Place: Nagarahole, Irpu falls
Distance: From Bangalore 280kms, Irpu falls is 20kms further.
Route: Bangalore --> Mysore Road --> Srirangapattana --> Right deviation towards Ranganatittu --> Join the Hunsur Road --> At Hunsur left (ask tea walas) drive 50 kms there after.
NagarahoLe is a national park situated at 94kms from Mysore and around 240kms from Bangalore. This is also called as a "Rajiv Gandhi National Park", which was supposed to be a hunting place for the former rulers of "Mysuru Saamrajya".
After I bought my new DSLR, I automatically got an attention towards wildlife.. and I always had a dream to explore wildlife with a nice camera in hands. Now that I have everything I don't miss out on any such opportunities. NagarahoLe plan just came as a random thought, and I asked my mom (who works in a govt sector) whether she can somehow arrange for our stay at NagarahoLe. She was able to help me out. Next thing was to call up friends and check who was available that weekend. 3 of my friends got ready, and my brother which made 5 of us.
At Midnight we started from Bangalore, and the plan was to reach early morning. The drive to the place was fun. At Hunsur, when we asked for a way to the forest a person warned us of the wild animals' danger during the night.. He meant Elephants.. It was pumping excitement rather than fear in all of us. Next, on the way we took a wrong deviation and traveled extra 10kms till we hit "sort of" dead end. It was around 4 am when we were doing all this circus.
We searched for the right track driving back. We reached a place called "Murkal" from where actually the forest region start off. There is a gate and policemen who won't allow you till it is 6 am in the morning. Several cars including ours waited near the gate till the clock ticked 6 am. It was turning out to be a beautiful morning. The fog had covered the roads and trees. Everything looked soothing in dim light of early morning.
Soon after, the gate was open and we were instructed not to stop anywhere till we reach the main office and govt guest houses. It was truly a superb drive just the way we imagined it to be.
The road was completely covered with fog. The driver had tough time. I and Sriram were setting up our DSLRs. "Which mode?" "What is the ISO?" "What is the shutter speed?" - etc etc - finally we had our camera's set. A herd of male gaurs just along the road surprised and scared us. It was a stealing moment. The way the gaurs were standing, that scene was beautiful. Unfortunately we missed to click any snap since in hurry we had crossed the herd.
!A deer giving a perfect pose for my camera!
Also we felt, anyways there was safari and we could spot the same again ( which never happened during safari). On the way we could spot many deers of all sorts like Chital, Spotted deer etc and adding to our excitement there were 2 elephants crossing the roads which we could see from a distance, also there were beautiful Malbar squirrels found on the trees with an amazing reddish color and long tail. Overall it was the dream ride of 25kms within the NagarahoLe forest.
We reached NagarahoLe forest office at around 6.40am and got the tickets for Safari as well as key for our dormitory. The safari inside the jungle was boring. Thanks to very rude and uninterested driver. However we could get the feel of wild forest with many water bodies around , wooden logs evferywhere , the bamboo trees shattered by the Elephants, mist melting down and decorating the grash and leaves of trees - total Jungle feeling.
Only few lucky people spotted a tiger which was on a hunt and chasing a deer. I could only see the deer :-(
On the way back from Safari my eyes were closing and I really took a nap..
An elephant trying to beat the summer and it's thirst
Beautiful birds around the place
Later on we entered our dorm and had nice sleep since the whole night we had not slept.. The next action item on our plate was to visit Irpu falls in the afternoon. It was really hot and humid out there in Rajiv Gandhi National park when we drove towards Irpu falls. We placed an order for the food at the foot hill, and headed towards the water fall. We just had walk for a km and climbed some stairs. The initial view of the water fall did not give so much of satisfaction since the more than water we could see the rocks. Obviously summer season had affected it. However we decided to go below the water fall and thanks to the people there who made arrangements to reach down to the fall. They have actually made a way with bamboo and other wooden logs, to reach below the water fall. As soon as we got the punch from the water it just took away all the pain and heat from the body! It was really really cold and relief to take bath there; to beat the summer.
Irpu falls in B&W
We came back from Irpu to NagarahoLe just before Sun said bye to this part of the world; remember after 6 pm in the evening no vehicle will be allowed inside the national park. We had a peaceful dinner at the guest house and watched zillions of stars in the sky which you will never get to see in Bangalore even in the midst of night. It was so pitch dark; We sat outside our dorm for sometime. Here and there we could hear somebody's crunchy foot steps. They might have been deers or elephants but it was surely exciting.
We hit the bed at around 10pm, which was so unusual. We had a real good sleep of 7-8 hours that night.
The next day's plan was to drive within the forest for about 20kms up and down; and get the glimpse of the same morning which we experienced on Saturday. We really got to see those things again; however there was no fog and mist. Deers gave perfect poses for our cameras. Gaurs crossed the roads in herd while we clicked from a distance. An elephant was in deep thinking standing near the shores of lake with big bamboo trees. Malbar squirrels were busy running around the tree. We were busy capturing all these scenes.
Overall it turned out to be an experience that we expected and imagined. Sunday afernoon, after having lunch we said bye to the cook and started back to Bangalore. On the way we stopped at a place where there were few elephants which were pet, and there was a lake where the herd of wild elephants and other animals come to drink water in the evening, it seems. It was getting darker and when I looked up towards the sky it looked like some rocket was launched from the earth just a while ago. It was getting darker and that's it we packed our camera and ran toward the car; soon after it started raining, giving a perfect soothing end to our exciting trip to NagarahoLe.
Overall the visit to this place is worth and if you are planning to go there, forget about Safari and you drive yourself early in the morning on the main road for 20-30 kms up and down; you will have so much of fun. You will get to see all the animals! What else you want?
I would like to visit the same place again when I get bigger telephoto zoon lens.
[saving money.. but takes years :( :( ]
PS: I am feeling little lazy writing blog nowadays; want to get that rythm back :0) and update the blog with my weekend trips. Hope I get that back and continue writing more interesting things :0)