For the King´s Return
Palpur Kuno in Crowning Glory
by Raja Chatterjee
Warmth of the Autumn sun woke me up. My eyes opened up to the stunning beauty of the Sanctuary framed out of windows of the forest rest house. A vast sea of pale green forest engulfs the horizon and is handsomely guarded by a hillock at hand. A tranquil river flows just beneath the FRH with its bank dotted with deer, peacocks, plovers and a crocodile.
It is the uncrowned kingdom of Palpur with its queen, the river Kuno, craddled in wildlife sanctuary called Palpur Kuno.
This land, where once lions reigned supreme over the centuries, is today treaded by the dreaded dacoits of Chambal, changed its fame for
all wrong reasons. In nature's opulence around, my heart reverberates a prayer – for return of the king of jungle.
We arrived at Palpur Kuno last evening taking a daylong drive from Orchha via Jhansi, Shivpuri, Pohari and Sessaipura. It was a traffic less windy highway, flanked by vast starches of arid and sparsely forested land, thinly populated countryside and quite often crossing the gun wielding bikers.
From Sessaipura the road goes to Sheopur in the west towards Rajasthan border, where the river Chambal demarcates the state border between Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. As the setting sun kissed the horizon, leaving the main road at Sessaipura, we took right turn and drove along unmetalled road towards the forest. Darkness fell all over as we moved past the last village on the way. We continued for two hours through dense forest to reach the Palpur FRH (32 kms), located in the core area, in complete darkness of new moon. to finally reach this Chambal land, luckily enough unchallenged!
Palpur Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Sheopur district on the northern part in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. In the lap of Central Indian hill range of Vindhyas, the sanctuary donned with deep gorges, extremely rugged terrain. A top view taken at the map of this sanctuary would suggest, amazingly, the shape of a leaf bitten at the edges by a caterpillar and of which the Kuno river forms its mid-rib.