I was very much keen to visit Nagarhole national park (Rajiv Gandhi national park) and Good Friday gave me the opportunity to experience the elixir of nature. The Jungle lodges were all occupied and other options were too expensive so we decided to go for a home stay at Kutta which is only 4km from the safari point. We started checking out the home stays at Kutta and found that "Comfort home stay Spice Garden" has maximum number of positive reviews. I and my friend Bhupender made a quick plan and booked the 'Comfort home stay Spice Garden'.
According to our plan on 3 April 2015 me, my wife Gayathri, my son, Bhupender and his wife Neeta started very early at 4:30am to avoid the holiday rush, and got rewarded as well. The roads were almost empty within the city and within 40mins we reached Mysore road. Though there were other private cars in Mysore road but it was not at all crowded and my Santro was at constant 80kmph.
Since it was dark I thought it will be correct not to cross 80kmph. Around 6.40am we stopped at Nandhini hotel for breakfast, and got to know that after 7am only we will get dosa, without that my three years old son can't finish his breakfast. We waited up to 7am and got a luscious breakfast. After a lavish breakfast we started again at 7:45am. This time road was crowded. After Shrirangapatna we stopped at Ranganathittu bird sanctuary on the way to get some snap of winged beauties, and we got lots of opportunities to shoot the birds there. We hired a boat without roof for Rs. 1000/-. We got lots of good photos of birds, viz. painted stork, pied kingfisher, stone plover, swallows, open billed stork etc.
In the meantime our home stay owner called me and asked about our position and we requested him to arrange a jeep safari for us in the Nagarhole nation park. In this national park only one jeep is available for safari (Please don’t confuse this jeep safari with the jeep safari organized by Jungle lodges or Saraikabini or Orange County for their boarders) and most of the time it is occupied by VIPs. For common public bus safari is available. And it costs Rs. 300 per head. As we were busy in taking pictures of birds I had not noticed that Mr. Naveen the owner of the home stay sent me an sms that I should reach Nagarhole forest office before 2:30pm to avail the jeep safari. By the time I saw the sms it was 12:05pm so quickly we took our Spartan lunch in Ranganathittu. The lunch was not tasty but it was ok for us. By 12:30pm we started for Nagarhole and to avoid the traffic we took KRS road towards Honsur. The road from Ranganthittu to Elivala is not so good, but after Elivala the road is in very good condition up to the reserve forest check post. We were in a hurry and tried our best to reach the safari point before 2:30pm. But we reached the National park check post at 2:30pm and the safari point is near about 25km from the check post. After 1km drive from the check post the road got divided, one road towards Karmadu village and the other towards Nagerhole Forest office. The road in the forest was not so good and maximum speed limit was 30kmph. But the road side natural beauty was awesome.There were lots of birds, spotted dear and wild boar.
After reaching the forest office we got to know that the jeep was booked by some VIP so we availed the bus safari. It was Rs. 300 per person. In bus safari we saw sambar, elephants, spotted deers, Peacocks, barking deers etc.
After the bus safari the forest ranger called us and told the jeep was free and whether we would like to go for jeep safari. Late afternoon is the best time for sighting because all the predators are quite active at that time. So without any delay we booked the jeep safari, it’s Rs. 3000 for the full jeep. The driver told that there was nothing new to see and the route was same as bus safari, but I was hopeful because the timing was good. We started our jeep safari with the sighting of wild dogs, Dhole, after that we saw all the animals which we already saw in bus safari. But in jeep it was quite comfortable to take pictures. We utilized the opportunity to fullest. We saw many wild animals but we all were very eager to see big cats.
It was overcast day so the jungle was almost dark. Only we five persons were there inside the jungle. There we can feel how feeble we humans are. Suddenly we heard jungle alarm and all deer started running, everyone’s heart started pumping heavily. The driver whispered in excitement "see the leopard, climbing the tree with a monkey kill". By the time we can trace it the leopard climbed a small tree and hid behind the leaves. We could see the monkey in its mouth. All monkeys started shouting in fear. We all felt the fear of death at that moment. Since it was dark and the leopard was behind tree leaves we have not got clean shots. But the experience was thrilling and priceless.
After the safari we started for our home stay at kutta. It is very nearby and Mr. Naveen our home stay owner guided us nicely. After reaching we were greeted with delicious fruit salad and after getting refreshed we had our dinner with four types of nonveg and veg mouth-watering coorgi delicacies.
Next day early morning we took some rides by our car nearby areas of nagarhole and spotted many types of birds. After that we took our breakfast served by our home stay owner and all took some rest and dropped the idea of visiting iruppu falls. My son was very busy playing carrom. In the evening Mr. Naveen took us for a trekking at his estate. There he offered us oranges from the garden. We took our dinner early that day, because all were very hungry and tired after the trek.
It was the last day so we all woke up very early and set out for birding. In the nagarhole national park we encountered a huge male elephant. We waited for him to pass the road. The weather was misty and the ambiance was quite thrilling. After that we continued our journey and spotted some Malabar giant squirrels, serpent eagle, owl etc. But no luck for big cat.
After returning we finished our breakfast quickly and done some more birding, we spotted hanging parrot, oriental white eye, iora etc. In the meantime my wife and Bhupi’s wife did some shopping of spices from the market.
After that we started for Bangalore at 1:30pm. But this time luck was not with us and the route was totally crowded. It took 8 hours for us to reach our home. In between we took one hour break. After reaching home all were sad, so quickly these pleasant two days passed.
Wayanad – Mananthwady-Kutta-Nagarhol
- To avoid Mysore traffic avail the KRS road.
- Try to avail the first or last safari.
- Please take a decent long lens with your camera so that you can freeze the nature
- Finish your lunch or dinner before Mysore ends. After Mysore there is no such good hotel.
- Start early to avoid peak hour traffic
- Mobile network is very feeble in this area so be prepared in advance
- Safari timings 6am-8am and 4pm-6pm
- The route through Nagarhole is closed form 6pm to 6am