Another Step Towards Eco-Tourism

Another Step Towards Eco-Tourism Over the years the way I sight wildlife in the dark has evolved. In the early 2000's I employed flashlights of varying power to observe wildlife in the dark - a low powered light with a wide beam to spot eyes in the bush, followed by a more focused flashlight to then observe the animal once it has been sighted.  For nearly a decade and a half, this process had remained unchanged - the only advancement being the technology of the flashlights changing from filament-bulbs to white-light emitting LEDs. This technique was self-devised to a large extent for lack of knowledge and the use of internet not widespread in those days, and worked pretty well for my purposes.  However it posed 1 problem: it harms wildlife, as it not only disturbs their activities, but also momentarily inhibits their night-time eyesight adaptation. In recent years, with more and more awareness on eco-tourism and conservation efforts, I too have changed my methods for the

A Quick Trip to BR Hills!

A Quick Trip to BR Hills! (Original date of events: Mar 30-31st, 2018) My most recent getaway has been to BR Hills just last week (March 2018). Accompanied by 3 of my colleagues - Himanshu, Kushal and Shakul - we set off on a hot Friday morning for the nearby sanctuary. At just 170 km from Bengaluru, BR Hills (Biligiri Ranga Hills) is a forest spread across an area of ~300 and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2011.  As is common with all wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka, JLR has the monopoly of operating accomodation in BR Hills as well, as private construction is prohibited within protected forests. However, since BR Hills is also home to the popular Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple, there is a stretch of land just 2 Km long and 1 Km wide in the midst of the sanctuary where some small settlements and plantations have propped up. Three of these plantations also serve as homestays which can be booked by telephone for stay by tourists. Unwilling to spend the usually-exo

A Wild Rendezvous

A Wild Rendezvous   (Original date of events: Apr 30 - May 1st, 2017) It was April 30th, 2017, a Sunday afternoon. Aashish (my brother) and I took off to our favorite holiday destination - Masinagudi . We had not booked an accommodation in advance as it was an unplanned getaway, and being an extended weekend - for May 1st is observed as Labour Day in India - our first priority was to find a stay upon reaching the town. After enquiring with a handful of resorts and lodges, we found one that had a room to spare and checked-in immediately.  Relieved to have found a stay for the night, we freshened up a bit and ventured out on our safari drive. One can rent a guide and jeep from the town centre for the purpose, but as we are well-familiar with the safari routes and know how to spot wildlife, we usually go on the drive by ourselves. We saw lots of deer and peacock, and one sambar deer up close! Since there were no elephants and bison about, we decided to wait until after

[3] Bagh - The Tiger

Bagh - The Tiger   (Original date of completion: September 2013) It wasn’t until four years later that I got my next chance to visit the forest. Parminder Uncle, a friend of Dad’s, had just got engaged and the family decided to go on a small trip to celebrate. The choice of place was Masinagudi, a small town in the midst of the Jungles of Tamil Nadu, 7 kilometers from Theppakadu Elephant Camp- which is also the Reception Centre of the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. It is really the same forest that is spread across three states – in Karnataka it branches out into the Nagarhole and Bandipur National Parks, in Tamil Nadu it extends as the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and in Kerala as the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Now a well-known town and popular among wildlife enthusiasts, Masinagudi was a small village at the time I speak of, with a police station at the start of the village, a single-lane tarred road which took you to a few farmhouses and resorts built by estate owners, and