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Old 17th January 2023, 23:24   #1
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A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Prologue:

Generally, when I see a forthcoming long weekend, I add a day or two to make it longer and plan a drive which can enrich my experience like an assorted bag of chocolates. For example, I combined Rameshwaram-Dhanuskodi with Kodaikanal, another time clubbed Gokarna with Agumbe and many such more.

With the Sankranti long weekend nearing by, I planned to visit Jungle Lodge Resort (JLR) at Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, known as River Tern Lodge, which was in my bucket list since long. Now, this will be a 2-day trip from Bangalore, then what should I do another day? Thought to drive to Mangalore to enjoy some sea food and drive through the jungles to reach River Tern.

Well, sadly I scrapped the entire idea and decided to keep it short and simple. This time I decided to keep it a 2-day trip and compile this blog on the 3rd day. How about that? But the itch to make a mixed bag did not leave my mind, so finally planned this:

Home -> JLR K Gudi Tiger Reserve -> BR Hills -> Shivanasamudram Waterfalls -> Home

This was a solo trip since wife (BHPian @shikha_roy) failed to manage a leave. In 2018 I went for a solo trip to Sakleshpur & Belur. So, I was pretty excited to do the next solo. Not only because I do not have to share the steering wheel with her but I believe solo trips help in lot of self-development. They help you to stay focused (no pun intended). Most importantly, solo trips teach you to keep yourself organized and when you know you are on your own, a different feeling of responsibility creeps in.

Day 1:

So, at 6 am on 13th Jan before dawn broke in, I hit the road from Whitefield and reached Kadamba veg at Nice Road - Mysore Road junction at 7:30am. Enjoyed my favorite Masala Dosa and a cup of tea for breakfast.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-kadamba.jpg

Found a Zeon charging station in the restaurant compound, a Nexon EV was charging up.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-zeon.jpg

Slotted the gear to 6th and started cruising on Mysore Road. Noticed the mileage steadily creeping up to 18KMPL. In Bangalore city traffic getting a mileage of 11-13 KMPL is an achievement. On busy long drives we get 13-14. So, it was fun observing the increasing mileage and I thought to take it further. Did not over rev, kept the gear to 5th or 6th, used the downhills on Mysore Road and kept max speed to 80 KMPH. Finally, when I left the highway at Mandya the Odo showed 21.6KMPL in 120 KMs drive from home. A little patience always pays off.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-max_mileage.jpg

Couple of times it has occurred, we failed to reach our resort on time, either Google maps messed up the last leg due to poor network or we got stuck in highway traffic. Since, I did not have a navigator, I was pretty cautious once I left Mysore Road on the instructions from Google and stopped the car couple of times to be sure I am on the right way.

Check in time at K Gudi JLR was 1 PM and Grey Goose was happy to reach 30 minutes earlier.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-brt_entry3.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-brt_entry2.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-brt_entry.jpg

The BR or Biligiri Rangana Betta Tiger Reserve is spread over 540 Square KM situated between rivers Cauvery and Tungabhadra and is at a height of ~5000 feet from sea level. From internet search, I found Biligiri means white hill in Kannada and Rangana refers to the Lord Ranganathaswamy. The temple is 20 KMs far from the tiger reserve on top of the hill, popularly known as BR Hills.

Drove close to 10 KM from the entry gate to reach JLR. The name of this Jungle Lodge Resort is K Gudi or Kyathadevara Gudi Wilderness camp. This is my 4th visit to a JLR and yes, you can say I am a JLR fan. I have been to Saravathi, Gokarna and Devbagh resorts earlier and I loved their accommodation and hospitality. JLR packages include a post lunch activity and another one the next day before check out. At Devbagh it was bonfire and bird watching, while in Saravathi they took us for a boat ride in the dam.

Here, at K Gudi, there were 2 jungle safaris both the days for 3 hours each, which did sound interesting. It had been a long time since I went for a jungle safari. Though in Ranthambore and Bandipur I had no luck sighting a tiger, but at Nagarhole river safari I saw the majestic big cat drinking water while keeping an eye on us. The memory got etched forever.

