Exploring Nature and wildlife - Karnataka
Planning our next vacation outside Tamil Nadu was not easy for us. Our initial plan was BR Hills however due to accommodation issue we decided to go to Nagarhole Tiger Reserve. Though tickets are already pre-booked to Mysore, the change of plan did not affect us as both BR Hills and Nagarhole are almost 90km from Mysore facing opposite direction. Why Nagarhole? Yes, if you want to experience the raw wildlife this place is the best choice. It is a wildlife sanctuary and it is declared as thirty seventh Project Tiger reserve in 1999. As a Tiger reserve, getting access to this place is very easy however there are lot of restrictions and regulation which is adequate to preserve our nature.Unless booking is done in advance you cannot get the government accommodations at the sanctuary.We reached Mysore at 7AM;our cab was waiting for us to pick up.Our driver Naveen welcomed us with a big smile. After came the big silent that who is going to communicate with him as none of them knew Kanada.Thank God!! He understood our own language.We (7 members) accommodated ourselves comfortably in the SUV leaving our luggage at the rear and headed straight towards our destination. As the clock hit 9 we stopped at a motel for breakfast. The motel received many tourists as it is in the main route to reach Coorg. They served common varieties like idly with vada, dosa, etc. however chowchow bath was something new we heard so we did a try and perhaps it become our favourite one. Nearby, a roadside watermelon shop.We picked one for later consume. We travelled via Hanasur / Madikeri road to reach Nagarhole.
Ahead of a few kilometres from the Sanctuary we can feel that we are entering the Forest. Evergreen atmosphere, big trees, pollution free breeze and especially no sing of human habitat. Travelling throughout the national park we saw only 2 to 3 SUVs passing that road and they should also be tourist we guess. As we approach the park there were many Chitalin small group on both side of the road.When we stopped for clicking some pictures they did not mind us, they were busy grazing. After finishing check post formalities we drive through the forest. We were asked not to get down from our vehicle, avoid honking, over speeding and no music etc… we did follow
Reaching Nagarhole forest office at noon we enquired about the Safari timing. They offer safari for visitors between 6 to 8AM and 3 to 5PM. Booking is not done in advance, only few minutes before the safari starts. They have mini bus cost 300rs per head and a 4x4 gypsy 3000rs for six members. Since all government guest houseswere already booked we decided to stay at Kutta, a nearby small town from the national park.Arriving at Kutta, we leased a home stay for reasonable price. We did not have more time to relax as we planned for 3pm Safari at Nagarhole. So refreshment and lunch was in a hurry.
The safari begins!! 18kmsinto the forest (~1:30 hours)
Though we trekked many forest of the Western Ghats we never have been to safari earlier. Everyone’s curiosity level increases as the vehicle passes through the forest. There are many safari routes and entry is permitted only for forest safari vans and gypsies. The vehicle maintained well thus preventing any sort of noise that could alert the animals. All were eagerly waiting to spot the wilderness. As our vehicle slowly progressed into the jungle we came across many chitals and barking deers. They are used to the routine visitors so they did not consider us as a threat. Covering further more we spotted a sambar which disappeared in the bush after seeing us,but later down the track there were few big ones which didn’t mind to give a pose. We eventually lost interest after sighting more deers and our focus turned towards spottinga Big Cat as well as Elephants. Being a tiger reserve spotting one is not a miracle however your luck really matters. The bus which left shortly before us was halted in the middle. Noticing the passenger’s body language we thought they have spotted something fishy and we too stared at same direction wondering what it could be.Nothing was found. Going past the bus our driver enquired what they saw; they said it was an Indian Gaur. Since we have spotted enough guars in our earlier trips to Western Ghats we did not mind that we missed them. All we wanted to see is a Tiger. Soon the rain started to make us worry as animals never show up during rain. Until the safari came to an end the sky was pouring heavily. In the last moment we saw a prolonged peacock, wild boar and a gigantic eagle. Irrespective of any animal it be, there are lot of difference between spotting them behind the cage and wild;we felt it is worth spending for this safari.
Saying goodbye to Nagarhole we left to Kutta.Spending that evening with tea and snacks we relaxed in our room. Knowing that we are tourist the local hotel we had dinner charged us really high for an average quality food. It was intolerable but we know there is no use of arguing as their intention was to cheat. From this we learnt a lesson that we must always ask for menu with price prior to ordering. Before bed we conducted wrestling competition within us that we will never forget. The tag team champions are Siva and Kishore.
