We just came back from a short, but nevertheless long-anticipated-with-relish, holiday to Bangalore and the Jungle Lodges Resort at Kyathadevarayangudi – KGudi for short.
The resort itself is right inside the Biligiri Ranganna Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, about 86 kilometres from Mysore. Its setting is quite picturesque – it has its own waterhole, and the tented cottages and log huts blend in perfectly with the surroundings. Since the resort itself is plonked right in the middle of the jungle, quite a bit of animal and bird life can be spotted right from one’s balcony.
The programme included two jeep safaris a day – one at daybreak and one at sunset. The safaris were the most strenuous ones I’ve been on yet – some of the trails looked difficult even to traverse on foot, but the jeeps (and the drivers – Nagesh and Thapa being the pick of the lot) handled them with ease. This being the dry season, we came across large tracts of the forest razed to the ground by forest fires. We were told that the fires had been set off by tribals angry at the ban on their collecting non-wood forest produce (a traditional right usually allowed to be exercised) from within the sanctuary, but I am a bit chary of the reliability of the source of this information. At quite a few places, we actually came across smouldering logs and blazing fires.
Wildlife spotted included the usual suspects – chital, sambar, barking deer, gaur, langurs, bonnet macaques, wild boar, mongooses, a Malabar Giant squirrel and a solitary tusker. We did manage to see quite a bit of bird life though – woodpeckers (both green and goldenbacked), a crested hawk eagle polishing off its freshly-caught prey, a brown fish owl keeping vigil at a waterhole, an oriental honey buzzard majestically surveying its surroundings, pigeons, hill mynahs, chloropses, minivets, pittas and drongos (including the very cool racquet-tailed ones!).
This was also the first real test for my new Fujifilm Finepix S9500 – I got a few decent pictures, but I think I still have not come to terms fully with the machine. Here are a few of them, using the cool embed feature from Webshots.