Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ganeshgudi - The Bird Watcher's Paradise

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Wishing all the readers a Very Happy New Year 2015.

Ganeshgudi , the name itself brings excitement in the heart of birder's. For normal people, Ganeshgudi is just a temple. But, for bird photographers Ganeshgudi is a temple of birds.

A scenic destination blessed with breath taking natural beauty, Ganeshgudi is located in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka and lies in lush green forest ranges of the Western Ghats on the banks of River Kali. It is blessed with rich flora and fauna and is well known for its adventure sports and eco-tourism.

It is a perfect place to admire the natural beauty and panoramic views of the destination. Ganeshgudi is amidst mesmerizing sceneries and serene spots. Sri Mallikarjuna Temple, Dandelappa Temple, Anshi National Park, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Supa Dam and Kulgi Nature Camp are the famous tourist destinations of this region. An exciting tour to Ganeshgudi assures a rewarding and memorable experience for all wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers and bird lovers. 

Our Journey : 

During last November, we decided to go to Ganeshgudi. Eventually, Mr. Vishwanath booked the accommodation at Old Magazine House, which is fondly called as OMH.

We started our journey from Shimoga on 28th Nov, 2014.

The team :

L to R : Dr Parameshwar , Mr. Vishwanath , Mr. Satish , myself :)

Enroute, we stopped at a place near Davangere which is famous for "Mandakki". This is a local delicacy which is very famous through out the state. 

We reached Ganeshgudi by lunch time and headed towards Old Magazine House for lunch. We could see that many photographers with their bazookas had already occupied most of the places.

"Seeing the huge number of photographers, I feel a day would soon come where a photographer has to reserve his place by paying extra money to photograph birds at OMH " :)

Old Magazine House :

A name that is chanted by most of the bird photographers / nature lovers very often is Old Magazine House.

The Old Magazine House Forest Camp, a Unit Of Jungle Lodges And Resorts Ltd is located at Ganeshgudi, 25km from Dandeli on Londa to Dandeli Road. This is the main base for rafting guests. You will meet the rafting crew here. The camp is situated  in a very thick pocket of evergreen forest and offers a thrilling jungle experience. The Old Magazine House is approximately 1,800 feet above sea level and blessed with an excellent climate round the year.

This resort is famous for Nature lovers and Bird watchers. 

Even trekking along the beaten path through the jungles is quite enjoyable.

Here, food of various types are available for the tourists to cherish and enjoy their time with friends and family members.

On return to the Old Magazine Resort Dandeli after a day full of enjoyable activities, the comforts are very inviting.

People are enthralled by the prospect of staying in the resorts which are quite exotic and comfortable.

The adventurous adults can take a trip to the river Kali where kayaking, canoeing, and river rafting can be done.

There are many cottages like Log huts as well as a dormitory.

Twin huts

You can choose to stay in the rustic "ethnic huts", built in the local style and elevated with split level interiors, or in the "dormitory" which is ideal for the budget traveler. 

The camp has a simple rooftop restaurant where you can enjoy the excellent food on offer whilst gazing at a great night sky. Take a trek on the "sunset trail" for breathtaking views of the Supa lake to the west. Alternatively you can just laze under a tree.

If not, just watch the beautiful endemic birds that fly around the camp and forget yourself in the midst of Nature.

 Trees shot with a different perspective 

Flora and Fauna

The camp is surrounded by some of the finest moist deciduous forests. These forests support a fine assortment of wildlife. Though sighting of large mammals is infrequent, the occasional Sambar, Wild Dog, Malabar Giant Squirrel, and the Flying Squirrel are seen. However, the lack of mammal sighting is more than compensated by the plethora of birds that are seen here. Even while being in the camp one can see endemics like the Malabar Grey Hornbill and the Malabar Pied Hornbill let alone the flycatchers, orioles, babblers and the Shama. Besides these, the Flying Lizard or the Draco is also frequently seen in these forests. For those interested in lesser fauna, there is plenty of interesting things around to see and learn.

Bird photography in and around OMH

Dark fronted Babbler and Brown cheeked Fulvetta

Yellow browed Bulbul

Blyth's reed warbler

Blyth's reed warbler


 Indian Yellow Tit

 White bellied blue flycatcher

  White bellied blue flycatcher

  White bellied blue flycatcher

 Dark fronted Babbler

 Flame throated bulbul

  Flame throated bulbul

 Rusty tailed flycatcher

 Grey Wagtail
 Brown cheeked fulvetta

  Brown cheeked fulvetta

 Orange headed ground thrush

  Brown cheeked fulvetta

 White bellied blue flycatcher - female

Brown cheeked fulvetta and Oriental White eye

 Magpie robin
 Black Naped Monarch 

 Asian Paradise flycatcher

 Grey fronted green pigeon

 Puff throated Babbler

 Orange minivet

  Orange minivet

 White rumped Shama

  White rumped Shama

  White rumped Shama

White rumped Shama

 Little spider-hunter

  Little spider-hunter

 White bellied blue flycatcher female

 Tickell's blue flycatcher

 Blue capped rock thrush

 Malabar trogon

  Malabar trogon

 Oriental white eye and brown cheeked fulvetta

 Oriental white eye

Yellow browed bulbul

Photographers in action :)

