The many moods of monsoon.

It is finally monsoon again. After playing truant for nearly a month, it has started pouring cats and dogs. And how the landscape changed! Trees that were wilting have suddenly sprouted green. Stone paved paths suddenly have grass nudging from their edges. The skies are grey, waiting to open up at any moment. Suddenly, there are cranes aplenty pecking their way through green expanses of paddy without a care for the poor soggy scare crows, farmers working in the rain with plastic raincoats and sheets of rain making the road gleam.

The earth smells fresh and green. Forests look lush and waterfalls erupt onto roads as if to please us. Clouds float low and make travel seem dream like.

I love rain in its many forms. I love the slight drizzly kind, when the wind blows chill and you get rain in your hair, and you can walk in the rain without getting fully drenched. Long walks in such rain rejuvenate me. I also love the angry kind when the sky suddenly decides to open up and pour barrels on poor unsuspecting me, and before I realize it and can open my umbrella, it is done. I am soaking wet and still standing with the umbrella half open! It used to happen all the time in Mangalore, and used to come at the end of a hot spell which made me hot, sweaty and irritable. And there is also the insistent, consistent middle of the path rain which keeps on for hours at the same speed, neither too much nor too less. Granted, life becomes depressing then, but on the positive side, this is the best for plonking myself on the ledge of a window with a hot cup of tea, a great book and roasted corn.

If there is anything I enjoy more than rain itself, it is the opportunity of travelling during monsoons. This time, I had the pleasure of traveling along the almost virgin forests of Gerusoppa in Uttara Kannada district for the upanayanam of my nephew. I was so zapped by the natural beauty around me, that I did not want to blink for the fear of missing out something more beautiful. No words can do justice to what God, or nature or some supreme power out there decided for the world during the rains.

Hence the photographs. Enjoy the many moods of monsoon.

The elephant camp at Sakrebail, was wet and beautiful. The elephants seemed to be good spirits with the cold weather, and did not mind visitors.

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Sudden rains marooned a motor boat in the water. Looks exciting, like a wreck with treasures, waiting to be explored.

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A sudden burst of green along a paved path.

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The sight of the grey skies. The silver lining behind the clouds. donotwanttoblinkable!

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The back waters of the river Aganashini.

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Can you see the water fall on top, between the trees? A lovely view of Gerusoppa ghats.

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A walk in the clouds…

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There is small, old, slippery, mossy stairway leading to a lookout point just at the beginning of the mountain road. The top is really filthy, but the view more than makes up for it!

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Green carpet of paddy for miles and miles.

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DSC_0220A lovely temple pond with still mint green waters.

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A trip into a jungle.

I have often had the experience of hunting  for something very important or valuable all over the place, only to find that it was sitting just there, under my nose, all the time. You end up wondering why you had not even thought about starting your search there! This was exactly what I felt when I visited the Bhadra wildlife sanctuary.

 

the entry to the forest
the entry to the forest

Just about 32 kms from where I live (in Shimoga), nestled amid the Western Ghats,is the Bhadra wildlife Reserve, which gets its name from the river Bhadra, which feeds the jungle. It is accessible through a government jungle lodge, a breed which is getting popular for people who want to gel with nature, alongside basic but necessary amenities.It is now a popular weekend getaway, with the added attraction of water sports like banana boating, water trampoline and kayaking which was what made us venture there in the first place.

I have been to the resort many a times with friends of ours, to have a lazy lunch after a frenzied session of romping in the water with kids and hence, would have no time or energy to indulge in a safari on a hot afternoon.Luckily for me, last week, I was booked into the safari inadvertently, because my daughter refused to go without me. I climbed into the safari jeep cribbing at first, but by the end of it, I was so serenely, blissfully happy that I have made return plans ASAP.

Bhadra jungle reservoir lies on the border between the districts of Shimoga and Chikamagalur. It has a large water reservoir as a part of it and has been declared as a Project Tiger Reserve since 1998. The actual jungle is situated about 4 kms from the River Tern Jungle Lodge, which is named after the terns which throng the place for breeding. As the jungle is a part of the Western Ghats, there is an amazing amount of bio diversity.I can safely claim that I have never seen so many trees, animals, birds and insects ever in my life in a short span of two hours, apart from in a zoo!

The jungle is lush, green and so very silent apart from the incessant creaks of some insects interrupted by a burst of chatter by the monkeys. Trees are so densely packed, that  sunlight seems to be struggling to make its way through. And then suddenly there is a huge meadow in between left behind by the receding waters of the reservoir, where we sight upon a large herd of spotted deer.

a huge herd of spotted deer
a huge herd of spotted deer

Though we saw no tigers or elephants( I am told that you usually see the elephants  coming in herds of 60 to 80 all at once to drink water early in the morning-what a grand sight that must be!), we had our hearts fill with a hoard of smaller, unexpectedly cute, strange and interesting animals.Whenever I used to read in the papers that the western ghats were a hot spot of biodiversity, and home to thousands of species of animals, I used to be skeptical. A lot of what I saw of the ghats were of the road side view,when I traveled. Now, I know that human habitation and intrusion probably makes the animals decide to venture backwards into the heart of the forest, which again offers little solace as trees are being felled indiscriminately! I wish all of you people could come and have a look at the magnificence of nature, so we could protect it all before it is too late!

two huge gaurs looking at us
two huge gaurs looking serenely at us

 

We saw tree snakes aplenty, slimy, bright green and thin, but were too scared to click snaps when we saw them up close and personal! Spotted deer, giant red squirrels, serpent eagles, spotted owls, peacocks, marsh crocodiles, monitor lizards, langurs, and a wide variety of birds of all colors, supremely unperturbed and oblivious to our curious gaze  and hushed cries of excitement when we spotted them. It was nice to see that the animals seemed to be unafraid of our intrusion. We were glad to feel accepted by them.

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can you spot a camouflaged monitor lizard on the log of wood?
can you spot a camouflaged monitor lizard on the log of wood?

Some important facts you should know before you get there:

  1. It is about 300 kms from Bangalore by road.
  2. The lodge has no television, so if you bring kids along, get something to keep them occupied.
  3. Be careful as you can see snakes often all over, apparently most being non poisonous. This is not to scare you, but so you can get rid of your phobia before you visit!
  4. Information regarding the place is available on the internet.

Must see, must visit- definitely a worthy trip into the jungle!