A platform like place built on a tree during hunting session in forest or in a field to keep track of animals that can cause harm to the crops is termed as a machan. Also built in wild life reserves for watching the animal movement, machan is built high enough to give a clear view […]
A platform like place built on a tree during hunting session in forest or in a field to keep track of animals that can cause harm to the crops is termed as a machan. Also built in wild life reserves for watching the animal movement, machan is built high enough to give a clear view of the surroundings which cannot be seen from ground level. It is an age old method that has travelled through the life of maharajas(even much earlier) and is still in use.
Being on a machan may seem adventurous for a while, but for those who have spent days altogether it is a routine experience though with the element of fear, specifically in jungles. Seeing a machan in any Indian movie may inculcate feelings of romance and thrill, but for the people who have to be there forcibly even in a field the experience is hectic as one has to stay awake most of the time guarding the area.
In a field, standing on 4 pillar like structures, machans are the watch-towers where villagers take turns to guard the field against cows, buffalos, and blue-bulls commonly referred to as neelgaya. During the harvest season when the fields have crops dancing through the day, the fear of being attacked by wild herbivorous animals is very common. Hence the need of a machan.
There have also been incidents of wild ferocious animals entering fields in search of food at night who attack the cow sheds and drag away animals. Also cases of men and children being hunted down by panthers and hyenas have been very frequently heard of in the villages which have dense forests on one of the sides. In such cases, too, machans have been of some help.
The idea of being on a machan does sound interesting to most of us. Keeping aside the real machan points, many places have machans built only for the fun of it. It does feel good to take a look at the far off places from a machan. Giving a sense of excitement, spending nights on a machan have become part of trekking events, too. The feel of being in a forest, though not a wild forest, one can actually enjoy and also imagine being part of forest forever and experiencing the howling of jackals at night may give a shiver though the satisfaction of being away and at a height makes you feel secure.
Being high up there can be real adventurous if and when you get to spot two bright shining eyes a little far from you and you cannot actually say what it is. Every fibre in your body moves upright when the thought of a panther watching you hits your mind. It can be more of a release of that chemical in you when you find out a little later that it was a mere cat or a big buffalo suddenly out in need of mice or water.
Machans have flooded a lot of travel blogs where people have shared their experiences of being in a jungle and scared to the extent of an extremely dry throat or perspiration. People who have a thrill for watching wild life opt for machan treks where they spend days and nights only to experience the real fear of being amongst panthers, lions, tigers and other such preying animals.
On the lighter side of the story, Bollywood film industry has shot a lot of machan songs. Even eat-out places with village get-up have a machan built to give it the real look of a village which people enjoy.