Masinagudi (Mudhumalai National Park)
So caught with work for over 3 months, it was finally time to take a vacation ; albeit a short one. It was the monsoon season and what better way than to enjoy the beauty of nature during the rains; Masinagudi located in Mudhumalai national park seemed like a good choice.
I caught up with Sanjeeva at Tin Factory by 5.30 a.m and proceeded to meet up with Karthik at Silk Board; while me and sanju were busy talking we heard the dreaded words that we always feared to hear; “I’ll be late” as told to us by Karthik. Apparently he had woken up only when we called him up at 5.30 a.m. So me and sanjeeva spent another 1.5 hours discussing our jobs at the very polluted silk board junction. Karthik finally showed up at 7.30 a.m and we proceeded towards masinagudi via kanakpura road.
On the way was our usual disucssion on job, marriage, old friends and life in general.
Our first stop on the way was for breakfast and what better than traditional south Indian Breakfast at MTR located off kanakapura Road. The masala dosa, upma and coffee are to die for.
After a very heavy breakfast, we proceeded to move towards Masinagudi again. The drive from Bandipur check point to our destination stay, Greenwoods nature camp was amazing. The NH 766 happens to be one of the most beautiful drives in India. At the entrance though something rather negative happened; we got tricked into paying 100INR to some random guy posing as an entrance officer. We were quite pissed off but the wonderful drive bettered our mood.
Overall after another 3 hours in the car and we were finally at our destination.
We were welcomed the entrance by the staff; the weather was amazing and were treated to a very tasty lunch prepared by the staff. The evening schedule was booked for the safari; but that was another 4 hours away. Sanjeeva and Karthik proceeded to a long session of photography while I took a long nap. Before my nap I took indulged in some quick photography session.
It was already raining by the time I woke up and light drizzle made the weather absolutely amazing.
We sat outside with chair , sipped on some hot tea and just relaxed forgetting the troubles of our lives for some time. At 5 p.m or so, we were finally ready for our safari.
In all fairness, I did commit a grave mistake which was also good learning at my end. I was under the impression that this would be proper jungle safari; but it was just a drive down the road in an old Tata 4×4 jeep. Only government vehicles are allowed into the forest and one has to stand in the line early morning for that to happen. Well too late to turn back, we went along as this was the best a private vehicle can offer. (we had our own car for this…). So anyways , the weather turned dark and it started raining. Rain in the jungle is probably one of the most serene things to be experienced.I blacked out everything else and just tried to enjoy the moment travelling in the open jeep.
After about 45 minutes of drive , we spotted only cheetal hiding in the bushes, we finally reached the destination; I am not sure of the significance of the spot but a lot of people had assembled at that location taking selfies and just posing I guess. The location was a small reservoir of sorts. There really wasn’t much to do as such; we captured a couple of shots for memories and requested our driver to take us back to our stay.
On the way back, in the dark, we spotted a Female elephant with a calf; we did not venture too close since mother elephants are known to be very protective. It wasn’t much but was a saving grace.
Upon reaching our destination, we had some time to our selves before dinner which was set up by 8. It was raining outside and weather was very pleasant. The dinner served was again quite good and we gorged while enjoying the peace. At the end , we had a choice for a camp fire but we decided to skip it even though we had paid for it (our little contribution to prevent global warming/deforestation). About half hour was spent just relaxing in the cool wind and discussing our engineering days.
Sanjeeva woke us up early in the morning with an incessant rant of “chale be , mast he”. Karthik couldn’t tolerate it after half hour, gave in and went out at about 6.30 a.m. That saved me and I rested my eyes for another half hour but chirping birds and light drizzle beckoned me as well. The weather in the morning was as good as the previous evening; the warm morning tea was refreshing.
Outside the gate, the neighbors dog became of object of affection for karthik and the next hour or so was spent only in patting it. Breakfast was ready in the meantime; hot poori and aloo subji it was. Karthik took almost an hour to freshen up; go alone knows what he was doing in the bathroom.
The early morning hot breakfast in the light drizzle was the perfect way to kick start the day; we did have a long journey drive back to bangalore ahead of us. Since we couldn’t catch anything exciting at Mudumalai, Sivanasamudram seemed like a good choice for some good shots. We by 11 a.m or so, we were off. The Led zeppelin songs downloaded the previous and played on repeat helped the hours pass by and in no time, I was already hungry (despite the heavy breakfast). Not to mention, the car needed a refill and karthik insisted on a reliance petrol bunk.
On the way to Sivansamduram though, we realized the folly our plan thanks to Gmaps. The red line was nearly 2 kms long which implies we would literally take an hour to get in and even then, there would be no way to park the vehicle. We just passed by the junction and continued on to bangalore planning for another day. While driving, we also realized the sustainability of the region in the future. If thousands are visiting now causing jams which are kilometers, what will be the state of affairs a few decades down the line??
The drive at least was smooth; the roads in the small villages were way better than what we had in bangalore.
The return journey reminded us of MTR again; the awesome breakfast did give some good memories. So we selected the kanakpura route instead of Mysore road route. MTR treated us with their trademark filter coffee and that was enough to set us up for the rest of the journey; through the center of the city.
While we did not get to see any of the wildlife that we wanted to, it did give us an excuse for another trip to masinagudi in the near future.