An Aura of wilderness

I have visited Nagarahole many times by now, if I plan a wildlife trip to Nagarahole my parents and friends ask me one question “how many times you will visit the same place again and again?? Aren’t you bored???

My answer to everyone is a big smile on my face and a brief narration about wilderness I encounter every time when I visit Nagarahole… the jungle is as new as it was to me when I first visited the place…new sunrise… new excitement…a new ray of hope to sight big cats… Ahhh it is as fresh as new…


The trip was planned for 2 days from 1st April 2013 to 3rd April 2013 to Nagarahole aka Rajiv Gandhi National Park. The previous day we drove to mysore for a stopover at my cousin’s place, we made some free time in the evening to visit mysore city including Chamundi hills. Just for a change we planned to visit SubWay, after 2 hours of worthless search we ended up in a beautiful Punjabi hotel called Jwala. I recommend this hotel for all those who just can’t stop eating. yummmm

 Next morning we started at 4.30Am and reached Veerahosanahalli gate by 6.00Am, the first rays of the sun was peeping towards mother earth, the forest was engulfed with its warm golden sunlight. The splendid combination of the morning chills along with the warmth of the sun kick started our day.
A slow drive observing the forest took us more than an hour to reach FRH, hot upama for breakfast was ready to gobble. Mr. Lokesh is appointed as new RFO, a young and dynamic chap. A small introduction and casual chat with him explained his plan of actions with regards to conserving wildlife. 
Some times you have to be at the right place at the right time. Few things were lined up to buy from kutta a small village just outside Nagarahole. While returning back from our so called “shopping” we caught a sight of the big bird perched on top of the tree. Though we were not so sure of its identity we just continued watching the bird observing its behavior. As the excitement of spotting a new bird came down our focus widened only to spot 10- 12 more birds of the same family resting on the entire tree. We identified it was a vulture but which family it belongs was known later after referring the book. It was Red-Headed Vulture which is a critically endangered species of bird found in INDIA.
The Mantra still hold good. Few meters ahead a jumbo family crossed our path; it was so nice to see the little one veiling safely with its mother.
By now the sun was up in the sky and radiating his most sharp rays on to us. The scorching heat made us feel low and wanted a nap for sometime. The alarm woke us up for evening safari, Nagarahole game routes can be accessed only by govt. bus safari which is organized by forest department not always we are blessed with like minded people. The bus was filled with a variety of people, some who were interested in wildlife and few others who treat national parks as picnic spot. All our energy was exhausted in making them understand the importance of wildlife and national parks.
We had completed half the journey in the game route when our driver spotted a tiger beside the waterhole which was sitting on the boulder, the disturbance and loud noise chased the tiger away into the bushes. We waited for 10 mins hoping it might come out of the bushes; neither the bus driver nor passengers were interested or had the patience to wait.
A glimpse of the tiger made us happy; the safari came to end by sightings a herd of elephants and a lonely tusker.
The same evening we drove till Karmadu junction to try our luck for sightings but returned without any. After dinner we took a seat in the balcony listening to the sound sof the forest, the cicadas were calling in a unique pitch. The alarm calls of barking deer’s faded distantly, we could hear wild boar scratching the ground…

 

Next morning Siddanna care taker requested us for a drop to kutta, we crossed kutta check post and while nearing the village, a car approached us in the opposite direction , as we slowed down to give way we noted that the car was driven very hastily and in full speed. Not more than 10 seconds had passed since we passed the full speed car, we witnessed a huge male spotted deer lying beside the road badly injured. Unfortunately the deer was killed by road accident. We then related as to why the car flew past us in a hurry.
Immediately I called up my friend at Nagarahole FD and informed about the incident. A wireless message was passed to all 3 gates to ensure he would not escape. Finally the culprit was caught at veeranahosalli gate the car bonnet was torn and badly damaged as it had hit the spotted deer antler.
We did not leave until slayer was brought back to the spot where accident took place. RFO / Veterinary doctors and patrolling crew investigated and filed a hit-and-run case and took him to custody.
After tiring hours we came back to guest house with a mixed feeling, satisfaction for catching the killer, on the other hand we lost one huge male deer.
We had lunch and relaxed till next safari. Apart from sambar deer the forest was dry with out any sightings. The culprit and his family with the car were sitting at forest department; he was staring at me as if I have done a mistake by alerting the guards to catch him.
It was our last day at Nagarahole and next morning we had to leave for Bangalore, we started towards karmadu junction slowly observing things around us, forest was alive in the evening, herd of gaurs were gazing beside the road, we could hear elephant breaking the twigs in a nearby bush, but no alarm calls from any direction. All of a sudden from no where a sloth bear crossed the road. I was not prepared to capture the photo though I could only manage few shots.
Few meters away we spotted a crested serpent eagle – CSE on the perch, its watchful eyes drew our attention towards it.
After our final drive from veeranahoshalli gate we returned back to forest rest house, gazing the sky full of stars hearing cicada’s call all around we sat back and relaxed.
Nagarahole – is pristine and full of surprises….
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