So, I kept my finger crossed and once I entered my tent, a herd of deer welcomed me. (Please check out the video in the end). I booked a tent for myself, which was quite spacious with WiFi enabled and other amenities. Support staff showed me how to operate the curtains and advised to keep the door locked. It was a bit cold when I arrived but could not guess that in the evening and next morning I would shiver. Hot water supply was limited from 7 PM to 10 PM and next day morning 7 am to 10 am which was good enough. They provided a kettle, and I made a cup of coffee to relax and enjoy the serene and tranquil forest greenery.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-resort_entry.jpg

My Tent:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-screenshot-20230117-230006.jpg

A loghut nearby:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-loghut.jpg

Had a good lunch and before the safari kicked in,Grey Goose and I went for a quick drive out in the jungle. The staff jumped off asking “Sir, where are you going?” I assured them I will be back soon. Compared to other forest reserves, traffic was far less or almost nil here. I drove towards B.R.Hills for a good 10-12 KMs, the forest was quite dense, and I enjoyed chirping of birds and the serenity.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-stream_crossing.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-drive_post_lunch.jpg

Returned in an hour and we started our safari in a Bolero camper customized for jungle safaris. There were 3 more families in the resort and the car could accommodate 10 people with 2-3 kids along with a driver and instructor.
In few kilometers, we left the main road, and the instructor showed us the Soliga tribal community colony who have lived in BR Hills for centuries and were about to be evicted when the forest was declared as a tiger reserve in 2011. They won a legal battle to stop their eviction and won their rights over their ancestral land.

When I reached JLR, my first question to the manager was the possibility of sighting a tiger. But he could not give me much hope. It was a good monsoon this year and the animals are happy inside the core; they don’t need to come out for food and water. So, he said chances of sighting is less.

Our safari tour guide tried his best, he took us to different trails, showed us spotted and sambar deer, Indian gaur, serpent eagle, turtles and Malabar giant squirrels. The drive was refreshing, and I enjoyed every moment from the co-passenger seat.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-lemur.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-sambar_deer.jpg

A lake view:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-lake_view.jpg

A parasite tree:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-parasite_tree.jpg

Way back to resort:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-way_back.jpg

Day ends:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-sunset_dusk1.jpg

My tent at night:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-night_view.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 18th January 2023 at 08:26. Reason: As per PM. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 17th January 2023, 23:54   #2
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re: A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Day2:

I am a nightcrawler and hardly witnessed a sunrise in my life. But when we have a safari to start at 6:00 am, I had no other option but to set my alarm at 5:30 am. A mental clock keeps running when an alarm is set and I sprung from my bed at 5 am and got ready for the ride after a cup of coffee.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-coffee.jpg

The camper started rolling at sharp 6 o’clock:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-camper.jpg


Ok so this is what a sunrise looks like:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-sunrise.jpg

Took a snap of JLR signboard:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-banner.jpg

The trail was slightly different than previous evening, we went for an hour of drive towards the other end of the forest and caught a herd of gaurs. We proceeded further towards the core and filled up our lungs with fresh oxygen. The jungle was stunning with the early sunrays passing through the tall trees.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-jungle.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-turtle.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-gour.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-lakeview.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-screenshot-20230117-233305.jpg

We returned to JLR at 9:30 am and Gajendra, the tusker, welcomed us:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-gajendra.jpg

Well, I was hungry after the 3 hour long off roading and morning drive and it was pretty cold too. Tanked up myself with Upma, omlette and noodles with warm water and tea before hitting the road again
.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-breakfast.jpg

Parting shot while leaving JLR, again a nice stay with cordial and committed staff.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-gurgur.jpg

Drove 20KMs to reach other end of the forest and climb up BR Hills. There is a good viewpoint on the way, but it was flocked by bikers. Noticed a KSTDC Hotel Mayura on the way.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-brhills.jpg

Snaps of the temple:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-temple_entry.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-temple.jpg

Panoramic view from the temple:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-screenshot-20230117-233408.jpg

A rath inside the temple:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-rath.jpg

A hilltop view of Grey Goose:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-parking_view.jpg

While climbing down, met few curious monkeys:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-monkeys.jpg

And one which tried to start the bike but failed:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-monkey_on_bike.jpg

I was pretty sure that Barachukki falls will be dried up at this time of the year, but still thought to visit the place since its on the way back home. 15 years back when I visited the falls with friends, we could climb down and enjoy a bath (or natural body massage). Now, maybe due to some accidents, the way to the falls is closed and you can enjoy the falls from few viewpoints.

