It has been over 20 years since I first came to Bandipur and five since I made Dhole’s Den my home. Making it a home has been a long journey for me, let me share with you some details which have so far been known only among a close group of friends. Having travelled the length and breadth of India and after residing in an alien land for 12 long years , I was convinced that I was not going to let my roots find a firm ground in Europe. I had never really left India thus chancing upon Bandipur was more like a homecoming to me.
I came to Bandipur with an idea of find my roots in a place where I haven’t lived earlier. However I must admit that it did not seem like a strange land at all. Although the people spoke a different tongue and the environs were wilder than the city life I had led so far, it was simply adventurous from the very onset.
Eventually I made a home out of Bandipur and it was finally finding a place where nature manifested itself in all its glory. Bandipur still retains the essence of the wild which rules the place and have not yet succumbed to human control.
There is a whiff of fresh air here that does not come through the air-conditioner and does not have a propeller that gives it a push, but is laced with the smell of earth, truth, and at times, wild. Bandipur has given me the freedom that I was looking for. It let my spirit loose and opened my senses to things that can only be perceived by being here.
If not for Dhole’s Den- our safari-homestay here, I would not have realized the array of hidden treasures which I previously remained unaware of. We humans are hunters and gatherers and for once I did realize that my life is more than acquiring material things; it is more about ‘living’. My home, built on a farm, is therefore christened ‘Uhuru’, meaning ‘freedom’ in Swahili.
These woods made me discover and realise the connection that I felt with animals, particularly the canines. Dhole’s Den was the reason I decided to have a dog at our place and was eventually introduced to our native-breeds by our consultant who, single-handedly worked out the entire eco-friendly measure at Dhole’s Den. The more I read about hounds, more interested I became about their clan. Hounds, I realized were the closest I could get to wild dogs and the wolf, both the species towards which I have a special liking.
We are still on a voyage of discovery in our lives here in Bandipur, and we do have tremendous hopes from this place that we call home. One of which we have fulfilled already, a place which we share with like minded guests and people at Dhole’s Den. For those who haven’t yet experienced the magic and awe that only Bandipur has to offer, I extend my friendship and welcome you to Bandipur.