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Old 3rd June 2021, 12:50   #1
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Default 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

20 Yrs of Kabini (Nagarhole National Park) journeys!
-Sanil Nair

I have been trying to write this for the last few months, somehow couldn’t get moving, after some of the inspiring posts from fellow team-bhp’ans I finally could manage it!

I decided to move to Bangalore about 20 years ago (early 2001), one of the key reasons (other than of course IT opportunities) was plenty of weekend getaway opportunities. As a kid I was always drawn to nature and animals (a by-product growing up in the interiors of Kerala). So, on one of the early days in March 2001 I decided to take the family to visit Kabini JLR one of the best managed jungle properties around (came across this in either Outlook traveller weekend breaks or Lonely plant South India guide).

Armed with the details from the guide and printed maps (no google maps in those days. ��), I managed to reach there just around noon. Those days the Bangalore – Mysore road was just a single lane highway with enough width for another vehicle to pass. It was fun those days though with lush green trees covering both sides of the highway. I can’t remember when the CCD came up on the road after Channapatna, used to be a struggle to find decent breakfast options on the way in the early days. But the spirited driving in the peppy Ford Ikon1.6L brings smiles even now.

JLR Kabini property was much smaller than what we see now, they had the main bunglow and the North bunglow mostly and of course the iconic Golghar for meals. I think we had fully open jeeps during those days and the naturalists used to have the 2way radios to communicate as well. Once we got into the forests, it was a mesmerizing experience and in those days there were no Zones, jeeps could go across all parts of the non-core areas. I was amazed to see the biodiversity and the close encounters with cats and large herd of elephants. Also, the boating in the Kabini backwaters was even more exhilarating due to that season’s lack of rains forcing large herds of herbivores and other mammals to come to the riverbanks. Long story short, I was hooked line and sinker, never missed a year, every year at least one trip (many a times multiple trips) was on the cards from then on.

After a few years of traveling to JLR properties, I got started with a bit of photography (mostly point and shoots) and then graduated to enthusiast level once the Digital revolution picked up steam. I would let some the pictures speak for the experiences I have had, and the passion still burns bright! Most of the pictures are from the last 5 to 6 years.

Starting with some of the latest ones.

This episode (Early March; 20th year Anniversary of my Kabini trips ��) played out like a scene from the famed Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, full of suspense and excitement! Bhageera (black panther) has always been an elusive character for me over the years. Last visit played out similar, high with anticipation we were going through the typical areas where people have been sighting Blacky (a.k.a Saya or shadow) for the past few weeks.
As we turned a corner on the trails, we spotted two jeeps waiting and came to know with disappointment that they spotted a leopard which disappeared in to the bushes, likely a female leopard (since there was not much light, they couldn’t clearly identify). We waited at this spot for a while, then we moved a bit further down the trail and waited, by then the other jeeps already left to check out other areas. Then our driver/naturalist Rajesh, drove us back to the earlier spot and we waited for another 15 to 20 minutes, we were getting restless and wanted to move on but the good man Rajesh insisted on staying at this spot for some more time.

Suddenly the bushes came alive as Blacky exploded out of the forests chasing after couple of spotted deer (not an easy prey), by now the whole jungle came alive with alarm calls from deer and langurs, but Blacky decided to stay in the bushes.

By now we were excited and waited with bated breath, then Blacky decided to step out and give us a glimpse by walking on the edges of the forest; of course we got busy snapping up the moment, then he decided enough is enough and disappeared back in to the bushes. We continued our wait and after a bit of time a shadow (literally) flashed across the trail to the other side, got a few shots nothing to crow about and we were a bit disappointed to not get a good glimpse.

Then again, our Naturalist decided to move to another spot where Blacky could possibly cross the trail again, without much delay we could spot him walking through the bushes towards the trail and decided to give us a head-on show as he emerged from the treeline. Couldn’t believe our luck as we enjoyed the moment by not only taking quick snaps but also stopping and absorbing the moment. Blacky walked right past our jeep and crossed the trail and disappeared into the treeline on the other side. what an experience, the thrills of seeing such majestic animals is something hard to explain but to experience first-hand!

