I have aptly titled this story as you read along you will know why i chose this title.
Nagarhole: A beautiful park which has the backdrop of the (distant) misty blue Brahmagiri Mountain , is also called the "Rajiv Ghandhi National park" which is about 94km from Mysore and 234km from Bangalore. The best way to reach this place is by having your own vehicle, as the public transport like bus is not frequent and easy.
I visited nagarhole as a volunteer in Dr.Krithi Karanths project. I reached around afternoon an met Krithi and the rest of the group during lunch. After lunch we headed to visit the various home stays as part of her project. Coorge has many home stays as there are lots of coffee plantations. The people were very warm an i was really surprised at their hospitality.W e were placed in the jungle dormitory. We got back around 6 pm and during the ride back in the jungle we saw a Gaur grazing in the distance,Spotted dear every where and wild boars eating.
When we reached we saw a pack of wild dogs . It was my first sighting of a pack :) i was totally excited. They really didn't seem to mind our watchful eyes as we admired them rolling and playing with each other. I love their coat colour and these Dholes are surely admirable in their hunting skills. We watched them till the sun set.
The next morning we left and headed out as we had a number of home stay places to visit and each of us went our own way. Let me tell you that the distance between the home stays were minimum 2 km and all of us had a really long day. I walked on small roads with plantations on my sides and no one in sight. It felt like i was in a lonely, calm place. During my visits i met interesting people. I thank them for being generous. I also got to know that the local people the farmers carry out poaching for mostly bush meat, i was saddened at this. I spoke to a few more places and many mostly had problems with the elephants. Poaching of bush meat is rampant in all parks. That evening was a quite evening and we headed to bed early. I was up early as i was on the ground thruthing rounds. We left in the jeep and took the readings(gps) of villages quite a distant away from the park. A rough drive as the roads were terrible. Headed back early afternoon and saw a Crested Serpent eagle along the drive. We had a good lunch and i took a nap. The rest arrived later and we chatted about each ones day. After dinner Krithi asked us to drop our backs off at her lodge which was a more than 100 meters from the dormitory. Since we had only 2 jeeps some1 suggested that the bags would go in one. Chimayi, Arjun, Krithi, Praveen and me headed to the lodge. There are two paths, ones a short cut(Mud path) the other a little longer (Tar road). We stuck to the road and half way down we heard some1 shouting and then a torch flashed. The Fd were chasing a herd of elephants back to the forest. They were a big herd of about 25-30, with calves. Praveen headed back to quieten the rest of the group.
We were in awe and felt so close to seeing them. Chinmayi and me had our bags. As we reached the range office the guard shouted at us saying there were elephants near by, thinking he was speaking about the herd we saw moving away we felt relieved. Suddenly, we here a trumpet not far behind us,someone had chased them towards us not realizing we were there. That trumpet was the scariest thing iv heard. Our hearts stopped an some fell bruising their knees. All we could think was RUN!!!!!!!!. We ran , me and Chinmayi bags an all. Arjun saw the bus open and ran to it with Chinmayi. Kirthi and me ran the only place safe was the lodge, to the right is a steep fall into the forest and to the left the elephants running. I could hear my heart beat so loud and heard Arjun shout saying the elephants were getting close. I could see an elephant at the corner of my eye,we were heading the same way. Our minds numb we reached the stairs just as the elephants ran to the back of the lodge. That moment was one filled with astonishment, wonder, the feeling that we missed death. It made us weak-kneed. After all that me and chimayi had to head back to our room. Adding to my displeasure of heading on the same path where i was chased, there were a few wild boars. Walking back that road made my heart pound so much, the moment i reached i was glad i was back on my cot in the dom. The events that had unfolded were all we spoke about that night.
The next morning we left to Kabini for the next part of the study. The drive was fun as we were all cramped in a small jeep. The group got along well and we stopped at a river to eat. On our way we saw a lovely Oriental honey buzzard feeding on a cobra. As we went a little closer he flew away with the snake in his talons, the snake wiggled and fell. The cobra raised his hood and went into the bushes. WHAT A SIGHT !!. We reached Kabini at 2 and had a good buffet lunch. Jungle lodges was a really lovely place. The scenery was beautiful. The Bandipur range of hills on the left and Nagarhole on the right with the beautiful kabini backwaters.
We went on a safari and our highlight was seeing a lovely feline cat, the Leopard. I'm always in Awe of the cat family their grace and beauty , their sheer power leave me with nothing but respect. We came upon a herd of Gaurs which i should mention is Arjun's favorite mammal. He feels their like ballerinas :) i find it funnily interesting at his description.
Next day i interviewed few resorts after that we went on the boat safari. I thoroughly enjoyed this one as i v never been on a boat safari. they took us along the river and we saw lots of spotted deer, sambars, a few mongooses playing, wild boars busily hogging, a tusKer eating his bamboo and a few monkeys playing about.We also saw cormorants and painted storks.
Nature’s great masterpiece; an elephant, the only harmless great thing.
In the morning we went on a safari and as we reached the entrance of the jungle our jeep breaks down. What luck i must say! so we waited an finally the next jeep comes. a little ahead we saw a mother elephant with her calf. They were busily eating.
The mother elephant crosses the road with her calf. Suddenly she turns and heads straight at our jeep. She didn't look too pleased i must say. The jeep guy didn't move and went a little forward, she stopped and turned away taking her calf along. A little nerve racking for sure.
We got to hear an alarm call of a sambar and stopped to see if a predator was close by. It was a lovely drive through the jungle and we saw the chitals, sambars , a few more elephants and the same tusker near the bank. We also came across a leopard pug mark. On reaching the lodges, we went on the coracle boat ride. It was so much fun as he made it go round an round at the center of the lake.
This is one of the most eventful trips i v had. I saw so much of wildlife and enjoyed being around it.