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Old 12th August 2014, 23:12   #1
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Cool Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp

After spending 3 years in USoA, we had moved back to India in 2010. We were three in the family then - myself, better half and my 5yrs old little girl. We had enjoyed the life overseas and had all kind of touring experiences. What we missed is Indian food, our reserved forest trips and long journeys in the esteem! We were the family that never looked at maps and ventured out on the roads we felt calling. We were so used to travelling, that my little girl is almost on the road with us since she was 3 months old! But then, after we returned back to home country, India, things slowed down.

Fast forward to 2013, we had a new addition to the family. The cute little devil had arrived in Jan 2013. So many months before and after he arrived, we did not take any long trips/ overnighters other than visiting our parents and in-laws far away in Goa and Maharashtra

Everyone in the family - wifey, daughter and myself were very much craving for the holiday that is away from any relatives and something that we can rewind ourselves. Many discussions happened on where we should head out and when, but nothing really materialized. We kept discussing and scraping the plans. Our little one had developed allergies that would make him suffer with cold and runny nose every time he goes out on Bangalore roads.

Will our little master cooperate for long drive?...umm.. not sure.
Will there be proper food for everyone? ... no guarantee..
Will we be able to return from there without picking up any contagious diseases?... Can't say!
Oh, will we get a day off from work or school for my girl?... may be.
And what if the the younger devil of the family troubles when we are away from home?...but if not now then...?

We kept deliberating but nothing had happened so far. The questions and counter questions and some answers were flowing until one day the miracle happened! An old friend of my wifey sent her whatsapp messages with her family pics of elephants bathing from their holiday trip in summer. And wifey asks me with a mellow tone - where is this place? is it worth visiting during august? I knew this is the opportunity I have to seal - after all the cravings for a vacation had grown so much! With all innocent and detached reactions I continue to build her curiosity...

Wifey: Hey look, this seems to be good fun for Kids [Shows pics..]
Me: hmm... but you know its not going to happen. [wicked smile within. I have figured out after around 10 years with her, when I reject, its gets through!]
Wifey: And why is that so? Because my friend said so?
Me: No, not because but you know our kids, school work, weather and allergies. You are so tired taking care of them and did not want to take vacation that will create more trouble for you.
Wifey: Yeah, you are right but maybe you find out if this is worth it.
[I knew this is not concluding soon. so the plan to hit bull's eye hatched.]
Me: Sure. But you know what, lets show it to our daughter. If she likes, we will think seriously...
[Wifey calls our daughter... while she is looking at the screen, the little master grabs the phone and sees the elle on it. There is no bound to his joy. He jumps off and super happy. That was moment..]
Me: Wow, he is so happy looking at picture, lets go there. It will be more fun.
Wifey: Sure, go ahead.

And the next moment, I am onto the task. Searched through the tLogs, asked friends and Tbhp fellow members. Learned few things -
- Its off season
- The Safari, Bon fire etc might not happen
- JLR is great option but few years ago they did not even have electricity..
- Its just one day trip, why overnighter there?

But then, I was determined to make this happen. A quick call to JLR office in Bangalore and further contact of the Manager at JLR Dubare Camp ensured that we have all the info we needed.

- They have 20% off, still total cost for double bed riverside cottage that can host 4 of us was Rs. 9200. But that's not going to be the showstopper anyway.
- Safari, Elephant Interactions are ON
- Not much crowd there so we are sure to get our privacy and relaxing time
- This was more of a dry run for all our upcoming trips! So come whatever may - rain or shine, we are going.

I swiftly book the JLR for one night very next day and announce at home - there is heavy cancellation fee So no one dares to think of cancelling this. Actually that's not true. But then Lord Krishna once told this - its ok to lie if there is something good happening from it. I interpreted that if something good happening for me, why not?

