Assam Wildlife Reserves Amritsar and the Raj in Calcutta.

Phil Cooper

East Midlands
Rotary, U3A, possibly Probus, schools could be a consideration
31st January 2018
Assam Kaziranga | Rhino | Calcutta | Amritsar

The most famous reserve in Assam is probably Kaziranga, where there are half the worlds population of One Horned Rhinos. The conservation efforts mean that it is now viewed not as endangered, but vulnerable. Unfortunately poachers are still active. Beneath the foothills of the Himalayas, Nameri has great views looking towards them and the birdlife extensive, with species such as the Red Hornbill. Down by the river, we found more wildlife such as the Assam Roofed Turtle. On the banks of the Brahmaputra the villagers at Pobitora are at risk from the monsoon floods. Therefore the dwellings are on stilts and boats are used during this period. Here I came across the rare sight of a Hog Eagle feasting on a Cattle Egret. Manas was pleasant and we passed on jeep safari animals such as the Bengal Monitor Lizard, the Giant Squirrel and wild boars. Amritsar of course is the holiest centre for the Sikhs, with the impressive Golden Temple. A journey out to the India Pakistan border at Wagah was an experience never forgotten! The buildings relating to the time of the East India Company in Calcutta and the Raj, I found fascinating, particularly the Writers Building where the clerks worked away. Historically sporting places such as the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club 1792, the second oldest in the world and the Royal Calcutta Golf Club 1829, where a joy to visit. Of course a trip without watching a day at the test match at Eden Gardens completed the sporting experience. There is a sting in the tail, as I also found in London something relating to earlier British trading activity. Some will have visited Delhi. However I focus on areas people may not necessarily have been to, relating to the Indian Mutiny, such as the Ridge and the Nicholson Cemetery.

About Phil Cooper

I am a former graduate Biology teacher and also coached cricket for 24 seasons. mainly in New Zealand and Scotland. as a professional. I currently spend the early part of the year in New Zealand and I have delivered several talks, often in New Zealand, which of course I also have an extensive knowledge of having visited the country 14 times.

I continued to travel once I retired. I am prepared to give talks relating to my travel experiences to places, often with a historical background and often not readily visited. These include the Silk Road in Central Asia and Western China, Syria and Jordan, India, Cuba and Peru.

The last trip I undertook was to Northern India and the wildlife reserves in Assam, such as Kaziranga, where there is a large variety of wildlife, including the vulnerable One Horned Rhino. This is the basis of a talk which was well received at Havelock North Rotary Club, Hawkes Bay New Zealand in February 2018.

I look back at my trip in the Middle East - from Cairo to Istanbul and reflect on what I saw then and what I see currently in places like Aleppo. However the highlight for me was the crusader fortress of Krak des Chevaliers, which is shown on the photo I have included. This was described by TE Lawrence as "perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world".

I research the topics thoroughly and I provide a narrative and background to illustrated talks. I operate on a voluntary basis and am prepared to travel within reasonable distances from my home in North Nottinghamshire.

 Central Asia Talk Feedback

This part of Central Asia included in particular Kunya Urgench, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. The buildings are simply stunning and the area is historically very interesting. It is the arena where the Great Game was played out, the political and diplomatic confrontation between Britain and Russia in the 19th century, which was described by one of the audience as fascinating.

"Very interesting talk. I could hear every word. I knew nothing about this area and learnt a lot. Pleased I came!!"

"A very interesting and thought provoking talk."

"Managed to tie in a wide land and historical areas in a concise and interesting way. Gave a wider understanding of the history of these areas which I had not come across before. Would have liked photos of the surrounding countryside."

Some felt there was perhaps a lot of information to handle, others would have liked more information about other areas such as the geography. The word interesting cropped up many times.

Send a message to the speaker

If you are interested in this talk and wish to contact the speaker, please complete the following form:

Please provide your contact name
Please provide the name of your group
Your phone number so that the speaker can contact you
Your email address so that the speaker can contact you
Give details about the event, time of day and location