Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hills, Rocks, and Boulders of India-Homa

The visitors Center

It has been several months... almost years since I touched a rock with an intention of climbing it. There are no rocks or hills in Dallas area, which is in the heart of the Panhandle Plains of Texas. Last Sunday I was lucky enough to visit a place known as Indiahoma in the neighboring state of Oklahoma. This small town is home to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

The sprawl of Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, India-homa

As we drove on flat-as-a-Dosa landscape I was joking that Indiahoma and Oklahoma get their names because one of the ancient Hindu saints... Rishi Kapila traveled from Kapilaranya (California) with his cattle (Akalu in our language) and performed some sacred rituals to rid the land off its curses. Hence the state came to be known as Akalu-Homa and later became anglicized to Oklahoma. The place India-Home is the exact location of the sacred rituals and hence even today it is associated with India and Homa.

Anyway Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is quite different from Texas and I simply loved the rolling rocky hills that mark the area. This is a 59,020 acre refuge and is protected habitat for several native species that have managed to survive the Whiteman's Greed. When the first Europeans landed in this country, their sole intention was to plunder and destroy whatever they found here so they can become rich. It was only after several decades that they started settling down and forming this United States of America. Some of the commonly found species in this wildlife refuge include the American bison, (We saw many of these gentle giants) Rocky Mountain elk, white-tailed deer, Texas longhorn cattle (what are they doing in Oklahoma??? Oh! these were the ones brought in by Rishi Kapila to perform the Yanga, and they are protected because, here they are sacred). Apart from these notable creatures there are over 50 mammal, 240 bird, 64 reptile and amphibian, 36 fish, and 806 plant species thrive here.

Rocky Terrain

I will talk about the short hike we took in the refuge in my next post. For now I have to get ready and get to work... enjoy the pictures.

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