And so the plan is hatched up -

Route: https://goo.gl/maps/W0zeO
Bangalore-NICE-Mysore Road-Sri Rangapatana-Hunsur-Periyapatana-Kushal Nagar- Dubare
Total Distance: 475Kms (236Km One way)

Friday, August 8 : Its holiday for Kids and so perfect day to start.
Depart from home @ 7am
Breakfast enroute @ Kamath or Cafe County
Reach Dubare Camp by 1pm

Saturday, August 9
Leave Dubare @ 11:30am
Visit Golden Temple @ Bylakuppe
Reach Home by 7-8pm

And we shall have Sunday for our weekly family work and grocery trips!

JLR Program -

Friday:
1:30pm - Lunch
4.30pm: Tea followed by Jungle Safari
6:30pm: Tea and Snacks followed by Wildlife movie screening
8:30pm: Camp Fire provided that its dry

Saturday:
6:30am: Nature Walk in JLR Campus and River side
8:30am: Breakfast
9:30am: Elephant Bathing and Interaction
11am: Elephant Ride and
11:30am Checkout

Everything was set and we were all geared up to make this happen! Thursday evening, we tank up the car, pack our bags, collect necessary things such as Camera, Essential Kid's Medicines, Umbrellas etc.

And when you have everything planned considering our family habits of getting up before time, no surprises - we left home by 6:30am itself! Kids woke up on time, no tantrums whatsoever. All excited for our first vacation after a gap of almost 4 years!

And Paulo Coelho in his The Alchemist said - when we wish something from bottom our hearts, the whole universe conspires to make it happen!

To be continued...

Last edited by moralfibre : 13th August 2014 at 08:53. Reason: Removing excessive dots
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Old 12th August 2014, 23:37   #2
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Default re: Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp

We leave home by 6:30am, sticking to our preplanned route. Took a pit stop at Kamath Lokaruchi for buffet breakfast and head further to Dubare. Here are some pics...

On the Nice Road -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-niceroad.jpg

Fruit Stalls near Periyapatana - display of colours

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-fruitstall.jpg

Slight to moderate drizzle after Hunsur.

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-rainsenroute.jpg

Meanwhile, my Dash App with OBD connection reads this -

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More clouds looming...

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-monsoonclouds.jpg

When we reached the Dubare, we couldn't find the parking lot. There is actually a public parking lot where people can park and cross the river to other side to visit the elephant camp. We were under impression that, our cottages are on the land side of the river and only during elephant interaction, we will need to cross! But that wasn't the case!

We had to leave our car on the arrival side, take a boat to get in the JLR property. And mind you the recent rains have made the river look scary! Wifey said this - lets go back. We don't want to ride in boats that run on such a small engine and heavy water flow... But then, out of no where the boatman comes to us and greets - he is the one who is tasked to take us to the cottage safely!

A broad smile on his face and extremely polite, gives us safety jackets, takes our luggage in the boat and assures us safe transit! Man, i must tell you this is not like govt. undertaking! This is plain professional act even the 5-star hotel may not be able to deliver!

Leave our car behind...

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-sx4parked.jpg

This scene had scared us more -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-brokenboat.jpg

Crossing the river in boat -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-boatcrossing2.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-boatcrossing3.jpg

Our Boatman - thanks buddy!

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-boatcrossing1.jpg

And we make it to the JLR property safe and happily, little scared of course!

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-jlr.jpg

We are greeted by manager and promptly allotted our cottage. With instructions to come for lunch at 1:30, we are left with our privacy!

Here are some pics of the Cottage and Room we were allotted -

It was this amazing green everywhere and the cottages amidst that greenery! What a beautiful display of colours the nature had! We had seen that copper red water in river and now the lush green -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-cottages.jpg

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The allotted cottage -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-cottage1.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-cottage2.jpg

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Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-cottagewindowriverside.jpg

The Patio -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-cottagepatio.jpg

And then this guy stays away, no Data - just voice and Text for next 20 hours or so!

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-phoneaway.jpg

To Be Continued...

