Wednesday, December 10, 2008

NATURE AND WILDLIFE TRAIL IN COORG

Coorg or Kodagu is famous for the coffee estates along with Pandi Curry ( pork ) as their prime cuisine. The terrain is blessed with excellent nature trail and wildlife. The entire district border Kerala and Tamil Nadu is filled with forest cover ranging from 200 to 300 kms. Three main forest ranges in Kodagu are well maintained by the forest department. They are Nagarhole, Dubbare and Nisargadhama.

Nargarhole :


One of the oldest reserve forest in India from the time Wodeyars is well preserved despite wild fire almost 2 decades ago. The forests are under the govt. control in order to prevent de-forestation with lot of tribal people relocated outside the forest limits. The conservation of wild life has been of prime importance which have been realized by all the 3 governments. In the bargain it is fetching the departments revenue. Luckily the forest guest house does not have accommodation to house many a individuals or tourists. Many of the forests are close to main towns such as Mysore, Mercara, Kalpeta, Virajpet, etc. Elephants and Deers are found in plenty in Nagarhole forest.

Safari :

There are routine safaris conducted by the forest department in the early morning and in the evening. This is basically because of the fact that the animals are up and early for catching their prey and quenching their thirst. They are used to nature’s cycle of sunrise and sunset. Normally they rest in the noon except maybe during the summer months when they roam around for prey. The safaris are under conducted @ 7 am upto 9 am and in the evening around 4.30 pm. The safari costs Rs 100 per head approx in a mini bus, or jeeps can be hired according to budget.

The spotting of wild life during safari is a matter of luck, because we humans are uninvited guest into their domain. Invariably one can spot plenty of deers, which are used as prey to lure the tigers and cheetahs. Deers feel safe in the umbrella of human habitation. During winter season they are more prone to be seen around the accommodation in lieu of deer taking shelter near the human habitation. There is a lurking danger of venturing out while staying in forest guest house due to this fact.

Nagarhole forest is home to Tigers, Cheetah, Bison, Wild Elephant, Boars, Peahen, Peacocks, Mongoose, Pythons, Cobra, etc. A variety of bird species home in on the reserve forest. The roads are barred for motor cycle and other open form of transportation. Unlike ooty route, here the heavy truck movements too are banned. In fact the forest is closed to road traffic after 5 pm.



There are three different areas Nagarhole, Kanhala and Murkal elephant training camp. Dubbare training camp too forms a part of the reserve forest along with Nisargadhama. The main trekking spot is the Bramhagiri hills. It is outside the forest range located near Iruppu falls which 15 kms away from the Nagarhole forest. There are other trekking camps organized by youth hostel too near Mercara.

ACCOMODATION :

There are various options for accommodation depending on individual affordability. One can find private accommodation in Kings County which is luxury personified after the forest gate. There are plenty of home stay options in Kutta and Srimangala on the other side of the exiting Nagarhole Forest. Accomodation can range from Rs 500 to 5000 per day with various package thrown in .

LOCATION :
Nagarhole is approximately 205 Kms from Bangalore. One can bypass Mysore city by traveling through the bypass or ring road or pass through the city or take a detour from Ranganthitu Bird sanctuary and join the BM road at Hunsur take a detour inside the town and get to Nagarhole forest. One can have a detour to tibetian camp



DUBARE ELEPHANT TRAINING CAMP :


Across the cauvery river Dubare training camp is located. The elephants for the world famous Dusherra festivity are trained mainly in this camp. Earlier 150 odd elephant training was undertaken for logging the wood slaughtered from the forest. Since the establishment of the reserve forest, felling of trees have been discontinued. The mahouts and elephants are now deployed for giving ride to the tourists visiting the camp and ensure participation in their lifestyle for a day.

Dubare training camp is utilized for trapping the wild elephants and training them along with trained animals. The elephant is captured in a typical hunting fashion with traps laid. They are chained and bought to the breeding point where they are fed with sugar canes and raggi balls cooked at the camp.




JUNGLE LODGES & RESORTS :

This is a premium product from the forest department established with an objective to provide an ideal experience for tourists interested in eco-tourism and wild life safari. This was established in 1980 and has spread its wings in a slow steady manner for want of logistic spread. Now under the franchisee route the concept is slowly catching up.

The safari ride is undertaken though jeep only for the residents of the jungle lodge. The cost per pax is Rs 2400 which will obviously mean Rs 4800/- for a couple. Day time package would cost Rs 700 per pax.   The cottages are well furnished and laid out on the banks of river cauvery, with power back up facility. There are hammocks laid out for looking into the treetops and feeling the noise of gushing river. The package includes 12 am to 11 am food along with safari ride, boat ride and detailing by the naturalist.

