Day 1 - 13th march 2004
We set off at 08.00 hrs for a pleasure trip to Bandipur via Ranganttitu. After our breakfast at bidadhi, the first place we visited was Nimishambha temple and Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangapattanam, Mandya Dist.
From there we headed towards Ranganttitu Bird Sanctuary (RBS) and we landed there at 13.00 hrs, the place which really made me revitalized. Though it was a burning afternoon, the RBS premises was quite cool because of the greenery. We had a warm welcome from the sanctuary staff. Two boats got ready to take us around the islet in the lake. Men and women separately got into the boats. The boats started sailing on the lake where there were plenty of rocks and crocodiles and into our sight came a number of birds which are commonly found in RBS. Some of them which nested in my mind are painted stork, open billed stork, spoonbill, mud swallow, river tern, heron, little egret, cormorant, sand piper, snake bird, and many bats that were also hanging on the trees.
The most existing part in RBS was the rowing I did for about 5 – 10 minutes. A thrilling experience which really made me feel waavoo about rowing. I could see the bank coming closer and we had to get out of the boat; pity.
Well, after this wonderful experience we had our lunch in the sanctuary and started off to Bandipur.
We reached Bandipur National Park (BNP) at 17.00 hrs. Got accommodated in our rooms (Gagendra). We got freshened and moved into the safari van, which was waiting to take us into the forest. As the van moved into the forest, initially we could see nothing but the dry, leafless trees. It is a dry deciduous forest and forest is brown from the month of December to March. As we passed on we found a few sambars, peacocks, deer, langoors, jungle fouls, kingfishers, etc. I thought; is this all to see? I desperately wanted a tiger, the plume of Bandipur, to pass by the way and make the trip a memorable one.
But the amazing view was yet to come. This is the place which I had heard about. It is also one of the trek routes in Bandipur, which is a difficult one and this particular point was the toughest point in the trek. A rocky cliff of 300 meters depth. The place is the Moyar gorge. A really amazing view. The most stunning part was that the people trekked into it. I really felt “hats off to them”. The trekkers who trekked into this point have explained it as a place which make everyone take a secrete promise to be a better man if they make out of the place alive; no wonder, that is TRUE.
I still stood there astonished for sometime, while others started to capture it in the cameras. Later, bidding good bye to the gorge, we moved to our next destination, which was also part of the same trek route. The Volkallare anti-poaching camp (APC). We walked around the APC munching the fried chana dhal, simultaneously admiring the beauty of the nature.
It was 18.30 hrs. Got back into the safari van and headed towards our rooms. In the night I had another great sight; the shining bright stars in the deep dark night sky; a romantic view, which I really love seeing. After a short gathering and a subsequent dine we hit our bed at around 22.00 hrs.
Day 2 - 14th March 2004
Enjoying the enchanting dawn at Bandipur, we left for another safari at 07.00 hrs, to Madhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary is situated across the boundary, in Tamil Nadu. The only specie we found there was a number of langoors. Our destination was the MGR tower, from where we could view the Moyar falls. Through the binoculars we could see some wild dogs quenching their thirst in the Moyar river flowing in the gorge. Admiring at the scenic beauty, we made our way back to our rooms.
After the breakfast at 10.30 hrs, we had the pleasure of experiencing the elephant ride. That was for the first time I was about to get on to the elephant back. Initially with a little panic, got fastened to the howdah. After an hour long ride, we got back to the rooms and got ready to hit the next spot.
We started at 12.00 hrs and reached Gopalswamy betta at 13.30 hrs. Devotees in the group got on with the pooja in the temple. Me, with rest of the people went round the place, saw the Inspection Bungalow and around. Finishing the lunch in the temple, we returned to Bandipur at 15.45 hrs.
For some while we relaxed there. I could very well make a comparison of the mechanical and hectic city life with the calm and pleasant life in forest. I wish I could go there time and again to feel the pristine nature. Heavy-heartedly we made our journey back to our hometown Bangalore at 17.45 hrs.