Team : Manu, Syed, Anil, Arpan, Vishwanath, Krishna, Myself
Date : Feb 9,10,11 2007
Place : BiligiriRangannaBetta (BR Hills)
Distance : 200 Kms
Over the huge white rock connecting the majestic Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats there lies a place , the cosmopolitan dense forest which shelters many animals and birds called the Bili-Giri-Rangana-Betta.This writing is one hell of an experience we had in this place.
A trip on bike was one experience which we always wanted to experience. After a gap of 9 month, me and my college mates decided to go to BR Sanctuary on bike. When the idea was proposed, not everyone were fine with it, After a series of negotiations and promises everyone were convinced.
Finally 3 Pulsars and 1 Yamaha RX 135 bike was ready to hit the jungle. Syed being the most daring driver in our troop was exempted from driving the bike as we all were aware of possible dangers if he drives on highway :). On 9th Feb 6:00 we left Bangalore. It was a cool ride till Maddur on the new Bangalore Mysore highway, then we had to take a diversion to Malavalli to lodge that night and attend the annual fest of this place (Siddi Habba) which is quiet famous in this belt. After we had a good dinner in Anil’s residence(native from Malavalli) we headed towards the New Ganesh lodge to sleep that night. Although liquors were packed, no one had the mood to drink that night.
On 10 morning 4:30 we left Malavalli towards Kollegala,it was at prime winter. Hands got cemented to bike handles because of the cold, roads were in a very bad shape and it was still dark. Around 6:30 we were nearing Kollegala and we started to see things around us. We still could not find any good hotels at this time, we headed towards Yellandur were we had a good breakfast. After Yellandur we had to take a diversion to BR hills. It was dry path and we started to wonder, how can an evergreen forest exist in this place. Finally we hit the forest check post and we were given some instructions. Then we started to get inside the forest. On the way we were able to spot only spot peacocks and deers.Myself, Manu, Arpan, Vishwa and Syed parked the bikes beside the road and got inside the forest in search of Elephnats. We were successful this time….. Successful in only finding their dungs in large chunks :).
We then reached the hill top and offered our prayers. The next question was about lodging. Since we assumed that we would get lodge in Inspection Bunglow, but it was already booked and it was on week end and we couldn’t get it. After a series on enquiries we got one super flat were we took rest for a while before heading towards one wonderful place on earth. Our guide was the superman “Naga” who was a tribe from nearby forest. He guided us very well. Initially showed us the Sudarshan’s project to improve the economic and social status of native “Soliga” tribes. Then we started towards “K-Gudi” (Kyaatharayana Gudi). The transition of dry forest into evergreen forest was super. My heart started to beat more looking at the dense forest. Krishna and Anil who were on same bike returned back that as they thought that they would end up meeting an Elephant while returning , which was very correct. We couldn’t force them much and the remaining 3 pulsars headed towards K-Gudi. The route was deadly, any first comer would definitely get scared looking at the forest. Arpan’s bike which was in front suddenly stopped where Naga yelled that the tiger was drinking water in the stream beside the road. Manu and Naga saw the tiger and we couldnt see in that excited period. Everyone’s bike stopped. Naga and Syed went inside to capture its photo, which was a foolish act . I tried stopping them getting into the stream, but no one considered my words and even I was tempted to get inside and look at the monster. By the time we got into the stream, the tiger ran up the fill covered by thorny bushes 😦
Then we headed towards getting the photo of the tiger footstep , which we were successful in doing. Suddenly the shrubs started to shake and the tiger ran down the hill and in no time we were back on road sitting on our bikes.Many of us injured ourselevs while running back to road.The forest is majorly occupied with Lantana hybrida plants. At this point I could hear my heart beat and just could not digest the situation. People who read this, please never make any foolish attempt to get close to a wild animal. They are dangerous at any time. Remember “The line between bravery and foolish act is very thin”. This was definitely a lesson learnt by all of us, it could have been fatal if the tiger had a bad morning with its wife 🙂
After this excited moment we started to drive the bike and the fear of tiger chasing was always in my mind. I kept looking at my side mirror a lot which we don’t do when riding the bike in Bangalore. Even my pillion rider Vishwanath was quite moved with the incident. Within no time we hit K-Gudi and it was time for Safari. Naga took the jeep to show us the forest. It was a normal safari nothing prominent except the “Moor addi rasthe” which lead to a pond were we spotted wild buffaloes. The width of this road is just 3 feet and riding on this road is at individual risk. Then we headed back to K-Gudi and it was already dark. We had to get back to BR Hills were we had lodged. We made a brave move to drive back on this way in dark. The probability of us hitting a wild animal was high. We started to drive back even after getting warnings from forest department. We drove back with a fear that elephants may block the road at any point. Remember the brief distinction between BR Hills and other natural park is that, the roads in Bandipur and Nagarhole is on a flat ground , but it is Ghat section in BR Hills covered by thorny bushes. Only pachyderms would be able to walk in this forest. Some how we managed getting back to the lodge where we spent the entire night relishing the memories of our ride .
