Bhadra – a sky full of stars

The last time we stumbled on Bhadra Tiger Reserve was in 2011 where we did a lone safari through the forests, after paying one of their staff Rs. 500 each to accommodate 3 non-lodgers in their jeeps. It was fun. We saw Eagles, Gaurs and barking deer, and a fellow-guest told us about stranglers and showed us some in the forest. It was winter and the mist lifting off ponds in the early morning Sun was a sight to behold.

The last attempt to visit was to experience the Monsoons in 2015, and it got spectacularly screwed as every one of us or a parent of one of us was down with some health issue. This time, only S managed to not make it because of health issues at home.(I sometimes wonder if there’s a lurking non-serious health epidemic in our cities which no one is talking about. Far too many people keep falling sick the moment the Monsoons hit, or if they fail.)

This time, me and A drove down to JLR’s River Tern Lodge located on the banks of the Bhadra river. We had a choice between cottages and loghuts. We chose the latter, as the former was supposedly too far from the dining area. Having suffered a lot at K-Gudi, we decided to stay close to the main area for a change. It helped to not have to walk 300m after every round for a refill.

There was one jeep safari and one boat safari. The jeep was just about OK. We wanted to see a Malabar Pied Hornbill and we spotted one within seconds of entering the gate!
Malabar pied hornbill
One Crested Serpent Eagle graced us with her presence, this too within 5 minutes of the start.
Crested Serpent Eagle
And that was it. Barring one monitor lizard, there was absolutely nothing much to see. Of course, we kept ourselves entertained spotting spiders and all kinds of birds. A forest can never bore you as such. All you need to do is keep your eyes, ears and brains open. Continue reading “Bhadra – a sky full of stars”

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Off the Road – Chikmagalur

Four days, each packing in a surprise. Every time we wondered what more this place could offer it had something to surprise us, every one of which we lapped up, be it with trembling legs working the car, aching backs and shaken bones or, adrenaline and frozen hands without feeling in them.

Day one saw us racing our way within one Km of the accommodation only to see the last Km being a 4X4 path requiring us to navigate with “lefts and rights” to plan out ways to avoid projecting rocks causing dings on the fender! Once that done, we tried to figure what would work best to keep the car there and not take it out. Turned out, we had to!
Continue reading “Off the Road – Chikmagalur”