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Old 11th July 2015, 00:38   #1
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Smile Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

If you are interested in both off-roading and wildlife spotting, then Thengumarahada is THE PLACE.

Thengumarahada is the name of the village where 200-500 settlements are there and Moyar river is the main water source for the village. The entry to this village is near Bhavani Sagar Dam.

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This place lies exactly in the middle of the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve. This area was once ruled by Sandal Wood Veerappan, but since his death the Forest Department has a good hold over it. So the entry to this village is restricted. The best option would be getting permission from the Forest Department, preferably from the DFO office at Sathy like us, which is not an easier option unless you have good contacts. We got permission to stay inside the forest at the Forest Department Guest house for 2 days with assistance from APWs for cooking, etc. Suppose if you are traveling to this place or if you want to travel to this place and couldn't get the permission to stay means don't worry, there are some alternate options too. Option 1) There is a temple half the way to Thengumarahada, The Forest department allows people to visit the temple only on Sundays - Getting permission to visit on Sundays is relatively easier if you could convince them that you are a wildlife and photography enthusiast. Option 2) There is a person at the Bull and Bush resort at Haasanur who helps gets permission with the help of his known contacts.

The road to Thengumarahada starts with tarmac, However within few kilometers the tarmac vanishes and then the road starts challenging your vehicles. Although a 2 wheel drive Bolero can barely manage, a good 4x4 SUV is definitely recommended. There are quite a few jungle streams which you might have to cross depending upon the season. Most importantly, the river crossing at Thengumarada is possible only when the water flow is less. If the flow is more, It is not recommended to try crossing even if you have a high end SUV.

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Throughout the way, There are lot of chances to spot wildlife like spotted deer, black buck, gaur, elephants & sambar. We even spotted a Leopard which was quickly jumping across our road. We saw pug marks of Tiger, bear, wild cat, etc. We even went to some ponds/water holes to try our luck for the cats, But instead of cats, Crocodiles and turtles showed up their face in those ponds.

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After having lot of luck in spotting wildlife (And yes, varieties of birds too), we went to the Forest Rest House(which is exactly at the foothills of Jayalalitha's Kodanad Estate), where APWs were welcoming us.

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The next morning we got up and refreshed ourselves in the Moyar River and crossed the Moyar River in our Mahindra Thar and Scorpio 4WD to spot the wildlife on the other side of the river.

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It was such a wonderful experience to cross a river on a jeep. But please dont try your luck all the times. Please keep in mind that sometimes they open up the water flow in the evening. Suppose if you have crossed the river in the morning when the flow was less, And if they have opened up the flow gates, then you might not be able to come back in the evening. You would have to wait till the the water flow reduces. So please keep this in mind before crossing the river. On the other side of the river also, you have plenty of options to spot wildlife. Thengumarahada is still unexploited since its not known much.

Hope you all enjoyed my first post in TeamBHP and I am sure you will be interested to visit Thengumarahada.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 20th July 2015 at 11:46. Reason: As requested
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Old 11th July 2015, 14:53   #2
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Lovely post sir.
You've entered here with a bang.
Consider taking me along with you in one such trip like this one.
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Old 11th July 2015, 16:37   #3
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Wow that looks like some serious bow wave in front of the Thar during river crossing.
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Old 11th July 2015, 17:44   #4
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

It is definitely not easy to obtain permission, one my of my colleague's friend is a politician and one phone call did it. There was this guy from Chennai driving his Merc 6x6 there(his dad is a realtor). He knew more about this region compared to the Forest officials, the officials were keenly listening to him. He helped us spot many wild animals.
I would strongly recommend any wildlife enthusiast/photographer to visit this place with proper prior permission.
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Old 11th July 2015, 17:49   #5
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Some more pics for all those who are interested in this place

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Old 12th July 2015, 16:50   #6
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Thanks for sharing. I have been planning to make a trip there for the last couple of years.

Any tactic for a layperson to stay in the FRH for a couple of nights? E.g. through Bull and Bush?
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Old 12th July 2015, 17:28   #7
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Lovely thread, nice to know that there are still a few "off the beaten track" places like this left in the TN-KA-KL wildlife belt which has now been pretty much over-exposed to tourism and regular traffic!

Hope this place too doesn't become a victim to holidayers from the cities running amok with their SUVs...

Last edited by Bigzero : 12th July 2015 at 17:29.
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Old 12th July 2015, 19:08   #8
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Arrow Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Hi Nilanjanray

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Any tactic for a layperson to stay in the FRH for a couple of nights? E.g. through Bull and Bush?
Its good that you are interested in this place. Getting permission from the Forest Department is always a difficult task. Because they just don't get convinced easily. They always think citizens as threats to the Forests.

As I have mentioned try the Bush and Bull Resorts once, However he definitely can't get the permission for you to stay in the FRH. Because I also tried and he said he can't do that. If you take the safari through Bull and Bush Resorts, he takes you from Morning 6 to evening 4. Thats kind of a full day safari. During the safari you will definitely go to the place where the FRH is there.

This FRH is mostly used by NGO's who are doing conservation related research in that area. So, during the safari, if you could get contact of any such NGO persons, it might help you.

At last, The DFO. His office is at Sathy. If you can talk to him once means, it might get you a chance. He is a nice person.

Try multiple options since there are no hard and fast ways to convince the Governement people.

Last edited by Aditya : 20th July 2015 at 12:20. Reason: As requested.
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Old 13th July 2015, 13:50   #9
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Wow what a fantastic trip with excellent photos, wildlife, birds , off roading that too in an unknown river. This is just too good. You are sure very fortunate to have got it all in one go. Kudos , really liked it, except the forest doesnt appear as green and fresh.
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Old 14th July 2015, 00:33   #10
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Wow, what an awesome and beautiful log for your first post !! pretty impressive mate , the place looks like an area of outstanding natural beauty , I just wish I could make it there someday , it would be a dream come true !! Thank you so much for sharing.
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Old 14th July 2015, 13:31   #11
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Very good photographs. Thank you very much for sharing. I am glad that you spotted a leopard too. Since you have seen the tiger pug marks with luck one might sight him/her too.

In one way it is good that the forest department doesn't give permission so easily to us. For every few of us with good intentions and respect for nature there are many who do not have the same respect which creates problems in the long run. Having fun is their primary idea and that is not good.
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Old 14th July 2015, 15:34   #12
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

What better way to start the account.

This area was mentioned in many of Kenneth Anderson's books, have never been able visit yet.

Regarding Thengumarahada, saw an article that there is relocation planned for the villagers outside the forest area.

Link
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Old 14th July 2015, 16:50   #13
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Sriram, Well written Travelogue with beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Accoring to The Hindu, Thengumarahada means 'a plain with coconut trees'. On Googling, found this interesting article about a wild life encounter at Thengumarahada.

In the last para, the author explains How to Reach there. Also he has given a contact number.

Full Article HERE

Last edited by iVento : 14th July 2015 at 16:56.
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Old 19th July 2015, 10:50   #14
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

Wow, I was thinking of planning this trip. Here is a picture of the village I had taken from the Koadanad view point at Kotagiri.

I honestly however agree with the forest department's stand of limiting access. This might be one of the few pristine stretches of forest in the "Nilgiri Biosphere"
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Old 19th July 2015, 12:40   #15
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Default Re: Thengumarahada - Unexplored Heaven for Wildlife & Offroaders

I love this place after reading your travelogue. I do hope that this place does not become a popular tourist destination. It has to stay just like it is now.
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