Weekends is more of trips and photowalks these days. Excitement was high since it was my 1st trip to Bandipur and also my 1st visit to a National park. Haven’t travelled much all these years in my life. Lately, I am getting lots of opportunities to travel, credit goes to my friends. This time 4 of us planned to go on trip on 1 of the weekends and also to celebrate 1 of friends birthday. We started at 5am on a sunday morning and headed towards Bandipur and we had booked the rooms in Jungle lodges, Bandipur http://www.junglelodges.com/. Stopped for breakfast at Kamath on the way and then started our journey again. We reached the lodge at around 1040am and few of us were bit disappointed since we had thought the lodge will be somewhere inside the jungle but it was on main road and also before the boundary of Bandipur starts. Since there was time for the checkin, we decided to go on a ride till Madhmalai and come back during checkin time. We felt bad to see less grenery around and it was sunny as well. We were enjoying the nature. We saw few monkeys on the way which were running around and jumping. We crossed Karnataka border and reached Madhmulai. We didn’t go for safari there since we had already made plans in Bandipur. We spent little time there and could found few birds and clicked few monkey pics.
People there were kinda forcing us to go on safari and it will be good etc. We escaped somehow by telling we will be coming back tomorrow for the same.
We headed back to Bandipura from there. On the way we found beautiful Indian Roller on a tree. After checkin we went to our rooms and liked the place since it was full of greenery and rooms were very spacious. Plan was that we will have lunch and then rest for sometime and leave for safari at 4 PM. We got the place at the back of the jeep and were excited to get a glimpse of animals and birds. We found many deers on the way.
Journey inside the jungle was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. We were searching for the animals around and found a peacock inside the bushes. Every time we found something, my heart used to jump with joy. We crossed the main road and entered another part of the forest and jeep stopped and then we found elephant at a distance, it heard the noise of the jeep and went inside the bushes. We waited there for sometime but couldn’t see it again. With little disappointment we moved forward and fortunately we could find a herd of elephants eating grass, and plants. There was 1 cute little one with parents and they turned their back towards us, not letting us click their pics. After taking few pics, we moved forward and stopped the jeep. One of the parents which observed us for long time became furious and started chasing the jeep to scare us.
Our heart beat was raising. Jeep driver didnt start the jeep, elephant came very close to our jeep and we started clicking the pics since it was very close. Finally, we moved ahead with happiness of getting close glimpse of elephant and also with the scariest memory.
The scenic beauty, cool breeze made us enjoy the ride. We found a Common Hoopoe, a beautiful bird. It was bit difficult to find this bird in Bangalore but we could find a lot of Hoopoe’s in the forest and many more birds like Bushchat, Myna, Bulbul, Lapwing, white throated kingfisher etc.
Our eyes were searching for the glimpse of tigers or leopards but we couldn’t find one. We found a sambhar deer with huge horns after long time since our meetup with Elephants. Sambhar deer started running far away after seeing us. There were few other groups for the safari. It was bit irritating to see few foreigners shouting inside the forest and giggling loudly.
After moving forward, we found many Sambhar deers. One of them was continously posing till we left the place. Watching the Sun go down inside the forest was a good experience. Peacocks were found at many places. The evening safari came to an end and though we were bit tired but wanted to spend more time in forest. Though the next days plan according to the Naturalist of Jungle lodge was that we will be going for a walk/ trekking we decided that we should go for 1 more safari since this one was exciting.
We informed that we are interested for the safari next day and we were told that there will be wild life movie played before the dinner. The movie was mainly about tigers. It was very disheartening to see how tigers were killed. There was a message from the movie that we should protect tigers and for that all of us should contribute by avoiding poaching of tigers, making small groups of wild life enthusiasts to spread the message, not just enjoying the safari and troubling the animals and their habitats. Our politicians should come forward to help in conserving wild life and to avoid the intrusion of people and mining etc should be avoided. Movie ended with an awesome message :
The tiger perishes without the forest, and the forest perishes without its tigers.
If we cannot save our national animal, what else can we save?
Though we didn’t find a tiger, watching the movie about tiger was very helpful.
After such a inspiring movie, we headed to dining hall for the dinner. Loved the food there. There was camp fire put near the dining hall and we 4 of us had a chat till it was 11:30, though I was more of a listener as always, I enjoyed the conversation.
We had a plan to surprise our friend by celebrating his birthday so went back to rooms and celebrated the birthday and had good time. We had to go to bed since we should be ready by 545 am next morning for the safari. All excited by the previous days safari, we got ready and had a cup of tea before heading for the safari, we wanted to catch the back place of the jeep to enjoy more so we went early.
We were glad we chose the early morning safari during the jeep ride by seeing mist all around. It had enhanced the beauty of the Bandipur.
Though the journey was awesome, we were thinking if we are going to find a tiger/leopard, then we could find pub marks which we followed but we missed it somewhere in between and couldn’t find the leopard. There were small water bodies but no animals around. It was more foggy inside the forest and it was so soothing and enjoyable experience. We moved forward and there they were the most beautiful creature on the earth, peacocks, walking on the roads, few sitting on tree branches.
Looked like they were enjoying the foggy early morning walk. The funny and crazy creatures monkeys were seen on top of many trees doing their usual kothi cheste. As we moved forward, we found a mongoose searching something on the ground. It was roaming around and ran into the bushes hearing the jeep sound. We were enjoying the fog as there were droplets of water on eyelids as well. Never had we experienced this amount of fog. The peacocks were found again, the beauty and the amazing colors and patterns all over the body makes us wonder if there can be any other beautiful creation like this.
Found a Crested serpent eagle on a huge tree enjoying its solitude. We stopped jeep to click the pics and it was there posing for our camera for long time and then flew away and sat on a nearby tree which helped us get a good glimpse.
It was an amazing experience of traveling inside the forest. The stay and the food at the Jungle lodges was good as well. This place is worth the visit. Hope the number of tiger increases in near future and such beautiful creatures are present for further generations as well.