Chupi – Wings of flying colors
A villager in the autumn of his life recounts the day in 1985-86 when the residents were shaken out of their beds by a violent earth-shattering sound. With daybreak people rushed to the source of sound, the river side to witness a rare catatonic event where river Bhagirathi has changed her course by some whim of nature leaving behind a portion of a mighty meander in her body as an ox-bow lake stretching for about 10 kms. Toeing the name of Chupi village nearby, the lake was christened Chupi. From then it has been a fixed home for birds.
To help conserving and protecting birds, Kasthasali Banabithi, an NGO was later created. This 13 member group headed by Achinta Singh looks after the upkeep of the lake. These people, die hard nature lovers, look after the vast hoards of birds and also keep a watchful eye on the tourists who come here for picnics. Playing music at high volume is banned here, so is use of plastic. Fishing in the lake and noisy parties around it is also a no-no. Parijaayi Abason, a mini lodging place has also come up here with the assistance of Zila Parishad and Forest Dept. Double bed rooms come at 300 bucks per day. There is provision of food also. Boats are available to tour the lakes, so are guides to help identify the birds. The guides don’t have any fixed rate, they are happy with the tip you give them. In 2006, a group from BBC scouted here to shoot a documentary. It is also in the list of state’s conserved lakes.
Chupi village also has beautiful hand-woven taant saris. A short tout there reveals the dependence of a sizeable population on this craft, even women. Chupi’s local delicacy, Sandesh made from Gur is also at its best in the winter months. The best time to visit here is winter.
Contact persons: Nabibaksh Shekh (Ph 9732142362), Achinta Singha (Ph 9732377088)
Article: Sujit Sengupta, English version by Kush