Bandipur – A first trip with friends from my workplace where I have been working for past 2 years!! Well that’s quite surprising to myself as to how and why it had taken such a long time to hangout with colleagues on a trip.
I am quite sure though that this is just the beginning and there are many more trips awaiting with these wonderful colleagues.
Nevertheless, the first trip was planned as always without any much thoughts. We all just wanted to hangout out somewhere for the weekend and considering the hot weather in around Bangalore, the forests of Bandipur or Nagerhole seemed to be a good option. The trip being on a long weekend, with a holiday for Good Friday, it was quite challenging to find an accommodation place within the forest range. Almost all the home-stays in Nagerhole were booked while there were very few available in the Bandipur- Madumalai region. With lot of scouting around, we were able to find a dormitory room in Bandipur forest region at Ambuja Farms. The booking was quite quick and was done without much hassles. Then came the second thought, we hadn’t thought of how to travel to the place. I had my car, my faithful accomplice for many such trips, which could accommodate just 5 while we were 7. We looked at various options including rental cars, drive-yourself cars, but were unable to find one easily. Having planned to leave early in the morning around 6 AM, it was necessary to arrange the vehicle overnight. Thanks to my brother’s contacts, we were able to find and finalize an innova late previous evening.
The vehicle and location fixed, we set out on the journey around 6.30 in the morning stopping over at the town of Bidadi to have a some Tatte Idly (A local famous breakfast dish)
Following a sumptuous breakfast, we resumed our journey stopping on the way at Mysore and Nanjangud. We reached Bandipur forest gates around 12 noon and eagerly took out cameras hoping to capture the glimpses of the local fauna. However, we were in for disappointment as we could hardly spot any animal in the mid noon heat and reached our home-stay without any luck. The home-stay was a wonderful one, located amidst the forest, surrounded by the noise of only the chirping birds. We had a heavy lunch at the home-stay and following some gossiping, decided to take some rest till 4 – 4.30 in the evening. Up fresh in the evening, we planned to go for the safari. The deserted look which the forest had in terms of wildlife changed pleasantly in the evening, for we could see large herds of deer, stags and antelopes strolling around with their young fauns.
The forest check post was surrounded by close to 200 deer and monkeys. We were excited as we felt we would be able to spot some large mammal during the safari. The excitement thought soon turned to disappointment as we told all the safari slots were full for the evening and we would have to come back in the morning. Having nothing else to do, we continued a drive in the forest road till the interstate border hoping that we could see some animals on the way. However, due to the hot weather probably, not many animals were out in the open and all we could continue to see were the deers and the monkeys. We returned to the home-stay and had a long walk along the fringes of the property.
As the night set-in we could hear the chirping of birds slowly dying away in the distance and being replaced by the noisy cicadas. We played badminton for sometime, till the time when the darkness made it practically impossible to play. We were told by the home-stay guys that the forest authorities would not allow campfires to be set up. This was quite understandable as due to the heat, all that was in the forest was dry scrubs and trees which could easily get engulfed in forest fire. We continued our gossips and chitchatting, till late in the night and probably hit the beds around 3 AM realizing we had to get couple hours of sleep before walking up for the safari.
We were up early morning and as the dawn was setting in, we could spot many deers roaming around in very close proximity to the property. We were up at the booking counter at around 6.15 AM and had to wait for 15-20 mins for the safari to begin. We had some photo sessions in the meantime. The safari started with an enthusiastic guide saying that a tiger was spotted early in the morning. While some of the others in the van were excited, we all new that this was an old trick to keep the people interested till the safari end :P. A nature and wildlife enthusiast would know well that large mammals are hard to see during the summer season as they prefer to stay much deep inside the forest where they can find some cool place to relax. Nevertheless, we were still hoping to probably catch glimpse of bison, wild elephants or any other such large animals. We were able to see just the deers, peacocks, mongoose again. The only exciting part of the safari was catching glimpse of the real “Jumbo”, the legendary Indian cricketer Anil Kumble who is also a wildlife enthusiast and Conservation activist.
As we returned back from the safari, we were able to see a small herd of domesticated elephants returning back from their morning stroll in the forest. While it was sad to see the huge animals walking around with their feet chained, it was nice to see two young calves walking along proudly strutting their trunks as if trying to wave to the onlookers.
Returning back to our homestay, we had a heavy breakfast intending it to be the brunch for the day, with some hot idlis, pongal and other delicacies. Leaving from the homestay at around 11.30 we headed back to Bangalore stopping on the way to visit the Mysore Palace and at the famous Maddur Tiffany’s for having some snacks. I must say the taste of the famous maddur vada and dosa at this place has deteriorated 🙁 . I might very well give it a miss next time around. We had plans of visiting the KRS dam as well as the Brindavan gardens. We however, decided to give it a miss as we all felt it would be better to reach Bangalore early to try and avoid the large pile up of traffic expected from the returning vehicles after a long weekend. It was a good thought in the end as we were able to reach Bangalore from Mysore in about 3 hours beating the traffic. We reached back to Bangalore around 8 in the night and as our journey from Bandipur was nearing the end, more plans were made for the next destinations to be visited including Dandeli and Ladakh.
Well surely hoping that the plan to Ladakh which is one of my top places of interest to be visited (as mentioned in my earlier blog – The Top Indian destinations to be visited) turns into reality soon. Until then, hoping to continue going on such smaller trips as and when time permits 🙂