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Old 6th March 2012, 21:25   #1
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Default Inn the Wild

Saturday late morning. Wanted to visit the jungles. Called up my usual haunts. One place said that they have no room. No response from another place – phone wouldn’t get connected. So started Googling. Came across this place called Inn the Wild in Tripadvisor. Great reviews. I am usually skeptical about the usual city/corporate traveler types, who look for different things than I do, and who get impressed by different things than I do. But the photos of the place looked nice. And it was located in the Singara region, which I am familiar with. So made a quick telephone booking, packed my bags in 15 mins, and was ready to go after withdrawing some cash from the ATM, checking tyre pressure (around 30 – didn’t want it higher because I knew some offroading would be required to go to the resort), and topping up the 80L tank.

My median time to reach Masinagudi from my home is 5 hours, using the Kanakpura – Chamarakanagar – Gundlepet – Masinagudi route. This time, I stopped just once for bio break, somewhere between Malavalli and Kollegal.

I slowed down once I reached Bandipur gate – my usual practice. While I overtake most vehicles till I reach the Bandipur gate, the reverse happens once I go into the jungle. Couldn’t spot anything in Bandipur, though the time was around 4.30 PM. The landscape looked dry. Crossed Tamil Nadu border, and the forest guards just waved me through. Just after 1 km, I was surprised and delighted to see two Sambars grazing close to the main road. Now, Sambars are pretty shy, and seldom come out during day time. These two didn’t react even though a couple of vehicles stopped close to them. One stupid guy, traveling in a hired cab, got down and tried to go close to them with something held in his hand - trying to feed them, I guess. I shouted at him – he is not supposed to get down from the vehicle in Mudumalai, and people like him traumatize animals and spoil such sightings for ever through silly stunts.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 7th March 2012 at 01:52.
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Old 7th March 2012, 00:04   #2
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Default Re: Inn the Wild

Note: all 'while in the vehicle' photos taken from a safely parked vehicle.

NH 209 on a sleepy Saturday afternoon
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Passing through Bandipur
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The Sambars

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Dry Mudumalai
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After crossing Thepakaddu and taking a left turn for Masinagudi, I came across a couple of peacocks. Stopping on that road is diffcult, since it is pretty narrow, and there are some crazy drivers travleing at high speed. Still, managed to click a couple of pictures sitting in the vehicle...

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Last edited by nilanjanray : 7th March 2012 at 01:56.
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Old 7th March 2012, 01:03   #3
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Default Re: Inn the Wild

The resort is in the Singara ranges. One has to take a right turn from Masinagudi, go till the Singara checkpost, and then take a rocky trail leading down to reach the resort. The trail goes through a coffee estate. The estate itself is in the midst of the jungle - sandwiched between the forests on the upper slopes of the Nilgiris and Mudumalai/reserve forest.

The trail is narrow and made for/by Gypsys. The Fortuner got scratched a bit while passing through a couple of sections. I also had to go over rocks that I could have avoided in a narrower vehicle. Used low range once to climb down and then go up and over some sharp rocks that I couldn't avoid because I was driving a wide vehicle (I am sure I would have had a puncture if I were using HT or normal tyres). Rest of the time I was coasting in 4H.

The trail to the resort. Pictures taken using the SGS2 phone camera.

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I usually don't stop to click too many photos unless I see an interesting creature, This time, while coming and going, and while wondering around the Singara forests, I stopped to click some photos of the Bison (using my mobile phone camera). Enjoy:

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After passing through the estate I came to a broad valley/flat land at the edge of the forest. The resort comprised a few huts and a couple of interesting Treehouses. It also had a lake frequented by all sorts of animals. The resort was surrounded by an electric fence, but I was told that animals come right inside - especially elephants. Looking at the dung and signs of elephants all around, I could believe that.

The surrounding ambiance was great - for someone who likes to soak in the jungle atmosphere. This was not a kid or family friendly place, because it was dangerous to walk around even within the fenced area in the evening. Apparently it was also dangerous to sit in the balcony because of elephants passing at a distance of 5-10 feet. But it was what I wanted.
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Old 7th March 2012, 01:32   #4
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Default Re: Inn the Wild

After checking in, I had a look a the rooms and finally selected a hut right beside the electric fence. I would have liked to stay in the Treehouse - located 500M from the property - outside the fence - but it was already occupied. By that time, it was already past 6 pm. The manager and the room boy told me not to walk around after 6 pm outside the fence, but the lake was too tempting. And there was a exciting sunset about to happen.

