TheUntamedEarth @ 30 th Pakshi Mitra Sammelan ( PMS )
7th & 8th January 2017- AmbaJogai.
The 30th PMS offered us an opportunity to visit the mid eastern part of Maharashtra which we had never seen. Additionally, the Yogeshwari temple in AmbaJogai happenes to be one the important temples in the state. For us it meant that we could discover a new region, meet and make new friends and share a small presentation with bird lovers from the state.
Overnight train to Latur and then a ST ride to AmbaJogai brought us to our destination. The venue was close by and was bustling with bird lovers. A wedding hall was now put to use as the venue and was suitably modified.
The inaugural programme was impressive with all the dignitaries voicing their sentiments about the challenges facing the organization, the bird lovers but mainly the birds as a community, because of indiscriminate development. An E book on the butterflies of Western Ghats by Dr Raju Kasambe of BNHS was also released. The presentations which followed were pertinent to the theme, ‘conservation of birds under unfavouarble circumstances’. At the end of the day, we saw wonderful performances presented by school children, based on environmental concerns. The meals were simple but served lovingly.
The organizers also had some competitions for school children and there was a photo exhibition by the talented duo of Mr Rajendra Dumane and Shrikrishna Patil of Aurangabad, The images were a stunning collection of moments from the amazing lives of birds.
We decided to visit the legendary AmbaJogai Yogeshwari temple close by. It is one of the important ‘Devi’ temples in the state and one of the Shakti Peeth. The hour was not crowded and we were blessed with a wonderful ‘Darshan’.
The next day was an outing near the ‘samadhi’ mandir/ temple of the poet saint Adya Kavi Mukundraj Swami The early morning chill meant every one was in warm clothing … a variety of birds were spotted … the terrain is an afforested region which looked pretty bare in January. There were tell tale signs of a water fall which trickled down to form a small rivulet. We were told that there were a lot of peacocks and suddenly they came in to the view. The bare hill tops made their sighting quite easy. An unidentified raptor flew overhead and also some painted storks … indicating that a water body was close by. A lot of bird activity could be heard, chiefly the babblers … I decided to climb down the steep, winding road to the water’s edge … here the vegetation seemed more natural and dense as well as green. The water flow had brought down all the plastic waste from the hill top … the ‘yatra’ a few days earlier only added to this menace and the entire stretch was only filled with plastic carry bags. But there were birds …foraging, unmindful of this garbage all around them. There were Teals, Wagtails, Lapwings, Doves, Pond Herons, Robins …. The steep winding road had a fair traffic from the villages below to AmbaJogai. We could see a lot of milk being transported.
The second day was on … This Sammelan saw the introduction of the Late Prakash Gole Memorial Lecture. This year the lecture titled, ‘ Global Warming and its likely effects on birds !’, was delivered by Shri Sanjeev Nalawade, in the presence of Smt Swati Gole. The PMS was initiated by late Shri Prakash Gole and this movement has now permeated across the state to see the 30th edition in AmbaJogai. ( He also went on to establish the Ecological Society of India.)
Our presentation titled, ‘Heronry in the Urban Jungle of Dadar, Mumbai’ had a good audience and was well received. It is about our documentation of the nesting of Night herons and Cattle Egrets over almost a six month period, on trees lining some roads in Dadar. We have to remember that these roads have fair vehicular traffic and human activities. We were delighted that all our efforts to put it together were fruitful.
Following the concluding ceremony, we moved off and a quick drive brought us to Latur to board our overnight train to Mumbai.
The sheer enthusiasm of the organizers in AmbaJogai, the excellent management of the programme, the extensive and beautiful press coverage would go a long way to instill and nurture love for the birds and this will only grow as the Sammelan moves through out the length and breadth of the state.
For us, our cup was running over, what with the presentation, meeting old friends and making a lot of new friends … the sheer warmth and the glow of the 30th PMS was more than enough to combat the cold of AmbaJogai
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Chairperson of the Sammelan : Prof Vijay Diwan
YES Foundation – Youth Environmental Sevabhavi Sanstha – AmbaJogai & Forest Dept, Beed
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Mumbai – Latur – Mumbai : Latur Express
Latur - AmbaJogai : Well connected with frequent ST buses
Stay in AmbaJogai : Hotel Sai Palace … reasonable tariff ( INR 900 – 1200 /- ) … clean room and clean toilet … a tad slow on service
Local Travel : Auto rickshaw … the base fare is Rs 10 INR per head and is determined by the distance … negotiable over longer distances.
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