Hurrah ! I know, I really took a long break from blogging
Anyways, here I’m to share my bunch of new experience in this post.
However as a part of wonderful feedback and suggestions from readers and friends I came to know that I elaborate a lot on travel and accommodation part in my posts, which I thought was crucial. But with the help of Google and other sources things are quite easy to find and thus I thought let me speak more about my experience rather than suggesting thinks !
In this post I’m going to talk about Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary, which is situated in Shivamogga(Shimoga) district of Karnataka. Shivamogga is around 280 Km from Bangalore and there are a lot of places to visit just within 50-100 Km of radius from the city.
Best season to visit these places is from September to January.
Time was around 16:30, we were waiting for the train in Bangalore city railway station. About a month ago we had reserved train tickets for round trip from Bangalore to Shivamogga, even then our return journey was under waiting list but thank God it was confirmed later. FYI these tickets were booked under MP quota , I’m stressing this in order to tell you how hectic it has become to travel in trains. One more thing, there may be hell lot of other modes of transport but nothing can beat train journeys.
Typically it takes 5 to 6 hours to reach Shivamogga from Bangalore in train and we reached around 22:00. A vehicle had been arranged prior and they picked us from Shivamogga railway station, now we directly headed to Shettihalli wildlife. It was around 35Km travel from city, as we reached city extensions there were no proper street lights and sometime later I noticed that there were no houses around, thick coat of dust on windows and only our vehicle was travelling in that way with high beam light. That’s when I realised we had entered the Jungle. We went on and on and after a long time we found a forest check post, and after a small chat with forest officials we moved to interior parts of the forest where accommodations were arranged. We had our dinner at around 23:30 and had a sound sleep under the nature’s camp. Below is the image where we stayed, I am not sure if it is available for public bookings, but with prior permission one can book this place for staying.
Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary
Early morning the guard took us on a trek to deep forest, main purpose of this trek was to visit a small water stream which ejected from ground and form a source of drinking water for nearby forest dwellers and irrigation purpose. No one exactly knows from where this stream originates but they believe there is a channel underneath through which water flows from other part of the forest. This forest guest house where I stayed had century old history behind it. Many eminent people had visited and stayed here, among them were Mysore dynasty Wodeyars and Poets and British officers, I was shocked to see they had maintained a guest check-in and check-out details dated from 1930’s. I was amazed when I found Rastrakavi Kuvempu’s note in that record. There is NO safari out here, it’s just a place to relax your mind and enjoy the interior forest.
Fire Camps are always awesome, especially when you have dry Eucalyptus leaves all over the ground around you !
Few temples that are nearby and have loads of history behind them as they were worshiped from tribal people previously and are popular now. I know folks ! no one wants to visit temples on an adventurous trip, but exploring things and local practices is always worth a shot trying.
Hanigere is a small village, where you can find Hindu Muslim harmony and unity. Both worship under same roof and you can have a look in the below picture.
Maleshankara is also a forest range nearby Shettihalli, it gets its name from this very old temple. One can enjoy the scenic beauty around the temple. Local people say once in few years there will be a fare organized here and people climb a small hill where another temple is situated.
We also visited Humcha, where beautiful Jain Basadi is present.
Sakrebylu Elephant Camp
This place is located on banks of River Tunga backwaters. It houses a number of elephants and they are trained by experienced Mahouts. Elephants from nearby forest area comes here to drench in water. This scene thrills and amazes you! I also found an Elephant still under training which was captured from Hosur-Anekal region which had entered villages for food and created havoc among people and was in recent news. Early morning is the best time to visit as you can enjoy elephants having snacks and some training stuff !
Tiger and Lion Safari, Tyavarekoppa
This place is very popular and located across a highway thus well connected. It’s a home for around 10 Tigers and Lions; there are other wild animals like cheetah, black leopard, fox, python, amazing collection of birds etc… Though I had visited this place twice before, this time it was thrilling as I encountered the big cats very closely and safari driver was also crazy by taunting the Tigers that came along the way. As I heard from the officials that all of these Big cats are born and brought up in this protected area, so they don’t know to hunt and if they are left in wild jungle they can’t survive! Shocking but true.
It at least takes 2 full days to visit all above mentioned places. I deliberately kept Jog Falls out of this post because it adds another day to visit that place. I will come up with another post which covers other part(most explored) of shivamogga. “I always want to highlight less explored parts of nature !”