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Old 11th June 2012, 16:44   #1
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Thumbs up Evergreen Mudumalai- A Week's Getaway from Bangalore

As my kid's summer vacations were drawing to a close, I had little choice of where to drive down for a week beginning 26th May '12. Bandipur is known to be dry being heavily a shrub forest, but surprisingly neighboring Mudumalai is not. Ignoring all the nice photos of tigers that people claimed to have spotted at Bandipur, I booked for two nature camps at Mudhumalai: Greenwoods Nature Camp for the first 3 nights, followed by the next 3 nights at Deep Jungle Home. Later I discovered the two camps were just within stone's throw of each other, and cursed myself for not searching harder on the web.

Anyway, starting from home on 26th morning (a Saturday), around 8:30 am, I took the NICE road from PES college, as there would always be heavy traffic at the Nayandahalli junction of Mysore road with ring road. While we were likely going to be driving on bad approach roads leading to Greenwoods and Deep Jungle Home, I had got my i10 serviced just a month back, and wasn't that concerned about anything except the tyres. While the NICE road is fast, I found the time saving is not worth the 47 bucks I paid. Driving on SH17 was the typical sluggish weekend type all the way, and I was entering Mysore only by 1 pm, making it a driving time of nearly 5 hrs!. Mysore to Gundlupet on the NH67 however was relatively fast in spite of being a single laned highway, and we finally crossed the Tamil Nadu border after Bandipur by 3 pm.

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Just on crossing the border, we spotted this female elephant busily grazing some 30 m from my car. I was confused whether it was a tamed one or not, going by it's calmness. Soon we crossed the forest reception point at Theppekadu, and drove towards Gudalur. Our destination was just off the NH67 after the Thorapalli check post. The drive from Theppekadu to Thorapalli is great, quite dense all year round, and is rich in elephants.

The road leading to Greenwoods nature camp was rather poor compared to the largely smooth highway we had been driving along. I could do just 5 km/h at places. A local guide fortunately was there waiting for us before we left the highway. I found Greenwoods camp was quite small, with 1 European tent that I had booked for 3 nights, and lots of portable tents like the ones used outdoors. The forest is right behind the camp, but people are not allowed to venture there without permission. The camp staff had arranged for a hot lunch we sson had on arrival, as the drive, was virtually non-stop except for a wayside tender coconut before Gundlupet.

That night, around 8 PM, I and my kid joined another party of some 4 families at the camp, for a night drive to Theppekadu from Thorapalli and back. We could spot at least 10 elephants busily grazing just off the road, but I dared not take a photo for which I would invariably need to flash right into their faces.

Next morning I decided on a van safari at Mudhumalai, but I discovered we were rather late- the safaris end by about 8:30 am, and we were leisurely arriving by 10:00 am! So we got back driving to Greenwoods and spent that afternoon at the stream near the camp. Elephants often come there to drink and the pic shows dung from some recent visit.

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I decided we would at least try for an evening safari, and again started back to Theppekadu. There were lots of elephants on the drive, especially after a place mid-way called Kargudi. Here are pics of two different groups of elephants, one with a weeks- old baby suckling busily, the latter already used to the highway traffic! The NH67 traffic is killing, literally, and it was a challenge to drive back at nights with glaring headlights and no kind of streetlight whatsoever between the forest checkposts.

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The next morning again was spent on a couple of van safaris, but all we did manage to get to see was a well posing peacock and a herd of Chital (spotted deer).

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We got back again that evening, not for the safari, but to see the elephant feeding camp at Theppekadu. The feeding is between 5:30 pm and 6 pm, and worth the visit. The pics here show a pair of female elephants in a secret- sharing pose, and one of the pachyderms having a 4 kg ball mix of Ragi, rice, jaggery, minerals, and salt, all in precise proportions. Following this, the elephants pick up bundles of leaves and are left to chew it leisurely until it is time for work or sleep.

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I was woken up next morning by a kid who assists his mother at the camp, to say there was a Malabar giant squirrel busy with a breakfast of mangoes. I rushed out with my binoculars and camera, got onto the 30 m high water tank platform cum machan, and sure there it was, perched up the tree.

