Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Bison

Our tryst with The Bison dates back to the summer of 2016. We were reading up several reviews on the Tripadvisor so that we could finalise on a stay option in the Kabini. Not a very difficult proposition going by the handful of resorts in that area. We studied in detail about each one but something about this rustic looking resort struck us. The photographs can be deceiving (in this case in a very positive way ); the place looks charming but in reality the place is far more than just charming. And the proof is our frequent visits. What attracted us to The Bison is its simple, rustic look; the thatched tents, the rooms built on stilts, giving us an elevated view of the forests at a distance and the backwaters of the river Kabini from the rooms. The planked pathway leading towards the tents, illumined by the olden day lanterns at night and a host of other things create a tranquil atmosphere. If we have to describe the place in one word, we'd say < peaceful >.
The Bison to us is synonymous with the Kabini river and the Nagerhole forests. We have fallen in love with both! I still remember our very first time at The Bison, as we drove through fields of sugarcane and ginger, following a bumpy, rough stretch of road with a very crudely written the Bush Betta camp as signage. The view was mesmerizing as we could see some hillocks at a distance against the dense forests and a bit of the thread-like river Kabini. It was summer so the river had dried up but still the backdrop was simply magnificent! The best part was the tranquility that prevailed all around. A short drive ahead brought us to the resort, neatly tucked away amidst fields of crops and splendid view of the forests. A rickety wooden flight of steps lead us to the reception that wore a colourful look; something that immediately made me fall in love with the place. The walls were adorned with brilliantly captured photographs of big cats, of wild dogs, of majestic elephants and of birds captured in flight. 
Now without further ado, let me take you through a tour of the place. Sit back and enjoy the charming place with its magnificent views.

Don't go by the rustic look of the thatched cottages. Looks can be deceptive. As you enter each, you will be surprised to see the luxurious interiors of the tents. Yes! These are actually tented accommodation.

The deck is one of my favourite places in the property. It is from here that I see the changing colours of the sky ; the silhouette of an elephant against the backdrop of the Nagerhole forests is still vivid in my memory.

The wooden pathway that leads upto the tents is another such versatile place. A place that gives me the opportunity to hear the conversations of the home-bound birds in the evening.

The setting sun dabs some paints on the sky above and the water below. Patches of yellow, orange, crimson and vermilion thrown carelessly on the canvas of the sky. And what a mesmerising view it is! 

The bright and colourful lounge with its collection of books and pretty knick knacks. Adorning the walls are some of the choicest life like photographs of our very own Bageera, Scarface, Kismat and a few more important members of their families.


The view from the dining area is simply superb! What I love best is to enjoy a delicious meal, mainly lunch and breakfast against this backdrop.

The view from the deck on a rainy morning....


An attached courtyard that is beautifully done up and doubles up as a place to chill.





The dining area.....the bamboo chiks are rolled up at meal times for an excellent view of the backwaters.

The pretty lounge that has a charm of its own. I was instantly attracted to this lounge done up in  bright and cheerful colours as we stepped into the property.




You would've seen many of these photographs in my Instagram account :-).... No expensive flower here ; a branch of gulmohar flowers brightens up the tea and coffee counter (on a summer afternoon).


Wildlife in our tent 😃😃





Another look of the courtyard I had mentioned earlier. This is how it is when the days are dry and not rainy.

And the comfort of a neatly made bed.......








The fanciest of wash rooms and powder rooms.....


The newest member of The Bison family, Masti, a perfectly behaved horse. It took me some persuading to finally pat her before clicking a photograph of her. 



Hope you have enjoyed The Bison through my eyes. The photographs have mostly been captured with my humble cell phone so they may not be the best. But I am sure they give enough proof of the beauty of the place. Many of my friends had wanted to know about this place and this was a post long, long pending. Finally, it is here!
  I would love to hear from you here on this post.

Monday, July 3, 2017

on the tiger trail...........


