The spirit of becoming a teacher was haunted in my mind. Prasenjit, my childhood school friend who moved to Gadchiroli a few years ago had finished his B.Ed course. I thought to get some guidance from him. The journey started towards Gadchiroli – An another chapter in my travel book.
Gadchiroli is a district which lies on Chattisgarh and Telangana borders. It is bounded by Gondia and Chandrapur districts of Maharashtra. I caught up a night train for Nagpur. Gadchiroli is easily accessible from Nagpur. There are frequent buses running from Nagpur bus depot to Gadchiroli. Mistakenly I caught a wrong train and it took 24 hours for me to reach Nagpur railway station. It was 6 pm. Sun was setting down. Gadchiroli was still 170 km far away. I caught Government bus. It was my first experience to see ‘Conductor-less’ bus. I bought the ticket from the counter. It was a non-stop bus without any halt in between. The bus left Nagpur at 6.30 pm.
Gadchiroli is a Naxalite area. It is all surrounded by forest. I was freak. It was going to be an adventurous trip. I have been to Nagpur thrice as my some relatives stay here, but still, I was unfamiliar with the areas. As it was darker, I could barely see outside. The driver had gone absurd. He was driving the bus like an insane! He was Pro in it! Prasenjit called me and asked me to get down at Armori village which is approx. 35 km before Gadchiroli. I requested the driver to take a halt at Armori. It was around 9 pm in the clock. I was standing at that desolate village in dark as electricity had gone. This is a typical issue in Indian villages. It was cold, I couldn’t see my surroundings. Thoughts of Naxalites were roaming into my mind. In spite of all, Prasenjit arrived! My old friend! After reaching his beautiful house, I thought of taking a rest. I was loving there! New Experience!!
In villages, people get up very early in the morning. It was roughly 5 am when I heard a lot of noises, in spite of this, I took a nap till 8 am. Everyone lives a very simple life in a village. Their clothing, cuisine, and nature are very ingenious. Prasenjit took out his bike and our village tourism started! We went to an ancient temple which was closer to Wainganga river. This river is a tributary of a second longest river of India – Godavari. The temple is old enough from the era of the King Shivaji. It was time to witness some fields. Rice is the main crop in Gadchiroli district. The dense fields of rice smell so good, but these fields always have a fear factor of snake bites or scorpion bites. Though I was not willing to walk through the field, it was Prasenjit who encouraged me. I was wondering since when he became so brave!
It was a festive season. Lord Ganesha has just immersed and Durga goddess was arriving. These two festivals are the major among Gadchiroli citizens. Mascara Ganapati is a unique concept which only Nagpur and Gadchiroli follows. Mascara Ganapati is a mimic of something. It’s in funny form, doing mimicry of any subject. Durga Pooja occurs on a huge scale. The preparations were taking place. Gadchiroli has tigers. Very rare to sight but their presence is not negligible. It was an obvious thing that tiger, the leopard would roam here very easily.
After taking a night rest, we started our journey to Tipagad. It’s a hub of Naxalites. It is around 100 km away from Armori village. The whole Gadchiroli district is covered with forest. Everywhere you will find trees and greenery. Gadchiroli has the best road connectivity. Even forest routes are well-connected! En-route we saw many tribal villages inside the forest. The city doesn’t have much rush. Fewer vehicle movements were noticed.
After crossing Gadchiroli city, we moved towards Tipagad. Crossing dozens of large forests, various river bridges, cowherd and goat-herd we reached the border of Chattisgarh. It started raining suddenly. First time I understood, Gadchiroli has two kinds of Policemen. One who protects citizens and other who fights with Naxalites. These policemen are specially trained to curb Naxalite in such areas. Their costume in darker in colour and they always carry loaded weapons. Their duty is certainly riskier. Due to them, we felt safe inside the forests. We were much deeper in the jungle. After a distance, roads were demolished by Naxalites so that vehicle moves in slow speed and they can thieve it. There was hardly any vehicle passing by. We understood the situation and turned back. Sun was setting down and it was getting darker.
For some adventure fun, we decided to take a forest route instead of a highway. To whomever we asked the route to enter the forest, everyone warned us to not choose that way. Still, we chose forest route and entered! It was around 6 pm and it was completely dark. Forest route is 30 km wider. A small path fully covered with dark forest and wild animals, with no human around, we both were inside. The fear was rising. The frozen wind was flowing and it was completely dark. Our bike headlight was showing us the way. Though it was beautiful, it was scarier too. It was the craziest thing I ever did in my life. As I looked back, I only saw dark. The cricket sound, bike engine were only the sounds which we could afford. The jungle was about to end shortly.. suddenly when…
We saw a majestic, bright and aggressive shining eyes!!! YES!! It was tiger…! Thank god that tiger was not on our way. It was inside the bushes but we both could clearly see his eyes…! The soul left the body. Felt weakened! Prasenjit kept driving without saying a word! We crossed the massive forest safely! Without encountering Naxalites, but witnessing Tiger in its natural habitat. We reached his house at 8 pm and it was a time for me to leave this glorious village and return back to Mumbai! Caught the night bus and left the Armori village with life-long memories!!
Crazy / Interesting / Unknown facts about Gadchiroli
- The Gadchiroli is the only district of Maharashtra which is not connected with Indian Railway.
- Gadchiroli is also known as Green city of India!
- The Population of Tigers and Leopards is increasing at Gadchiroli.
- You can’t identify who is a normal person or who is Naxalite in Gadchiroli. They live like normal people when not on duty. Sometimes I doubt Prasenjit! 😀
- Death due to lightning is a very common problem in Gadchiroli. It is advisable to not roam outside when it thunders.
- Devendra Fadnavis started his journey from Gadchiroli after becoming CM of Maharashtra.
- Gadchiroli has 2 police units. One who protects citizens and other who fights against Naxalites.
- Many Naxalites are surrendering themselves to Police to live a normal happy life.
- Hemalkasa is 170 km away from Gadchiroli town. It is a project by Dr Amte. The Madia Gond lives here. Dr Amte started their Animal park here. They treated hundred of Madia Gond people.
- Strange but it’s true that Gadchiroli is the first site in India where fossils of Dinosaur were found. They are preserved at Wadadham Fossil Park.
- Road construction material gets create in Gadchiroli.
- Cleanliness: 9/10
- Budget: 9/10
- Suitable for: Adventure Seeker
- Food: 2/10
- Shopping: 2/10
- Overall: 7/10