Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Friday the 13th……

It was Friday, 13th Nov’09, which superstition holds to be a day of bad luck. On the contrary to this popular belief, it was an auspicious day for me since it was my 27th birthday. The day started with the regular early morning meetings and continued to be yet another lousy kind of work day except for the evening which we spent at the restaurant Barbeque Nation relishing live barbeque on our table. Bored of the utterly tiring work life, we decided to take the Monday off and travel to yet another destination to celebrate my birthday. What was even more exciting about this trip was that it was our first road trip in our newly bought car…. :-)

We planned our trip to Bheemeshwari Fishing and nature camp located approximately 120km from Bangalore. Based on the banks of the majestic and sacred river “Cauvery”, this camp offers a slice of nature that is charming and picturesque. This camp is also renowned as a home to great ‘Masheer’- the finest & one of the largest fresh water sport fish known to man.

We started our journey around 6.00AM on 15th Nov’09. We took the Bangalore-Kanakapura-Sathnur –route to reach the camp. It was a long exhausting four to five hours drive with one hour spent only hunting for a place for breakfast. Except for the efforts to find breakfast which were in vain, which I believe was our stupidity, the entire drive was awesome. The last thirty minutes drive through the woody landscape amidst the forest was really refreshing. We had booked our stay with Jungle Lodges and Resort.

With our growling tummies we simply dumped our luggages in our log hut and headed straight to the ‘Ghol-ghar “ (name of their dining place). The lunch was awesome with home cooked kind of mutton curry and egg curry. There were couple of veg dishes also for the losers which I never even looked at… :P.

With tummies overfull we decided to take a stroll to explore the place. Overlooking the river Cauvery the place was blending beautifully with the jungle’s behind. With the weather being cool and pleasant, the river being full and the forest beautiful and lush, we were sure to have a gala time ahead of us.

With a quick nap of thirty minutes around 4.30 PM we headed for a ride down the Cauvery in a coracle. The coracle ride amongst the serenity of nature and a breathtaking sunset across the river was an awesome experience that we can treasure in our memory lane forever. We also had our very first escapade with the live crocodile just 10 feet away from our boat. To be true, it scared the hell out of us. Thanks to the guide, who helped to drive away the crocodile.

After the ride, we tried our hands at joy fishing. Priya was lucky enough to catch two Masheer in her first two attempt of fishing itself. The first Masheer weighed around 1pound and the second was even bigger which weighed around 2.5 pounds. Our guide said that some of the guests have landed 100 pounds and more Masheer as well. With no luck on my side, I continued to build castles on the river bank. Thanks to Priya, I was bit lucky since she allowed me to take a picture with her caught “Masheer”. “Masheer” caught is duly released back into the waters to ensure that this endangered species is conserved.

Evening, we preferred to spend quiet time alone, relaxing on the hammocks fixed just outside our log huts. The night was spent relaxing on the sandy riverbank besides the warmth of the campfire drinking beer and relishing barbeque.
The second day started at 6.00AM with tea/coffee served at our room. At around 6.30AM we headed for a guided trek around the surroundings of Basavana Betta. The 2 hours long trek into the hills gave us a beautiful panoramic view of the Cauvery flowing through the valley below. On our way down the hill, we were lucky enough to spot spotted deer.

With yet another round of heavy breakfast, we checked out the place around 10.30 AM. This place, I believe is an ideal weekend getaway for those who love to enjoy the calm environs with a dash of adventure.

In conclusion, I would love to have all my birthdays fall on Friday the 13th, if Priya can plan such exciting weekends ahead of it. Thanks Priya!!!

Bandipur Safari

It was 5:30am on 19th December when we left for our first wildlife safari to Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary. Situated just 220Kms from Bangalore, Bandipur is a home for many wild animals & rare species of wild life. The occasion for the trip was our first wedding anniversary which we wanted to celebrate in a unique way away from the hustle & bustle of the town.

The road to Bandipur is fairly easy & in a good condition except the last couple of miles. We took the Bangalore - Mysore - Gundlepet road & we took about 5 hrs to reach. On our way we stopped to have breakfast at Maddur Tiffanys famous for its Maddur Vadas. We also halted at the Cafe Coffee Day just few miles before Bandipur.

We had booked our accommodation with Jungle Lodges & Resorts. The place is nice & clean with good food. Our cottage was called the "Racket Tail Drongo".

We checked in at around 11:30 am & then headed straight for lunch. The food was tasty. Chicken curry for the non veg lovers & a host of other veg dishes for the veggies with paysam to top it off.

At 4:30 pm we headed for our first wildlife safari in an open jeep. Not knowing what to expect we were really looking forward to this ride. The first animal we spotted was a spotted deer. As we went deeper into the jungle we saw herds of spotted deer at every nook & corner of the jungle. We got to see the peacock, sambhar deer & bison. The peacock truly looks very beautiful & we couldn't take our eyes of it's beauty. Just then we got a news that 2 tigers were cited near a lake. Our driver swiftly took us to the lake. Everyone had their cameras ready & were poised to take as many pictures as possible of this magnificent animal. We waited for almost half an hour with out any luck :-(......... On our way back we also spotted a couple wild elephants. Just as we were clicking their pictures, since they were not in a mood to get clicked they simply charged at us. Thanks to our driver's expertise that we were saved.

After the wonderful safari ride the evening was followed by beer, chicken & bonfire. The first night ended with a sumptuous dinner.

The next day started with a trek to a nearby hill at wee hours in the morning... It was a nice 2 hours walk into the nature. We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise and after a round of photo sessions we headed back to the hotel.... First time in our life we realized that mornings are better if they start early :-)

With growling tummies we landed straight at the restaurant. After our tummies satiated we left to visit the Gopalaswamy temple. Its a 700 year old temple of lord Krishna situated at Gopalaswamy betta.

Around 4.30pm we again left for our 2nd Safari with a hope of seeing the Tiger... However this time too we were plain unlucky. But we did spot a lot of other animals including the bison, sambhar deer and wild dogs.

We continued to enjoy the late evening besides the bonfire drinking beers and enjoying a movie on wildlife

The third and the final day began with our last safari into the jungles..... Only the elephants and the langoors welcomed us in the morning. The tiger continued to play hide and seek with us as the jeep which had left before us had spotted a tiger whereas we hadn't seen anything remotely closest to a tiger...... :-(

After a round of heavy breakfast we finally bid adieu to this lovely place with a promise to comeback as I am sure the tiger was beckoning us for yet another visit.