Thursday, September 1, 2011

Monsoons in W Ghats II @ Ganeshgudi

Well, we knew it would be raining and that's the reason we chose to do a quick dash to Ganeshgudi JLR camp over the weekend in July. The other reason was that it was a long 5 months since we had been there and we had to go there again, yes again, and we would love to go there again and again :)
Every time we go to Ganeshgudi that is almost 500kms away, we try different routes and options, enjoying each and every transportation we choose. Booked our tickets on the Rani Chennamma express that goes up to Londa Jn from where Ganeshgudi is around 20 odd kms by bus. Cramped with work, I had to work in the train with the others snoring and I loved the fact that Reliance data connectivity was present all through the way albeit at a lower speed, my journey with Reliance continues into its 7th year now :)

Rains kept company all along and with sparse sleep, I was up very early in the train roaming between the coaches waiting for the sun to rise. Well, cloudy weather prevailed and it was a refreshing view out from the train with greens all along the route with monsoon in full splendor and life sprouting in all forms all along. Paddy fields, barren lands, villages, towns, everywhere and everything was green to the core and the fragrance of the wet soil that brings in a sense of 'Ah! Pleasant' was omnipresent all through the train journey.
How many of love to spend time near the train compartment doors pushing your head out and allowing the breeze to blow against your face early in day soaking in the fresh air and chill weather? Ah! We love to do it and we generally spend most of our travel time near the door rather than in the ac compartment!

The rain game started as soon as we landed at Londa as it was raining intermittently, sometimes heavy, sometimes light, a game we loved being part of! Breakfast was awaiting us as also Parshuram and staff at the JLR camp. I entered the camp with a preset mind that my 100-400 zoom lens would be sparsely used and I lived up to it.
The 2 days we spent at the camp was all about tea, breakfast, bread toast, lunch, pakodas, salads, soup, dinner and desserts; chatting, sleeping, whaling away time while it kept raining intermittently. Frogs, bugs, beetles, insects, butterflies and few birds when the rains gave us a break.
Birdlife was very sparse as we had expected and my wish of seeing the singing maestro was finally fulfilled - the elusive Malabar Whistling Thrush. Its not a fair looking bird and many mistake it for the crow. It is also black with metallic blue wings and you should listen to its song to believe it. Every time my phone rings, the Malabar Whistling thrush comes alive :)
Bird checklist:
Malabar Whistling Thrush
Yellow browed Bulbul
White bellied Blue flycatcher
Puff throated Babbler
Emerald Dove
Orange headed Thrush
Blue capped Rock thrush
Rufous bellied Woodpecker
Racquet tailed Drongo
Orange Minivets
Golden backed Woodpecker
Indian Robin
Brown cheeked Fulvetta
Malabar Grey Hornbill
Jungle Mynah
Indian Bull Frog
Bicolored Frog
Red Cotton Bug
White four ring Butterfly
and many unidentified ones!
While coming back we took a jeep ride till Dandeli where there was no signs of rain at all and we took the government bus till Dharwad where we had to pick up the mandatory 'Baburao Singhs Thakur Peda' :) The Volvo service to Bangalore starts from the new bus stand at Dharwad. To the dismay of us the bus stand is out of the city limits and looks very  isolated place and with no hotels around, sad but true and we had to face this unkind situation! Well, another learning never to skip food when it's available hoping you will find something :)

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