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Old 27th September 2010, 20:41   #1
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Default All in a Days Drive.. Bandipur..

So all of you may be thinking, what's great about Bandipur. Its a well known Forest reserve, most tourists from Bangalore stop by on the way to Ooty or Kerala, and take the Safari ride. Some opt to stay in Bandipur or in Masinagudi and spend a weekend. Yeah Big Deal. Another Ho Hum Tlog.

We decided to goto Bandipur without any agenda in mind, and only because it was the closest place for a 2day/1night trip to get away from the rat race..

but what it turned to be was a trip of a lifetime!

Start time: 6:00am 25th sept.
Travel time : 4.5 hrs to Bandipur.
Stay at Jungle Lodges & Resorts.
Ride: 'Silverado' our mostly trustworthy Safari 2.2.
Route: Bangalore-Mysore-Nanjangud-Gudalur-Bandipur.

A pretty uneventful drive to Bandipur, with the Bangalore-Mysore highway mostly free of traffic.

The road between Mysore and Nanjangud and onwards upto Gudalur is broken but fairly motorable, and thereafter is pretty good.

The package offered by JLR is good. Reach by 12:00, lunch followed by a siesta to prepare you for the evening jungle safari, followed by a documentary on wildlife and dinner. The next day wakeup call at 5:30am, tea/coffee followed by a Nature walk or a morning safari again into the jungle.

fairly value for money.

It rained pretty heavily on the 24th night and in the afternoon of 25th, so our chances of spotting wildlife were pretty slim. We went for the ride, for the fun of it, not expecting to see anything more than some chital, wild boar, and maybe an elephant or two.

Now didn't Doc Abheek say " Nobody can assure you a tiger...and that's the fun of it".

Guess what, Gurudutt the naturalist from JLR who accompanied us, said the same thing... No cats spotted in the last 1 week.

So here I'm sitting in the Mahindra bus ( yes a 2wd diesel contraption with a soft top, and slim tyres ) chatting him up with usual questions on what can be spotted..... and almost asked him " Kuch dikhega kya ?? "

Guru responds, pointing out wild fowl, a wild boar, some chital, some parrots, butterfiles - blue mormon if I remember correctly, all the while scanning the forest for any signs of wildlife.

He finds traces of elephant movement on the jungle tracks.. and tries to find one, no luck.

Then we chance upon a Indian Gaur, all 800kgs of muscle partly visible from the road, and Guru goes.... shhhh...there should be a cat somewhere. What? What has a gaur got to do with a wild cat ?

Shhhh... he's all attention, scanning the forest and what does he find..

All in a Days Drive.. Bandipur..-bandipur26sep2010-053.jpg

All hell breaks loose in the bus. Camera.. quickly give me.. From here.. take a picture quickly. "I told you to get the video camera, you never listen to me..." that's my better half giving me a quick one....

Shhh. Look there, the tiger will go away.. I say and escape.

We'd already gone ahead of where his majesty was, so the driver guns the engine and reverses... and then we get our first look of 'AGASTHYA' a male tiger, about 8 yrs old, who's resting in a small water hole by the side of the track!

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Now ladies & gents, seeing a tiger in the Bannergatha National Park is one thing, and seeing one right next to your bus is all together another experience. There is absolutely nothing between you and him except a thin sheet of metal, which would be like paper in his paws! so you can imagine our plight, when he decides to come and have a look...

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There is absolute silence in the bus, a Gypsy with another set of tourists shows up ahead, and everyone is waiting to see what unfolds..

SherKhan, nose to the ground starts pacing in front of the gypsy..

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A tune goes off in my mind.. " Mere paas aao mere doston ek kissa suno.........."

Last edited by smsrini : 27th September 2010 at 20:44.
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Old 27th September 2010, 20:50   #2
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Wow!! a wild cat spotted. Bring in on my friend. Never spotted a wild cat in my numerous visits to Bandipur. Very lucky indeed. Nice pics of the tiger!! Waiting for more...
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Old 27th September 2010, 20:50   #3
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Awesome tiger. I have a silly doubt. Is it really safe to go on a Tiger safari in those open Gypsies? Aren't the Tigers notorious of jumping over and attacking? The last picture above shows the position of the Gypsy really close to that huge Tiger.
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Old 28th September 2010, 08:39   #4
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Nice travelouge !!! bandipur has always attracted me. havent been inside the forest but did ride along the calm bandipur road last year .. spotted some deers and elephants on the road..
Keep posting!!
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Old 28th September 2010, 09:06   #5
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smsrini,
Bandipur like most all parks has its own beauty, every time I headed to Ooty, I made it a point to drag the Bandipur sector to the max timewise.
Love this place and there are chances of spotting panthers here more than at Nagarahole.

