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Old 12th May 2010, 11:57   #1
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Default Wildlife beckons

It was an evening when my girl (to be fiancee) and I were sitting watching TV on a wet evening when it hit upon us that the last holiday we had taken was way back in August of 2009. So, it was decided that we need to take a short break from our otherwise boring and monotonous life and hence it was decided that the coming weekend we are going away. We both were to apply for leave on friday and make it a long weekend. It was also agreed that we would drive down to wherever we were going. Adding to the excitement of driving was the new ICE install and hence it had to be a road trip!

So, the next day was spent applying for leave, calling friends to check interest levels and looking for places to go to. Both us being wildlife freaks, we decided that it has to be a sanctuary or national park which was teeming with wildlife. I also needed to check how good my new 70-300 mm lens was and wildlife was the primary reason for buying it. It couldnt have been Kabini or Nagarhole as we were there in august and I had gone back there for the Tiger census in Jan. So looking at all these factors, K Gudi wilderness camp at BR Hills looked good and came highly recommended by friends due to the variety of wildlife and sightings.

Next up was getting reservations. I called up Jungle Lodges who run the camp and was told that bookings were impossible to get for the coming weekend. I was told that they are usually booked a month or so in advance. So, getting anything soon was not going to be possible especially with the school holidays on. I thought to myself, is it going to be another weekend in front of the idiot box. No way!

So, I start calling them every morning to check if there are any cancellations. I must have become a pest as each day they would pass my call to a new person as the older one would refuse to speak to me! On hind sight it was actually good to be a pest

So friday came and no luck still. Leaves were cancelled and we were back in our respective offices. In the afternoon I get a call from a lady at Jungle Lodges saying that a tent and family room has just got cancelled for the next weekend and they were calling to check if I needed them since I was on top of their minds! I immediately blocked both and told them that I will be making payments by the next day.

So it happened that none of my friends could take leave and I was left with 2 rooms. I reluctantly cancelled the family room and paid for the tented cottage the next day. So if not this weekend, we were going there the next weekend! It was a great feeling and respective boss's were told that the leave has now been pushed to next friday.

Last edited by sarmarishi : 12th May 2010 at 12:01.
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Old 12th May 2010, 14:29   #2
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To keep the interest going, here is a sneak peak at the variety of wildlife we saw. More pics will come as we go into the Safari

1) A Pond Heron
2) A Common Lizard
3) A Pack of Dholes (Indian wild dogs) - one of the most ferocious carnivours found. Known to kill even Tigers!

Guys need advice on how one can write in between pics. Please let me know
Attached Thumbnails
Wildlife beckons-pondheron.jpg  

Wildlife beckons-commonlizard.jpg  

Wildlife beckons-wilddogs1.jpg  


Last edited by sarmarishi : 12th May 2010 at 14:48.
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Old 12th May 2010, 14:59   #3
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wow. Nice start. The pics are indeed tempting. Look forward to the details trip log. Ive heard a lot about K Gudi camp from many of my photography friends. Never been there.
By the by, your sig - Im assuming is Save our tigers ! :-)
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Old 12th May 2010, 15:00   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarmarishi View Post
To keep the interest going, here is a sneak peak at the variety of wildlife we saw. More pics will come as we go into the Safari

1) A Pond Heron
2) A Common Lizard
3) A Pack of Dholes (Indian wild dogs) - one of the most ferocious carnivours found. Known to kill even Tigers!

Guys need advice on how one can write in between pics. Please let me know
sarmarishi,
Nice pictures & waiting for many more to come. It seems you have fully utilised your newly bought 70-300mm zoom lens. Regarding your queiry please go through this thread.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...-team-bhp.html (Uploading photographs directly to Team-BHP)
By the way which camy you use?

Last edited by sree70 : 12th May 2010 at 15:02.
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Old 12th May 2010, 15:44   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snan View Post
By the by, your sig - Im assuming is Save our tigers ! :-)
Thanks for pointing that out. Have rectified it now! Trip log coming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sree70 View Post
sarmarishi,
Nice pictures & waiting for many more to come. It seems you have fully utilised your newly bought 70-300mm zoom lens. Regarding your queiry please go through this thread.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...-team-bhp.html (Uploading photographs directly to Team-BHP)
By the way which camy you use?
Thanks for that. Yup I made full use of it. Took about a 1000 snaps in 3 days and hence the delay in putting this one up. Will upload once I sort through all of them and optimize. I use a Sonly alpha 300 with a G Series 70-300mm lens.
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Old 12th May 2010, 16:42   #6
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I've always heard of this Jungle Lodges in BR Hills, but never got the chance to stay. I had been similarly lucky the first time I booked JLR Kabini (in my case it was the same weekend which I was looking for, so it was really good luck).
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Old 12th May 2010, 17:15   #7
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The wild dogs look cool. Nice capture there. Bring it on pal.