The next day Manu, Arpan , Syed went back to K-Gudi to drop Naga early morning .They spotted few animals .Once they came back we had our breakfast in “Hotel RangaNayaki”, the dosa’s made in this place was so tasty and it just costed 2 Rs /dosa.In the mean time I washed my bike which was very dirty after the ride. By the time I finished cleaning my bike, our troop emptied the hotel and the bill came up to only 65 Rs. Superb bill 🙂 It was time to get back …..Then we drove back to K-Gudi where we once again stepped into the stream were we spotted tiger the previous day. This time we were unlucky to get any animal but through out the journey we kept on misleading other travelers that we spotted an elephant just now which used to bring in panic in them. This was definitely disgusting for few but we enjoyed it thoroughly. We halted in K-Gudi for couple of hours. We felt bad for the injured Kanthi elephant. Then we had a elephant ride. Riding on elephant head without mahout was just cool. We consider ourselves very lucky to get this one.Naga showed us the blood strains of a deer which was attacked near the Jungle Lodges by a tiger the previous night. Definitely scary.
Then we rode back to Malavalli via Chamrajnagar . We reached Malavalli around 4:30 in evening where we had a good lunch in Anil’s house. At 6:00 we left for Bangalore. Around 9:30 we reached Bangalore
The entire trip was so adventurous that this will go along with us until we live. May be we were lucky this time that we weren’t hurt by any animals even after our foolish acts. “Everyday is not Sunday” may be some day I am sure that we will face a wild animal and run for life if these foolish games we played in this trip does not stop.
Visit http://kalyanvarma.net to know more about this place
Place Kemmanagundi and Mullyanagiri
Date 5 and 6 Oct 07
Distance 8 Kms
Team Srikar, Smitha, Gururaj, Gowri Gururaj,Karthik, Manasa Karthik, Vaishali, Shreyas, Sonalika, Maoromi, Vibha,Ashwini, Gaurav, Rishi, Saurav, Vijay, Vineeth & Nandish
After a lot of yes and no from many people, the list came to 19. It was decided that we would be leaving THBS office at 10:30 PM on 4th Oct. As usual we had to comply to our IST(Indian Strechable time) and start at around midnight adding to this, even I had to attend my friend Sujay’s bachelor party. The bus started to take the Tumkur route instead of Hassan route to reach Kemmanagundi. The roads were in a pathetic state, blame it on the government or on the rough weather we had this year. Finally we reached Kemmanagundi at morning 5. There was no power at this place at that time. We had to walk in the dark searching for the office to book a room. Thanks to Nokia 1100..the materpiece from Nokia. The torch light of this mobile phone was good enough to search the office.
The Sun started to come out, the land scapes and hills started to get visible. I had been to this place couple of times but during summer. but this time looking at this place early in the morning after a healthy monsoon was just spectacular.
Early morning in Kemmanagundi
The entry point to the trek, istn’t it beautiful?
The majestic Hebbe Falls
After this we get insie the estates enroute to falls. The estate is in the foothills. Covered by thick forest and the waterfall nearby.We had to cross 3 beautiful streams before we get into the falls. When you walk into these places you get into a dreamy mood , things around you look so beautiful which we aren’t used while staying in cities.Finally we hit the falls and it was quite slippery at this place.The waterfall was neat and people had kept it neatly. Finally as usual we jumped into the water and enjoyed the adreline rush of water.
Spending a good amount of time, it was time to get back to the guest house.It was already 4 and we had to come back to the estate to break for lunch. Lunch was served, we had packed lemon rice which we fondly call “Chitranna”. Then we booked two jeeps to take us to Kemmanagundi. The jeeps used are the Mahindra commander made in 1970. No other vehicles can run on this road.Its worth once going i to this place in these desi hummers.The jeep finally left at one place where our bus was waiting. The place started to receive fog and sunset was nearing.The entire team was on hill taking snaps of this place.Even this point was so beautiful that I cant write anything about it, if I do so, the entire write up would be more like a flattery rather than a write up. But it was beautiful, I mean what I say!