Monday, December 23, 2013

A rendezvous with Tranquility - Dandeli Anshi Tiger Reserve

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Who does'nt know about Dandeli ???

I'm sure most people (Nature Lovers / Wildlife enthusiasts) residing in India know about this Magical place. It is a dreamland which has many magical wonders in it. There are many exciting things that happen here daily.

Brief intro about Dandeli :

Dandeli is a town in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka in the Western Ghats region in North Karnataka, India.

Dandeli is surrounded by natural, historic, and religious landmarks: the River Kali, the caves of Kavla, the Syntheri rocks, the Ulavi temple, Sykes point and the Supa hydroelectric dam. Karnataka's power corporation is situated in Ambikanagar (18 km from Dandeli), where electricity is generated through hydro-power. Nagajhari power house is also there.

Our trip :

Dandeli was at the back of my mind from a very long time. I always use to cherish the images shot at Dandeli by many of the photographers. This place offers the unexpected. Some times from a Black Panther to the Elusive Malabar Trogon. But never the less , the green forests are more than enough for a Nature Lover like me.

I would like to thank my good friend and a great blogger Mr. Santosh BS , for helping me to plan out this trip.

The long weekend from Nov 1 - 4 was the time when we went to Dandeli. I had made booking at the Kulgi Nature camp for accommodation before hand.

The team (R to L):
Mr. Satish
Mr. Chandrashekhar

This time, my sister too jumped in along with us to enjoy the wilderness. With the complete gang of photographers, she had no choice but to turn out being a photographer herself :)

November 1st :

We left Bangalore at 3.30 AM in Chandru uncle's car. Reached Kulgi by around 12.00 Noon.

Route : Bangalore - Tumkur - Shira - Chitra durga - Davangere - Rani Bennur - Haveri - Hubli - Dharwad - Dandeli - Kulgi

Initially, we went to the Timber Depot forest office to get the confirmation of the accomodation we had booked for. Here was the first sighting of the Malabar pied hornbill.

There were 2 tents that were booked for us : Munt Jack and Fanther :) (This is their spelling for Panther)
After the delicious food, we roamed around the Kulgi camp in search of Macro subjects.
At 4.00 PM, we went for a short trek at the Nature trail which is close to the Kulgi Nature camp. This was almost a 2 km trek, which goes inside the forest.

Ambika and Chandru uncle walking along the Nature Trail

One can see lot of Giant Wood Spiders along this trail. 

The golden silk orb-weavers (genus Nephila) are a genus of araneomorph spiders noted for the impressive webs they weave. Nephila consists of numerous individual species found around the world. They are also commonly called golden orb-weavers, giant wood spiders, or banana spiders. In North America, the golden silk orb-weavers (see also Nephila clavipes) are sometimes referred to as writing spiders due to occasional zigzag patterns (stabilimenta) built into their webs, though these occur much more frequently in the webs of Argiope, such as the St Andrew's Cross spider.  

Satish uncle spotted this Web which was perfectly exposed to back light

A small watch tower is built inside the forest to help Bird Watchers and Photographers.

Birds sighted at the trail : 

Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Jungle Babbler
Malabar Grey Hornbill
Scarlet Minivet
Golden Flameback

Crested Serpent Eagle

Towards, the exit of the trail, we found a fresh scat of a carnivore. It was very moist which indicated that the presence of the animal was some where near.

Almost a 100 feet far, I could see the fur and a small patch of blood stain of Langur. This made my assumption more stronger.

We trekked along the road until we reached a small View point. 

We were told that the Hornbills would fly along this valley during the evenings. We waited there for a long time and unfortunately we could see none.

Wooly Necked Stork


Once the sun was down, we set back to the Nature camp to eat some hot Pakodas. On the way back, Sambar alarm calls were heard.

Did try a few attempts in Star Trails but in vain, as there was a lot of Light Pollution. Hence, went back and saw few documentary films.

Trust me, seeing a documentary film or a wildlife film in a Wildlife sanctuary or in a forest gives an amazing feel.

Our Tent at Night, which had a few Paranormal activities 

November 2nd :

Early morning, we wanted to try our luck with the Hornbills. Hence went towards the Timber Depot . Though we spotted quite a few numbers, but photographically not that great.

Malabar Pied Hornbill

The trio : Good , Bad and Ugly

The Malabar Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus) also known as lesser Pied Hornbill, is a hornbill. Hornbills are a family of tropical near-passerine birds found in the Old World.

The Malabar Pied Hornbill is a large hornbill, at 65 cm in length. It has mainly black plumage apart from its white belly, throat patch, tail sides and trailing edge to the wings. The bill is yellow with a large, mainly black casque. Females have white orbital skin which is not there in case of Males. Juveniles don't have the casque. It might be confused with the Oriental Pied Hornbill.