Motto of Jungle Lodge Resorts :

• Submit to Nature
• Be ecologically Sensitive
• Bring tourists closer to nature
• Support tribal & local community
• Create ambassadors for conservation


Some of the interesting facts regarding Elephants are :

• Elephants trunks can bear the weight of an elephant itself.
• Elephants can cry, communicate, be playful and even laugh.
• Elephants are sensitive in nature, take care of their infants like humans.
• Elephants express happiness on return of their clan after a break.
• Elephants grieve loss of infant or still born.
• Elephants don t drink with tusks, but use them to siphon water into their mouth.
• Elephants conceive upto the age of 50 or more.
• Elephants recycle food upto 80% which is returned to soil as manure, which can be used to enrich the soil.
• Elephants help in pollination and distribute small reptiles for maintaining eco system
• Elephants can be trained to carry out certain commands for example logging,Climbing, marching on, hunting expedition, etc.


Budget travelers :

There is a motor boat which is used for transporting the tourists across the river @ Rs 25 per head. If one is adventurous, one can walk across the river splashing the water. One needs to be cautious not to slip amidst slippery rocky terrain. There are some crocs investing this river and one is taken for a ride in rafting boat and through motor boat. The boat ride can cost from Rs 50 to Rs 100 per pax depending on the time consumed.

An entry ticket of Rs 20/- pax is charged for the tourists for entering the elephant camp. There are various elephant oriented activities which are charged accordingly. An elephant ride is charged at Rs 50/-, Bathing the elephants, Feeding the elephants, etc are all activities associated with elephants.

One more package is offered from JLRL which is day package @ Rs 700 per pax and Rs 350 per pax, which can be availed minus the cottage for those backpackers.

The splendour of nature with sky, water, and greenery with animals complete the package. No wonder Coorg is proudly proclaimed as Scotland of the East.

NISARGADHAMA :


A bamboo forest replica is created at Nisargadhama. One has obtain an entry ticket of Rs 10 per pax to enter this premise. One enters into the tranquil place ( Nisarga Dhama ) walking on a cable bridge, replacing the rope bridge across the cauvery river. There is a handicraft shop, eateries at the enterance of this place. The one has to trudge towards the tree top, visit the deer park, rabbit house and walk into the river bed. There are cottages available for those interested in experiencing the forest atmosphere. A double bedded cottage is charged @ Rs 650/-. Restaurant also serves food for the residents, otherwise they can visit the nearby town Kushalnagar for their food. It will be an opportunity to try the corgi cusine.

The river bed is quite a spot to visit in Nisargadhama. The water is pure and so tasty one is tempted to quench their thirst throwing the caution to the winds. One can experience the hunting virtually perching on the treetops. There is swing laid out for flaying across. Bamboo huts and seating space is created for a unique experience. An elephant boarding point is also created for tourists inclined to take a ride.

COORG PRODUCE and CUISINE :


The local produce of coorg is coffee, cardamom, orange, pepper and honey.

Chilly pork : Ribbed pork is a delicacy prepared in the corgi masala.

Kadambattu or Rice dumpling : It is eaten with chicken curry or veg dish

Bamboo shoot curry : Another specialty from coorg



Overall all the three destinations give varying degree of experience to nature lovers. For food lovers corgi cuisine will be altogether a different experience. A two day trip would be ideal to experience nature at its best. Looking for a break from the high decibel city life, away from pollution, head for coorg and witness the nature at its best amidst the coffee estates.

7 comments:

Diego said...

Hey, I thought cheetah was extinct in India? You said you have cheetah there, how come? then it's not true that they are extinct?

dguide said...

I believe there is a bus from Mercara to Nagarhole for the workers to make an up and down trip, some buses from Mysore to Kutta passes through Nagarhole, from Hunsur it is nearby.....@shubra

dguide said...

@ Diego, I was witness for this cheetah while we were travelling in a loaded biscuit van, it cut across the road in slow motion, since it was old animal, we could not believe our luck. It was in winter 1990 to be precise.....after 21 years i cant vouch for the same dear....

magiceye said...

interesting

Arti said...

Fascinating indeed!

Deguide said...

@ Deepak Thanks for finding it interesting.

@ Arti, Yes absolutely fantastic experience.

Purba said...

I have heard and read so much about Coorg, it's time I visited it.

avinash

avinash
cannons ready to fire

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Basically i am down to earth, take friendship to its logical end. It is my endeavour to create a wealth of co-operative ventures. Basically being a marketing man i have the acumen to spot winners. I am privileged to travel the length and breadth of the country, courtsey my father, who was with Indianoil, my employers such as Nutrine, Kurl-on, Hindustan Pencils, Prestige, Crystal, Bell Ceramics, Pentel, Sezal, Commander. Currently i am involved in Tourism, Booking Air Tickets, Agent for Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited and Taj Group of Hotels and a numerous hotels across India. Depending on the needs of a traveller i would recommend the destination and accommodation best suited to their budget. Humour takes me on. Let us have a win win situation for all. I love travelling for sake of adventure, photography and discovering the heritage. Life is a journey and let us enjoy our drive. Come share your travel experience on indiabackpacker.