Which Way Challenge

Sonofabeach is the new host of Which Way Challenge. I decided to show his new venture some support so here I am with my very first entry to the Which Way Challenge.

On my recent trip to Masinagudi, I clicked some photographs of the national highway.

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The red and silver bus you see is called KSRTC – Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation. There are different classes of buses. Red and Silver is ordinary bus, also known as Karnataka Sarige. The hard blue seats are sometimes a pain in the ass. Two decades ago, these were the only buses available. I remember travelling on such buses to my maternal grandmother’s place. Now, KSRTC offers many choices – Airavat is a luxury-class bus while RajaHamsa is semi-deluxe. And in small towns, Karnataka Sarige is the only choice. Enough talk about buses. Let’s move on to the next photo.

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A creepy-looking banyan tree somewhere on the Ooty-Bangalore highway.

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Masinagudi Diary: Day 3 – Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

After an exciting Day #2 – Bird watching, trekking, and back-breaking off-roadie trip, we decided to laze around in the resort the next morning. Being an early riser, I roamed around in the resort, watching the shepherds take their sheep to the forest to graze. There were a lot of birds around so I decided to watch them – bulbuls, long-tailed shrikes, mynas, sunbirds and tiny green birds that looked like baby parrots.

 

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long-tailed shrike

Spoilers: Do not go by the title, there are no photographs of tigers in this post!

We decided to take the Mudumalai National Safari in the evening. As the name suggests, it is a tiger reserve. However, we did not keep hopes on sighting a tiger! The safari jeeps and vans take you on a dedicated pathway – it is always the same route. So, animals do not stray into these pathways. The park officials have made salt pits all along so that travelers can catch a glimpse of the animals but somehow the animals are smarter than we thought them to be!

I do not understand the concept of salt pits. All around the forests, they mix salt in mud – to attract animals. Animals need sodium so they come to the salt pits – I do not know if this is true. How do the animals in the deep jungle survive without salt intake? There are places in the world that are yet to be discovered – especially the scary jungles where no man wants to venture. How do the animals get their sodium intake in these places? Do discuss this in the comment section if you have any idea.

 

Anyways, let me not stray from the topic. We had to wait for more than an hour at the ticket counter in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve – there were hardly any safari-takers!

The only good part of this safari was the waterfalls.

Remember I told you about Mayar Dam in one of my previous posts? Well, this one is the Mayar waterfalls. I believe that Mayar flows through most of the parts of Mudumalai – we saw the hydro-electric project at Singhara (the off-roadie route).

Our safari van stopped in the middle of the jungle for a 5-minute break. We got down to see the waterfalls. So, possibly, there are no tigers in this area.

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There are no railings either. If you slip, may God help you!

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After seeing a couple of deer herds and a lonely (and probably, rouge) elephant, we saw this :

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A Dancing Peacock

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And as usual, the Peahen was hardly interested!

 

This guy was in a hurry.

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But this one was quite a poser!

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Masinagudi Diary: An Off-Roadie trip

After a long and refreshing trekking in the morning, we left our resort at 4 in the evening for what the locals call “An off-roadie trip.”

The idea is to take travelers deep into the wilderness of the jungle, for a one-of-a-kind experience. Mind you, it was one of a kind experience, sarcastically speaking! Our jeep got stuck in the slush (as the name suggests, there are no roads, you just go, in the slush, in the water, and on the fallen tree trunks) and we had to get down in the middle of nowhere! And, as I mentioned in my previous post, there is no safety – no gun. So if a wild animal attacks you, good luck!

As we were going towards the jungle, we saw a herd of elephants trying to cross the road.

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We were waiting around the corner – we wanted to see them cross the road when four hooligans came out of nowhere and started cat-calling and teasing the elephants. It is very dangerous – wild animals are not used to human presence. We did not want to be there, in case they attacked, so we moved ahead.

We saw a lot of coffee estates on the way. Deer and peacocks were roaming freely in and around the estates.

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We saw Singhara Power plant – a dam is built across the river – Moyar and hydroelectricity is generated.

This is what our off-road looked like.

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And we went deep into the dense jungle. There was an eerie silence everywhere

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A destroyed bamboo, courtesy – elephants.

 

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The power plant. Our jeep got stuck here so we had to get down. I thought of clicking photos – just to keep my mind diverted from the fact that we were stuck in the middle of a dense forest.

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Finally, after a series of ups and downs, and twists and tumbles and whatnot, we took a U-turn at this place.

 

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On our way back, we saw a huge herd of deer. There were around 400-500 of them.

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We saw those elephants that we had encountered on our way to the jungle. They still hadn’t crossed the road. But it was already dark and jungle can get pretty dangerous after sunset, so we did not wait to see the elephants cross the road.

Off-roadie was a mind-blowing trip. But it is definitely NOT recommended for those with a weak back. When we returned to our resort, I was covered in mud, leaves, berries and I am pretty sure there was an insect or two in my jacket at some point in the jungle!