Following day we experienced a tourist attracting Iruppu falls, independently remote Chelevara falls and elephants threat Chomakund peak.
It was 9am in the morning when we vacated Kutta and headed towards above destinations. After travelling 40kms we reached Iruppu falls. It is located in the Brahmagiri Range in the Kodagu district of Karnataka. The best time to visit is during the monsoons, when the falls is at full capacity and is a breathtaking sight.This place is famous to sight numerous species of butterflies. We paid 30rs per head to enter the falls. The falls is situated 0.75km from the counter. It was a beautiful view from the down. Spending some quality time we returned, on our way the colourful butterflies showed up for the pictures.
That noon passed, we went to another falls named Chelevara. It is one of the most beautiful water falls in Coorg. The water fall is really a wonder full view as the water gushes from the top amidst the green coffee plantation. The best part of visiting Chelavara falls is that ‘Chomakund’ a renowned hill is just 2 kms away from here.
Chomakund is an awesome place surrounding with lush green shrubs and trees and is almost covered in fog most of the time. Can you believe!! One can also get a glance of the Arabian Sea from here. Road to Chomakund was very bad so we started to walk ahead of the actual trekking route.
It was a mesmerising view the peak offered us. It recollected our memories of our earlier trek to Kudremukh peak. The thick lush forest on one end, and mist covered mountains and terrains on the other. We estimated the sun set in another one hour so we decided to sit for a while and relish the peak until then. While Kishore, Raja and Ranju stayed at one spot, others progressed a little further for experiencing a great view. I remember, at first Gankotter heard the trumpet of the elephants, and later everyone. We assumed they are at quite far distance. But at the other end, Kishore and co did not hear them so we rushed to their place and shared the message. They were also excited but we felt not to take chance to trek further more because the Sun already started to set, and we did not bring any light source.We suddenly heard a sound of cracker at same place where we heard the elephant trumpet, it kept echoing every 30 seconds. We knew that local tribes trying to distract the tuskers to stay away from their properties by throwing crackers on them. We were in a deep shock after hearing the thud sound of the angry animal approaching towards our direction however we could not see anything in the lush forest. Luckily we came down without any hurdle; there we met a local man who confirmed the herd entered tribe’s territory hence it was chased to forest by throwing crackers.
Later the chaotic incident we left to Coorg to spend the night and last day of our trip.
Later the chaotic incident we left to Coorg to spend the night and last day of our trip.
We reached Coorg around 10pm, it was freezing cold there. We stayed in a 60 years old bungalow consisting 5 master bedrooms, a big dining hall, a wide spread veranda in the front overall with beautiful ambience. Due to tiredness we did not set a camp fire but we danced a little for the “Kodava Valaga”, the Coorgi wedding band that we heard from the neighbouring wedding mahal. Later, we left for dinner to best choice hotel opposite Jothi theatre showing Linga movie that few of our boys decided to watch after dinner however we are late for the show so the plan was dropped.We crashed to bed soon after we reached our cottage.
Next day, we woke up bit late, packed our belongings, and left to explore Mandalpatty view point. This place is accessible only via Jeep that plies locally sowe hired one for 1500rs. The road condition was very worst, actually I shouldn’t say the word ‘road’ because there ain’t any road. Travelling on the ghat roadwe bounce around the corners inside the jeep. No other vehicle can make it to this peak other than a jeep or 4power SUV having high ground clearance.The peak received many visitors round the clock. Though the place was good we are not too much attracted since it is a tourist spot after all, and we have been to places remoter than this by trekking. The only thing we enjoyed was the Jeep travel. On our way back, Revanth challenged the driver for climbing a steep route which he thought difficult; but the driver managed to pull it off nevertheless all of us went in vein the moment we realised the jeep was on the edge of the cliff.
While returning to Mysore we had plenty full of time, so we decided to visit Namdroling Monastery, The Golden Temple at Bylakuppe. I have no words to describe about beauty of the temple; you can look at the pictures.As a last thing of our trip we went to Mysore palace (thought it was closed by the time we reached) and spent some time there, and later boarded our train to Chennai to begin our routing busy works.