That pretty much sums up this not-so-popular, but nevertheless a decent, worth-exploring weekend destination near Bangalore. An odd 160 kms drive, with cleanly paved roads all the way, and the GPS to guide you ( Kanakapura Road ); the view starts changing after crossing Kollegal town. You realize you’re in the jungle, whence the silence engulfs you, and so does the greenery around. The drive inside was quite full of bird sightings for us, what with their calls acting as music to our ears ! For a change, the music inside the car must be put to rest here.
Where To Stay: We stayed at a friend’s research place near the temple ( wherein it poured the whole night, and we had a few bugs for company ! ). That place being out of bounds for tourists, I recommend the following.
You can stay inside the jungle ( recommended ), as well as near the temple.
- Inside the jungle, it is quite comfortable to stay in: http://www.junglelodges.com/kyathadevara-gudi-wilderness-camp/. It’s expensive though.
- Near the temple, I could research the following affordable properties:
- http://www.giridarshini.com/, also known as ‘http://www.champakaranya.com/ ‘
Both These properties are quite close to the temple, so you can choose either of them. No personal experience, but good reviews.
What To Do: Visit the temple of course, and enjoy the jungle safari. Safari jeeps have to be waited out for ( not as many as in Bandipur ), unless you choose to stay in the Jungle Lodges property above ( They have their own safari vehicle; no ticket queues ). Sightings, of course, depend on your luck. We did not do the safari coz all of the jeeps were full, but concentrated on clicking birds and other smaller organisms nearby ( macro photography to be precise ! ).
On your way to BR Hills, you have diversions to the more famous ShivanaSamudra waterfalls; both of them ( Gaganchukki and Bharachukki ). On your way to the Bharachukki falls, you can choose to stop at some of the quaint but beautiful temples that dot your path. I remember 2 of them for sure. The temples are worth it; their architecture has been maintained pretty well. Rest aside 2-3 hrs extra in your drive if you want to do all of the above, and probably more if you get lucky with a coracle ride at Bharachukki. It must be noted that Gaganchukki and Bharachukki are two separate waterfalls on the same river ( Cauvery ). If you’re coming in from Bangalore, you will divert for Gaganchukki first.
When To Go: I’d recommend the rainy season, or just after it. The jungle will be very beautiful, and waterfalls will be in full force. However, you may not be able to see much during the safari because of the thick vegetation. Winters should be good for sightings, and summers all the more.
Lastly, some more of my clicks to enchant you !