Another post on one of the forests of Karnataka. This time its Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary at Lakkavalli near Shimoga. We spent 3 days there in September of 2010. This sanctuary is a Tiger Reserve and the forest is very dense.
We started early in the morning around 6.30 AM. The traffic was heavy due to it being the start of a long weekend. It was a struggle to get some breakfast at the crowded Kamat Upahar near Dobbaspet on Tumkur Road. It took us almost 5 hours to drive down to Lakkavalli. We had booked a cottage at River Tern Lodge, a Jungle Lodges resort. Lakkavalli is the place where a dam has been built across the Bhadra river. The last stretch of the drive gave us a glimpse of the river and it looked so serene.
River Tern Lodge
This beautiful property is spread across the main land and an island in the Bhadra reservoir. There is a wooden bridge connecting the island to the main land. We were put up in one of the newer cottages on the island which had a fantastic view of the dam and the reservoir. The cottage was also very good. Jungle Lodges has never disappointed us! The whole area was lush green as it was the end of monsoon. This also meant that the reservoir was brimming with water!
The resort itself had some interesting flora and fauna. Butterflies of various varieties could be seen all over. I’ll let the pictures do the further talking.
When we went for lunch on the first day we were informed that the sanctuary was closed due to pathways being unfit for even the safari jeeps to go due to the recent heavy rains. It was disappointing. Only boat safaris would be possible. The other option was to go to the Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger safari.
We went on the boat safari on both evenings that we were there as well as the morning on the day we left. The first evening was drab with respect to sightings. The only sightings were of Little Cormorants, Brahminy Kite, Indian Peafowl and White-throated Kingfisher. We spent time enjoying the serene vistas instead. The forest was lush green and a solitary male Chital added the attraction to the frame.
The second safari was a tad better as we spotted the majestic Osprey, a group of Ashy Woodswallows huddled together on a bare branched tree and a herd of Chital sauntering on the banks of the river in addition to what we had sighted in the previous safari. The morning safari did not change the situation much. The above usual suspects were joined by White-browed Wagtail, Greater Coucals and Spot-billed Ducks.
Tyavarekoppa Tiger and Lion Safari
Since the sanctuary was closed for jeep safari we opted to go to Tyavarekoppa which is similar to Bannerghatta National Park in Bangalore. We were taken on a bus to watch the Tigers and Lions. It was intimidating to watch the tiger moving around marking its territory.
Apart from the cats we saw a few varieties of deer, geese and crocodiles in enclosures. A huge group of guys were pestering the crocodiles to no end and pelting stones at them which made us feel very bad. What a pity that these animals have to bear such a nuisance!
On the way back to Bangalore we took a small deviation off the highway after Tarikere to head to the village of Amruthapura. We had heard about the Amruteshvara temple that was built in the twelfth century by the Hoysalas in this village. This is not such a well known temple as compared to Belur or Halebidu. But the grandeur of the temple is no less. We were impressed with the marvels of architecture here. We took a guide and went around the temple. This was helpful as we could understand the sculptures from epics on the walls.