Last edited by abirnale : 13th August 2014 at 01:40. Reason: formatting
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Old 13th August 2014, 00:15   #3
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Default re: Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp

We checked in our cottage and made ourselves comfortable...

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-restinginbalcony.jpg

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We could see the temple on the other side of the river from where we were seated in patio -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-temple.jpg

There are high trees and green everywhere -

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Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-jlrlushgreen.jpg

Clicked few pics around river bank and outside our cottage -

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Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-riverfrompatio.jpg

And we are warned about our neighbours and their willingness to share their space -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-crocwarning2.jpg

And we decided to take a quick walk of the property before heading for lunch -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-walk.jpg

There is volleyball net if you are in mood to play -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-volleyballnet.jpg

These two large tanks supply water for everyone in JLR -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-sintextanks.jpg

This wooden bridge connects the JLR property with the elephant training camp - accessible for JLR guests. The elle-camp is accessible to all by another boat route.

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-woodenbridge.jpg

This is the hall where we will be watching the wild life movie -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-commonhall.jpg

And the swing in action -

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We spent some time clicking and framing the neighbours D:

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-petdog1.jpg

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Until we felt the food cravings! And then headed to restaurant -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-eatingplace2.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-eatingplace1.jpg

This is the place outside restaurant where the camp fire will be put...

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-campfireplace.jpg

And the boy is ready to eat -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-readytoeat.jpg

To Be Continued...

Last edited by abirnale : 13th August 2014 at 01:42. Reason: formatting.
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Old 13th August 2014, 00:57   #4
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Default re: Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp

Jungle Safari

After the lunch and a little rest, we gathered into the restaurant again for tea and then to Jungle Safari.

Our first spotting of the safari started from cottage itself - Ant In the Tent and the Spider

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-antintent.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-spider.jpg

And this grazing piglet -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-grazingpig.jpg

We took the safari in this Mahindra bolero - modified for JLR -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-safarijeep.jpg

The vehicle is 4x4, very well performing, and working! The track it conquered are -

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Before the actual trail begun, we saw these houses -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-tribehouse1.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-tribehouse2.jpg

These belong to the tribes - a variant of Kuruba who have the skills to train and pet the elephants. Basically the "mahut"s come from this tribe. These houses are built by forest department and basic amenities too.

The trails observed jungle every now and then...

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-jungletrails.jpg

A lot of places we spotted this wild turmeric - the fav food of the deers and other herbivores.

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-wildturmeric.jpg

We found a spotted deer in the bushes and before we could take pics, it shied away from camera! That was the only animal spotting we have actually had in the entire safari. You got to be lucky to spot the animals on such small safari!

Since Dubare is the other end of Nagarhole forest, spread over couple of smaller portion of land, there are very less animals found - viz. leopards, deers and elephants.

We also saw these dead bamboos everywhere in the jungle -

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Bamboo is favourite food of elephants and its known to live for 30-40 years. Once they bear seeds, bamboo dies. And this food fast vanishing from the forests, no wonder elephants are visiting adjacent banana plantations for food.

We found many such ant houses and broken ones too - probably by bears?

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Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-anthousebroken.jpg

There were many nests like these that hosts the deadly paper wasps -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-paperwasp.jpg

Quote:
Wasp: A wasp is any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor an ant. Almost every pest insect species has at least one wasp species that preys upon it or parasitizes it, making wasps critically important in natural control of their numbers, or natural biocontrol. Parasitic wasps are increasingly used in agricultural pest control as they prey mostly on pest insects and have little impact on crops.
And the tiger ants -

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Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-tigerants2.jpg

We found these flowers on the weed that feeds butterflies -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-flora1.jpg

And the Glory Lilly as described by our guide!

