Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back to the wild....yet again!

Divali was the ideal time to escape to the peace and beauty of the jungles--K.Gudi and Bandipur of course, as my friends know! So I will not repeat the details, but just give you brief account of the memorable 4 days! A comfortable Volvo bus to Mysore, then by cab to K.Gudi, to be given a warm welcome by our old friend, naturalist Lokesh. The time before lunch was spent enjoying the sight of a tusker Sriram being bathed in the adjacent pond! Soon, we met the manager Ashish, who had taken a group of visitors to see a local tribal village. It was interesting to hear that he is an engineer by profession, but shifted careers to pursue his passion--wildlife. He has a site, www.livingintothewild.com, dedicated to the wild denizens of K.Gudi! The safaris with Lokesh and Ashish were enjoyable as usual, though most of the animals stayed away, due to the steady and intermittent drizzle. Ashish and the veteran driver, Thapa (who I mentioned in the last post) showed us a number of bird species on the big gulmohur tree in the resort. On the second day, Lokesh took us to the Ranganathaswamy temple atop the hill, the Soliga tribal village and the medicinal plants nursery adjacent to the forest department office. It was an immensely enriching day--and very encouraging to see the progress in the village. The 2 nights at K.Gudi passed all too soon, and we set off for Bandipur, where the rain dogged our footsteps! This time we stayed at the Bison cottage, the last one on the edge, and enjoyed the solitude. Once again, we met Sunita Dhairam, who I've written about earlier, (and who had painted the bison, apart from the other cottages!) and were once again awestruck by the incredible service she does for humans and animals alike. The safaris with Basavanna were enjoyable, though here too the animals chose to remain invisible, except the most gorgeous peacock, who remained motionless as our jeep stopped next to him! The other interesting episode Basavanna releasing a cobra near the dam; he had caught it earlier near his home! The 2 days again passed too soon, and we were back at Mysore, boarding a bus back to the chaotic and drab city. Till the next trip!