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-barachukki.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-barachukkui2.jpg

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-dam.jpg

Well, with that my trip came to an end. Started from Shivanasamudram at 3 PM and reached Whitefield at 8 PM through Kanakpura road – NICE road. There are plenty of options on the highway and I stopped for a late lunch in between. Those who enjoy single lane drives will definitely love to drive this stretch from Malavalli to Kanakpura. From Kanakpura to Bangalore, road widening work is ongoing and there are some sudden diversions. Careful driving is advised.

Ideally this trip should be done through Kanakpura – Malavalli – BR Hills and back. But just to enjoy Mysore Road I drove till Mandya and Chamrajnagar to reach BR tiger reserve.

Trip Map:

Name:  Trip_Map.jpg
Views: 282
Size:  192.1 KB

Trip Stats:

A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp-trip-stats.jpg

All over a short and relaxing solo drive it was. Bye and see you next time.

Enjoy the video:

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Old 19th January 2023, 04:33   #3
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Re: A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th January 2023, 08:50   #4
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Re: A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Very nice travelogue @livetodrive! Solo trips are always special and inspirational. Nice to see one more solo travelogue from you guys.

Very nice pictures too. I liked the sunset picture as well as the picture of your Grey Goose from the top of the hill. The Grey Goose looks fantastic and right at home in these jungle settings and on those jungle roads.

I have not yet been to this property of JLR. This is something on my to-do list, and your travelogue is now making me want to do a quick solo drive there.

Thanks for sharing this travelogue!
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Old 19th January 2023, 09:41   #5
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Re: A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Nice travelogue.
JLR in Kgudi is one of the best of JLR range. This is because it inside the forest. If you stay in a tent, you can hear the jungle noises. I had heard elephants trumpeting in the night. Sitting outside the tent can be quite creepy in the night since you feel your back is exposed.
There were rumours that the camp would have to shift outside the forest. Did you hear anything about it ?
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Old 19th January 2023, 10:00   #6
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Re: A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Thank you, @Dr.AD, it was all over a very relaxing drive. If you want to just enjoy the peaceful jungle, you may skip the next day morning safari too.
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Old 19th January 2023, 12:29   #7
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Re: A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepak_misra View Post
Nice travelogue.
Sitting outside the tent can be quite creepy in the night since you feel your back is exposed.
There were rumours that the camp would have to shift outside the forest. Did you hear anything about it ?
It's true, a staff told that leopards or other wild animals "may" come for a quick visit. It was creepy with pin drop silence around and the bulbs hanging out of the tents being the only source of light. Even at 6 am when I was walking alone towards the parking for the safari, I was not sure if anything was watching me from back or anywhere. I recorded a video of my dark morning walk too, but nothing can be seen other than 1 or 2 bulbs glowing at a distance.

No, I did not hear of shifting the resort as such, quite a different experience compared to Bandipur and other forests considering less crowd and even less sighting of wild animals. If we zoom out Google maps, we can see its inside a huge greenland.
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Old 20th January 2023, 14:31   #8
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Re: A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Such a nice crisp travelogue, thank you. The tent looks fascinating in the night

Couple of queries:

1. Can a Honda City with 4 adults make this route you have suggested?

2. Do they allow 5 year old kids in JLR if you may know?

Many thanks!
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Old 20th January 2023, 16:56   #9
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Re: A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Thank you @rakeshmbalaji. No probs at all, roads are nice and Honda city with 4 adults can go there. There were kids in other tents, loghuts. So, no issues in bringing them too.
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Old 20th January 2023, 17:19   #10
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Re: A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Lovely post.We had been to KGudi a couple of months ago.The forest is so serene and lovely and yes we were lucky to spot a tiger much against the odds as we chanced to see it when it was crossing the road in the jungle.
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Old 20th January 2023, 17:55   #11
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Re: A solo weekend drive to K Gudi Wilderness Camp

Lovely post and pics. I have been to BR Hills area but have never stayed. I love staying in pitch dark and do this every year during monsoons staying at some home stays in western ghats. Need to try this.
Didn't understand the bit about Tungabhadra river mention !
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