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That evening I hired a jeep to take us to Moyar check dam, some 10 km from the Masinagudi checkpost. The Masinagudi- Moyar route is a tiger- crucial area, lined with low- lying shrubs. In spite of our jeep driver's best efforts, no luck though and we were back to our camp by 8:30 pm. The forest gates close by 9 pm.

Next morning, we moved to Deep Jungle Home, some 500 m away from Greenwoods camp. I discovered Deep Jungle Home is not that clean as Greenwoods, although the surrounding forest is somewhat more dense and quiet. There were lots of overnight tourists however, especially a bunch of unruly bachelors who were a nuisance with noise and breaking all rules, like smoking in those pristine environs. The same culture is seen at places like the the Mudumalai reception where visitors pride on feeding biscuits to the Hanuman langurs, like in the pic below.

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The van safaris were no longer attractive and the next morning I set off on a trek thru the forest, of course with an experienced guide from Deep Jungle Home. I left my family behind in the camp as I knew they would not make it for sure. The trek is somewhat arduous, and is a total of 8 km. We started by 6:15 from Deep Jungle Home. The trek cuts across a couple of nice streams, like this one.

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Once inside the jungle, one has to be quite attentive to sounds and smells. Here are some pics- you can see the clouds washing Nilgiri hill ranges in the distance.

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There was also this lovely lake where tigers and elephants surely must come to drink.

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The tiger is an elusive cat, and it had apparently seen us well before we got any clue of its presence. Some 1 hr into the trek and my guide said he would take me to an elephants favorite spot located deep inside. So off we went on, until we came across this herd in a clearing with a weeks old calf busily grazing. My camera is somewhat modest in terms of optical zoom (15x) and I had to get to within 150 m of the herd for a good shot. I had finished a couple of them when they all faced us and began a charge. We bolted out into the dense jungle again.

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That was when we heard a Sambhar call a few times, an unmistakable signal of it having seen a tiger! I checked with my guide if it was safe for us, and he said it was! Still I kept looking back every now and then as tigers normally attack from behind, if they do. Soon we came across this skull and bones of a big Gaur bull, probably killed some 3 weeks back by a tiger.

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I have read that a full grown tiger has as much strength as 8 men, and can haul up a 600 kg Gaur kill into bushes to hide it. Seeing the skull and bones, I couldn't help wondering once again what if the tiger should cross our path soon. Anyway, nothing of the sort happened fortunately, and we were soon crossing this lovely stream from the Moyar river.

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That's all. Now back home in traffic- ridden Bangalore, I am raring to escape back again to that lovely evergreen place.

Other facts: Total distance 696 km, from my home and back. Fuel consumed: approx 30 litres for the whole trip. Navigation: GARMIN Nuvi with Maps from SATGUIDE (2011 update).
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Old 11th June 2012, 17:16   #2
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Good snaps and well written. I have been planning for Deep Jungle home for quite some time for it's location in the forest. But I was confused due to mixed reviews in various websites. It will be helpful if you can provide more details about the place with some snaps. Is it good to go with family and kids? How bad is the approach road, is it managable in a Sedan
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Old 11th June 2012, 18:16   #3
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Default Re: Evergreen Mudumalai- A Week's Getaway from Bangalore

Very good pics Vijay. Love going out on trips for the kids.
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Old 11th June 2012, 22:37   #4
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Default Re: Evergreen Mudumalai- A Week's Getaway from Bangalore

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Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
Good snaps and well written. I have been planning for Deep Jungle home for quite some time for it's location in the forest. But I was confused due to mixed reviews in various websites. It will be helpful if you can provide more details about the place with some snaps. Is it good to go with family and kids? How bad is the approach road, is it managable in a Sedan
Thanks, gadadhar. Deep jungle home can be certainly reached by a sedan -Alto/ Santro/ Zen/ Punto, and the like. The route is pretty straightforward, just some 3 km from the NH67 highway, and described on their web page Mudumalai Bandipur Resort Accommodation In Swiss tents Camping Tents, that I presume you have checked out. Only caution is the approach road is quite narrow at places and also steep and broken there, just enough for one car at a time. Pros are dense forest all round Deep Jungle Home, and a stream where kids would love rafting. But the cons are really the food and somewhat less clean surroundings in the property- I just didn't like their very minimal menu, especially for breakfast. The food is in fact prepared not at Deep Jungle Home, but rather at their other property, Jungle Home, located on the other side of the NH67.

