Without actually visiting it, we crossed Nameri National Park on our way to Arunachal and then on our way back, we stopped at Eco camp, so we managed to get some glimpses of it at different times. On our way to Arunachal, my first memory is that of a roller coaster ride on an excavated road and being suddenly stopped by an elephant, with its trunk knocking at the driver’s window. As I was curiously looking, driver rolled down the window glass, handed over a 10 Rs note to the elephant and it moved on to the next car. The driver then told us that unless you pay the elephant, they would not let you pass, a kind of elephant tax. Obviously their owners have trained them for this act. For the first time visitor it is an interesting act, as you suddenly see the elephants behaving pretty much like beggars on city streets or sometimes may be cops.
On the way back, by the time we crossed Balukpong, we were tired after a long drive and it was getting too dark to drive on those non-existent roads. Nameri Eco-camp board showed up and we decided to check it out. Thankfully, due to low season, the place was available and we parked ourselves there for the night. Eco camp is a place that any nature lover would love to stay in except the fact that you have to deal with the mosquitoes on your own. They have beautiful huts and tents with attached bathrooms in an open ground, that is punctuated with benches made of wood logs and colorful swings. A corner restaurant serves simple but wholesome food, and displays information about the park. This property is a part of an old Angling club that still operates from here.
Early morning next day, we went walking to the Nameri (I assume the name) river through a mud path, that had all the signs telling that an elephant had passed through the path in last couple of hours. We were advised to stick to the path and not get into the forest and we adhered. River was a delight at that early morning hour. Pristine blue water, stones on the banks, one off boat crossing the river, and countable number of people, the stuff dreams are made of. The cool breeze passing through the hair with feet in the water and your body resting on a large stone are some moments take make the whole journey worth it, you forget all the trouble you had taken to reach the place and relish every moment there. Across the river you can see some wild animals if you are lucky, and this is where I missed my binoculars the most. It was the most tranquil moment of my whole North East trip.
Roam around the place to see a small temple below a tree that looks beautiful as it adds the bright red color to the otherwise all green place. There is a fishery where the new varieties of fish are bred, studied, documented and then left in the river. There are colorful butterflies and birds and you would be tempted to capture them in your camera but they do not oblige so easily. Look at the dormitory that can accommodate 12-15 people at one go, so that the place is accessible to everyone. During the season you can go rafting, angling and enter the reserve area to meet some wild residents there.