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Old 27th September 2010, 15:45   #1
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Arrow Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far

As many of you might already know, I was working out a long weekend trip to come out from the busy office schedules and chill out my senses. Many of you people helped me with inputs on various options and road conditions etc, thanks TBHP and its good people. I am neither a skilled writer nor a professional photographer to make you overjoyed with words and clicks on this travelogue. But one thing I can assure is, like any of my previous travelogues it would give a small tour of the trip with 75% pictures and 25% talking plus it would help you plan yours better. So wish me good, a brief of how this vacation before starting with the trip.

In December 2008, my wife fell pray for a telephone marketing scam announcing "You have won a lucky draw and please come to our office with your partner to collect the free goodies". Poor girl, she got excited about the first ever win of something like a lottery or draw and dragged me to this Professional cheating people (Not mentioning the name since my intention is not to blacken their faces) on a sweet Saturday morning. I believed in the theorem "Nothing on earth comes free" but didn’t wanted to disappoint her (she was carrying during that time). The whole place looked fishy (Sshhh!) and some professional cheats announced that they are into selling pre-paid vacations at very reasonable costs. Either I choose to subscribe or not, free gift (Some cheap glass bowls and some dining + holiday vouchers) would be mine. But if I choose to pay the money immediately, they could work out a fantastic offer for a 3 year vacation. Somehow they were able to convince me and took money from my pocket offering 5 nights vacation a year (including complimentary) for next 3 years (2009, 2010, 2011). Food and other expenses will have to be beared by me plus some processing charges per vacation (another trap).

We utilized the first year for our Goa trip (remember my Goa - Sawantwadi travelogue last year?), there were lot of telephonic and visit efforts in making that trip a success. I am reasonably good in planning (in my wife's opinion) and planned everything a month in advance for 24th to 26th of September 2010. Yes this time it’s Bandipur-Mudumalai. The professional tour operators agreed to everything and promised me the best. Good thing is that they keep 3 telephones including mobile for ringing only not for answering. Also they use technologies like Emails for reading only not replying. Each transaction ends up in visiting them between my tight office schedules. Just 1 more week to go, after consistent visits and calls (poor wife, she was my call center) they orally confirmed booking. But even two days prior to travel, no formal commitment or letter. Came to know that " The Nest Inn" where booking is made would not be available since some guests extended the stay and stay will be at "The Wilderness" near Mudumalai. We were okay with that but no confirmation mail or letter even till last Wednesday (Travel was on Friday). Again follow-ups etc and Thursday I visited them and forcefully made them issue my confirmation letter which says I have to pay INR 8500 towards food and transaction charges directly at the resort. I thanked god and returned home happily. On the way back home, MR. X who is the manager of this prestigious institution called me and informed not to pay the money at resort but to transact to him so that he can pay directly in their Bangalore office. But there is no SBI account available and I agreed to arrange money through Citibank the next day since transfer to outside banks takes time. He told he would call in case any change is there but no calls and he himself is not picking the call. Now there is a surprise waiting the next day morning when we reached the resort!

Please don’t think this is a distress story, it’s not. We had a wonderful trip! Above experience is shared to all to be informed of the scams happening around us so that one could safeguard himself from damages on pockets.

Kindly bear with me till tomorrow so that I am ready with the photographs to start with the trip. Requesting all your support and suggestions.

Last edited by jacs : 27th September 2010 at 15:50.
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Old 27th September 2010, 16:41   #2
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Good thing is that they keep 3 telephones including mobile for ringing only not for answering. Also they use technologies like Emails for reading only not replying.


Looking forward to your detailed travelogue and pictures. By the way, why do you have to pay 8500 again after they have offered free vacations for 3 years?
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Old 27th September 2010, 18:15   #3
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Professional cheating people. The whole place looked fishy (Sshhh!) and some professional cheats announced that they are into selling pre-paid vacations at very reasonable costs.
jacs, is this place somewhere near the Indian express office - vidhan soudha area (i dont remember the road name)? Last i was there in blore, i recieved the same call and wasted around a couple of hours, traveling from Ecity and listening to their mumbo-jumbo. Glad you had a good trip. Looking forward to the pics and narrative.
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Old 27th September 2010, 21:10   #4
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Looking forward to your detailed travelogue and pictures. By the way, why do you have to pay 8500 again after they have offered free vacations for 3 years?
Payment was against food for 4 adults for 3 days (effectively 2 days) plus some processing charge against the free vouchers (imagine the idea of complimentary vouchers). Shall try to touch through the details, pictures big yes (have 400+ snaps, expecting to post atleast 100 ).