I suggest you try Greenwoods Nature Camp some 500 m earlier instead where the food was far better and variety sufficing. Their tent was in fact far more spacious with 3 cots. You can always trek down to the stream around Deep Jungle Home or go on the more ambitious forest trek.

Bye
DrVjy
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Old 12th June 2012, 12:30   #5
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Default Re: Evergreen Mudumalai- A Week's Getaway from Bangalore

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Originally Posted by DrVjy View Post
Thanks, gadadhar. Deep jungle home can be certainly reached by a sedan -Alto/ Santro/ Zen/ Punto, and the like. The route is pretty straightforward, just some 3 km from the NH67 highway, and described on their web page Mudumalai Bandipur Resort Accommodation In Swiss tents Camping Tents, that I presume you have checked out. Only caution is the approach road is quite narrow at places and also steep and broken there, just enough for one car at a time. Pros are dense forest all round Deep Jungle Home, and a stream where kids would love rafting. But the cons are really the food and somewhat less clean surroundings in the property- I just didn't like their very minimal menu, especially for breakfast. The food is in fact prepared not at Deep Jungle Home, but rather at their other property, Jungle Home, located on the other side of the NH67.

I suggest you try Greenwoods Nature Camp some 500 m earlier instead where the food was far better and variety sufficing. Their tent was in fact far more spacious with 3 cots. You can always trek down to the stream around Deep Jungle Home or go on the more ambitious forest trek.

Bye
DrVjy
Thanks DrBjy. Sounds like Greenwoods may be a better choice, though food is not the primary reason while visiting a nature camp, it comes a close 2nd, and cleanliness matters a lot
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Old 16th June 2012, 08:11   #6
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Nice informative TL. I'm also planning a trip during the rainy season
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Old 18th June 2012, 13:41   #7
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Default Re: Evergreen Mudumalai- A Week's Getaway from Bangalore

Nice narration and pics Doc. In fact this is just like a recall of our very own drive to Masinagudi (edges of Mudumalai) last weekend driving down from Blr covering Gopalswamy Betta and Bandipur safari on the way.

We stayed at Bear Mountain resort which was just at the foothills of the Nilgiris and had a wonderful time relaxing and eating some great food that the resort had on platter. We are planning for a comeback once it gets more greener in the coming months.
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Old 19th June 2012, 12:59   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
Good snaps and well written. I have been planning for Deep Jungle home for quite some time for it's location in the forest. But I was confused due to mixed reviews in various websites. It will be helpful if you can provide more details about the place with some snaps. Is it good to go with family and kids? How bad is the approach road, is it managable in a Sedan
Sorry I am somewhat late in giving out some snaps to help you decide. Here are some snaps around Greenwoods Nature Camp and Deep Jungle Home (DJH). All snaps here are from my Mobile's camera (5 MP).

First, my car just in front of our European tent at Greenwoods NC. The forest is in the background beyond the fields, and Nilgiris ranges are also seen beyond that.

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Views of entrance to DJH and the toilets that are for people staying in the bamboo huts. These are the same toilets that children would be using when they are in the summer camp at DJH!

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You can see that DJH is not being kept clean, that too at the very entrance! The staff there are quite friendly and helpful, but that is no substitute for cleanliness. Anyway, here are some nicer views from DJH:

The first one's a view of the forest just outside my tent at DJH:
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and the second shows a hammock and swing outside the tent neighboring mine:

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Here are two views of the stream around DJH with the forest on one side and DJH on the other.

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Here's a Malabar giant squirrel busy with Jackfruit:

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My kid and another local boy enjoyed this rafting a lot in the stream.

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Would'nt advise having a bath in the stream: locals regularly wash clothes upstream of DJH.

Hope the above pics are of some help.
Bye

DrVjy
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