And how did you watermark the photos?
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Old 13th May 2010, 11:24   #8
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So, the day came and the alarm rang at 4 a.m. and click went the snooze button.. Happened every 5 mins till it was 4:15 and I woke up with a start realising that we will be missing the deadline of leaving by 5 a.m. By the time we had showered and packed last minute thingeys, it was 5:10.
I went down to put everything in and warm the car up while the sandwiches, which were prepared last night were fetched from the fridge, etc. By the time we left it was 5:20 a.m.

Traffic had not yet started and the roads were pleasure to pass through the city with the windows down and the cool wind rushing in. We were out of the city in about 20 mins taking the old airport road and then going past Kanteerva stadium and on to the Mysore road fly-over. I was driving as spiritedly as the slight morning traffic on the highway would let me and we were at Maddur within the hour. The road till Maddur was excellent and I was doing about a 100 km/ph through out. Since it was only about 6:15 when we reached, everything excepts the CCDs, Baristas, were closed. So it was decided that coffee break will be in Kollegal.

Drove past the turn off to Maddur town and took the next big left to Kollegal via Malavalli. This road also goes to Barrachukki and Talakad. The road from here becomes a state highway and is just a two-lane. The road was good with a lot of patch work done and was a little wavy (bumpy if you are in a smaller car). Was doing about 80 km/ph except while approaching villages and passing throught them. Kollegal took another hour and a half from here.

Last edited by sarmarishi : 13th May 2010 at 11:26.
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Old 13th May 2010, 11:47   #9
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woha intersting thread dude. one of my friends was asking about going to Hungle for photo shoot and i get answer today thanks for the info!

Quote:
I use a Sonly alpha 300 with a G Series 70-300mm lens
what is cost of alpha 300 and the 70-300 lens
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Old 13th May 2010, 12:07   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
The wild dogs look cool. Nice capture there. Bring it on pal.

And how did you watermark the photos?
I use Photoshop elements 6 for watermarking and optimising size. You can follow this link if you want to do the same.
Creating A Watermark In Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 - Photoshop Tutorial

Quote:
Originally Posted by recshenoy View Post
woha intersting thread dude. one of my friends was asking about going to Hungle for photo shoot and i get answer today thanks for the info!


what is cost of alpha 300 and the 70-300 lens
Yup it is a great place to see wildlife and photograph them. I get my gear from Malaysia or singapore as it is much cheaper there. the A300 cost me about 24k and the 70-300 about 43k (thats because its the professional series). Another 70-300 which is avialable is for about 20k in India and about 10k in Singapore
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Old 13th May 2010, 13:35   #11
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Snaps are nice. You really captured things in their elements.
Was this a typical weekend work?
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Old 13th May 2010, 14:52   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Snaps are nice. You really captured things in their elements.
Was this a typical weekend work?
Thanks Ampere. Lots more pics to come. I still have to sort them and optimise them. I am sure you will love the other snaps too. Stay tuned.

Yup it can be done over a weekend. Just about 4 hours away. However more sightings during weekdays as not many people go into the jungle. I went on a friday and came back on a sunday making it a long weekend as I wanted to maximize my stay there.

Last edited by sarmarishi : 13th May 2010 at 14:53.
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Old 13th May 2010, 22:10   #13
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Now while in Kollegal it gets a bit confusing as you enter the city and you have to take a left and an immediate right. This again takes a natural right and you have to keep following this road to exit Kollegal. You will pass the bus stand to your right on this road. We stopped opposite the bus stand for some coffee but unfortunately they did not have a restroom. So, off we went to the lodge nearby and used their restroom. So, got some very dirty looks from the staff there for just using their facility and not giving them any business. That was about a half an hour break.

Now, as you are exiting this place (after a slight left from the bus stand) you come to a junction kind of a place where you will see a steel bridge on your right on the highway while there is a road which goes straight and there is white board with something written in Kannada with only the last thing in English which says B R Hills and has an arrow.

Seeing that it said BR Hills, I took this road by mistake. However, this mistake turned out to be a boon as it was much shorter then the other route and was also more scenic. This road goes though some very small hamlets/ villages and is very narrow at places. The road condition, I would put it as good with some stretches very good while some are being done up. So if you go in a few weeks or months time it should be a beauty to drive on.

So after taking this road, I verified with 3 villagers and were told that the road is quite good and is much shorter and they recommended that I take it. And so we went through some stunningly beautiful countryside with fields and hills in the backdrop.

