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Old 3rd January 2009, 00:29   #1
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Default River Tern Jungle Lodge, Kemmanugundi and then some…

It was already Dec 15th when my wife asked me to book a vacation during 18th-22nd to just anywhere.

But during Christmas season, planning a vacation with such a short notice is near impossible. After much scrambling I managed to book just one day at River Tern Jungle Lodge and we decided to make the best of it.

The first challenge was the directions. We could only find directions from Bangalore to River Tern lodge, but not from the coast. From the map it was clear that the documented course would cost us probably 50Kms more than required. There was a sketchy reference to an alternate route that could take us directly in one of the route query thread to Tirthahalli.

Documented route: Udupi-Agumbe-Tirthahalli-Shivmoga-Bhadravathi-Tarikere-Lakkavalli-Jungle Lodge

Our route: Udupi-Agumbe—Tirthahalli-????-????-Umblebailu-??????-Lakkavalli-????-Jungle Lodge.

Since there was no time to get any detailed info, we took off on 18th morning hoping to find our way as we progress. We got through Agumbe and Tirthahalli in no time and started looking out for a turn towards Umblebail. At first we thought we need to turn right at Mandagadde, so I got the instructions for the same from a shop keeper. As I walked backed nearly 50 meters to the GV and took my seat, I saw the shopkeeper discussing with others and then starting towards us, so I waited. He walked all the way and informed me that it was a circuitous route. Instead he suggested an alternate route. That turned out to be the correct and the shortest route. This is how it goes.

About 27-28Kms from Tirthahalli, there is a village called Muduba. Turn right into a forest gate there, half a KM later turn left and you will reach Muthinakoppa within 4Kms. At Muthinakoppa at the T junction, turn left towards Umblebail, which is 16Kms away. At Umblebail, turn right at the circle (directions are shown here) towards Lakkavalli which is 18Kms away. After crossing Kuvempu University and Bhadra Dam, turn right towards River Tern and follow the directions at every turn. If you keep going straight after crossing Bhadra dam ignoring River Tern lodge, you will end up hitting Bhadravathi-Bangalore highway just before Tarikere.

Our final route: Udupi-Agumbe-Tirthahalli-Muduba-Muthinakoppa-Umblebailu-Bhadra Dam-Jungle Lodge. Lakkavalli comes after passing the turn towards Jungle Lodge.

Only the 4Km stretch between Muduba & Muthinakoppa is bad, I still managed 40-50 top speed. Rest of the stretch is pretty ok, no problem for cars.

This was the third Jungle Lodge resort I have been to, but the first one where I had seen no trace of any jungle even after parking at the lodge. Village lodge would have been more apt as the name. However, once we checked in and passed beyond the reception, jungle started showing up. The whole resort is located on a forest hill which is surrounded by Bhadra back water on most sides.

After lunch my wife and kids settled in the room for a siesta and I got permission for roaming the hill for couple of hours of photo-shoot.
Since the resort is located on a hill, it is entirely crisscrossed with stone steps, almost reminds of Hampi.

This is going towards the water sports center.

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You can ride the huge rubber dinghy.

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Or the Kayak.

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Or this row boat.

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Unlike in most places, the water here is crystal clear, one can see pretty deep.

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The safety is not ignored either. Pretty impressive gear, all carry the Ozone shop brand on them.

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Yeah, more steps.

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And some more.

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Every often I saw this strange wooden contraption on the ground. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a garden lamp, natural style.

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I spent about half an hour talking to the staff about the resort and checked out the safari vehicle. One was a Mahindra Bolero and the other was a Mahindra pickup. They told that according to the lady Range Forest Officer in-charge, you can’t remove the top of the safari Jeep. Pretty silly rules, how one can enjoy Jeep Safari if the top is closed. But rules are rules.

At one time this must have been a hilly forest, but the back water after the creation of the dam has created multiple islands out of the hills.

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The Bhadra Dam, notice the clear water.

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Must be due the high alert, the dam is guarded by the Imperial AT-AT Walker. Aah78 would be thrilled.

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Currently they are expanding the resort by adding another island which connected to the mainland via a wooden bridge.

It was a long walk down the steps to reach the bridge.

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The bridge to the island.

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The view from the bridge

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See the steps, they go all the way under water, clearly visible through water.

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By this time it was 3:30PM, time to get back to my cave and get ready for the Jeep Safari.

To be Continued.
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Old 3rd January 2009, 01:47   #2
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Nice pics and narration as usual @Samurai. Please post some pics of the GV, the Bolero and the pickup. I love the stunning pics of the GV that you capture.
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Old 3rd January 2009, 07:05   #3
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Well nice to see so many travellogues. This seems beautiful. Keep em coming
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Old 3rd January 2009, 11:30   #4
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As usual, it is always pleasure to read travelogues from you.
I think Karnataka has more jungle lodges than Maharashtra.
here in Maharashtra, we have very few options like Koyna, Bhandardara, Dajipur other than Vidarbha region.
Waiting for more pics.
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Old 3rd January 2009, 11:46   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
You can ride the huge rubber dinghy.