Sherkhan's unexpected show was a real bonus at Bandipur. He is in his prime and in good health too. Thats the fun of being in the forest wheather you spot wildlife or not.....the air the serenity aah!
Need to go soon now.
Regards,
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Old 28th September 2010, 11:08   #6
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Vow smsrini! Gave me goosebump, the way you developed the story. Great show. And he was quite quite close to the vehicle. Lucky you!!
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Old 28th September 2010, 11:16   #7
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Wow! I was also there around the same time frame, on the way when our Van driver checked with jeep safari people and got the update that a tiger just passed through that side but no luck after roaming around the place. Lucky you .
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Old 28th September 2010, 11:55   #8
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The tune continues....

Andhere si woh raat thi, raat ke kuch barah baje,
mere saame aa gaya ek sher!
Kabhi woh aage, to kabhi peeche...

and Agasthya, our SherKhan does the same, going all around sniffing the ground.

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Then decides to take us for a walk!

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We follow...
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PAWPRINTS..

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Settles down
All in a Days Drive.. Bandipur..-bandipur26sep2010-064.jpg

and gives a green carpet pose
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for the papparazzi...
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So what did the Indian Gaur have to do with spotting sherkhan, you may ask ? So did I wonder... and couldnt help asking Gurudutt our naturalist..

See here is the difference between a trained eye and a wannabe...

Guru spotted the Gaur standing by the track side, but also noticed some wounds on him, indicating that he may have been preyed upon unsuccessfully. The wounds also looked fresh, indicating a fair chance that the predator was close by.. and so did we spot SherKhan.

Now why was Sherkhan more interested in sniffing around than in the humans around..

It rained heavily the previous day(s) and perhaps his markings of territory got washed away, so he was sniffing around and marking his territory.

Oh, do I have a picture shaking hands... sorry paws with him ? I asked, but he said.. " Sorry, mai aadmi ko touch nahin karta.."

We followed him for almost 45 min thru the jungle to a point where the bus could go no further, but the other jeeps/gypsys's did go further in..

So what we expected to be just another ride in the jungle bus, turned into a ride of a lifetime.

After spotting Sherkhan, all other animals we saw did not hold that special feeling... so much so that I did not click any pictures of the bus or the other Mahindra Invaders, Boleros, Tata TL 4x4s that ferried the other tourists thru the jungle...so no vehicles in a TBHP T-log.

Next day we were taken on a nature walk around the hills behind the JLR property. Mostly spotted birds - Blue Jay ( official bird of karnataka ), Spotted Doves, Mynas, Bulbuls, a Horn bill, Tailor birds, a leopard butterfly..

and this....

Porcupine pawprints.
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Leopard pawprints.
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Old 28th September 2010, 12:21   #9
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Wow! thats one of the highs of a life!
Nothing like spotting a tiger! Lucky you!
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Old 28th September 2010, 12:57   #10
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Wow!
Lovely snaps and write up.
You are blessed indeed to have had such fantastic sightings!
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Old 28th September 2010, 13:19   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smsrini View Post
...
Route: Bangalore-Mysore-Nanjangud-Gudalur-Bandipur.

A pretty uneventful drive to Bandipur, with the Bangalore-Mysore highway mostly free of traffic.

The road between Mysore and Nanjangud and onwards upto Gudalur is broken but fairly motorable, and thereafter is pretty good.

.........."
As per my experience, Gudalur comes after Bandipur on the route. I think you meant Gundlupet instead. Anyway, you are probably one the luckiest guys to visit that area recently.

Last edited by vasoo : 28th September 2010 at 13:27.
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Old 28th September 2010, 13:49   #12
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Hi Smsrini

Thats another great wildlife travelogue. Thank you for the wonderful posting.

Its always a good idea to hire non polluting petrol jeeps for the jungle drives which lets you follow the game when it decides to take a walk.

And I must say that you have been really lucky to have got The Almighty in this trip and that too at such close quarters.

Do you have a video of this sighting sequence ? How was the overall jungle experience during your visit ?

Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 28th September 2010, 14:07   #13
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awesome tiger. its very rare to spot one in the south forests. you are lucky. keep posting.
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Old 28th September 2010, 15:08   #14
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Srini,

Superb pics and a nice report. Please do post some more pics of this adventure
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Old 28th September 2010, 20:40   #15
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Congrats Srini, you are one of the lucky few who have managed to see the big cat in bandipur. Myself and lot of other people i know have been there numerous times but only managed the herbivores . Lovely pictures.
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