Hello people! How have you all been? Are you all interested to go with me on a chase along the tiger trail? I can assure you that this is going to be interesting, in fact very engrossing as we literally follow the muddy tracks to have a glimpse of the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger in Nagerhole. The drama unfolded beautifully over two days and we not only spotted the regal, striped four footed being of the jungle but also witnessed much more drama. A movie could be made of what we saw, our emotions all charged up, sometimes with wonder, ecstasy and sometimes with disbelief! And while I take you through our experiences, hold onto your seats well.
Patience is rewarding. I don't know who said this but it is my belief, and a tried and tested one. Today's post as I mentioned earlier, is all about our rewards, our experiences in the jungle, a place we keep going back to every now and then. Not for anything in particular but for our deep love towards the place and its inhabitants. 
We love to stay at The Bison ( a post on this place is long pending ), a rustic camp, that nestles beautifully along the fringes of the Nagerhole National Park also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park. This sanctuary, along with the Bandipur National Park are home to the largest number of big cat population, I am told. Although Nagerhole is smaller of the two, we have found the jungles full of wildlife, be it herds of the mammoth elephants, the gigantic Indian Gaurs, flocks of deer with their intricate antlers, the huge sambar deer, the magnificent peacocks,   wild dogs, foxes,wild boars, the human-like and playful langurs, leopards and the black panthers to name a few. The river Kabini flows in this region and is replete with marine life. The fresh water otters and crocodiles making their presence felt at all times, regale the visitors throughout the year. The boat safari is an experience by itself. The soft purring of the engine as the boat cuts through the rippled waters of the Kabini, the outlines of the dense forest in the distance, the occasional faraway cry of some animal, a solitary elephant standing against the light thereby creating a silhouette, all so magical. One cannot help but fall in love with the jungles.


Well, sorry for the digression. Each of our experiences is so unique that once I start penning them down or even get talking about them, I lose track completely! Every little thing merges into one, that of love for the wilderness and wildlife. So let me try picking up from where I detoured. We sped towards the tiger tank, a man-made reservoir as news of sighting a big cat came in. It was a completely thrilling experience. As we reached the spot, we could see a few other vehicles waiting for a glimpse of the cat. And suddenly, someone whispered and pointed to something resting against a thick bamboo thicket. There it was, the first one. Then out came the second one, a cub, to have a drink of water. It posed for the hungry photographers, who lost no time to press the multiple shot button of their cameras. The second cub, then, made its appearance. I couldn't believe my eyes! Not one, but  four tigers in front of me! It was a big day for all of us, jungle lovers, the ultimate viewing. They all looked regal, their black and gold striped skin shone brilliantly against the golden sun. Their presence was electric. We gaped at them, some trying to capture their movements in their cameras, the others like me trying to absorb all of it and permanently store them in the memory boxes within our brain. 
Day two started with a morning safari. We had zero hopes of spotting a tiger as we went to a zone where the tiger population is known to be  very less. Little did we know that we were in for the biggest surprise of our safari life! A few hundreds of metres into the jungle trail and there she was, lying on the main pathway! I actually pinched myself hard to believe what I was seeing; a striped four legged creature! Yes, you heard me right! She was having a power nap, totally oblivious of her surroundings, oblivious of the fact that a dozen or more cameras kept flashing and she was under the astounded gaze of more than fifty onlookers. I loved the way she just took no note of anything or anyone, continued to nap, occasionally twitching her ears.

Well, this is HER territory and we must wait for her to make way for us!

While she decided to sit up and pose for us!

The haze, the camouflage, all so perfect!

a closer look ......

What! A leopard, too?

