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While traveling towards Bandhavgarh, from nearby railway station or airport, we will pass through many rivers, perennials, nullah's. Some of them will be active while some of them are seasonal but still maintaining their presence in landscape. When we enter in last 10 kms radius of Bandhavgarh tiger reserve forest area, we will find many small nullahs in most of them will be dry. These small nullaha's have their own importance in maintaining ecological balance of forest area. Charan Ganga river in Bandhavgarh national park is counted among most noted rivulet. Although it is a small and narrow rivulet whose first glimpse can be experienced while going towards famous Tala entrance gate. Its origin is from Sheshsaiya point, inside Tala range of Bandhavgarh national park. While doing fort safari, we can visit this point. Sheshsaiya in Bandhavgarh is a popular place to visit while doing Tala zone safari. It is located on the hill which was visited while going towards Bandhavgarh fort.
Charan Ganga river was given this name due to presence of Shivlinga & Shesh Shaiya statue, at the point of its origin. In simple words, "Charan" means Feet and "Ganga" means Holy Ganges river. Collectively it means Ganges river originating through feet. As per our Hindu mythology, Bhagwat Purana, river Ganges have its origin from a hole, made by the toe of Lord Vishnu, whe he was in one of his incarnation, Vaman Avtar. Water coming through hole, wash the lotus feet of God and reaches further to the world. Similarly in Shesh Shaiya, we can find reclyning statue of Lord Vishnu and hill water flowing through his feet and reaching low land areas.
It was year 2006, when I was on my village (Nigahra) with my grand parents, about 70kms from Bandhavgarh forest area. Till 1975, wild animals like tigers, leopards, sloth bear, Sambar, Spotted Deers have registered their presence till field areas, surrounding to villages. Their was good hilly corridor that allowed them to visit so far which get destryoed gradually due to human disturbance, hunting, cutting of trees by local villagers. I have heard alot about Bandhavgarh and thus I planned to visit this national park with obvious hope to see tigers and gain some knowledge about this nearby world famous tiger reserve. I started from my village and manage to reach Umaria town by evening. Further journey was not possible as it was sunset and public vehicles are not available after sunset, on that route. Thus I decided to spend night in a small lodge in town. Next morming, I took first mini bus from Umaria railway station at 6:15 AM and started towards Tala village of Bandhavgarh. In those days, Bandhavgarh was seasonal destination i.e. countable hotels and countable tourists. I undertake my first jungle safari drive. In those days, it was costing 900 INR. for a safari, their was no restriction of number of vehicles. As expected, I had sighting of two cubs in first 10 minutes and enjoyed the safari drive. On suggestion of my gypsy driver cum guide Mr. Pinku, I decided to visit Bandhavgarh fort also in separate fort safari drive. After having some meal at local hotel, I went for fort safari drive with Pinku and guide was Mr Chaturvedi Ji. It was thrilling experience as we were passing through steep hill terrains and manage to reach Sheshsaiya point. Here we spend 10 minutes to observe the surrounding area, have overview sighting of jungle area. It was perfect resting point where we can relax for a moment, amidst of nature and scared heritage of Bandhavgarh. Here we can see statue of reclyning Lord Vishnu on coil of seven-hooded serpent called Sheshnag. At the same place, we can also see sacred Shivalingam. All these statues are dated back to 10th century. In those days, it was the maximum point till which, gypsy was allowed. Further journey of approx. 3kms will be through tracking which I did in company of my safari guide. After returning back to same point, we once againt spend sometime and uses Charanganga water to refresh ourself from the fatique of tracking. Since than I am doing regular visit to Bandhavgarh and spend sometime near this important rivulet.
As we are all aware that in past, villages, towns and cities were established close to water source as availability of water is lifeline of human existence. Due to same reason, Tala village was established close to Charan Ganga river. Although it is narrow rivulet but even in peak summer season, we will find water in it. It ensures consistent water supply to villagers. Now a days, every house is having his own borewell with machines but in past, this river was main source of water to villagers thus its importance can't be ruled out for Tala village. Even today, if we check its water, we will find it crystal clear. Even today, it is serving local people and visitors. We can find local villagers, taking bath, using river water to clean their clothes, feed their cattles. Forest department have issued instruction not to pollute the river by washing clothes, using detergent thus villagers uses buckets to take water and wash clothes are different location.
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