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Old 21st March 2011, 15:55   #1
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Default A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!

My architect friend Namit had told us about GORU KANA, a Eco resort in BR Hills (Biligiri Rangana hills) in Karnataka he had designed for Dr. Sudrashan who is doing pioneering work for upliftment of Soliga tribals in the region for last three decades. On a lazy Saturday afternoon last week we just decided to go and check it out. We called up to see if accommodation was available and having confirmed, we packed our bags and within half hour we were on the road.

Staying close to NICE road is advantageous and we hit the Mysore road and took deviation at Maddur to Malavalli and then onwards to BR Hills via Kollegal. On the way, happened to see the beautiful barrage on Kaveri near Shivanasamudram. We did not deviate to the falls which we had seen number of times.

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-cauvery.jpg

I had been to BR Hills as a kid to the famous Ranganathaswamy temple on the Hills and had vague memories of the region. I was amazed at the beautiful landscape as we neared the forest check post after Kollegala. The undulating hills with dry forests looked beautiful. Having come from Kanha last week, it was like returning to the wilderness again.

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-entering-hills.jpg

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-valey-view.jpg

As we crossed the check post and started driving, we saw a water hole and lo, there were two huge wild boars playing in waters! They were really huge.

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-wild-boar.jpg

As we drove to the resort, our expectations grew of seeing more animals. But we had to wait for the grand spectacle to unfurl the next day.

Evening was spent quietly and soaking in the song and dance of Soliga tribals. The songs talk about nature, forests, gods etc. A backward tribal community - i was told by Jadeiah (Jade), our guide – that there are few villages deep in the forest even today. They have their own distinct culture and traditions. They speak their own language which is a remote dialect of Kannada. Jade was telling us how they hunt for honey and other adventures in Kannada. The most interesting part of their tradition is that of a boy choosing the girl for marriage. They celebrate "Rotti Habba" in which tribal villages come together to cook Rottis and have feast from dusk to dawn. Dancing goes on through the night. In Soligas, boys dance and girls sing. As the boys dance, if he likes a girl in the group, he throws a stone at her and both boy and girl run away into the forest and stay for a week in caves living out of forest. After a week, they will come back when the marriage is solemnised by elders with the boy giving a penal fee of Rs 12.50 to the village head! It is as simple as that!!

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-soligas.jpg

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-soligas-dancing.jpg

Jade our guide was ready at 6 in the morning next day to go for a drive. The forest department have stopped safaris due to forest fires and we had to go only on the road. After a cuppa, we were ready to go. As we crossed the check post – we were the first and had to wake up the guard to open gate - towards K Gudi, Jade spotted a Bison. The chap was very close to the vehicle and we could clearly see the famous "white socks" they wear.

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-bison-1.jpg

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-bison-2.jpg

Barking deer, Sambhar were the next ones. We stopped at many places to see beautiful birds. Suddenly Jade asked us to look up and there we were seeing the Malabar Flying squirrel with long tail (could not capture on lens). We moved on as the grand spectacle opened up!

Jade shouted "Leopard". I stopped the car and switched off. The cat was majestically walking on the road. Came closer, did potty and started moving towards us. We thought we will chance of our life time as he came less than fifteen feet from the vehicle. I don’t know what happened and suddenly turned left and vanished into bushes. Seeing the spotted cat in all glory was something we had not bargained for. The adventure was only to begin!!

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-leopard-1.jpg

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-leopard-2.jpg

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-leopard-3.jpg

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-leopard-4.jpg

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-leopard-5.jpg

As we drove back from K Gudi, Jade asked me stop. There on the road was the lone tusker. Jade asked me to back up and i did. The guy possibly sensed us and satrted walking towards us. We backed up more. As we were keeping our fingers crossed, the guy vanished into the forest as we heaved a sigh of relief.

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-tusker.jpg

BR Hills is a birders paradise. We could see numerous birds and Jade was explaining us the details.

A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!-bird.jpg

Our camera - Sony Cyber shot - does not do justice to the wild life we had seen. As we returned to resort for breakfast and return, we had made up our mind to buy a good camera.

GORU KANA – word taken from Soliga folk song - is the eco resort promoted by Dr. Sudarshan of Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra, an NGO working for welfare of tribals for last thirty years. It has beautifully designed rooms by Award winning architect Namit Varma. The profits earned out of the resort will fund his NGO.