It was certainly a day of high drama in the wilderness.Two regal creatures in front of us; while one was striped, the other one was spotted. And were apparently not at loggerheads with each other. The tiger was clearly not happy about the leopard's presence in what she felt was her territory. She made it very obvious with a look upwards towards the leopard and a hissing low growl! And we were witnesses to all of this. 
Guess I must stop here as this could be lengthier with all of my descriptions and never-to-end stories. This post was meant to be published long back but got deferred for reasons I know not. Maybe I was too busy dreaming about those magical moments of spotting a tiger for the very first time. After this first time there has been many more such experiences and each time has been different from the previous. Leaving you all with a few photographs of our first experience. 
I would love to hear from you about your experience in the wild. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mango Mulch

 As pretty as the name sounds, Mango Mulch is a charming village home-stay in Talakkad. The town has its share of religious importance not just for the locals but also for the people of Karnataka, in general. It is home to the Pancha Lingeshwara or Shiva temples. Some of these old temples have been unearthed by the locals along with the ASI ( Archaeological Survey of India) and then restored. There are folklores associated as to how these temples were completely submerged under sand and why the village turned into a barren desert while the neighbouring areas had or still has no trace of that fine sand. The stories are really interesting. But that could be another post; this is about the charming place with about a fifty old mango trees.
We first heard about Mango Mulch from our friends who often visit this place. They gave us such good reviews of the place that we decided to spend a weekend in this farm. And we were not disappointed. The farm stood amidst these sprawling mango trees, some as old as a hundred years, canopied by the foliage. It was shady, cool and breezy even in the warm summer afternoon when we reached the place. The hammocks hanging from the sturdy branches of the mango trees were as inviting as the benches placed under the mango canopy.  A perfect place to get lost in your dreams while you took a short nap on the hammocks; or maybe enjoy a book while the breeze gently rocked you as you lay on them. For us, city dwellers, the cries of the peacocks, no matter how shrill they were, were like music. The twittering of the innumerable birds and the rustling of the leaves as the wind blew created an 'ensemble' that we loved! Our 'chambre' , one of the two rooms of a cottage,stood under the shade of the gigantic mango trees, had a simple yet lovely décor. Comfortable beds, a pretty bay window an interesting sewing-machine study table and built-in cupboards; what more is required! The thatched red oxide dining area, under the shady mango trees where we were served delicious meals was again a real treat. Well, while speaking of Mango Mulch I cannot forget the delicious meals we had there. Home cooked meals, simple yet delicious, aroused our taste buds to their maximum! We loved the spread of ragi rotis, the millet served in place of rice with the special sopu ( greens) sambar, to name a few.
Our idea of holidays and relaxation is this; delicious food, comfortable clean rooms, beautiful ambiance amidst nature, long walks through fields of paddy and sugar cane, gorgeous sunsets and the dusk setting in beautifully with families of peacocks and birds returning home. And that is how I summarize Mango Mulch.
While I describe the place, I must not forget to mention the very hospitable, much travelled hosts, Ashwini and Sudhakar, who live within the property in their gorgeous home. They regaled us with their storehouse of interesting travel stories, as enjoyable as our stay in their beautiful farm. 
I am sure many of you would love to spend a weekend in this beautifully green place and come back with pleasant experiences as we did. Leaving you with some photographs of Mango Mulch. Enjoy!

The first look of the place as we entered it...this is one of the two cottages in the farm.....

Nothing specific... I loved the water container. Insignificant it might be, but created a pretty picture amidst the greenery.

The second cottage that has two rooms with a common sit out; one of the rooms was occupied by yours truly!

a close-up of the first cottage...I loved the red oxide sit out!

Can you make out the size of the mango tree?

the dining area with its rustic look

So inviting! Perfect to get lost  in my dreams!

another view......

The hot and humid afternoon for us turned into a breezy one, thanks to the shady mango trees......

The dining area where we lingered on after a heavy delicious meal.

These gigantic mango trees impressed me with their size and bulk!




The spread was really good, well cooked, delicious and light on the stomach.
The special sweets our hosts made for us :-)
Doesn't this look delicious? Believe me, it tasted out of the world!
Catching the sun as it peeped in through the foliage.
As we took our evening walk to see the setting sun; it cast its golden hue on the waters of the Cauvery creating a magical pot of gold.


Loved the huge bay window, a perfect place to unwind with a book and a cup of strong filter coffee.....