Attachment 84651
Samurai San, Just one small correction that is not a dinghy but a water trampoline.
Nice pics and as usual nicer narration.
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Old 3rd January 2009, 11:55   #6
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Incredible Karnataka!!! Please keep the pictures coming.
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Old 3rd January 2009, 12:28   #7
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We northies are already shivering and these photographs of water make us shiver even more.

Beautiful pictures though!
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Old 3rd January 2009, 12:56   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vvnagan View Post
Samurai San, Just one small correction that is not a dinghy but a water trampoline.
Aha! You are right, I had seen photographs of people jumping on it, but couldn't remember the exact name for the water craft.

Between Dec 18th-28th, I went on 3 different trips, therefore I didn't get time to process the photographs. Therefore, I am slowly catching up now. The last two trips didn't involve any photography, it was just Jeeping and family stuff respectively.
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Old 3rd January 2009, 13:02   #9
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HI Samurai.
I did the same route from Bangalore. But my destination was Manegadde which is around 3-4 KM away from Muduba. I forget to mention the Exact place(Muduba) where we cross the Bridge and Join Simoga-Tirthahalli NH.
Any way nice PICS.
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Old 3rd January 2009, 14:46   #10
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Soon we prepared both kids and set towards the reception area.

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As we showed up at the reception for the Safari, the area was deserted but for retired psychologist from Bangalore. He was an avid birder ready with his 400D and a monopod. It took 15 minutes more before everybody showed up. Since I had already discussed with the safari staff, they had pointed out the best spot on the Safari Jeep (Mahindra Pickup). We promptly took up those seats while the rest were contemplating the best position. Don’t even consider getting into the Bolero, it has very little visibility and you have to sit with your back to the window. And yes, the top shall not come off, order of the RFO.

The forest gate is about 4Kms away from the resort. The weather which was pretty warm as we left turned cool once we entered the forest. The driver we had was not exactly an guide, he was not even a Safari driver. He drove like a transport driver, only interested to go from point A and point B. He explained nothing and just kept going, waiting for nothing. Whenever he saw wildlife, which was rare, he stopped for the photo shoot. This is where one really misses the professional guides like in Kabini.

Most scouting was done by couple of birders in the group, these guys could spot birds like a shark smells blood. This one was spotted by the retired psychologist. It was only 15ft away, but directly above the Jeep. Since the top can’t come off and we can’t get down, it was quite an acrobatic exercise to shoot this otherwise easy shot. I had to literally hang myself out and look upwards with the bazooka to shoot this.

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The only other things we spotted flew away too soon or were too far away.
That too I am talking about mundane stuff like spotted deer and barking deer. In other forests these are seen in abundance. After driving for more than an hour we were taken to this ancient travel lodge (108 years), now open only to VIPs.

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And this was our ride.

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Nothing else happened, so we reached back at around 7PM. The lunch was at 8:30PM and it was pretty cold by then.

The dining area.

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After dinner I decided to take some lowlight snaps outside the cottage.

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The cottage where we stayed.

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The next door cottage

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The night was lovely, very pleasant and we all slept very peacefully.

The morning view from the cottage, did I mention every cottage has similar view of the backwaters?

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We were ready to leave by 7AM, but the boat ride was not until 7:30AM. Since my wife had seen some of the shots from previous day, she wanted to retrace the steps (yup, all those steps) and see the island, etc. So we did that in the next 30 minutes. The little one had to be carried after halfway.

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To be continued.
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Old 4th January 2009, 10:48   #11
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Excellent photography and narration. It is a always feast to our eyes and mind for seeing and reading your travelogues. Enjoying this.
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Old 4th January 2009, 11:17   #12
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Excellent photo's Samurai! And a really beautiful place.

Especially the night photos! How do you guys do it!??? I have tried such shots and have Totally messed it up! :(
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Old 4th January 2009, 12:49   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
Especially the night photos! How do you guys do it!??? I have tried such shots and have Totally messed it up! :(
Thanks, it is called a tripod...
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Old 4th January 2009, 13:37   #14
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Quote:
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Thanks, it is called a tripod...
Ah, thought so. ; got a glimpse of that when I compared my photos with a friends who has used his tripod to capture the New Year celebrations fireworks!
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Old 4th January 2009, 13:50   #15
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Nice shots, Samu. Your part of the Milky Way is beautiful, I've always said. Now, dont tell me you had to use those road maps I sent you to get to this place !
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