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  • Sujay Jamkhandi

A day at Bheemeshwari Fishing and Nature Camp

Whether it’s action-packed adventure or just a chance to get closer to nature, Bheemeshwari Nature and Adventure Camp is just the place for it. A range of adventurous activities from zip line, rope walking, kayaking, etc. are worth trying. Wildlife that can be spotted in these parts includes elephants, deer, crocodiles, turtles, snakes and about two hundred bird species. But the chief crowd puller is the Mahseer – the largest tropical gamefish known to man. Though you can’t try catch one here anymore, this elusive monster still exercises a lot of clout in these parts. Meandering through the woody landscape amidst the forests of Karnataka is the Cauvery, the most majestic and sacred river of South India. The river offers opportunity to both adventure and nature lovers.

Nestled along this beautiful river is the Bheemeshwari Fishing and Nature Camp, world renowned as home to the great “Mahseer” the finest and one of the largest fresh water sport fish known to man. Tucked away from the milling crowds, yet close enough for you to reach. This camp offers a slice of nature that is charming and picturesque.

The Bheemeshwari Fishing and Nature Camp has a host of activities which included Trekking, Coracle Ride, Bird-watching, Mountain Biking, Zip Line, Parallel walk/Rope walk, Rafting and Kayaking. Apart from Rafting, the charges for the individual sports were INR 200 per person. Being a group of 5, we had no plans of what activities to participate at the camp. We decided to go only for the activity for which we all loved – Rafting.

This was my third experience in Rafting after Dandeli and Manali. The expectation was not too high considering that my previous experience in the dangerous Kali river and the freezing Beas river were still fresh in my memory. But, Bheemeshwari had a pleasant surprise in store.

We had booked for the rafting well in advance (I had missed an opportunity earlier here since hadn’t booked earlier). We had planned for this trip just a few days in advance and hence probably it turned out to be quite a fun experience. Our journey began with wonderful breakfast at MTR and we were on our way by 9.30. We reached the place around 12 (thanks to horrible road for last 30 kms which itself took more than an hour to complete).

Experts would suggest that the best time to visit Bheemeshwari is just after the monsoons, between August and February, when the river is alive and the forest is thick and verdant. This is the best time for bird-watching as well. During the other months, the water recedes and reveals wide sand banks, which are great for idling away the evening. The summer months (March – June) can be very warm, especially in the afternoon. Thus we were here at the right season September when the region had been blessed with rainfall in abundance. The Rafting is conducted here for about 90 mins over 8 – 10 km which is quite reasonable. Rafting here is rated at Grade 2. (Just for your knowledge -Grade 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering. Skill level: basic paddling skill) Being a Grade 2, the force of the River Cauvery was not too dangerous though it was quite muddy due to the incessant rains. There were about 2-3 rapids that we encountered during the rafting. We even happened to see few crocodiles basking in the sunlight on distant rocks 🙂 .

After bursting through the river for over an hour, we had the customary dip in the river. We had a short swim in close proximity to the boat for we had already seen crocodiles in the river. We were lucky to have a wonderful guide who apart from guiding us, shared his experiences of rafting across various locales of India. After completing rafting, we started off on a real adventure – travelling in an open jeep!! And wow, I have never ever had such a bumpy ride in my life. The driver seemed to be inspired by formula 1 driving but forgot that he wasn’t driving on tracks but rather on jungle paths.

Upon our return we had a sumptuous buffet lunch for which we were charged 350 per plate (includes both veg and non-veg). As always after a heavy lunch, we were too lazy to try out other activities and instead spent time relaxing on a rope bed built probably 20 – 25 feet mid air. After relaxing for quite some time, we had our evening tea and started our journey back to Bangalore. We were expecting to reach Bangalore early enough to spend some more time relaxing at one of the dhaba’s on the outskirts of the city. However, we ended up getting caught in bad traffic due to 2 unfortunate accidents 🙁 . We thus ended up reaching home bit later than expected and had to be contended with the rafting experience we had.

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