Monday, May 31, 2010

Bird Watching!!!

I have always been a last minute person. Planning has never been my cup of tea. However, since Priya was occupied with work, I had the ownership of planning the outing for the coming weekend. With heavy showers happening over the last few weeks in Bangalore, I decided to plan a visit to Coorg, to try our hands at Canoeing, kayaking and white water rafting. It was almost Friday evening when I made the first call to a resort to check on availability but with no luck. Subsequently, I tried calling ten to fifteen different resorts/campsites but all in vain. With zeal not to waste the weekend, we decided to visit the Mysore and Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary.

We started on Saturday by 9.30AM. Our first halt was at good old Kamat Upchar for breakfast at around 11.30 AM. As we approached Mysore, we started following the bill-boards and calling up hotels for reservations. Being the last weekend of the month, we really needed to find a cheap accommodation so as to manage our trip budget. We booked our stay with Hotel Siddhartha and checked in at 1.30PM. With stomach’s howling, we straight away ordered for lunch. To our disappointment, it was a north Indian meal cooked with a dash of Sāmbhar powder in all the dishes!!!!

After a nap of couple of hours, we went out for coffee followed by a shopping trip to soothe my shopaholic wife’s heart. Later in the evening at 7.00PM we visited the century old Mysore palace. The magnificent images of the illuminated palace against the dark black sky will be itched in our memory forever. On our way back to the hotel we took a “tonga ride” which is also a part of the city’s heritage. We spent the night at the Park Lane hotel enjoying cold beer and listening to soothing Indian classical music.

Sunday, we decided to visit the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary which was about 18km from Mysore and is a home to some of the most exotic birds. It is a group of small islands in the Cauvery River. We spotted wide species of birds including cormorants, darters, white ibis, spoon billed storks, painted storks, white necked storks, etc (some of the names which I could recollect from the boards). Marsh crocodiles from the reptile family were also spotted.

Unfortunately, till date we were never in to birds but a small boat ride around the 6 islets gradually created an interest in the winged creature. We had an amazing experience unveiling this beautiful gift of nature. We learned a ton, saw a bunch, and had a great time!