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Old 11th February 2009, 01:51   #1
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Default Mumbai-Bandipur-Mudumalai-Madikeri-Goa-Mumbai

It was our 10th Anniversary and we wanted to do something different instead of just giving gifts to each other or going to some booked trip.

Luckily we had just acquired a SPARK (GM) 3 months back and I was raring to have a longggg trip in it, but was not sure about where. While surfing on net, came across team-bhp.com and booooom, there was Pandora ’s Box out there. The information out here is just mind boggling for travelers across regions in India.

We wanted to explore wild life and after reading a lot of posting, narrowed down to Bandipur, Mudumalai.

Then started searching info on these locations and the more I searched, the more I was mesmerized and attracted to this location.

I contacted HVK and he was a lot of help to me with route details. He literally guided nearly major part of the tour. Wifey had 2 rules for this tour. 1. No drinking and driving and 2nd no driving beyond sunset. (I flaunted the 2nd one on every stretch)

Day 1
I started at 4:40 am on 27th Jan from thane. 1st stop was at food mall on expressway for tea. Then next stop was at karad for breakfast at Sangam Hotel for nearly 45 mins. Don’t expect good kitchen products but toilets are neat and clean. A stop must if you are traveling with your family.

Next filled up the tank just before border as fuel is cheap in Maharashtra compared to Karnataka.

We crossed Belgaum by 1 pm and were at Davangere around 5 pm. Drive from a place called Haveri (approx) till davangere is average. The road after chitradurg for next 10-20 kms is the worst due to lot of truck traffic and single lane.

Although HVK was in touch and he suggested than we can reach Mysore, I was not sure of driving after dark and wifey was adamant we halt immediately after sunset wherever we are, I stretched and we halted at Tumker for Night around 9 pm.

Last edited by aah78 : 11th February 2009 at 05:08. Reason: Text format tags removed. Please Copy-Paste from Notepad to avoid this problem. Thanks!
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Old 11th February 2009, 09:23   #2
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Not able see your pictures.

Good start !! Waiting to see the rest of the travelogue.

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Old 13th February 2009, 00:19   #3
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Eagerly waiting for the next episodes.

Picture is not being displayed. Have you waited long between upload of picture and submit of the post? I had similar problem.
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Old 13th February 2009, 18:01   #4
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Day 2

Next day we started around 7 am and opted for Mysore via NECE bypass. Its quite confusing and we were nearly lost in all those turns without any direction boards. Finally after asking at each crossing we got the right road.

The road to Mysore is quite fine. Each city we passed had a welcome and thank you sign board with specialty of the city; like welcome to Silk City or Welcome to Heritage City or Welcome to historical City etc. Just 15-20 kms before Mysore, we saw sign of Vrindavan and decided lets explore the garden. We went there around 10 am and though the garden is beautiful, as suggested please go in the evening. The real beauty of the garden is in the way the garden is lighted in evening.

On the way to vrindavan we had seen sign of ranganatathittu Bird Sanctuary and we entered the park. It was the best decision we had taken till now. Itís a small sanctuary with few islands where there are huge species of migratory birds residing.

We ventured out in the wilderness of the park and spotted many birds like Water Crows, Storks, Spotted Dow, and of all Pelicans. We saw huge nestís of pelicans wherein each nest had atleast 3-4 of them residing in it. It was a wonderful sight never seen before. We also saw Storkís mating.
After nearly 2 hours of bird watching we started for Bandipur (our Destination) and reached there by 6pm. We stayed at M C resort which is just before Bandipur. The hotel has twin cottages and is Ok sort of in facilities.

Day 3

Next Day Morning we checked out of the hotel and started for Bandipur Forest. This was the day we had planned for and as soon as we entered the sanctuary, we were greeted with Peacocks and a huge wild boar. These were good signs. Next we sighted lots of spotted deer quite next to the road.

We proceeded to Bandipur Tourism office for morning safari but were told that its not available due to lack of tourists.
Next we were not sure where to go as had to find a stay and also move around. We went ahead on the road for Mudumalai. On the way we spotted lots of Deerís and birds like Kingfisher, Peacocks etc.

Next we entered Mudumalai sanctuary and saw Tamilnadu Restaurant with lodging facility. It was the only option without any prior booking. The rooms were neat and clean as much as you can get any accommodation in a jungle. The restaurant was pathetic. No choice out there.

After checking in and having lunch, we had small break and then opted for Jungle safari by Govt. bus. Its was around 3:30 pm and we spotted a family of wild elephants with a cute little baby Elephant; a Sambhar; lots of spotted deer and were back in 45 minutes. Immediately we went to Bandipur forest office for Jungle safari there, but were disappointed by receptionist that there are no tourist and you can wait till 5:30 and if enough tourist are there we can ride a Bus Safari. We had heard that Bandipur safari is comparatively better.

We waited till 5:20 pm around office and then spotted few people talking of safari. On enquiring we found that they were navy officers from Bombay and their guide had news of Tiger and they were planning to go. We immediately took the tickets. It was us both and rest 10 Navy people.

Their guide and driver of our bus had news of Tiger Mating in some particular spot and all were very excited about spotting them.
We started and as soon as we entered the jungle we spotted a fantastic Scene. A Pair of Wild dogs had just killed a huge deer and they were shooed away by a pack of wild boars that started eating the deer. The scene was mesmerizing with dogs trying to come near their kill and boars attacking them as soon as they were near.