Wildlife beckons-dsc06410.jpg
Wildlife beckons-dsc06411.jpg
Wildlife beckons-dsc06413.jpg
Wildlife beckons-dsc06415.jpg
Wildlife beckons-dsc06417.jpg

Average speed doable on this road is about 60 km/hr. The bad patches are smooth but are topped up with gravel so I could drive at about 50 km/ph over those. A word of caution on this road is that some of the turns are blind ones and a lot of people are literally on the roads as it must not be used much (especially inside the hamlets). So do be careful while driving.

The comparatively bad patches:
Wildlife beckons-dsc06412.jpg
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Old 13th May 2010, 22:20   #14
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And finally we reach the B R hills check-post at about 9:15 am. A quick registration, offering of prayers to the small temple and the Pujari giving us some flowers, we are off. BTW it is customary to do this before entering most National parks or hill roads for your safety and hence we oblige and also pray for good luck with regards to spotting of wildlife.

As not many vehicles ply on this road, we are only about 4 or 5th that morning. I drive very slowly through the park with cameras ready. We come across a lot of birds, lizards and chameleons basking themselves in the sun on the road. I stop to take their pictures. Here are a few of them:

(Note: all pics taken from inside the car as it is not advisable to stop in the middle of a forest and get out. Can have fatal consequences when wild animals are concerned)

A common lizard
Wildlife beckons-commonlizard.jpg

A Greater Coucal or Bharadwaj (supposedly a lucky bird)
Wildlife beckons-dsc07081.jpg

The roads here are beautiful and becomes curvy after a while. Half way through you reach a view-point and this is the only place we got out for a few seconds after scanning our surroundings.

Wildlife beckons-dsc07072.jpg
Wildlife beckons-dsc07074.jpg
Wildlife beckons-dsc07075.jpg
Wildlife beckons-dsc07076.jpg

Last edited by sarmarishi : 13th May 2010 at 22:22.
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Old 13th May 2010, 22:43   #15
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We carry on and we reach a place where there is civilization and is basically a Tribal welfare centre. I was very pleased to see that they had schools, hospitals, a nurse training center, etc. Here you come to a Y junction, the left takes you to K Gudi/ Chamrajnagar and the right to Biligiri Rangaswami temple. So we take the left and we the road now goes through even denser forest and a couple of watering holes.


Me: Our luck is so bad, we have only managed to see some birds and reptiles. Not even one Deer has come out to see us.
GF: Yeah, our luck really s&%#s!!
GF: WILD DOGS!!!
ME: Holy cow. Slam the breaks.

Yes our luck has suddenly changed and we come across a pack of wild dogs right beside the road. They are basking in the sun. I stop and start clicking. They see us and start making their way toward the undergrowth. Just then as luck would have it, a bus come and stops in front of me and starts flashing its lights. So, I have to move the car and quickly reverse back. I again click as many possible before they disappear. It was our first spotting of Wild Dogs and are we not excited!


You have already seen one of the snaps so I am putting just one here.

Wildlife beckons-wilddogs2.jpg

They are magnificent animals. Lovely rust coloured coats with a blackish tail. They are one of the most ferocious wild animals as they are known to even kill Tigers. Once they disappear and we have had our fill of looking at them we drove on to reach the camp at about 10 a.m. Since we were early by about 2 hours we lounged around the main hall and looked around the camp area. In the mean time looked for the person who came highly recommended to take us for the safaris and booked 2 places on his jeep for the next few days. Checked in at 12 noon and had a sumptuous lunch after that. Then dozed off setting an alarm for 3:40 p.m. to go for the safari at 4 p.m.

The Camp:
K.Gudi camp is a lovely old hunting lodge belonging to the Maharaja of Mysore which has been converted into a camp. They only have about 2 rooms in the main building as it serves as the reception, staff quarters and kitchen. You have to walk down a few steps and on the right are the tented cottages followed by the log huts. There are about 9 tented cottages and 3 log huts. The huts are right at the end. The gol ghar where food is served is right in front and the views from here and the tents are excellent. It looks down into the valley and they have a lot of hammocks around for you to laze around on.

Wildlife beckons-dsc07750.jpg

The tented cottages:
Wildlife beckons-dsc06427.jpg
Wildlife beckons-dsc06428.jpg
Wildlife beckons-dsc06450.jpg

The log huts:
Wildlife beckons-dsc07106.jpg

The Gol Ghar:
Wildlife beckons-dsc08201.jpg


Wild boars roam around freely and the resident elephant also like grazing inside the property.

Wildlife beckons-dsc07110.jpg
Wildlife beckons-dsc07127.jpg

The tented cottages are well equipped with a double bed and side tables, some deck chairs on the veranda and all the other necessary creature comforts. The bathroom is big with hot water available in the morning and has 2 plug points for charging phones, batteries, etc. Power is only available between 5:45 - 6:30 a.m and 6:30 10:30 p.m. as the whole camp runs on a generator.
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