South East by the international boundary of Bangladesh. In the east it has a common boundary with  Assam and Mizoram.

A matchless combination of age – old culture and tradition is reflected in the beautiful handloom and handicraft products of the State which attract the visitors for its classic quality, exquisite colour, excellent design and craftsmanship. The entire State is pollution- free and eco – friendly atmosphere.


Area                                 : 10,491.69 sq .km.
Population                       :  31.91,186 (2001 census )
Location    –
North Latitude                : D22°65′ x 24°32′
East Longitude               : D90°09′ & 92°20′
Extreme Length              : 183.5 km.
Extreme Width               : 112.7 km
Altitude (Agartala)         : 12.80 mtr.
Climate                           : Climate in Tripura is always favourable for tourist.
Temperature                   : Summer –36.8°C (max), 21.4°C (min),
Winter – 27°C (max),  4°C (min)
Best Season                    : September to March.
Clothing                         :  Cotton in Summer.Woollen in Winter.
Entry Formalities           : Restricted Area Permit System has been lifted in 1995. No entry fee is required for visiting Tripura. >> Read more…

November 14th, 2011 by admin | 1 Comment »

Vidisha – A Rich Historical Legacy

Bhopal, capital of  Madhya Pradesh is the ideal base for discovering  the rich historical and cultural legacy of the state . Close to the city and easily accessible by road  and rail  are ancient sites of great dynasties, forts, monuments and cave sculptures, some of the finest example of  Indian art and architecture, chronicled in stone , of the state’s unique heritage of fine antiques .

What  To  See –

Vidisha : Vidisha or Besnagar as it is called in the Pali sculptures, once the prosperous capital of the western dominions of the Sungas, contains some remarkable antiquities that throw light on the considerable architectural development of the period .

Situated in the fork of the Betwa and Bes rivers, Vidisha, 10 km from Sanchi, occupies an important place amongst the ancient cities in India . In the 6th and 5th centuries BC, it rose to become an important trade centre and a bustling city under the Sungas, Nagas, Satvahanas and Guptas. The Emperor Ashoka was governor of Vidisha and it finds mention in Kalidasa’s immortal Meghdoot . Deserted after the 6th centuary AD it came into prominence again as Bhilsa during the medieval period ( 9th to 12th centuries AD.). It later passed on to the Malwa Sultans, the Mughals, and the Scindias.

The ruins of the Brahmanical shrine at Vidisha dedicated to Vishnu reveal that the foundation bricks were cemented together with lime mortar, the first known example of the use of cement in India. The ruins are what remains of possibly the oldest known Brahmanical stone structure, dated not later than 2 BC.

Vidisha museum has a superb collection of Besnagar’s earliest antiquities, dating from the Sunga period; 9th century sculptures, and terracotta objects, representing the art that flourished under Parmara patronage, are also well represented here. Highlights of the collection from Besnagar are the Surya and Chamundi figures, the Yakshi and the Ramagupta inscriptions.

The Lohangi Rock, Gumbaz-ka-Maqbara and Bijamandal Mosque, standing on the foundations of a temple, are also worth a visit. >> Read more…

November 1st, 2011 by admin | No Comments »