Technically one may argue that Masinagudi is not really a part of Karnataka as it has a zip code that belongs to the “Nilgris”, a part of Tamil Nadu. Since we travelled to this amazing piece of heaven from Mysore this entry will be a part of my Karnataka diaries. Masinagudi is situated between two prominent wild life sanctuaries – the Bandipur national park known for its tiger reserves and the Mudumalai sanctuary known for its elephant camps. So if you are a lover of wild life this would be an ideal location to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature as God intended.
Masinagudi happened as we were looking for things to do around Mysore. We googled it and decided to visit this quiet and sleepy town and take advantage of nature at her best. We travelled to Mysore and took a 2.5 hour cab ride to Masinagudi. Our driver a native of Ooty entertained us with his tid bits of the place and was extremely patient with me and my camera. We headed to the Bear Mountain resort which was recommended to us and since we were not sure where to stay we took the advice and I should say we were not disappointed. The place gets its name owing to the combination of the Nilgris (blue mountains) and the area’s population of sloth bears that never really make an appearance due to their shy nature.
The scenic drive to Bear Mountain took us through the Bandipur and Mudumalai sanctuaries and the surrounding forests once popular as the haunt of sandalwood smuggler Veerapan. I couldn’t contain my excitement when we spotted langur monkeys, elephants and spotted deers on the way..they all roamed freely as nature intended them to and watched us as we were making way to camp in their homes. At the end of the drive and constant chatter about spotting tigers and panthers we arrived at the Bear Mountain resort which welcomed us with its panoramic view of the Nilgris shrouded in clouds and its amazing variety of flora.
We were treated to an amazing lunch buffet made by the resident Nepali cook who was a bigger chef than the ones on television! The taste was amazing and no foodie in his right frame of mind would think twice before a second helping! This holds true for their dinner and breakfast buffets. The rooms were ordinary but the view and the service more than made up for the same. It was raining on the day we arrived not allowing us to take full advantage of the place but we managed to walk around the resort which had a visiting spotted deer entourage that sprinted away when we got about 50 feet away. We made it all the way to the local “Bokkapuram Mariammam Kovil”. Per the locals the residential amman deity of this temple is supposed to be very powerful and she full fills ones hearts desires
The next day we set out trekking and went up to the small waterfalls at the mouth of the mountains. But our sense of adventure was challenged when we spotted fresh tiger pug marks and reports of tiger growls in the forest. We cut short our trek and got back to the resort passing bear marks and a brief chat with a local tribes-man who not scared of tigers or bears!
It was disheartening to note that fellow visitors do not know how to respect our natural reservoirs as indicated by empty water bottles and bags that littered certain areas. Such things can be a threat to the natural fauna and flora. When will our people ever learn?? Sigh 😦
Following a yummylicious lunch we headed out to Mudumalai and brought tickets to the government organized jungle safari. We were excited to spot a bear cub that I screamed in delight and the bear being shy immediately turned around to show it’s back to us spoiling my wild life photographer moment! I tried to be quiet for the rest of the trip containing my excitement as we spotted peacocks, bison, more deer, more langurs, mongoose and more elephants. We never did spot a tiger though there was a report of the sighting and the forest officer was out to inspect the spot. The safari was followed by a stop at the elephant feeding camp where we watched in awe as the huge tuskers were being fed their dinner which was a combination of rice, coconut and jaggary. The adults consume about 8Kgs of rice and the little eleies consume about 4 kgs of rice..
Back at the resort we spent the evening in front of a cozy bon-fire and retired for the night post a scrumptious dinner (of course 🙂 )
The following morning saw us leave Masinagudi with good memories and a sad heart. We hope to make it again some day to spend some time with Mother Nature the way she likes it.