Three friends living across states and yet planning for a quick getaway can be a Herculean task. After office hours, we put in full efforts for travel planning. We chose Gopalpur-on-sea as our destination. After meticulous planning, we reached our destination without much ado. We stayed in Hotel Seaside breeze. Local sightseeing included Chilka lake boat ride, Rushikulya beach, Dhableswar beach, Gopalpur Light house, Tara Tarini Temple.
After Local sightseeing, we decided to hit an off beat destination. Lot of discussions later, we decided to go to Vetnai or Bhetanai – Home to Blackbucks ,by auto. Blackbucks are endangered antelopes (included in Schedule I of Indian Wildlife Act, 1972) . Local villagers take care of them as they roam around freely in their natural habitat.
Below is the Map to reach Bhetanai from Gopalpur
Since we continued the same auto services, our auto driver painstakingly got information on how to reach as its lesser-known spot. Google maps can be misguiding, so it is better to ask local residents, specially near Rotaries. Easiest way to go is to start from Balugaon. It took us more than 2 hours to reach from Gopalpur.
It’s a quaint village with immensely large fields. We left our driver to catch power nap while we wandered around aimlessly in the fields looking for blackbucks. That day I realized that I have unforgivable photography skills. As soon as I spotted one blackbuck, I started sauntering towards it. Of course, it started running much to my friends’ chagrin. Only after several admonishments, did I decide to slow down, hold my breath to capture the black beauties. . One twitch on dry twig and the blackbuck will start running, so be cautious.
One thing for sure, these nearly endangered antelopes are beauty to behold with their beautiful ringed and long horns. There is a sanctuary nearby where wounded or sick Blackbucks are treated. It is off- limits to tourists.We spent some time patiently waiting for other Blackbuck sightings without any luck.
Off-beat locations can be daunting, specially for girls traveling alone. However we did not face any troubles and our auto-driver was very accommodating and always on time.
There are lot of dhabas on the way to Vetnai but do carry bottles of water. Also as a word of caution, unlike me, please have patience and maintain silence when you are looking out for Blackbucks.