So I went outside the fence and started walking around. Realized that this place had the highest elephant and gaur dung concentration I have seen in or around a resort - and I have visited quite a few jungle resorts. Walked over to the treeehouse. It had a great view of the lake. Apparently the resort staff drive down in a Gypsy to fetch the treehouse guests when it is time for dinner - it is very risky to walk down the 500M to the resort in the night.

I was wearing sandals (didn't bother putting on my boots - a mistake that I regretted later in the evening), so I kept a sharp lookout for elephants, since I wouldn't be able to run fast. Not that a human being can outrun an elephant. But depending on whether you see it before it smells you or hears you, and depending on whether it charges and elephant/man relative velocity, it is possible to scoot away if one stays in open country and has an escape plan (e.g. run back to the resort, run to the treehouse, hide behind something etc.).

The place was lovely! I started walking around the lake and just soaking in the cool breeze, the bird and animal calls and the fast fading light. Let the pictures describe the place as it looked in the evening:

A few pictures with the phone camera

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Those are the Glenmorgan hills in the background. The pipes and water from Pykara come right down the hill from thousands of feet above.
Inn the Wild-20120303-18.19.44.jpg

The walkway around the lake. Elephant dung all around. To the right - just below the raised walkway - is the reserve forest adjoining Mudumalai.
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And then it was sunset time...one of the prettier sunsets I have seen in this part of the country. Last time I saw such a red sunset reflecting in water was in the Andaman Sea in Thailand.
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Old 7th March 2012, 01:45   #5
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Default Re: Inn the Wild

Sunset photos taken using the 70-300mm lens (I know, a wide angle fitted to the DSLR would have been lovely...but I was looking out for herbivores and carnivores when I went out for the walk).

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Last edited by nilanjanray : 7th March 2012 at 01:48.
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Old 7th March 2012, 14:53   #6
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Default Re: Inn the Wild

Thread moved here from Assembly line. Thanks for sharing
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Old 7th March 2012, 15:33   #7
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Default Re: Inn the Wild

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post

The surrounding ambiance was great - for someone who likes to soak in the jungle atmosphere. This was not a kid or family friendly place, because it was dangerous to walk around even within the fenced area in the evening. Apparently it was also dangerous to sit in the balcony because of elephants passing at a distance of 5-10 feet. But it was what I wanted.
Wonderful write up and pictures, Nilanjanray. Waiting for the rest of the travelogue and the photographs.
How bad is it for families and kids? Any pictures of the Resort itself? I am planning a Bandipur trip sometime during April. I have passed through that route a few times, but never got a chance to explore it. Will appreciate if you could give more details on the safety aspects for a family with 2 kids. Is it safe if I manage to keep the kids within the fencing?
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Old 7th March 2012, 16:53   #8
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Default Re: Inn the Wild

Thanks Anuj. I wouldn't recommend that place for kids - e.g. I wouldn't like to take my 4 year old daughter there (and she visits plenty of jungle resorts). While they should be fine within the fenced area during day time, they can't run around after dark or in the early morning, and will have to be confined to the room. Unless you order room service, even going to the dining room for dinner with kids in tow could be an interesting experience.

Maybe once I go there a few times, I will have a better idea about risks and mitigation. First visit, it seemed that evening time is risky for kids. Am saying that because I saw elephants and gaurs right beside the fence (though none came in during the night I was there), and the surroundings had more animal signs and dung than I have seen in any resort in the Southern forests. There was a foreigner family staying in one of the cottages, and I only saw them next morning - they were staying out with their kids in a hut in the evening. I personally am risk averse when it comes to traveling with kids.

There are plenty of family friendly resorts around in Masinagudi and Bandipur - just check in Tripadvisor.
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Old 7th March 2012, 18:17   #9
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Very nice travel experience, thanks for sharing.

Ravi.
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Old 7th March 2012, 18:40   #10
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Those are some very nice images nilanjan. The Fortuner looks totally at home in these surroundings
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Old 8th March 2012, 00:13   #11
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That was indeed one of the best sunsey snaps Nilanjan! Thanks for venturing out to new places which have not been covered yet in tbhp.

Is this resort not accessible by our modest sedans? Waiting for more pictures and details of your stay.

