A Wild Monsoon Outing & My First Tiger Sighting - K Gudi Jungle Lodges at BR Hills

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Last week I spent 3 days in the dense forests of Biligiri Rangaswamy Hills in Karnataka along with fellow travel blogger Anita Bora, on invitation from Jungle Lodges. BR Hills is where the Eastern Ghats meet Western Ghats and you can see the landscape change quickly from one side to the other. This little known Wildlife Sanctuary also happens to be a Tiger Reserve with 44 Tigers, 75 Leopards and 600 Elephants! Ever since my visit to Kanha & Bandhavgarh last year and Dandeli earlier this year, I have been slowly growing fond of wildlife and jungle safaris. This trip sealed the deal with the beautifully green, rain-soaked forests and my first ever Tiger sighting in the wild!

Did you know? Unlike other National Parks in the country, Wildlife Sanctuaries in Karnataka do not close down during monsoons. Meaning, you get a chance to witness the beauty of the forests in full monsoon glory!

KGudi, BR Hills, Karnataka
KGudi, BR Hills, Karnataka
The generous monsoons have turned the forests of BR Hills into a magical green paradise! We went on the safaris with constant drizzle and heavy downpour for company. It was so cold in the open jeeps that I caught cold right away but it was totally worth it.   

KGudi Jungle Lodges, Monsoons in BR Hills
Our first sighting was handsome Changeable Hawk Eagle. I am usually not that fond of birds but look at the beauty of this majestic bird!

KGudi Jungle Lodges, Monsoons in BR Hills
One afternoon, we went to the centuries old Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple on the hill top. We walked up the stairs and I walked around the temple to find this breathtaking view of what looks like Eastern Ghats to me.  

KGudi Jungle Lodges, Monsoons in BR Hills
If you go towards West, this is the kind of forest you encounter which is very typical of Western Ghats. The forest was green beyond imagination, drenched in fresh rain and full of misty views. 

KGudi Jungle Lodges, Monsoons in BR Hills
Look who's behind the bushes! My first Tiger sighting in the wild, it was as exciting as I had always imagined. The sighting lasted less than 5 seconds but we could hear the pair moving around us and grunting loudly for more than 10 minutes. It is extremely difficult to sight tigers in the monsoons and even more difficult to sight them in BR Hills with its dense forest. But I guess, my time had finally come to witness the magnificence of this creature.

KGudi Jungle Lodges, Monsoons in BR Hills
All the ponds inside the forest was full and brimming. We saw Stripe Necked Mongoose next to one pond, several deers and sambars next to others. It was so nice to see the forest lush and thriving! 

KGudi Jungle Lodges, Monsoons in BR Hills
We went on a total of 4 safaris - in the morning and in the evening. We saw many birds, Indian Gaur, Wild Boars, Barking Deers, Serpent Eagles, Jungle Owlet, Wild Mynas and many more birds whose names I do not know. For such a dense forest, it was surprisingly easy to spot wildlife. Loved all the safaris. 

KGudi Jungle Lodges, Monsoons in BR Hills
Stunning view of the dense, layered and forest-covered mountain slopes from the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple. Dark clouds moved swiftly across the sky pouring down like crazy one moment and disappearing the next. Being in the Western Ghats in monsoons is an unparalleled experience!

KGudi Jungle Lodges, Monsoons in BR Hills
A Crested Serpent Eagle gracefully sitting on top of a dried up tree. It sat there quietly as we drove towards it. It was very curious and from what I could make out of its head movements, it was checking us out too! 

KGudi Jungle Lodges, Monsoons in BR Hills
A nightjar, which apparently is quite rare to see in the daytime this being a nocturnal bird, stopped us in our tracks as you can see. This particular safari was even more enjoyable as we were in company of avid birders and a knowledgeable Naturalist. 

KGudi Jungle Lodges, Monsoons in BR Hills
A Barking Deer wondering when is the right time to run away into the bushes to escape the incessant clicking noises! Shortly after we, the photographers, started clicking, it ran back into the dense forest.

Where to Stay? - KGudi Jungle Lodges at BR Hills

This camp is one of the very few resorts in India which is located inside a wildlife sanctuary and offers a truly wild experience. Since it is located inside the forest, there is no power supply. Generator is used for electricity needs through the day only for few hours and it is shut down strictly by 10PM leaving the camp in absolute darkness. There are no fences to keep the wildlife out and wild animals freely walk into camp after dark and many times during the day as well. There are 8 well appointed tented cottages and 3 wonderful log huts(stayed in one of these). The camp overlooks densely forested hills and is surrounded by tall trees that sway like mad on windy days. There is absolutely no noise pollution apart from the sound of screeching insects and wild winds.

Location - 86km from Mysore and 225km from Bangalore
Reservations and Details here - http://www.junglelodges.com/k.gudi-wilderness-camp

KGudi, BR Hills, Karnataka
KGudi, BR Hills, Karnataka
The comfortable Log Hut we stayed at. (Left) The interiors of the Log Hut - 3 beds, attached Bathroom, and a beautiful balcony to see the mist rolling on the hills opposite to the hut. (Right)

So this was my first monsoon foray in this season and I couldn't have asked for a better start!
Where have you escaped/planning to escape this monsoon? Let me know in the comments.

{P.S - I was about to leave to BR Hills with just an Ultra Wide Angle but in the last minute I rented an 18-200mm Canon Lens from Tapprs - my gear partner, just in case I saw a tiger! Highly unlikely scenario but so glad I borrowed it. :)}

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16 comments

  1. Nice report and feelings of the monsoon green all over !

    The first bird is Changeable Hawk Eagle and not the crested serpent eagle :)

    ~ SK.

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  2. The best thing about your blog are the pictures. The best thing about your pictures is that they are simple and serene. The kind that anyone could understand and relate to.

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  3. brilliant article and amazing pictures! I should definitely plan a trip here soon :)

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  4. The lush greenery looks so beautiful. BR Hills is very much a less explored stunner. Gorgeous captures! Congratulations on your first tiger sighting.

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  5. HOW COOL!!! I would love to see a tiger in the wild!

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  6. Your pics as always are very beautiful and the write up goes well with it

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  7. We had been to BR hills sometime in June Neelima. There was a crazy thunderstorm in the night with continuous lightning flashes and heavy thunder. I could see the trees shaking violently through the partial glass wall in the resort where we stayed and was scared to bits :( I did not know that forest rains always feel that way.
    But the next morning was so beautiful!!
    We stayed at Gorkhana and that place was great too.

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  8. Beautiful photographs… the place looks absolutely magical.

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  9. Neelima, green colour in all your photos is sending adrenalin rush. Peeping tiger through lush greenery is indeed rare sight in monsoon. All the animals and birds are posing very beautifully in the green background.
    Loved all the photos!

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  10. Beautiful! What I love about being in the forest is that they have a different character at different times of the year. Spotting tigers is just an added bonus :)

    - Charu

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  11. Hi Neelima, wonderful report. That must have been a very rewarding trip. The wildlife sanctuaries of Karnataka are very close to my heart. I have been visiting them very summer for the last three years and this year we moved on to Periyar (that is definitely not a place for monsoon visits). I have never seen a tiger in the three yearsI have been there, so i kind of have an idea of how ecstatic you would have been on spotting one.:) and thank you so much for the jungle lodge information. I know where to go next year ;)

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  12. Woow, thats an awesome piece and congratulations for your first Tiger sighting!!!

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  13. Hi , I am not able to see the pics except the first one :( .Nice description though.

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