Aisa hi hoon mein

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Muddumalai and Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary - Night Safari

Bhayya Muddumalai and Bandipur National Park kya ho kar aaye, mere beti ghar mein sabka naam animals per rakh diya hein. Myself "Dinasour", my daughter Navy"Chhoti Dianasour", Bete Ujjwal ka "Chhota Deer", meri niece Aditi ka "Elephent", Meri wife Dimpi ka "Monnkey",.mere bade bhai ka tiger, meri bhabhi ka peacock, friend ka Camel. And on top of that, she calls us by these name, watching it on TV a tiger chasing deer, she says, "Tau ji is chasing Bhayya", I want to take a ride on Sanjeev chacha (Camel).

Well, we 5, me, my wife, my niece, my son and daughter, drove to Masanagudi, Tamilnadu, it is 290 KM from Bangalore, we took Bangalore-Mysore highway, and then towards Ooty/Bandipur. From Gundelpet, there are 2 roads to Ooty, 1 via Bandipur and another one is a Ooty/Coimboter highway. I realised this while coming back, otherwise I was wondering if this is the main route to Ooty. For about 60 KMs, road is not good, there is hardly any road on few patches. We reached Bandipur in the afternoon, had lunch and crossing Bandipur Jungle we moved towards to Masangudi.

Drive is pleasent through the jungle, we saw few deers, langoors, and a traffice jam. Why traffic jam, are bhai, elephent baby and his mother were standing on the the main road, and no body dared to honk to push them aside the road. Watching so many people staring at them, mother elephent secured the child elephent and pushed him on the other side of the road, wow, we are in Muddumalai national park, Tamilnadu. My camera was back in the trunk and I was not able to capture that. We reached Muddumalai city in 30 minutes and inquired about our GlenView Resorts (www.glenviewresorts.com). It was further 15 KM on Ooty road. When we reached near resort, there was no road, I called the resort manager and asked for the directions, he said just follow the road, I said there is no road man, he said, this is the only no-road to reach us. Driving slowly, we found ourselv in a jungle, foothills of Blue-Hills in Nilgiris. There were few other resorts on the way and our resort was the last one. We reached there around 4:00 PM, met resort manager Suresh. Resort was pretty nice, inside the jungle, he allocated us a room on a tree, which was quite big for 3 adults and 2 kids.

After having a tea, Suresh briefed us about the activities, Elephent camp, Muddumalai National Park Night/Day safari, camp fire, trekking etc. We got excited about the Night safari, my kids were excited for the Elephent camp. We decided to go for Elephent camp first, which is just outside the Muddumalai National park. There were about 9-10 elephents, getting ready for their food.

One baby elephent was very friendly, you pay some money to the caretaker, he allows you to touch the elephent trunk, baby elephent was so friendly that he put his trunk around my neck. Elephent camp has a small museum, having elephent and other animal story. A "lesson" from Elephent camp. If elephent is angry, he raise three alarms, 1st Alarm, "Guys, get ready to run", 2nd Alarm, "Start running now", 3rd alarm, "Sorry guys, you are in big trouble now", elephent is very friendly, but when he got angry, he is the most dangerous animal, so, don't even give any chance for the first alarm itself.

After the elephent camp visit, Suresh asked us whether to go for a night safari or not, we all were ready to go and that too inside the deep jungle. While driving on the main road, we saw few samabar deers, baison. And then the fun begins now, Suresh warned us that it is illegal to go inside the deep jungle in the night, and we would not be able to see any animal, no body should make any noise. With some feer, we asked him to move on, it was 9:00 PM and our jeep was the only vehicle in the jungle, driver had a torch to locate any animal, we drove around half an hour, very dark, scary, reminding movie Kaal. Luckily, we spotted a rabbit, kids were very delighted, tried to make some noise, but Suresh asked them to keep quiet.

Suddenly, driver stopped the engined, shut off the head lights. I wondered if something happened to the jeep, and then Suresh, whispered, "Sir, feel the nature now". I glanced to the surroundings, wife and kids face, and whispered, "Bhai, lets go back now, before nature start feeling us". Suresh asked if we want to go further down, I said, it's enough, let's go back. We drove back, came out of the jungle, everyone was looking a little tired and sigh of relief. On the way back, we saw Poccupine and couple of biasons. We finally reached to the resort around 10:30, had dinner and though of going for trekking next morning. Next day was a late morning, so missed the treeking on Blu-Hills and went to Ooty-Connoor (will write seperate stry about it).

Third day, we started very early in the morning to reach Bandipur National Park so that we can take another jeep safari. We reached Bandipur, Karnataka about 7:00 AM, we saw a group of elephents while crossing the Tamilnadu/Karnataka border, this time I was having my camera inside driver's cabin. I went to the ticket counter and asked about the Jeep safari ticket, clerk said that Jeep safari should be booked in couple of days adavance, and we were left with the van safari option. I was very upset, but then purchased the tickets for Van safari. While parking my car, one monkey came inside the car through window, and took my daughter's sipper cup, smart monkey :)

Bandipur jungle was all dry, we were hopping to see some bear, elephent and the big cat. But, we saw lots of lots of deers, peacock and what, nothing. It was very disappointing. Bandipur National Park is a Project Tiger, but you hardly see any Tiger there. We drove back to Bangalore, on the way, I took my niece to Mysore palace, kids took the camel ride and reached home in the evening.

Camal ride - Mysore PalaceGlenview resorts in Masangudi is a nice place to stay, a little higher on price, no TV, no phone, but have comfort of AC, geyser, nice food, on demand drinks. Airtel doesn't work here, Vodafone works fine. Suresh, the property manager is very friendly, he can accompony you for jungle safari as well as for trekking. All the time we had mixed North Indian and south indian food, Tamilnadu sambhar and rasam is much much tastier then Karnataka sambhar / rasam.

Muddumalai National Park is in Tamilnadu, where you can watch elephent, bear, wild pig, deer, biason. But it has left with very few animals due to the shortage of water and most of the animals has moved to nearby Bandipur National Park. You can see lots of policmen patroling the park, and no traffic is allowed to Ooty after 8:00 PM.

Bandipur National Park is in Karnataka, and host Tigers, elephents, deers, langoors, sambar deer. Jungle Resorts is the place to stay, but expensive for a big family / group. You can book the government jungle lodges/bunglow, but you have to book that in very advance. You have to send a letter to Forest officer and he will confirm you if it is booked. It's cheap, you can enjoy morning tea with deers/peacock, and a very rich Karnataka food on request. There are several other private resorts here as this is one of the popular weekend gateway for Bangalore people, and it's a good idea to book your stay in advance during summer vacations.

Question from the trip: Why Lion is called as the King of Jungle, why not other cats? Any answer?

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