Cheers

VW
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Old 8th March 2012, 11:08   #12
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Default Re: Inn the Wild

Nice pictures Nilanjan Sir. The resorts seems wildy.
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Old 8th March 2012, 11:57   #13
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Oh darn it nilanjanray my guess is that you visited the same place that some of my Close Friends did last weekend.

Did you see a group who came along in a Jeep (Willys) and Alto ?

Me & My wife were supposed to join them but dropped out at the last moment.

You know wats the Best Part ?? I think couple of my friends even took a pic of your Fortuner and is permenantly saved on their ALbum!!
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Old 8th March 2012, 12:18   #14
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Lovely find Nilanjan. Thanks for sharing. The forest looks bone dry. May be the best time to visit now since the lake has got water which seems to be a scare commodity in and around Mudumalai. Can you share the costs etc. and would it be possible to go the resort in a Wagon R / Indica or do I have to park the car somewhere in Masinagudi.
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Old 8th March 2012, 13:16   #15
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Default Re: Inn the Wild

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravibhat View Post
Very nice travel experience, thanks for sharing.
Ravi.
Thanks Ravi. This was a quick weekend trip...I hope to do a longer visit - preferably around full moon time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by balenopower View Post
Those are some very nice images nilanjan. The Fortuner looks totally at home in these surroundings
Yes it does. It gives freedom and confidence to roam around. Next time, I plan to go on the jungle track that we used for the night safari in a gypsy (more about that later).

Quote:
Originally Posted by VindyWheels View Post
That was indeed one of the best sunsey snaps Nilanjan! Thanks for venturing out to new places which have not been covered yet in tbhp.

Is this resort not accessible by our modest sedans? Waiting for more pictures and details of your stay.

Cheers

VW
Sedans? I wouldn't recommend because they would be too wide, and won't have the ground clearance to just go over everything. Actually, Alto/800/Santros are better for this track (if you can live with some clutch abuse) You can them put one set of wheels in a rut and then the other set in the middle and drive on. There are a couple of steep + rocky places where you will have to abuse the clutch/brakes a bit if you are not driving a 4X4. But, there are gaps between the sharp rocks for a narrower vehicle. If you don't care about wheel alignment or clutch abuse, then you can give it a shot.

Having said all that, the resort offers pick up from Masinagudi. So you can leave your vehicle there and hop onto their Gypsy. For me, driving there and driving around in trails is part of the fun. In a 4X4, you can do it without any worries. I used to go to such places in my Indica and then in my SX4, and often had car issues (getting stuck, puncture, alignemnt problems etc.). Now I can do it with peace of mind, just crawling along taking in the scenery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subrat Seet View Post
Nice pictures Nilanjan Sir. The resorts seems wildy.
Thanks Subrat. During first visit - especially if you arrive in the evenings - most jungle resorts seem wild. After you stay awhile and get to know the surroundings, you come to know how wild it actually is. Next morning, when I was walking around, it didn't seem that wild - apart from the animal spoors. Come sunset, things change in or around a jungle, as you know

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
Oh darn it nilanjanray my guess is that you visited the same place that some of my Close Friends did last weekend.

Did you see a group who came along in a Jeep (Willys) and Alto ?

Me & My wife were supposed to join them but dropped out at the last moment.

You know wats the Best Part ?? I think couple of my friends even took a pic of your Fortuner and is permenantly saved on their ALbum!!
Yep I did. Even went for a night safari with them - they graciously accommodated me even though they had booked a group safari (please thank them on my behalf - I had told the resort manager that I want to split the cost and would pay my share, but he didn't charge me for it). I did feel a wee bit sorry for the Maruti 800...however it is one nimble goat, and can find its way over pretty rough places.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
Lovely find Nilanjan. Thanks for sharing. The forest looks bone dry. May be the best time to visit now since the lake has got water which seems to be a scare commodity in and around Mudumalai. Can you share the costs etc. and would it be possible to go the resort in a Wagon R / Indica or do I have to park the car somewhere in Masinagudi.
I heard that during monsoon animals are hang around the resort even during day time - and that elephant sightings are better.

Now could be a good time, as you said. In fact, yesterday and today would have been ideal days, due to the full moon. You can try your luck with the Santro (narrower), wouldn't recommend the Indica. Too prone to alignment issues ( I have one, so I know) on such tracks. Or just leave the cars in Masinagudi and hitch a ride. Costs are there on the website - just Google for Inn the Wild.

More pics coming up - once I get a breather from work.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 8th March 2012 at 13:18.
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