Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Masinagudi..

Aug 15

We were up at 3:30 A.M, all set, excited. The Innova we hired was a real bummer and we finally left Bangalore only at 8:00. Gulped down Lots of tea.
Our breakfast plans in Kamat were abandoned seeing how crowded the place was. Finally stopped in Madhur and had one of every kind of what was in the menu :).
Paddy Fields
We drove past really pretty sunflower fields and stopped to get some pics on the way. I took a couple that I could use as subjects for my art classes.

It was incredibly pretty outside. The Sun wasn't really out and the overcast skies and gentle wind made for a really pleasant experience.
Sunflower fields , we found these stretches of yellow to be a constant throughout our drive
Walking  through Sunflower fields
Sunflower fun :)
Sunflowers
Masinagudi , sandwiched between two tiger reserves ; Bandipur (Karnataka) and Mudhumalai(Tamil Nadu) is roughly 260 odd Kms from Bangalore. Green and Lush and not too cold was my initial assessment of the place. We reached there at about 2:30 PM.
Once we drove past Bandipur. An intresting incident with an elephant stopping vehicles to collect his idea of toll(we can only guess:)). Luckily he decided to do it after we rode past. But we did stop to witness the drama unfolding. The Bus driver didnt have a choice but to wait ..
We enquired about the safari and found that all the jeeps were taken ..
So we had to settle for the bus ride , the last one being at 5:30 PM. We would come back after lunch we decided.
An Elephant stops a bus... Jumbo trouble, you sure cant miss signs like this one!
We stayed at the Forest Hills. The Bamboo Cottages were real neat. Nicely furnished and really comfortable. After a late lunch we discovered that the safari wouldn't happen the same day as all the tickets were sold out...Made plans for the trek the next day
Our stay in Masinagudi
Aug 16
We left at around 7:00 AM with Ravi who was our guide for the trek. Spotting a tiger was a really rare occurance as these creatures are normally very shy. We did see the Malabar Squirrels , agile animals that they are disappear effortlessly into the green canopy.
We Crossed a small stream and we were shown the Bones of a Bison which had been killed a month or so back by a tiger.
Crossing a stream during the trek
Animal Carcas
Finally we got to a small waterfall. Tigers are known to frequent this place, though they rarely ever surface when they sense human presence. I've seen and heard differently from programs on the National Geographic ; Where in places like the Sunderbans Tigers are known to attack humans on an everyday basis.
The experience at the waterfall was fantastic. We waded through the water. Nothing can describe the invigorating feeling of cold water rushing ahead. Strange thing is I could never bathe in a shower if the water was that cold. But here none of us really had a problem. The rocks were a little slippery.
When we finally decided we had had enough, I made the mistake of trying to climb down from a side which I did not know was deeper than the rest. Slid down and I was neck deep. The ground below was slippery. But somehow we managed(lot of hands extended to secure my fall) to regain my balance.
Soaking wet we resumed our trek..
Deeper and higher..
We reached this place called Tiger Rock, so named because the beast has been spotted sitting there, looking down into the valley below...
Would have made a magnificent sight.
We climber Higher and Finally reached the Top..
We were ravenous by then..
My clothes had almost completely dried...
It was time to get back. We reached the resort and dived into our breakfast :).. Food never tasted better... :)..
Tiger rock
The Group :)
Sometime in the evening we went on a short safari . It almost looked like we wouldn't get tickets a second day in running. Somehow we found ourselves sitting in the safari bus in the end..:)
We saw a lot of bison, elephants, deer...
Reshma , clearly the most experienced as far as wild life was concerned, shared some intresting trivia..
Bison are called Englishmen alluding to the tuft of white hair just above their black hooves , which gives them the appearence of wearing white socks with black shoes..
Wild Elephants
Our Guide
Those Green pair of eyes..
Fields a bloom
It was near impossible taking pictures because of the fading light. Using the flash was prohibited as it would scare away the animals..At around 12:30 , post dinner we went on another safari, this time in an open jeep. Lots of Bison,, and deer, but the elephant was elusive.
finally we got back to the resort and saw this elephant, a Makhna, standing right next to the tree house. The guide said he wont drive any closer as its posturing was a little aggressive and it might attack. The Makhna is a male elephant without tusks , the deficiency of which makes it a social outcast unable to find a mate..
They are know to be aggressive and attack humans...
It was a little scary and exciting to see a wild elephant right inside the resort..
Aug 17
Left after breakfast...
Time to drive back home. Really was one hell of a trip...
Theres something about the Lure of the wild.. Its something that cannot be Saited :)

-Meena Venkataraman

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mood of a Nation..


We were driving down to Masanagudi on the morn of the 15th. It was wonderful to watch India celebrate her Independence. The Tricolors were out on glorious display. Fluttering happily reminding us of our resilience as a nation , telling us that in spite of bad roads, poor infrastructure, Corrupt governance we still are a free people. As Spartucus so proudly said,
" I'm not a King, I'm something better, I"m a free man! "

Love you India - Muaaaaaaaaah!!

Happy Independence Day Guys!
Would be great if our pride translates into action - Like not littering our roads, using less plastics, standing in a queue without being told to.. Think about it!

-Meena Venkataraman





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