By Katie Breen,
October 19th, 2013
Today was our first break from production. The group headed to Banasura Hill, about an hour’s drive from Grand Century Hotel, to take in some of the beautiful scenery and ride on speed boats in the park’s dam.
Accompanied by Annesh and the field fellows, the group took a short walk from the entry of the park to the water’s edge where the speed boats loaded from. Along the way, we stopped countless times to take pictures of the mountains that surrounded us. It was so overwhelming to see such beauty and to feel like we were really inside the mountains. Walking along the water, we noticed tree branches protruding from various parts of the water. We learned that when the district decided to construct the dam, they chose to fill the water over a town! So those branches, we discovered, are the tops of trees from a town that is now under the water.
The park had swings that were built into the trees, which we took full advantage of as we waited our turn for the speed boats. Many families were also enjoying the day at the site, as well as school children who looked like they might have been on a field trip. We tried a mango/orange popsicle that was very sweet!!
Finally on board the speed boats, four life-vested passengers per boat, we took in the views of our beautiful surroundings from the water. It was very serene to be on such a small motorboat amidst such great mountains. It only got better as we loaded back into the van to have a buffet lunch in a room with tremendous views of the water and hills.
Next, we journeyed to the wildlife sanctuary, only to discover that it was too late for entry. We tried to suppress our disappointment and great expectations of being within view of an elephant. Our bus driver took us along a scenic route back to our hotel. We saw our first and only Bayan tree, the presumed national tree of India. It was only in the last few minutes of our time on the scenic trail, however, that we saw an elephant among the trees!! Everyone shifted to one side of the van to take pictures and capture the joy of the moment! It was a great ending to our day “off!”