Reaching Nagarhole Jungle Lodge, it seemed I had back geared 100 years behind, amidst British-era-Royal-hospitality, where even a little piece of architecture was exemplifying aristocracy.
The Govt. lodge once was hunting palace for Maharajas of Mysore.
The Kabini River snakes beside the resort, the deck chairs on the open balcony enough to make you feel out of this planet.
Then there came the “Jungle safari”. We are so use to zoo and captive animals, eyes just came popping out on the sight of tiger without an iron wattle between us. We WERE in “Their –Empire”. The 'Royal' of The Jungle didn’t even consider us worth giving a slightest glance at, he crossed the Safari Jeep ignoring our presence, leaving us breathless. The only sound crossed the jungle chirping was the “sound of shutters” from awestruck ‘pilgrims’.
More was waiting to strike surprise on the level of expectations we nestled in our heart. River safari started with the setting Sun as back drop. Kabini presented the ‘Herbivore-Kingdom’ on its bank, herd of Elephants, Bison, Wild Boars, Sambars, Chitals, Monkeys, Peacocks, Birds known ,unknown all in one side.
Floating silently in the safe distance we savour their evening quench. Felt as if teleported between Elephants, Bison, boars, peacocks, unnoticed, ignored, invisible, the vibration of Elephant’s walk, heavy puffs of bison breath, snorts of wild boars, hoofing Chitals touched my all senses, all around.
Hour passed; thickening the blue to deep, dying the ochre to grey, the ’Disney Land’ in front us veiled itself in mist, slowly. We zoomed our lenses out to the highest, but the show was over for the viewers of Kabini “Gallery”.
Being back in tent we couldn’t talk for hours, the disbelief what we actually experienced made us wordless. Amused by our dumbfound-ness, we were explained how each steps the forest employees fight against all adversities to save this incredible kingdom of animals.
The after-coffee-evening-session was still pregnant. In the “show –hall” we were presented with a movie on Nagarhole ecosystem.It was explained how a healthy Tiger implicates “healthy” life for the whole human kind. A healthy Tiger means healthy prey base, implying healthy vegetation, which means healthy rain, controlled temperature, water in the river and half of the weather problem solved for human being.
On the campfire after-while, with hot soup, we heard spine chilling stories about Chandan-Mafia Veerappan.
At first when I heard the per day-per person cost of this trip no doubt I felt it’s bit at high-end but when the jeep begun to leave Nagarhole I was just wondering how they managed it so cheap, such “Maharaja suite” where we stayed, wake up calls, bed- tea, breakfast, evening tea/coffee with snacks, unlimited buffet lunch & dinner, two safaris, a whole film show, campfire, soup,seamless services, in such a pittance… !!!...??? Might be it is possible only because it is a Govt. Resort.
Nagarhole National Park resides 220km S-W of Bangalore and 80 km away from Mysore. Now the connectivity from Mumbai to Mysore is pretty uncomfortable. One can travel to Bangalore and hire a car or come to Mysore from Bangalore by train and then hire a car to Nagarhole. One needs to be pretty careful while hiring the car because they end up charging unreasonably high sometimes.
You may write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. If planning to travel alone let me know I can always be a great help/advisor for lone travelers :P :P :P and oh yes....!! for families too. :) ;)