Friday, October 19, 2012

BR hills (KyatadevaraGudi - KGudi)


BR hills has been one of our favorite destinations for a choice of a getaway, be it for the weather, the pleasant drive, the pristine forests, the chillness, the rich birdlife and not to mention the elusive mammals.


We chose again to stay at the Rajathadri Hill Villa (that has been our regular abode at BR hills now…) to spend a weekend in June. Another reason we chose to visit here was the climate to be (it rains generally in June and BR hills turns green and the weather is just fantastic). We drove through Kanakapura-Malavalli-Kollegala-Yelandur-BR hills (a distance of about 180kms) and we realized this route is much shorter than the route through Mysore-Nanjangud and with less traffic too. The route via Kanakapura and then towards Kollegala is in excellent condition and a better alternative to the crowded Mysore road (but note it’s a single lane state highway).


The ride through the country side was a pleasure and at one place Baya weaver’s activities kept us hooked on to them for some time (I should say, it was my first proper sighting of the common birdie…) and that was another reason I stopped for a longer duration and no cash with any of us and no fuel in the gaadi took us all the way till Yelandur town and back.


As we approached BR hills, the first thing that came to our notice was the weather. It was hot, dry and was like a typical summer month, blame the drought this year! Amit (http://wildlifeodyssey.blogspot.in/), his wife and his friends had already reached there and were on a quick visit to the temple and the viewpoint behind. Hotel Giridarshini that is a small eatery on the main road is the only food outlet in the entire area and it may not suit everyone who is after cleanliness and hygiene, but the food served is too good. This time around we chose to have food at our place of stay itself (the caretaker informed the food would be prepared and served and not from Giridarshini). As he said we were served hot piping delicious food supplied from one of the Iyengar’s house in the surroundings and it was finger licking good.


After the heavy lunch, we and Amit’s group drove towards K.Gudi, 35kms away on the road this is part of the BRT (Biligiri Ranganatha Temple Tiger Reserve) and laden with possibilities of good wildlife and birdlife sightings on the road. True to its nature, birdlife was good but the mammals were missing as usual J After driving through till Chamarajanagar, we drove back just in time to enter the gates before 6pm (the road is closed b/w 6pm and 6am) at K.Gudi and from there drove back to BR hills, our place of stay. Amit and team left for Bangalore as he was about to fly to Saudi the next day and we had booked to stay for the night at Rajathadri Hill Villa (http://rajathadrihillvilla.in/home.asp).


The weather was not as we expected it to be and it was pretty hot in the afternoon and a bit mild in the night (we missed the notorious chillness and the fog this time). Early next day, we drove again to K.Gudi for a safari ride in the forest department jeep. We had to wait for a long time for that to happen and in the meanwhile an almost empty beehive kept me occupied as hordes of birds were still visiting and collecting something out of it.


Blue-bearded bee eaters, Lesser Goldenback Woodpecker, Great Tit, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker and finally a Bonnet Macaque tearing it apart. The late safari ride yielded us a few more birds and the deer’s and the gaur’s as usual. With half hearted minds, we rode back, checked out and came back the same way we traversed back to the confines of our homes in the city.

For accommodation at Rajathadri Hill Villa:
Contact: Ramesh Babu – 09740820508 / 09036809218
www.rajathadrihillvilla.in

Hotel Giridarshini has also expanded and couple of cottages is available with them too, forgot to collect more information on them this time.

Jungle Lodges property at K.Gudi - (http://www.junglelodges.com/index.php/resorts/kgudi.html)

Gorukana Eco Resort - (http://http://gorukana.org/)

Route: Bangalore-Kanakapura-Malavalli (bypass)-Kollegal-Yelandur-BR hills/K.Gudi.


Bird Checklist:
Babbler, Jungle
Barber, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Blue-bearded
Bee-eater, Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-Whiskered
Bushchat, Pied
Coot, Common
Coucal, Common
Coucal, Greater
Dove, Emerald
Dove, Eurasian-collared
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Black
Drongo, Racquet-tailed
Drongo, White-bellied
Eagle, Crested Serpent
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Heron, Pond
Hoopoe, Common
Kingfisher, Common
Kingfisher, White-throated
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Moorhen, Purple
Munia, Scaly-breasted
Myna, Common
Myna, Hill
Myna, Jungle
Owl, Brown Fish
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Peafowl, Indian
Pigeon, Imperial Green
Prinia, Ashy
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Shikra
Thrush, Orange-headed
Tit, Great
Treepie, Indian
Wagtail, Pied
Waterhen, White-breasted
Weaver, Baya
Woodpecker, Brown-capped Pygmy
Woodpecker, Common Flameback
Woodpecker, Lesser Goldenback
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