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And after a long two hour search for jungle animal spotting, we finally returned back to base. On the way back, we spotted this elephant - Kaveri who participates in Mysore Dasara Festival and probably the calm one in the herd -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-ellekaveri1.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-ellekaveri2.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-ellekaveri4.jpg

We were told that the below elephant was captured from Sakaleshpur forrests just a month ago - it was breaking in to adjacent banana plantation. I think it had no options left since the food was scarce for him in jungle :(

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-ellecaptured.jpg

And this mother baby pair is unique -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-ellebabymom1.jpg

The mother elephant (Maithilli) had delievered 4 babies so far and none had survived. This is fifth and just a month old. No tourists are allowed to go near them and disturb until the baby is more than 6 months

We finished the safari by 6:45pm and returned back to restaurant for the hot cup of coffee and pakodas!

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-pakoda.jpg

A documentary - "Truth About Tigers" was later screened in conference hall and a great food for dinner.

The day ended with huge satisfaction for us personally. We had great time so far, kids have cooperated, enjoyed the trip and food was awesome!

We hit the beds by 10pm looking forward to the elephant interaction next day!

To Be Continued.

Last edited by abirnale : 13th August 2014 at 01:43. Reason: formatting.
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Old 13th August 2014, 01:16   #5
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Bathing The Elephants

Earlier in the night, there was no camp fire as it was slightly drizzling. The next day morning, we missed the nature walk as we overslept and kids could not get ready in time. We couldn't leave them behind alone in the cottage either. We instead spent time sitting in patio and listening to river flowing in its own mood! That was an awesome beginning to the day!

So the next was breakfast on cards.

A sumptuous breakfast with variety of items, we were served very caressingly by JLR Staff. We were then asked to come to river bank next to wooden bridge where the water was ok to get into. Since the water levels were very high, only two elephants were called to be bathed by us. There were only three families checked into the entire JLR for previous night and hence it was easier for JLR staff too to bring lesser animals. We anyway would not have been able to clean many elephants

Here are some pictures we took while bathing the elephants -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-bath1.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-bath2.jpg

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This isn't the experience non JLR visitors will experience in this season!

And then we headed to the elephant camp where we will be seeing many more elephants and conclude our stay with an elephant ride!

To Be Continued...
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Old 13th August 2014, 01:39   #6
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Default re: Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp

Elephant Camp

This is the all access entrance to camp -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-allaccessentrance.jpg

There is an area for ride, feeding elephants and open space for moving around too. This is the training ground -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-ellecamptraining.jpg

Every adult elephant needs around 200Kg of food daily! And a mahut was preparing an elephant for our ride - feeding it and getting ready -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-ellecampfood.jpg

Its sad to see that a few were chained to ensure no harm to the visitors :(

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-chained.jpg

More pics from the camp and our ride -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-ellecamp1.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-ellecamp2.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-ellecamp3.jpg

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The ride -

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Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-elleride2.jpg

We ended our day at JLR and returned for homeward journey by 12noon.

These were gents who guided us all though our stay and educated on various wildlife things -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-guides.jpg

To summarise, it was a great trip for us even though the timing was odd, rains were playing spoil sport intermittently. The time that was much needed for us to take break after a long time and start our exploration on more trips in future. The wifey suggested that we plan for Sasan Gir in a year and that says it all.

All this was possible due to courteous JLR staff and professional services. This place is worth visiting once if you have kids with you on the trip. This is an opportunity to bring our urban kids closer to the nature and wild life

To Be Continued...

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Old 13th August 2014, 01:52   #7
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Return Journey

On our way back we decided to take a stop at Golden Temple in Bylakuppe. Unfortunately the temple being deserted, we did not enter it but took photos from outside. Here are some snaps -

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-monastry1.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-monastry2.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-monastry3.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-goldentemple2.jpg

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-goldentemple1.jpg

Started back by 1pm from temple and took a stop at Cafe County for lunch. Headed straight to home. And then this thought came - Mysore road on saturday evening will be crowded anyway, so why not take a stop at Ranganathitu Bird Sanctuary and spend an hour or so? And we did exactly that! Nothing much to do there since boat rides are suspended, and only park is accessible. Kids had good time, and then back home!

