Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bandipura - A bike ride...

December 2009 - Christmas weekendThis is one weekend when generally we are planned in advance and this time too we had booked the department cottages at Bandipura National Park for a day through Guru in advance, but Nag and Raja dropped out due to personal reasons and only me and guru were ready to go.
The decision was simple, I suggested we ride to Bandipura on his Rx covering Ranganthittu on the way and guru instantly agreed to this. Its always a dream for me to go on long rides on the Rx and now my time had come :) Unless and until you enjoy a bike ride, its difficult to drive doubles on a long drive because once you get uncomfortable your journey gets interrupted with lot of breaks.
We started off early in the day and reached Ranganathittu by 7:30am in the day. We took the boat ride for an hour for birding and we were not dissappointed.
The Pied Kingfishers, Stork billed Kf, Small blue Kf, White breasted Kf, River terns, Stone Plovers, Eurasian Spoonbills, Egrets, Brahminy kite juvenile all made their presence felt. After the customary breakfast at the hotel there we started off towards Bandipura via Mysore through the outer ring road avoiding traffic at Mysuru city, we reached by 1pm steadily driving at around 70 km/hr.
With 2 days to spare and just a day's booking at the dept cottage, we opted to stay at the Bandipur Plaza just outside the National Park premises, we have been here earlier and it was easy getting accomodation there and relatively cheaper than the resorts with the exception of food only. Wildlife is our main objective and intention of being in bandipur and next we had check the alternates for the safari rides into the park. The depat jeeps were not working and the bus rides were full to the brim because of the holiday crowd, finally we had to depend on the private resort, MC Resort for the jeep ride into the park.
Sighting this time was below par with a lone tusker and the herd of bisons being the saving grace along with the normal chital and sambars. The big cats were again elusive this time (no idea when our luck will turn around?) on our many jeep rides into the park area.
Next day we checked into the dept cottage "Papiha" and our first reaction was wow good man, big, spacious and well maintained, we were impressed. Actually the cottage we had booked holds 4 people, but in real sense around 10 people can be accomodated, its that big! Wonder why the dept does not develop these and market them. To get accomodation here, we had to literally struggle and visit the Mysuru forest office numerous times. All the cottages were full according to the Mysuru office, but the reality was that hardly 2-3 of them were full and the others empty... Why are the ordinary people not given preference? Why? Lot of questions and no answers...! The canteen was functional to our luck and the caterers were a new group and the food served was really good and worth for the every penny we paid.
Next day, after the morning safari we checked out and then started our drive back to Bengaluru. The Rx is such a wonderful vehicle, you never realize how far you have travelled, the stress and strain factor is nil and the vehicle never runs out of steam. You, the Rx, its deafening sound and empty roads...
Well a much deserved break and a good bike ride... wishing for more!!!
Care for the nature and the nature cares for you!
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