This species is omnivorous, taking fruits, small mammals, birds, small reptiles, insects etc. Prey is killed and swallowed whole. Figs form an important part of their diet and contribute to 60% of their diet from May to February, the non-breeding season and during breeding (March to April) up to 75% of the fruits delivered at the nest were figs. They also feed on other fruits including those of the Strychnos nux-vomica that are known to be toxic to many vertebrates

The Malabar Pied Hornbill is a common resident breeder in tropical and subtropical Asia from India east to Borneo. Its habitat is evergreen and moist deciduous forests, often near human settlements.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Bucerotidae
Genus: Anthracoceros
Species: A. coronatus
Binomial name

Anthracoceros coronatus

Later, we headed towards Ganeshgudi. This area is famous for its rich birdlife.


Kali river on the way to Supa Dam

Green Bee Eater

Greater Flameback - Female

The Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus ) also known as Greater Goldenback, Large Golden-backed Woodpecker or Malherbe's Golden-backed Woodpecker, is a woodpecker species. It occurs widely in the Indian subcontinent, eastwards to southern China, the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, western and central Java and northeast Borneo.

Ganeshgudi : 

A small sleepy hamlet on the other end of Dandeli town is Ganeshgudi. A very popular place among the Nature lovers and Photographers. One can see the Supa dam while going to this place. This place is also famous for Old Magazine House.

Old Magazine house is the preferred place of accommodation by most of the wildlife photographers, since it is a great place for bird photography.

We went to this place in search of some birds. But we had never expected the sighting of this most elusive bird. The Malabar Trogon.
We were at the gate of the OMH camp, when suddenly the guard called us on seeing our cameras. He said, that there was a Malabar Trogon which was playing in the water nearby. Once we went there, our joy knew no bounds on seeing this eternal beauty.

Scientific classification
Species:H. fasciatus

Binomial name
Harpactes fasciatus
The Malabar Trogon (Harpactes fasciatus) is a species of bird in the trogon family. It is found in the forests of Sri Lanka and peninsular India. In India it is mainly found in the Western Ghats, hill forests of central India and in parts of the Eastern Ghats. They are insectivorous and although they are not migratory, they may make seasonal movements in the hill regions.

In the evening, we came back to Kulgi and headed towards Ambikanagar to see Syke's point. This is the place where KPCL power station resides.

Jackal see on the way towards Ambikanagar 

While going back towards Kulgi Nature camp

The tree bark that looked like a Ghost face

Kulgi Nature camp 

The Nature camp consists of 10 tents , 6 Log huts and 1 Dormitory

November 3rd : 

This was the last day of our trip. We left the Nature camp early morning and headed towards Dandeli. We tried our luck once again at the Timber Depot in search of Hornbills. Though we could not get many, we got few which made our day.

Malabar Grey Hornbill

The Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) is a hornbill that is endemic to the Western Ghats and associated hills of southern India. They have a large beak but lack the casque that is prominent in other species of hornbills. They are found mainly in dense forest and around rubber, arecanut or coffee plantations.They move around in small groups, feeding on figs and other forest fruits. Their loud cackling and laughing call makes them familiar to people living in the region.

Chestnut Headed Bee Eaters

The Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti) a.k.a. Bay-headed Bee-eater is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It is a resident breeder in the Indian Subcontinent and adjoining regions, ranging from India east to Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

On the way back, we visited Yana.

Yana : 

Yana (Kannada: ಯಾಣ) is a village in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, India that is known for the unusual rock formations (Karst) or (Asteroid) in its vicinity. It is located in the Sahyadri mountain range of the Western Ghats, about 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Karwar port, 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Sirsi, and 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Kumta. The two unique rock outcrops near the village are a tourist attraction and a place for trekking, easily approachable by a small trek through 0.5 kilometres (0.31 mi) of thick forests from the nearest road head.

Yana is famous for these two massive rock outcrops known as the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and the Mohini Shikhara ("Shikhara" means "hill"). The huge rocks are composed of solid black, crystalline Karst limestone. Bhairaveshwara Shikhara is 120 metres (390 ft) in height, while the Mohini Shikhara, which is smaller, is 90 metres (300 ft) in height. Yana is also well known as a pilgrimage centre because of the cave temple below the Bhairaveshwara Shikhara where a Swayambhu ("self manifested", or "that which is created by its own accord") linga has been formed. Water drips from the roof over the linga, adding to the sanctity of the place.

Me and Ambika at Yana
Image courtesy : Satish uncle
We thought of going to Lushington (Unchalli) falls and Vibhuthi falls. But due to time constraints, we came back to Bangalore after seeing Yana.

While coming back, we came via,
Dandeli -- Yellapur -- Sirsi -- Siddapur -- Sagara -- Shimoga -- Tumkur -- Bangalore

Places to see around Dandeli 

  1. Dandelappa temple
  2. Kulgi Nature camp
  3. River Kali (white river rafting)
  4. Kavala caves
  5. Syntheri rocks
  6. Supa Dam
  7. Syke's Point

Thank you

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