Our driver was hell bent on trail of tiger and he did not stop here for more than 2 minutes. We ventured into wilderness and went to the spot where tiger had been spotted mating an hour back near a water hole. After a lot of searching, we could not spot the tiger. Then we came across a tourist jeep, and they said that they had shooted the mating for nearly 45 minutes!!! Lucky People.

Then we came back and started for Mudumalai where we had stayed. It was already dark and jungle was coming alive. It was dark and we spotted a lone elephant. We went till Masinagudi and back in hope of spotting something but in vain.

We freshened up and had dinner at our hotel (Tamilnadu Restaurant). It was around 9:30 pm and trainee manager out there suggested that we should move around and can spot a lot of wild life in night. Against the wishes of wifey, we started in direction of Gudlur with the Manager. He took us to Abhayaranyam where there is a watch tower. It was pitch dark and I had just one torch with me. The very first sight on tower was beautiful Milky Way which we seldom get to watch in city light pollution. It was a beautiful sight.

Manager said, many a times, herds of elephants and Bason can be spotted from here. It was pitch dark and very frightful. Suddenly we heard some noise in the jungle and the manager told us it was herd of Elephantís. Truly the sound was huge like some BIG animal brushing through the jungle. We could hear the sound just in neighboring trees but inspite of the torch were unable to spot them.

After a while we left and started roaming on the road towards Gudlur. We spotted a Sambar with huge antelopes by side of the road. We just stopped and waited. He slowly crossed the road and the scene was beautiful. I wanted to capture him but unluckily my camera was left behind due to battery charging. We just had to feast our eyes and memory with the sight.

Then we went ahead and after a couple of kms we heard rustling sound in the jungle by the road. We stopped and tried to spot the origin. Again it was herd of elephants moving. Just then in light of battery we spotted a huge grey wall which was actually a big elephant. We waited there for a while in hope that they would cross the road for river, but they were not in hurry.

We moved on and decided to get back to our hotel. Just then, the manager told me to stop. We saw a huge Bason just by the road nearly 15 feets apart. The sight of it was frightening. It was huge and muscular (n number of packs ). Although so near us, it was silently grazing. We watched him for nearly 10 minutes and then returned to our hotel.

Day 4

Next day we had a bus safari in hopes of spotting something but in vain. We checked out of hotel and started for Madikeri. HVK had suggested offbeat road via Gudlur Ė Sultan Bathery Ė Gondalpet. The road full completely a country drive through tea estates, forest and coffee estates. We enjoyed the whole route except 20-30 kms of bad road from gondalpet.

We reached Madikeri around 8pm and checked in at Mayura Valley (KTDC). Very good accommodation at a reasonable price with best view.

Day 5

We visited Nisarg Dham which has a scenic river running through it. Next was Tibetan temple. This was my first encounter with Tibetan culture and was educating one. Huge Buddha Temple; chanting of monks (as seen in many films); beautiful garden etc. was a new experience for us. It was like a mini Tibet city out there. Later we visited Abbey Falls and were back to hotel to watch beautiful sunset from the room.

Day 6

We started from Madikeri around 8am for Goa. Next 20 kms were bad. Then drive till Mangalore bypass and beyond was good. Some part of the route was very scenic with road and beach side by side. We reached Udipi around 1:30 pm and had good fish meal there. Next halt was before Karwar at Kamat Uphaar for snacks and reached Panji by 9 pm.

Day 7

We ventured in Old Goa and saw beautiful church of Basillica where St. Xavierís is resting in peace. The church is wonderful and guide explained us in detail importance of everything. The walls of church were so wide that one room in Bombay could be accommodated in its width. Then we saw Mhalsa Temple, Shanta Durga Temple and Mangeshi Temple. In evening we had boat ride which reminded us the song from Honemoon Travelís Movie.

Day 8

We opted for a early morning Dolphin cruise and spotted nearly 10 dolphins in deep sea. The experience was just wonderful and first of its kind. Next we visited a offbeat site called Big Foot. Some belief which says that there is huge foot mark of ancient human being. Also village like atmosphere created. Not worthwhile unless you have never seen a village. Evening was at Dona Paula beach and back to hotel.

Day 9

On eve of this day, I had partied till late night and was not quite ready for
driving till Bombay. So we had a halt at Sawantwadi. A peaceful town. We had been here for a week 5 years back. We had a 4 hours walk around and in the town. This town is famous for wooden toys and artifacts. It has a huge lake at one end and a garden. The garden is not that well maintained as we had seen earlier. But the walk around the town was refreshing which revived our memories. The pineapple here is very tasty. (Past and present experience). Dinner was at Mango Restaurant with mouthwatering fish curry and rice chappati.

Day 10

We started from Sawantwadi around 7:30 am and reached Thane by 6 pm. On the way we halted for breakfast around 8.30 am and then at Kamatís at Mahad.
In all it was a wonderful gift to ourselves of 10 Days of Break for our 10th Anniversary. We had many firstís on this tour.
1. 1st tour touching 5 states. (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Goa).
2. 1st tour by road covering such a distance in car with me as driver  (3000 Kms).
3. 1st tour that covered wild life sanctuary, hill station and beach.
4. 1st big break after honeymoon (much required).
5. 1st tour where I loved beaches and wild life sanctuary and wife loved hill station ( reverse is our liking).
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