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jacs, is this place somewhere near the Indian express office - vidhan soudha area (i dont remember the road name)? Last i was there in blore, i recieved the same call and wasted around a couple of hours, traveling from Ecity and listening to their mumbo-jumbo. Glad you had a good trip. Looking forward to the pics and narrative.
Nope. This is quite near to Viveknager area. Lucky you, escaped from the trap! Shall start with the pictures and write-up by tomorrow.
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Old 28th September 2010, 10:05   #5
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Day 1 : Friday, 24th September 2010

During the sweet dreams about jungle and travel, someone called me by name in whisper. God! Dream is gone and I am awake. Dad in law had a tough time waking me at 3:30AM in the morning. Wifey and Mom in law prepared some quick breakfast while we stuffed the baggage to car and got ready. All are ready by 4:15AM, my son Joshua was still sleeping as we started the journey with a quick prayer.

Accent was tanked full the day before and trip meter set to zero so as to make my calculation easy. Weather looked good as we entered NECE road, paid the first toll INR 20 and drove till the Bannarghetta road where there is a small deviation to resume the journey to Mysore road. Again paid INR 38 bucks and reached Mysore road by 4:45AM. Trip meter showed 30Kms, road was almost empty but some sparse truck traffic to keep us awake. I was able to maintain 80~100 Kmph most of the time and reached mysore by pass before Mysore by 6:45AM. Trip meter showed 140Kms while we stopped for breakfast. Joshu also got up to see the first glimpse of the sun. We got him ready, had the food we carried and headed to Gundulpet by 7:30AM.

This is how Ooty Road bypass looked in the first glimpse of Sun
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-1.jpg

Everyone had a sound sleep except me! Now its time to have a break!
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-2.jpg

Another hour drive took us to Gundulpet where we had a quick coffee, filled full tank diesel again to have tension free drives in forest for the next three days (Yes! We drove about 250Kms inside forest only).

Some waterbodies near Nanjangud
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-3.jpg

While continuing to Bandipur, could see many happy faces on safari jeeps and hence decided to enquire about the timings and stopped in Bandipur forest office reception. Safari timings are between 6AM to 9 AM and 4PM to 6PM. Only Van safari which costs INR 95 per head, jeep safari is not organized by forest department as of now. This is to help private parties to promote their Jeep safaris which costs INR 2000+ per trip. There were herds of deer near the buildings and spotted some langur and monkeys too. Joshu was in high spirits to see the animals roaming around here and there, we were also astonished to see how tamed these animals are to human habitat. Here are some snaps in and around the Bandipur reception.

Road towards Bandipur Reception
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-4.jpg

Bandipur Forest Reception
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-5.jpg

See how tamed these deers are, they are grazing around the office premises
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-6.jpg

A Nilagiri Langur Mom and Kid
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-7.jpg

This guy attracted my attention
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-8.jpg

I'll split this tree
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-9.jpg

I'm not shy! Say Cheeez
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-10.jpg


(will be continued...)
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Old 28th September 2010, 10:54   #6
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Another hour drive took us to Gundulpet where we had a quick coffee, filled full tank diesel again to have tension free drives in forest for the next three days (Yes! We drove about 250Kms inside forest only).
Surprising that most of us see the signboards and the names of places and still manage to pronounce it wrong. Jac's that's Gundlupet and not Gundulpet . It's quite common with the mallus that they pronounce this wrong.
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Old 28th September 2010, 11:09   #7
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Here’s a wild boar running away when the monkeys created some mess
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-11.jpg

Another crowd near the check post, one with antelope too
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-12.jpg

We decided to take left immediately after the check post. This narrow road takes us to a tribal village and there are couple of resorts operating around this area. Deers and peacocks are common sight here; carnivores are not common here except the wild dogs. We saw many deer families, males were showing symptoms of mating season by challenging and fighting to prove their strength. Also large herd of cattle walking from the village side, many calves were also there. My son jumped with joy to see that many cattle.

