Call of the Wild – Bandipur

13th Jun 2015
Photo of Call of the Wild – Bandipur 1/9 by Rashmi Pai
Photo of Call of the Wild – Bandipur 2/9 by Rashmi Pai
Enroute Bandipur from mysore
Photo of Call of the Wild – Bandipur 3/9 by Rashmi Pai
Photo of Call of the Wild – Bandipur 4/9 by Rashmi Pai
Photo of Call of the Wild – Bandipur 5/9 by Rashmi Pai
Photo of Call of the Wild – Bandipur 6/9 by Rashmi Pai
Photo of Call of the Wild – Bandipur 7/9 by Rashmi Pai
Photo of Call of the Wild – Bandipur 8/9 by Rashmi Pai
Photo of Call of the Wild – Bandipur 9/9 by Rashmi Pai

The trip to Bandipur was very exciting than I had expected, so thought of sharing the experience of that wonderful journey with all. Bandipur is nearly 250 km from Bangalore, our first plan was to ride in our long ride companion Enfield Classic but then later we had to drop it as we heard that Bike may be not allowed, but now I realize it was a false alarm, may be next trip to Bandipur will be in Enfield.

So now we thought of going to Mysore and from there to Bandipur, so on a Saturday morning we boarded train from Bangalore to Mysore. Route was pleasant with paddy, corn and other fields which was relaxing to eyes. From Mysore bus stand we got bus to Bandipur which is 80km Mysore. Volvo’s and Rajahamsa services are not frequent but Sarige buses are frequently available.

Journey from Mysore to Bandipur was very much welcoming and I was very much surprised to see the water bodies, coconut trees, paddy fields and many other plantations. Climate on that day was like an ornament to the beautiful nature. You will be welcomed by sunflowers smiling at you on both sides of road which will bring happiness to anyone in vacation mood.

So after this nice road trip I could see the Big board of Bandipur National park, I was happy to see that and quickly packed my camera to ready to alight. So it was around 12 and not many people were there around the park. From there we had small trouble contacting our resort as our phone didn’t had coverage, with the help of few visitors there we contacted resort and got our vehicle. Stay was around 5km from national park near Mangala village. On the way to resort I could spot some deer and they looked like getting ready for taking restJ

After having lunch we decided to take a nap and thought of visiting the farm house mentioned in the resort , later when we asked about it resort manager informed now it is not available as farm house is closed. So we decided to go for a walk , I took my camera and we started walking. I could hear the roaring sound of wind coming through the hills, the sound showed how wild even the wind is. It felt so good to listen to the nature, to breath the fresh air, to listen to the birds , these sounds which are normally not meant for people in cities who are always destined to hear only the honking of vehicles and to breath the polluted air. We are not sure how much we walked, I couldn’t stop myself to see the green nature bathed in dawn. We saw some village kids playing while elders engaged in chit chat about their day. As it was getting darker we decided to go back to resort. Back in resort we went to watch tower to find ourselves being blown out by the wind, I felt shaking at times but loved to stand and relax their. Rest of the day we spend playing table tennis, watching some wild life documentaries.

I got up by 5.30 to make it for the morning safari, I was in full energy and was hoping to meet prince of forest , my favorite ,Tiger!!! Park was full of visitors and we took ticket for safari. It was normal bus but I could see many people going in open jeep and bus, we later found out that it is given for guests in Jungle lodges, though I felt sad I made up mind that it doesn’t matter for sighting tiger and was all set for safari. When safari started we could see a lot of deer families , they were playing and gazing. I was happy to get some nice snaps. We could spot peacocks, man-goose , peahen as well. Forest was lush and full of green. My mind was racing and eyes were searching for tiger , time was passing and I was enjoying the ride. We then spotted bison(5-6 of them) they all made their way inside forest from the path. We then spotted one elephant. I was still searching for tiger but as time passed I was losing hope and soon it left me with disappointment as the safari came to an end and I wasn’t lucky :(. I was trying to make myself feel good and my better half was helping on the same telling it’s not easy to see tiger, we can come again and all. Its only 7.30 and we decided to take a walk to resort(normally they pick up and drop in jeep) so we did a nice morning walk through the forest to resort. It took almost an hour but we were walking through the fresh green nature, along with deer and sometimes monkeys listening the beautiful songs of cuckoos and other birds.

After finishing breakfast, we spend sometime in resort taking some snaps of ducks, turkeys there and in pool. Mean time I found out from drivers and workers in resort that evening time is best to spot tiger. So we decided to go for evening safari and to take ticket for last safari which will increase our chances. We reached park by 3.30 and asked ticket for 5.30 or later but officials told it is based on people and they won’t issue advance ticket so we spend sometime in phto session and went again at 5 and took tickets. Tiger was last spotted one week before , I was praying and wishing in my mind for the glimpse of apex predator.

Again safari started, half of the people were enthusiastic and were silently waiting for animals but other half were making noise and passing comments about tiger which is not existing. They made jokes about seeing tiger. I was getting irritated as they were making animals drift. Peacock flew away because of the noise. My eyes were searching for tiger still, begging it to come out and give me a glimpse.

Almost 15min passed other than peacocks and deer we didn’t spot anyone else, suddenly one bus was passing and he told something to driver and yes I am going to see what I wanted, the message was Tiger is there ahead. My mind was rushing, I was imagining how it will be, what it will be doing , 100 thoughts running in my mind. Full bus fell silent all eyes now searching for the wild cat and there I saw the first look of the prince of forest playing in the grassland near pond. It was lying and moving left and right. Driver took a turn and stopped the bus near to the pond to get a better look, many other buses were also there. All watching in silence the wild and beautiful creation, It was in all its world not at all bothered by people around. It was walking in the grass, then again sat there. It then observed the audience and as then it went back to its world. Not being bothered by people around, never scared or distracted, proud to be in its territory. It then slowly started walking in reverse and then slowly came to pond side and may be decided to take a natural jacquzi. It was there with its head out . All eyes breathless was watching the wild. We did wait for sometime but tiger didn’t had any plan to come out. I was very much delighted, felt my trip was complete. The joy of seeing the tiger was speechless. I felt as if like it came for me, to admire as if hearing my telepathy and as an answer to those who made fun ,to tell I am here and it’s my kingdom!!. Everyone in the bus was happy and contented. Though it was only 30minutes since we started safari it felt as if we are done, happiness can be seen in everyone’s eyes.

We started towards other side, and luck was still with us there comes a pack of elephants, only 4 were out of forest to the light and listening to the sound of bus, they were in a moment of hesitation to come out or not, driver stopped for a moment for us to watch them and not sure may be thinking about the danger if it all comes out he started the engine and big rock structures drifted inside. Moving forward again we saw some wild boar and few deer beside a pond and later few more bison’s. We finished safari bidding farewell to the forest.

I was happy beyond limits and felt satisfied with the trip. Next day morning there was nature walk arranged by resort, we went inside forest and to some tribal houses, on the way we saw some leg marks of animal which resembled sloth bear as per the guides.

Nature was lush and cool. We saw many trees like teak wood, rosewood, sandalwood as well. After one hour trek we were back in resort, we did some more walking back side of resort to watch some birds and then time is flying, had to finish our breakfast and was ready to checkout by 11 with full of memories of green and wild nature , yet loving and making you stay and relax for more days. I looked back again to the wild forest to bid bye to come back again for more.