Timings- Open all days from 9 am to 11 am and 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Ideal time- 2 hours
Going there was the highlight of my whole Karnataka trip. Crossing the Cauveri River will take you to this wonderland that is a perfect getaway for the animal lover in you. You will see plenty of elephants there which are taken care of by the naturalists. Along with observing and learning the elephant history, ecology and biology, you can also participate in various activities involving these wonderful creatures. You can touch, hug, bathe and love them for as long as you want. Or you can spend hours simply watching them, which is likely to make you sensitive to their plight in the wild.
P.S. There is someone very special who made all this possible for me. Bhoomika, a 12-year old girl, gifted me the best day of “My Eleven Eager Days”.
I was walking on my way to the Camp, capturing the beauty of trees, flowers, and pleasant weather. Suddenly, I heard a few Kannada words from behind but I didn’t pay attention and continued to walk. After a few seconds only, I heard a little girl’s voice asking me in English whether I am going to the Dubare Elephant Camp. I told her “Yes” without even knowing at that moment that she is going to brighten up my day. She was with her aunt, and they were also going to the Camp to get their cows from the other side of the river. We asked each other’s name and started talking casually. Her aunt also kept on conversing with me via Bhoomika since she knew only Kannada.
Holding my shoes in one hand and her hand in the other, we reached the camp by crossing the Cauvery River on foot as the water level was quite low at that time. I could see that she was an expert.
Finally, we reached the camp and to my surprise, she told at the ticket counter that I am her cousin and there is no need for me to buy the ticket. Actually, everyone knew them there as they were locals. As soon as I entered, I felt joyful looking at the elephants. I told Bhoomika that I want to go close and touch them, but I also noticed that the place was full of animal-lovers and there was not much space. She, at such a young age, saw that on my face and held my hand to take me close to them. I told her that I am scared of touching them as they are so huge, to which she replied, “Don’t worry, they won’t do anything. You go there and I will click your pictures.” I did exactly what she said and I felt so good.
Next, she told me to go and meet the elephants nearby the river. Again, it was such a crowded place and everyone was trying to take pictures. I was thinking about how I would go near any one of the elephants. Then, I saw her saying something to the trainer and the next moment, he rode the elephant to the side where there was no one else except Bhoomika and me. So, we got our own elephant whom I hugged and loved as much as I could.
After she led me back safely, I asked her how to go to Namdroling Monastery from there, to which she replied that it would be closed by the time I will reach there. Next in my mind was Nisargadhama but before I could finalise it, she asked me “Would you like to come to my home?” I was hesitant because I find it really hard to trust someone new. But still I asked her, “Who all are there in your home?” And before I could even realise it, she was again holding my hand to take me with her. On our way, so many people asked her who am I and to everybody, she responded that I am her cousin from Delhi.
Finally, we reached her home. There were trees and flowering plants everywhere. I could also see three cows and a few hens running here and there. I heard a loud dog bark the next moment. Out of joy I asked, “Do you have a dog also?” She smiled and said, “We have 3, but first let’s meet my mummy, papa and grandma. But my brother is not at home.” Everyone came to meet me and she explained to them in Kannada. They all smiled, especially her mom. “Such a kind lady”, I thought to myself looking at her cute face. And after talking for a while, her father gave me the complete tour of their home, which took nearly 2 hours.
First, we met the cows and he held a calf so that I could touch it. Then, he showed me their 3 rottweilers, who were super-excited to see someone new. I also met her birds and a parrot whom they have taught Kannada. It gave me a demonstration then and there. Then his father, who knows good Hindi, showed me their plantation of coffee, banana, jackfruit, papaya, mango, coconut, chilly, black pepper, cardamom, eggplant, areca palm, and what not!! It was spread across such a huge area, and her father took us to each and every plant and tree and explained everything. He also told me that wild elephants come there at night and take banana and jackfruit trees with them as there is no food in the jungle.
Have a look at some of the pictures of their 'Home Sweet Home':