Road towards the village
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-13.jpg

Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-14.jpg


Deers on the way
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-15.jpg

Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-16.jpg

Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-16a.jpg


Cattles coming out from villages for grazing
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-17.jpg


We returned to Ooty main road and drove forward slowly. One has to maintain 20-30Kmph to spot these beautiful creatures which have a natural camouflage feature to hide themselves in the jungle. The first water body on left hand side is a common spot for birds, we saw black cormorants and thick knees here plus some butterflies (Blue tiger).

The lake
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-18.jpg

A close look for the cormorants and thick knee
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-19.jpg


(to be continued...)
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Old 28th September 2010, 12:19   #8
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I have lost count on the number of times I have driven through Bandipur, but each time I drive, its a thrill. I can associate to each and every snap and they bring memories etched for ever!
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Old 28th September 2010, 12:27   #9
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Great start.
I'd been to Ooty through this road on this june and its really scenic and mesmerising.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...oon-rains.html (Bangalore-Ooty-Kodai-- A trip to welcome Monsoon rains.)

There are some areas on that bandipur-mudumalai-ooty streach with full of cactus.
And that's the first time I enjoyed the beauty of cactus.
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Old 28th September 2010, 13:05   #10
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Its great to see so many wildlife travelogues these days.

This is an informative writeup on Bandipur jacs.

1 question: Does the department allow private vehicles in the park?If i drive down to the park gate in my gypsy,will I be allowed to enter ?

Secondly is the buffer road still out of bounds for traffic at night?

My last visit to Bandipur was about 2 years back. I had some nice shots back then. Will try to dig out some of them&post here.

Keep up the good work and continue your posts.

Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 28th September 2010, 14:04   #11
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Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Surprising that most of us see the signboards and the names of places and still manage to pronounce it wrong. Jac's that's Gundlupet and not Gundulpet . It's quite common with the mallus that they pronounce this wrong.
Oh! Till today I pronounced it as Gundulpet. Thanks, I stay corrected!


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I have lost count on the number of times I have driven through Bandipur, but each time I drive, its a thrill. I can associate to each and every snap and they bring memories etched for ever!
Yes Ampere. One cannot forget this drive, even I did it many times while visiting Kerala, but each drive was unique due to change in seasons. This time its end of monsoon so its lush green.


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Originally Posted by mykal shoemaker View Post
Great start.
I'd been to Ooty through this road on this june and its really scenic and mesmerising.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...oon-rains.html (Bangalore-Ooty-Kodai-- A trip to welcome Monsoon rains.)

There are some areas on that bandipur-mudumalai-ooty streach with full of cactus.
And that's the first time I enjoyed the beauty of cactus.
Thanks. Most of the shrub forests have cactus that too flowering ones. Please wait for my next posts, have some snaps of the same. I did read this travelogue while planning my trip .


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Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
Its great to see so many wildlife travelogues these days.

This is an informative writeup on Bandipur jacs.

1 question: Does the department allow private vehicles in the park?If i drive down to the park gate in my gypsy,will I be allowed to enter ?

Secondly is the buffer road still out of bounds for traffic at night?

My last visit to Bandipur was about 2 years back. I had some nice shots back then. Will try to dig out some of them&post here.

Keep up the good work and continue your posts.

Dr. A Ghosh
Doctor sir, no private vehicles are allowed inside except for some affiliate resorts like JLR. Believe me you have equal chance of spotting wildlife by doing night safaris on your own vehicle through forest perimeters. I did 4 such drives and spotted many during road crossing. Do let me know when you are planning to visit, shall share you some useful pointers.

Thanks for your encouraging words. Shall post snaps wherever possible, but dont ever compare with your stills .
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Old 28th September 2010, 14:52   #12
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Nice pictures jacs. The opening post has made me even more curious.

Its not that the deer are tame, They know that this is the safest place for them to be. No predator would dare attack deer where there are so many people.