Hope you liked the trip log! This is my first

Thanks to JLR staff and my ever faithful silver steed without whom this trip would NOT have been so good!

Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp-sx4.jpg

Thanks for reading!

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Old 13th August 2014, 08:46   #8
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Default re: Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th August 2014, 12:30   #9
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Default re: Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp

Nice trip log - enjoyed the snaps and details.The Golden Temple at Bylakuppe - was it just closed for the day or did it close down?

--Anoop
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Old 13th August 2014, 12:36   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theexperthand View Post
Nice trip log - enjoyed the snaps and details.The Golden Temple at Bylakuppe - was it just closed for the day or did it close down?
Thanks Anoop.

I am not sure if it was closed for the day or closed down. When we entered the area - there are many Tibetian settlement camps. We visited two of them. The pictures of a small monastry (hope I am referring it right) was completely closed. The passerby people said this will not open. The golden temple was I think just closed for the day. But confusing enough there was a board that read - morning 7.30am to 5.30pm I think it is open.

The area was so deserted and kind of lonely, we thought its not good to enter and disturb the peace there. Actually we were in a fix if that is really open or not. Did not spot anyone nearby for 15 mins. Moreover there were many honey hives on the building. So we just took some pics and returned.
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Old 13th August 2014, 13:05   #11
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Default Re: Meeting the Elephants - Family overnighter at Dubare Elephant Camp

Hey Avinash,

That was a nice write up. Your kids must've thoroughly enjoyed being that close to nature and the elephants. It is great that the little ones are as enthusiastic about travelling as their parents. It is safe to expect many more travelogues from you in the near future.
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Old 13th August 2014, 13:45   #12
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Excellent Travelogue, I had been to Dubbare many years back, but this is a different perspective all together. I am sure this would be a good weekend get away.
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Old 13th August 2014, 16:14   #13
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Very well written Travelogue abirnale

I think you visited the wrong place of the golden temple ( I am assuming seeing your pictures). IMO the temple is open the entire day, it is located where you find a shopping complex, parking lot in front of the temple and considering you went there at around 1 PM it should have been opened.

Anyway it is nice to know you enjoyed the stay at JLR and the hospitality given by them. If it was during summer, you could have experienced river rafting.
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Old 13th August 2014, 17:12   #14
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Very well written Travelogue abirnale

I think you visited the wrong place of the golden temple ( I am assuming seeing your pictures). IMO the temple is open the entire day, it is located where you find a shopping complex, parking lot in front of the temple and considering you went there at around 1 PM it should have been opened.
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Yes, it's possible that I may have missed the actual temple. But then I followed the same route - further down of shopping complex and a sharp left. This temple is visible of all the buildings and probably got my attention. Yes, there was enough parking space outside the temple but it was all green grass grown everywhere, with no vehicles and human beings around, I assumed this may be closed place. May be next time we head to Madikeri, we will pay one more visit to this place!

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If it was during summer, you could have experienced river rafting.
Actually the water rafting was ON - there are few private places prior to the actual left turn to JLR where I saw many groups and vehicles with those inflatable boats. Also saw a group coming down towards Kushal Nagar in the same river water while we were returning but couldn't capture it on cam since it was drizzling then. I am not a expert swimmer so rafting is not really my cup of tea
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Old 13th August 2014, 17:42   #15
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I am not a expert swimmer so rafting is not really my cup of tea
You know what even I don't know swimming and I was really hesitant for the first time to get into water, I was forcefully pushed into water with the life jackets on and trust me it was really one of the wonderful experience I had in my life time. IMO, getting into water without knowledge of swimming will give a thrilling experience, but I understand it is risky than usual.

By the way, how was your experience maneuvering the speed breakers almost till Kushalnagar and on your way back. Because most of us hate those speed breakers along with the traffic all the way from Bangalore-KushalNagar-Bangalore
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