I stopped the car and got out, to gaze at the wonderful dam at Lakkavalli, a small village by the Bhadra reservoir. The expansive dam is spectacularly beautiful. The last stretch to River Tern lodge was on dusty village roads with the reservoir offering spectacular vistas. Situated in Chikmagalur district, Bhadra wild life sanctuary with a plethora of fauna and flora, is located adjacent to the reservoir. River tern lodge run by Jungle Lodges and resorts has all their cottages facing the beautiful waterbody. I was almost flabbergasted by the magnificent vistas from the balconies. It is quite easy to get lost amidst your lazy thoughts as you gaze at the serene waters of the reservoir. The clear blue sky, the placid waters and the tiny islands strewn across the reservoir made for a beautiful landscape.
|First glimpse of Bhadra reservoir|
|View from the balcony|
The boat rocked in the wind and moved towards the thickly vegetated reserve area of Bhadra on the other bank. There were numerous stumps jutting out of the waters and we carefully manoeuvred past them. The stumps reminded me of Periyar reservoir, where they are seen all over. There were many birds, mostly cormorants, which were perched high on those tall stumps. The shores have big open areas near the waters and this helps in spotting animals that come down for a drink from the deep jungle. Our boatman mentioned that they had spotted a jaguar on the same shore, previous day. Now that sounded interesting, and out came all the lenses and binoculars. After a long ride close to the shore, we did sight a herd of wild boars make its way back from the banks into the dense forest. Without much further luck, we decided to move ahead in search of more vistas and wildlife.
The vastness of the forest and the expansiveness of the reservoir definitely makes a beautiful landscape as the sun sets over the islands. The boat waved its way on the gleaming waters as the sun turned the sky into a beautiful orange hue. That definitely was the most picturesque moment during my stay at Bhadra. The boat went past the cottages, which can be seen protruding from the cliffs, and shortly, we were back on the shore without any more wild sightings. River tern lodge plays wild life videos in the evenings in the dining area, and the film on Dholes (wild dogs) was an insight into their wild world. We were about to begin the film when a group of youngsters walked in all excited. They had just returned from their boat ride and had spotted a jaguar by the bank. Now, how did I miss that? The irony was, nobody on that boat carried a camera to capture it. But, as the saying goes, the best images are never captured on a camera.
The first thing that I did next day early morning was to stand on the balcony and stare at the lovely reservoir and the islands. Covered in a hazy misty blue, it definitely was one of the most stunning vistas I had ever woken up to. The day began with a wildlife safari into the Bhadra wildlife sanctuary, which also is a tiger reserve. Supposedly, the reserve is also a great place for birding. The jeep made its way into the forest along the mud trail and not before long, we were on a vast open grassland. It did look gorgeous as the morning rays spread itself on the low lying grasses giving it a golden tinge. I could see the thick forests far away and the jeep trails that went till it's edge. A small herd of wild boars was seen making its way amidst those grasses. A herd of deer was crossing our mud trail ahead of us, and one or two did pop up their head on hearing the sound of the engine. A while later we took a different direction on the trail and spotted a lonely peacock loitering around in the open grassland. We sighted more boars and deer as we made our way into thick vegetation. The drive through the mud trail inside the reserve was quite an engaging one as we spotted numerous birds like parakeets, egrets, kingfishers, owls and many more. Further ahead a couple of malabar giant squirrels we seen nibbling on tree tops. A lone sambhar deer was grazing by the side as we went deeper into the forest. Suddenly our driver stopped the vehicle to point at a barking deer which was hiding behind a few bushes. It was gladdening that I could spot three types of deer on a single safari.
|A herd of wild boars|
|A Malabar giant squirrel|
Before leaving Bhadra, we made sure to walk down the bridle path from the lodge that goes all the way to the pebbled banks. Though the sun was right above us, it felt nice to trod on those stones enjoying the wonderful vistas as the waves gently lashed on to the shore. A stroll in the evening would definitely be a surreal experience. Bhadra wildlife sanctuary is well known for its wildlife sighting and birding, and is definitely recommended for all wildlife enthusiasts. River tern lodge with its magnificent vistas is ideally the best place to stay when in Bhadra. The resort also offers a few water sport activities for its visitors.
Signing Note- A beautiful blend of nature and wilderness soaked in serenity...!!
Route- Bangalore- Tumkur- Tiptur- Arsikere- Kadur- Tarikere (take left after tarikere)- Lakkavalli- Bhadra wildlife sanctuary
Distance- 280 Kms