By the way, there is one more correction. You have referred to spotted deer or chital as an antelope. I think you may have been referring to a stag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
Its great to see so many wildlife travelogues these days.

This is an informative writeup on Bandipur jacs.

1 question: Does the department allow private vehicles in the park?If i drive down to the park gate in my gypsy,will I be allowed to enter ?

Dr. A Ghosh
I don't know about Bandipur, but we were allowed to go on the safari in our Qualis in the nearby Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple (BRT) Wildlife Sanctuary which will soon be declared as a Tiger Reserve.

Last edited by addyhemmige : 28th September 2010 at 14:56. Reason: added quote
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Old 28th September 2010, 15:19   #13
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Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
Nice pictures jacs. The opening post has made me even more curious.

Its not that the deer are tame, They know that this is the safest place for them to be. No predator would dare attack deer where there are so many people.

By the way, there is one more correction. You have referred to spotted deer or chital as an antelope. I think you may have been referring to a stag.



I don't know about Bandipur, but we were allowed to go on the safari in our Qualis in the nearby Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple (BRT) Wildlife Sanctuary which will soon be declared as a Tiger Reserve.

Thanks addyhemmige. You are right, wiki says "True antelope have horns which are unbranched and never shed, while Pronghorns have branching horns, and shed annually." So this is a Chital stag. See I'm learning a lot from you guys .
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Old 28th September 2010, 15:50   #14
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Hey Jacs, nice TL.

As addyhemmige said, the dears are not tame. Ecologists use the word ecologically naive - they dont know that humans are dangerous!!The only enemy they know is inside the forest with stripes or spots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
I don't know about Bandipur, but we were allowed to go on the safari in our Qualis in the nearby Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple (BRT) Wildlife Sanctuary which will soon be declared as a Tiger Reserve.
@addy : Surprised to hear this. When we went there 4 years back, only JLR safari vehicles were allowed inside the core area
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Old 28th September 2010, 16:15   #15
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Have you seen thousands of butterflies together? Its coming up shortly. As of now the Blue tigers seen near Bandipur.
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-20.jpg


This gal was taking rest just beside the road
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-21.jpg


Peafowls were common sight but very few snaps were clear since they fly away or run into the shrubs
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-22.jpg


We are exiting Karnataka and entering Mudumalai reserve. Here they have a small check post where commercial vehicles have to pay a ransom to cross. Private vehicles are checked randomly depending on passengers. They never bothered to check the Accent since it’s driven by a very decent fellow!
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-23.jpg


As soon as we entered Mudumalai sanctuary, we could easily feel biodiversity. Bandipur was more of a shrub forest with comparably dry soil where in Mudumalai had a lush green forest with black moist soil due to the recent rains. You could find the difference from the upcoming snaps.

This hanuman langur posed for me patiently
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-24.jpg


We reached Theppakkadu forest reception in less than 30 minutes though driven slowly and continued driving towards Gudalur route since our resort is in the outer boundary of Mudumalai sanctuary which is about 6Kms before Gudalur. Driving slowly, we all are looking for any movements in the forest. Suddenly my wife whispered “Something is there on the tree”. I checked the mirror, no vehicles coming from behind. Took a silent reverse and searched through the trees. Yes! Could see a bushy black tail on one tree. Quite far, but kept the camera ready and clicked the moment it turned. It was a Malabar giant squirrel.

Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-25.jpg

Moving further, somewhat near to the Mudumalai exit check post, a young chap was munching his breakfast. Few clicks there.

Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-26.jpg

Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-27.jpg

With satisfied minds we exited the sanctuary, here check post people are more friendly in their approach. They just see who and what and let you go quickly. Immediately after the check post we saw a signboard towards left for “The Wilderness”. It was a narrow road just enough to take a big car there, was an offroading feel. In less than a mile, we reached our destination by 11:15AM.


Narrow road to the resort
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-27a.jpg

Finally 'The Wilderness"
Three days in "The Wilderness" - My best Wildlife trip so far-28.jpg


A surprise awaited us in "The Wilderness"!

(to be continued…)

Last edited by jacs : 28th September 2010 at 16:18.
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