There is not a soul around for miles. Cool breeze is blowing. Rustling of leaves makes music. Wind flowing through trees makes song.
There is vast expense of undulating meadow with patches of woods here and there. There is dense forest beyond.
I am sitting comfortably in the veranda of a cosy, luxurious, tastefully furnished Forest Rest House. I can see 180° of meadow around. There are langurs busy feeding or chasing each other. They become conspicuous when one or two of them drop down from a tree with a thud and make dash to some other favourite tree.
Lazily, I look towards my right. Without a sound or sign, a group of 7 Cheetals crosses the dust track in a file from one patch to the other, about a 100 m away.
Straight in front of me is a huge tree outside the fence of the FRH. About 40 feet above the ground, I see a big honey comb. I take a closer look with a binocular – yes, the work is in progress. I can see about 2 dozen bees humming around.
The place is a dreamland. One ends up in slumbering in the sofa on veranda and dream – goodness, beauty, joy… This is Adwar in Bisonghat Range of Kanha.
These days, 4 G advertisement is conspicuous. The clear idea is that remote and out of this world parts of the country – Himalayas, Rainforest, North East..- have connectivity of 4 G. Adwar is 4 G site but luckily without 4 G connectivity.
There are two suits – decor is classic. British time furniture, raised bed with mosquito net, dressing table, brass taps…Some very old crockery and a ceramic water filter are prominently displayed in the dining hall.
And here we are in the dining hall, all set for breakfast. A lavish, royal breakfast is laid out, which includes Continental – milk & cornflake, omelette, fruit juices and fresh fruits (papaya, apple, grapes…); Desi – parantha and subji topped with Rasagulla (sweet, syrupy fluffy balls of milk based product). After 15 minutes, the final course is desi masala tea – pure milk in which tea leaves and some herbs e.g. cardamom have been boiled and ample sugar added. (I am telling all these details to water you mouth.)
I must add here that this luxury is because of the grand host – Jasbir Singh Chauhan, the grand man of Kanha.
Jasbir tell me that there used to be a forest village by the name Adwar around here. It was part of Kanha Tiger Reserve and was relocated after the Project Tiger scheme of Government of India was launched in 1973 to consolidate tiger land.
Adwar must have been an important place for the British, to build a Forest Rest House here – probably for timber from forest around. Or, maybe, they too liked the song and music. This rest house was in a very bad state and has been restored by Kanha team – major effort has been that of Mr Bhura Gayakwad, Range officer, under Jasbir’s guidance and advice.
Incidentally, Adwar village continues to find mention even in Census 2011 data, though it was relocated long ago. Also, one jewellery making company in New York is using Adwar name – Adwar Casting Company – most appropriate, Adwar landscape is indeed a jewel in nature.