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-1_blacky-posing-front_bkgblur-copy-2.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-1_frame_stealth-mode-green2.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-1_frame_blky-bw.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-1_frame_face-enhcd.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-1_frame_blacky-through-grass-entry-_frame.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-1_frame_in-green-creamy-bkgd.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-1_frame_warrior.jpg

Another Such surreal experience was sighting the largest wild tusker (arguably) in Asia, the King of Kabini in a boat safari in late 2017. The thrill of spotting this huge tusker (practically the tusks are curving upwards from the floor) so close by is something I can never forget. He was lazily munching away the sweet grass on the riverbanks with no care in the world. Late evening with a hint of distant fog on the other banks accentuated his presence.

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-2_king.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-2_king-full1.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-2_king-front.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-2_king-kabini.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-2_kabini-elephant3-a32.jpg


Most of the visits we would come across cats (Mostly tigers and a few times leopards perched on treetops). Some of the pics from recent visits below.
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-3_cub-dark2.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-3_tiger-sitting-good.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-3_tiger-spraying.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-3_tiger-staring.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-3_tiger-walking-forest.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-3_tigress-cub.jpg


Other mammals like Wild dogs (a.k.a Dhole) and Indian bison (Gaur) pics below
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-4_bison-standing-up.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-4_dogs-fighting.jpg

Kabini is teaming with bird life, Crested Hawk eagle, Serpant Eagle, Ospreys and Grey headed fish eagles are common. Also other aquatic species including large crocks. Some Pics below
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-5_cormosplash2.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-5_crock1.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-5_dsc_9918.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-5_fish-eagle1.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-5_flying-duck.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-5_hawkeagle-full.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-5_jungle-fowl.jpg
20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-5_osprey-fish.jpg

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 3rd June 2021 at 13:37. Reason: Removing Instagram links. We don’t permit members to share IG/FB links on the forum. Thanks.
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Old 3rd June 2021, 13:35   #2
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Default re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

What a beautiful thread ! The amazing pictures - they add to the well written article ; Good show indeed !

Cheers !
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Old 3rd June 2021, 13:42   #3
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Default re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Some excellent wild life photography there, especially the cats and the birds.

I would really love to see some photos from the past of the roads and driving experiences during your early days of the Josh Machine, of course at your convenience.

Keep these coming, rated 5 stars.
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Old 4th June 2021, 19:30   #4
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by sknair View Post
So, on one of the early days in March 2001 I decided to take the family to visit Kabini JLR one of the best managed jungle properties around
Nice thread. And great photos.

I stayed at Kabini JLR twice between 1999 and 2002 - don't remember exact year. Both were as annual organisational outings and a change from our usual Sterling Resort outings. It was fun. Maybe after the lockdown and all, should plan one - the kids might love it.

BTW, no photos from the Kabini Jungle Lodge Resort itself ? I should have some snaps, but those were on film camera -need to search for the printed album.
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Old 4th June 2021, 20:54   #5
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Wow! Absolutely amazing photos! Thanks for sharing.

Kabini is one of the most fascinating places I have been to. The jungle lodge, the safaris, and then if one is lucky, the animal sightings, everything has a mysterious feel to it. And every experience there is always unique.

It is really nice to hear from a veteran of Kabini like you, and see the pictures. The photographs are really amazing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sknair View Post
I decided to move to Bangalore about 20 years ago (early 2001), one of the key reasons (other than of course IT opportunities) was plenty of weekend getaway opportunities.
Totally agree on this. I am in total love with Bangalore because of that one key reason (among a few other) - the great weekend drive opportunities. I absolutely love my weekend drives and Bangalore is an ideal place for that.
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Old 5th June 2021, 09:48   #6
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Lovely pictures! I had been thinking for a while to write a similar post on '20 years of Ranthambore', hopefully this inspires me to shake off of my slumber!
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Old 5th June 2021, 10:35   #7
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
Nice thread. And great photos.

I stayed at Kabini JLR twice between 1999 and 2002 - don't remember exact year. Both were as annual organisational outings and a change from our usual Sterling Resort outings. It was fun. Maybe after the lockdown and all, should plan one - the kids might love it.

BTW, no photos from the Kabini Jungle Lodge Resort itself ? I should have some snaps, but those were on film camera -need to search for the printed album.
Thanks, if you haven't been to Kabini post 2002, then the place would look totally different. Lot more cottages and walkways, kind of losing the old charm. Also I have seen a steady increase in foreign tourists (pre-corona) over the years and there were times, I could see mostly foreign tourists only.