The hornbill trio : 

1.  Malabar Grey hornbill :

The Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) is a hornbill endemic to the Western Ghats and associated hills of southern India. They have a large beak but lack the casque that is prominent in some other hornbill species. 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.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Bucerotiformes
Family: Bucerotidae
Genus: Ocyceros
Species: O. griseus
Binomial name
Ocyceros griseus

2. Malabar Pied Hornbill

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

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

3. Great Indian Hornbill

The great hornbill (Buceros bicornis) also known as the great Indian hornbill or great pied hornbill, is one of the larger members of the hornbill family. It is found in South and Southeast Asia. Its impressive size and colour have made it important in many tribal cultures and rituals. The great hornbill is long-lived, living for nearly 50 years in captivity. It is predominantly frugivorous, but is an opportunist and will prey on small mammals, reptiles and birds.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Bucerotiformes
Family: Bucerotidae
Subfamily: Bucerotinae
Genus: Buceros
Species: B. bicornis
Binomial name
Buceros bicornis

Landscapes :

After spending close to 2 days in Ganeshgudi, we returned to Shimoga on 30th November, 2014

All these below images were shot near Shimoga while returning.

 Green Bee Eater during sunset

 Children's play



This marked the end of our lovely trip to the Abode of Birds. 

Equipments used :

Nikon D7100
Nikon 80-400mm VR-II
Nikon 300mm F/4
Nikon 18-105mm VR
Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8

Important information :

1. Activities :

White-water rafting ( not included in the package) 
Coracle ride 

2. Distance :

Bangalore - 500Km 
Dandeli - 25Km 
Hubli - 95Km 
Belgaum - 72Km 
Goa - 115Km 

3. Tariff

                        Foreigner       Indian
Ethnic Cottage 4,000.00       2,000.00
Dormitory 2,500.00      1,300.00

* Tariffs are per person per night on twin-sharing basis.
* Transfers to & from resorts are not included in the tariff.
* Tariff for children between 5 & 12 years is 50% of the tariff.
* Camping, Jungle/Boat safari at extra cost.
* Tariff may be changed without prior notice.
* Peak season supplement applicable. 

Tariff Includes

Stay, Lunch, Dinner & Breakfast, Evening snacks , Guided Trekking, Forest Entry Fees, & Taxes. 

Contact no : 083832 - 56301

4. Route : 

Bangalore - Davangere - Ranibennur - Hubli - Dandeli - Ganeshgudi

5. For more info about Dandeli and Kulgi Nature camp, see the following link :

Dandeli Anshi tiger reserve _

Thank you and a Happy Birding :)


  1. You are just getting better and better :) Very well narrated :)
    Keep going.
    BTW, Farm and Sunset are now my favorite and the later one is my desktop background ;-)

  2. Not sure if I shud b saying u have simplied the bird watching process by just sitting in front of our laptops or u have amplified the process by making it more fun and joyfull by watching these pictures than going there!! :) simply superb!! :)

  3. Arjun,
    First of all a big THANK YOU for sending me this notice.
    It was/is a sheer delight to view your work.
    We, my most beloved Bernardete and this your servant, always, ALWAYS, knew that someday you will/would amount to something substantial.
    You are not yet there; but, you will get there ... very very soon.
    We love you terribly much,
    Bernardete & Mario.
    P.S. Please give our love to your most holy and blessed parents.
    Have you ever considered to go to New Delhi to view the Lotus Baha-i Temple? Do go there someday. Enter into that House of GOD ... you will come out a totally different being.

  4. Nice Work, Arjun! Beautiful pictures:)

  5. Great Work...Pictures tell your dedication and effort!

  6. Visual Retreat to eyes indeed !

  7. Arjun, a fantastic blog on OMH, but after seeing crowded lens men, it is OMG ! A neatly written and and amazingly photographed images, a feast for everyone. The write up is informative and when comes to end, i feel it ended? but by then, i would have got lot of info, more than required. and images are are so beautifully captured. It shows,it is written with your heart into it, and the feeling you create, makes every reader to visit that place . I wish you all the best and pray god to give you more energy and money, to visit all the amazing places in the world and show to the people the beauty of nature through your " THIRD EYE'.
    zindagi do bara na milega !!

  8. Excellent pictures & very detailed travel log Arjun!!
    Your way of sharing the information is improving blog by blog!!
    All the best, Keep it up & let more blogs keep coming!!!

  9. Fantastic write up and images..spellbound.!

  10. This was lovely.. great coverage and pictures.. just back from Ganeshgudi so can totally relate and relived the experience

  11. Extraordinary work and brilliant pictures
    -A.Keshav Bharadwaj

  12. Could you share where did u sight the GIH.Thanks

  13. Great and fantastic pictures. well done

  14. Lovely blog arjun:)
    nice and neat write up with beautiful pictures to support the good work..
    very informative and i totally enjoyed it..

  15. Actually, viewed your blog before visiting Old Magazine House recently. Your description actually made me aware of what I can expect there. I don't have to say much about bird watching in Ganeshgudi, it's just supreme, but what stood apart was the service orientation of the resort. One of my best overall experiences so far.

  16. Ideally more the focal length would be better at Ganeshgudi. So would suggest 500 + 1.4x :)
    But 100-400 is also manageable


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