With the grim intention of dabbling in our latest interest, we made a quick trip to Bandipur National Park. The following is the detailed procedure for getting to Bandipur from Begumpet:
- Have lunch. Acquire tennis elbow. This is vitally important.
- Arrange a powercut, so that the UPS at work conks off at 2:00 ish. This means you can slime out of work at 5:00. Contrive to get dropped off at Begumpet station.
- Miss the MMTS train to Kacheguda by a whisker. Instead, haul posterior in auto across the city.
- Catch the Kacheguda-Bangalore City Express. Have some tea and tiffin. Buy dinner. This is also vitally important. The food on this train is insipid. There are no decent eating options, as you cross the state. You will be foisted by the Rs. 30 railway biryani, circa 3500 B.C.
- Once in Bangalore, eat a paratha. One for the road.
- Breakfast proper is to be had at Kamat Lokaruchi on the Mysore highway. Idlis, dosai, puri, vada, coffee. [The trick to a perfect trip is to simply plan for the food. Everything else will fall into place miraculously as long as you plan the meals right.]
- En route, coconut water, and tender coconut. Mmm.
- Time arrival at Tiger Ranch so that lunch is just being served.
This 'ambience' also serves to attract several groups of young 'men' to the 'resort'. They apparently arrive in droves, drink, eat, drink, sit around the 'camp' fire, drink, dance, drink, eat, drink, hoot, drink and pass the rest of the night exchanging 'pleasantries' at the tops of their voices from one end of the 'resort' to the other. Definitely give Tiger Ranch 'resort' a miss...
Everything else, was fantastic. We drove up and down the Bandipur-Masinagudi road, saw elephants, gaur, boar, monkeys, deer (in the zillions) and so on. The full 'photo essay' is here. Perhaps the biggest paisa vasool of the trip was catching sight of a trio of striped stripe-necked mongeese, slurping at a pool of water; and a Malabar giant squirrel fighting the Monday morning blues on a treetop. No, we did not see any tigers, leopards, bears or lions.
But it was the birds that were perhaps most gratifying. And Ludwig really loves the hoopoe. What a flighty, unlikely little thingummy! A questionable name in English (PJ: Hoo? Edgar Allan?), and in Latin (upupa epops! upupa epops it seems!!). We would gladly trade all the pigeons of Begumpet for one of these delights in our neighbourhood ficus religiosa or azadirachta indica. We also saw parakeets (plum headed), pigeons (yellow footed), bee eaters (green), nuthatches (chestnut bellied), ibises (black headed, and black), stork (painted), eagle (serpent), jungle fowl (grey), cocks (pea) and so on... We thumbed our trusty Inskipp (1) and derived much joy and Maxwell's equations.
During this entire process, we did not once forget about food. Unbelievable, but true. We carefully planned all meals, that's all there is to it, really. One lunch and one breakfast were devoured at the Jungle Lodges' restaurant Pugmarks, an optimally planned pitstop at Kamat's on the return trip was made, and we got home just in time for sunset, filter coffee and Sunday papers.
1. "'...trusty Inskipp...', said Ludw., who'd only started birding the day before yesterday" Reminds us of a small rhyme from The Undertakers
In August was the Jackal born;
The Rains fell in September;
"Now such a fearful flood as this,"
Says he, "I can't remember!"