As you mentioned, the older photos are printed (albums) and stashed away in some shelves, would need to dust it up, may be one day.
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Old 5th June 2021, 10:37   #8
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by animeshc View Post
Lovely pictures! I had been thinking for a while to write a similar post on '20 years of Ranthambore', hopefully this inspires me to shake off of my slumber!
That would be great, looking forward to your post.
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Old 5th June 2021, 10:44   #9
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
Wow! Absolutely amazing photos! Thanks for sharing.

Kabini is one of the most fascinating places I have been to. The jungle lodge, the safaris, and then if one is lucky, the animal sightings, everything has a mysterious feel to it. And every experience there is always unique.

It is really nice to hear from a veteran of Kabini like you, and see the pictures. The photographs are really amazing.



Totally agree on this. I am in total love with Bangalore because of that one key reason (among a few other) - the great weekend drive opportunities. I absolutely love my weekend drives and Bangalore is an ideal place for that.
Thanks Dr. Its kind of, 'the mystery doesn't wear off'; sometimes people ask me why do I keep going to the same places again and again. Very few people understand, wildlife means the magic can happen any time and its not the same magic every time.

we are blessed to have so many weekend drive options, another of my favorite haunt is B.R Hills (I have been to there very consistently till 2019, In fact I met Mr. Ganaga Swamy (recently retired) there in 2002/3 If i remember correctly. then onwards I used to frequent the places he was posted including Bandipur JLR and even Bheemeshwari).
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Old 5th June 2021, 10:51   #10
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

A few more snaps, I couldn't upload at that time.
Every visit is an exhilarating experience, sometimes we come across very strange situations like this mongoose pair dragging a cat fish kill.

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-mongoose-fish.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-ele-contemplation.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-ele-scape2.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-ele-vertical.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-elephant-shadows.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-frame_ele-riverbank.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-frame_ele-roadblock.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-landscape.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-langur-goose-berries.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-tiger-headshot-experiment.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-tiger-licking-_closeup.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-tigre-drinking-water1.jpg

20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park-white-throated-kingfisher.jpg
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Old 5th June 2021, 11:25   #11
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

20 years!!! Gosh what a long time. I am sure you would have a bunch of interesting experiences, stories, photos and feelings to share. 20 years sure is a long time to see not only the resort evolve but the jungle as well.

I would encourage you to start penning down your experiences and preserve it for posterity. Even if you do not post this anywhere, do this for your own satisfaction.
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Old 5th June 2021, 12:20   #12
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeantownThinker View Post
20 years!!! Gosh what a long time. I am sure you would have a bunch of interesting experiences, stories, photos and feelings to share. 20 years sure is a long time to see not only the resort evolve but the jungle as well.

I would encourage you to start penning down your experiences and preserve it for posterity. Even if you do not post this anywhere, do this for your own satisfaction.
Thanks, I always think about writing down some details about each trip, never get around to do that though. I guess I am not a writer but something I should start doing I guess.
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Old 5th June 2021, 15:56   #13
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Wonderful pictures especially the tusker...20 years is really long time and that assures this thread would get updated frequently...
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Old 5th June 2021, 23:24   #14
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Fantastic pictures. 20 years! Wow. Kabini is about 1.5 hours from my parents place in Mysore. I have been going there since 2004, when i was in eng college. Yes, the place has grown tremendously. But i have never bored. Wildlife fascinates me and i will continue to go till my body is able to.
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Old 6th June 2021, 18:06   #15
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Default Re: 20 years of Kabini journeys | Nagarhole National Park

Great images of the elusive leopard @sknair

Kabini is (not surprising because it is located in western ghats (WG) ) home to many beautiful & rare species of birds as well. Since Tigers are the star attraction at Kabini, people often overlook the avians.

During my visits to Kabini, I have been able to capture many WG avian species. I will list down a few here:

- Serpent Eagle
- Crested Hawk Eagle
- Flame-backed woodpeckers
- Black Drongo
- Asian paradise flycatcher
- And many more ...

I wish we preserve our reserve forests for future generation by reducing man-animal conflicts on the fringe areas of these forests. It is a very important dimension in ecological conservation because as man expands his foot-prints towards forests in the garb of resorts, home-stays etc., we are forgetting that it comes at the cost of nature.

Look forward to more such experiences @sknair
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