The superstar opens up on his favourite destinations
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"Oww...are...we...there...owww...yet?” When your sentences come out like this, you know you are truly offroading. I was in Nagaland for a wildlife feature. And this was an unplanned offroading outing. You see, we had expected roads where there were none. Let’s jog back to how I got here...
For a wildlife enthusiast like me, the discovery of an erstwhile “extinct in the wild” turtle species was big news. It was also the reason I was on my way to the Wozhu Tsophow wetlands near Akuk village in Wokha. In search of the freshwater, black, soft-shell turtle, our team took the well-known route to what is now the only existing natural habitat of these turtles: Dimapur-Kohima-Wokha-Akuk. And then, the rains came. But what harm could a little precipitation do, right? Not much to good roads, but when the entire route has disintegrated into a bed of rocks, a downpour can be catastrophic. Optimistic headlines about Northeast tourism have been a regularity of late. So I was very surprised to find such abysmal connectivity between two prominent districts, Kohima and Wokha.
We reached Wokha late on the third day, avoiding landslides on the way. After a long ride the next day, we reached Akuk only to be told by the local guides that a trek to the wetlands looked improbable. Akuk and the wetlands are definitely not places unheard of or uninhabited, but road development seems to have skipped these areas entirely. I had gone to Nagaland to look for some rare turtles that could, one day, bring hordes of tourists to the state. But I could not reach their only natural habitat because of the roads (or the absence of one). Sometimes, the road less taken is less taken for a reason, Mr Frost.
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