Monday, August 24, 2009
Weekend get awaY!
The perfect holiday : Whats better than a good group of friends, wildlife at its best and the back drop of the nilgiris? that's my weekend get away trip for you. Bandipur-Mudumalai has always had a special place in my heart. I v travelled a great deal to these jungles ever since i was a kid and never seem to get enough. My passion lies in these jungles and i feel the blood rushing through my veins in sheer excitement as i think of the journey ahead. The distance by road to Bandipur is 220 kms. So setting out early is a good option. We left by two cars early on Saturday morning and made good progress. We stopped over for breakfast at a restaurant just off the main road. A good South-Indian breakfast and we took off towards bandipur. The road after Mysore en route to bandipur is quit bad as they are repairing it. As we were reaching Bandipur the clouds opened up and there was a slight drizzle. We all were excited as we entered the forest gate. The feeling off being out in the wild is truly amazing,you can feel the air coursing through your lungs. The chilly air breezes on your skin adding to the excitement of the day ahead. We saw a wild boar and a few spotted deers resting and foraging as we reached bandipur just before 12. We headed to our lodge, Country classics. A fairly new place adding to the list of the other countless resorts at Masinagudi. On our arrival the owner greeted us and showed us to our room. It was a nice big room were we all could fit. The cottage was warm and comfortable.
The owner warned us that an elephant was roaming in the area and there were reports it was causing a lot of disturbance. He also showed us where it had visited the cottage area the previous night. The big foot print of the elephant was visible.
We had a chalked out what we might do for the day. We freshened up and waited for lunch, in that time we indulged ourselves in a game of cricket while acting like little children running around :) .The food was very homely with dal, chicken curry, chappathis, rice,sabji and dessert. We ate to our hearts content and then set out for the safari at theppakadu. The bus was waiting as we got there so we got in and headed in the jungle. I've honestly seen more wildlife on the roads than going in the safari. Since it was the first time for a few others we took it. We saw wildlife like elephants, spotted deer and peacocks. It was a short drive in the forest and we were out in half and hour. It was rather disappointing. One of my close buddies who is also an avid wildlife lover told me to take a road of masinagudi and drive through. We got in our cars and headed to the road to spot some more wildlife. As we were a little away from the small town i just looked out of my window and was shocked to see a wild dog. I was so excited as I've been dying to see one in the wild. We backed up and the Dhole was hiding behind a tree so i couldn't get a good shot of him. ( WITH MY camera) :) We admired him for awhile and set off down the road. We didn't see much otherwise except for spotted deers. After a short drive we came up to a dam. The sight was quite beautiful. The hills are always a beautiful back drop. We got out and took a few pictures and then headed back to the cottage. It was after six in the evening as we got onto the road towards the stay we saw a few elephants at the side of the road eating, we stopped a little further ahead and i took out my camera to get a few good shots. Sadly the elephant was
behind the bushes. A jeep came along and the locals seated in it warned us the elephants were quite aggressive. We were at a safe distance so we enjoyed watching him(elephant) eat. A car comes along and asks a friend of mine what we were admiring so he mentioned that there was a tusker and not to get out. The man nods and drives ahead with his family. This man drives a little ahead stops and gets down from his car. He walks towards the elephant, we were shocked at his behaviour. As he peeps the elephant spots him and charges towards him, luckily the elephant didn't pursue and the man ran. As he reaches his car he laughs and heads in his car. This behaviour of people i have seen many a times in these forest. When we do not respect the animals boundaries we are asking for trouble. We all watched it and wished that man could have got a good beating for his stupidity.
This keeps us discussing about animals and humans alike on our way back. We reached, freshened up and arranged for a bon fire. The night was chilly and the hills were covered with mist, the sky was cloudy. We hurdled up in the warmth of the fire and sang songs and ate yummy starters. We sat around enjoying each others company and the different smells of the jungle. Nikhil was apprehensive about the elephant paying us a visit at night so he kept a watchful eye :) I'm sure he secretly dreamed it would. We had a good meal and played a few games of uno. I dozed off as i cant stay up after my bed time :)
We got up early in the morning and got ready to trek in the jungle. We had a guide ( local) and the owner also joined us. Along our trek we spotted a few birds. I also heard the changeable hawk eagle. We saw a lovely tree house high up in the trees apparently abandoned. We continued trekking and saw lots of Malabar parakeets flying about. As we were climbing up a small hill the owner found a pug mark of a tiger. It was a huge paw print. We also saw a deer
hoofs paw print near it. It didn't leave much to imagine as to what might have happened. It was exciting to feel that a tiger would have roamed there earlier. A little further ahead i spotted a tiny frog. He was rather still and camouflaged well with the area. On the hill the guide spotted a sloth bear on the hill further away. I couldn't find the spot. A few of my friend's spotted it. They were excited with the sightings. We headed back as it was getting late since we were leaving back to bangalore. We climbed back and were waiting to have a good breakfast. Breakfast was of dosa and chutney, omelet and bread.
We packed our stuff and with a light heart set out for Bangalore. Each one thinking of the week ahead in the city filled with noise, pollution and work. Right now we were so far from all this so we wanted to enjoy our last drive through the jungle. On our way i remembered from a trip about 2 years ago i had spotted a leopard in a particular area just before u hit theppakadu. You wont believe it at the same place we spotted a leopard majestically sitting on a rock. We saw him for only a minute and he jumped into the bushes away from our eyes. It was nevertheless an exciting moment :D We also spotted a herd of Gaurs, the largest bovine in the world along with the langaurs, mongoose and peacocks.
The trip back was mostly filled with sleep, i for one slept pretty much the whole way. We stopped at about 5.30 in Mysore and had a good meal. Then the next stop was Bangalore. The ending of a journey is always the beginning of another :) Cheers to my pals for sharing these moments with me.