Details

Distance from Bangalore – 200 KMs (Three hour in Scorpio)
Route
b) Bangalore – Maddur – Malavalli – Kollegala – BR Hills
OR
b) Bangalore – Kanakapura – Malavalli – Kollegala – BR Hills

Route (b) is the best bet. We went by route (a) and returned by route (b). NH 209 is done up very well except for two KMs before Halagur and there is not much of traffic beyond Kanakapura. The road between Maddur and Malavalli has bad patches at many places.

Last edited by Fauji : 21st March 2011 at 15:56.
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Old 21st March 2011, 16:08   #2
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Default Re: A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!

Wow , getting to see a leapord walk across a road so cassualy is sheer luck.
Wildlife sighting right on the raod has its own thrills, seems more like they have come visiting you. Great pics.
Regards
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Old 21st March 2011, 18:57   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coooolcat21 View Post
Wow , getting to see a leapord walk across a road so cassualy is sheer luck.
Wildlife sighting right on the raod has its own thrills, seems more like they have come visiting you. Great pics.
Regards
You are right. It was sheer luck. Looking out for animals in wild is more thrilling than actually seeing them sometimes.
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Old 21st March 2011, 19:11   #4
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Default Re: A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!

@ Fauji - nice pics and write up. Is it possible to share a few pics of the acco / contact person and name. Planning for a few places for the upcoming long weekend
thanks in advance
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Old 21st March 2011, 19:21   #5
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Default Re: A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!

@Fauji, lucky you were able to spot the wildlife - makes the trip worth it.

But reason for my post here: pls check the settings of your camera. Some of the pics are over-exposed, and spoilt the pics - esp #4.
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Old 21st March 2011, 19:43   #6
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What a lovely experience! To see the bison and leopard must feel special.
Whats the tariff at this resort? Is it possible to spend a few days deep in those forest villages? Whom can we contact?

Adding to my list of destinations.

--Ragul
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Old 21st March 2011, 21:42   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
@Fauji, lucky you were able to spot the wildlife - makes the trip worth it.

But reason for my post here: pls check the settings of your camera. Some of the pics are over-exposed, and spoilt the pics - esp #4.
Thanks Condor.

Firstly, the Cyber shot is not a great camera. Secondly i was adjusting brightness with MS Picture manager and must have erred in that. Will take care in future.
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Old 21st March 2011, 21:49   #8
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Default Re: A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!

Whoaaaa!
That is some very lucky spottings there Fauji! I have met people who have gone to BR Hills like ten times, taken safaris in morning and evening and failed to spot anything more than wild dogs!!
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 21st March 2011, 21:50   #9
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Scarecrow and Ragul,

The cost is same as what is being charged in Jungle lodges Camp which is Rs 3500 per person per day which i find is bit expensive. You need to do some hard bargaining. Actually you dont mind paying a bit more as the profits go to a good cause. It is much better than staying in JLR.

You can visit their website www.gorukana.org and talk to Mr Geoffreys who is the resort manager.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 13:20   #10
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We also met an interesting person in BR Hills who has a small organic coffee estate close to sanctuary. He is a young an lively man of 75! He is one of the few planters who produce Civet coffee - the costliest coffeee in the world!

Kopi Luwak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 23rd March 2011, 15:07   #11
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Default Re: A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!

Lovely trip Fauji.
How was the day temperature in the place.
Plan to go in my jeep in the next 2-3 weeks.

Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
Krishna.

Last edited by kittigadu : 23rd March 2011 at 15:09. Reason: Removed a line that was not necessary
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Old 23rd March 2011, 15:30   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittigadu View Post
Lovely trip Fauji.
How was the day temperature in the place.
Plan to go in my jeep in the next 2-3 weeks.

Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
Krishna.
Thanks Krishna.

The Day temperatures were pleasnt. Since there are no safaris, you have to do road driving on your own. The forest check posts are open between 6 AM to 6 PM. Recommended that you go early morning around 6 and if in the evening around 4 PM so that you can return by 6 PM. The road from BR Hills towards K Gudi goes upto Chamarajanagar through forest. We went upto K Gudi as we did not have time but you can proceed further than that till the end of forest so that you will get good chances of wild animal sighting.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 16:00   #13
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Default Re: A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!

Hi Fauji,
A simple and delightful trip - rather succinctly put, I must say.
The Leopard sighting and the view of its ablutions must have been truly a rare sight.
Well done !
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Old 23rd March 2011, 16:05   #14
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Leopard and Elephants in the wild ! That is super !!
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Old 23rd March 2011, 16:11   #15
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Default Re: A road trip in a Jiffy and Lady luck!

@amitoj
Sighting of wild dogs is not very common, U have been lucky hope u got some good pictures.
regards
@Fauji
More pics?
Waiting
Regds
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