Tusker Trails @Bandipur National Park – Weekend Gateway

While our visit to Kemmangundi last year, Sidd our 12 yr old had his first encounter with a tiger pugmark. That was the time when he would relate himself far from the urbanite beliefs to the new wild habitats…


We wanted to enhance this experience further thus started off to Bandipur with a recommendation for Tusker trails. . The entire booking was arranged by Indo Asia,Bangalore.

Bandipur is situated approximately 220-230 kms from Bangalore via Mysore (68 kms) so we could manage to reach the park by noon after a five hour drive. Off course on the way we endorsed Kamat’s Lokaruchi for a stop over too…



As we entered Tusker Trails, an exclusive wildlife resort owned by the Maharajkumari of Mysore and her husband Kunwar Gajendra Singh, situated at Village Mangala on a seven acre plot of land adjoining the Bandipur National Park fringes, the foot hills of the Western Ghats.


The Bandipur Sanctuary is 3,300 feet above sea level it’s one of the best sanctuaries for viewing and photographing wildlife and is part of the ‘Project Tiger’. The outstanding feature of the resort is the morning and evening jeep safaris into the wildlife sanctuary. Special attractions could be elephant rides, trekking into the forest with the help of local guides, bar-be-cue evenings etc.



As we moved in the resort it was a hot afternoon, the deciduous forest has started letting off the leaves and thus there was a bit dry feeling till we moved inside our cottage, the walkway was surfaced with stones and cemented, painted white along the borders and small earthen lamps were placed for guiding the guest in the night from the cottage to other resort facilities.




The first thing Sidd did was reading the notice board aloud; he understood that we all are visitors to the almighty of the jungle…the Indian Tiger.


The cottage was very clean build with a care that it was protected from all the insects with nets, beautiful curtains in the room with innovative use of glass tiles on the roof to pass the day light inside.



The courteous staff helped us settled down and informed that the lunch will be served at 1.30pm in the dinning area…


A beautiful painted wall caught our attention and is worth look… the cottage had Mangalorean tiled roof nicely arranged on the wooden planks / beams rested over some stones for supporting doors and windows…the small yet functional balcony opens at the back side with a direct view of the jungle …Felt the Royal touch with careful attention to details, it was few minutes that we started feeling comfortable enough.



The lunch served was good, adequate (unlimited buffet) with good taste and choice, the spread was limited but fulfilling. The water tasted little hard but was surely potable, the fried fish and the Daal served was excellent …




It was a weekend, at a far off destination, lot of peace thus the chemistry worked out for a suggestive power nap which was enjoyed in the cottage till 3.30pm for a cuppa coffee / tea and some biscuits…



Heard the Maruti Gypsy’s were getting ready for the evening safari…a small stroll in the campus introduced us to three baby elephants enjoying sugarcanes…some ‘tiger studded’ discussions with Kunwar sahib added a zeal …




Before the safari begins the operators have to take the vehicles to the Bandipur sanctuary reception and inform them about the ride, this may be required to keep track on the visitors and ensuring that the guide is accompanying them.


Most of the times you will find lot of enthusiast tourist there finding the options to opt for the safari organized by the forest department itself.



The jungle Safari begins exactly at 4.00pm when the forest dept opens the gates at the forest mud tracks to let the safari vehicles in, the overall experience of our safari was great and exciting enough. The safari vehicles are equipped with walky-talkies and the guides/drivers keep communicating with each other after spotting the animals in the specific area visited by them, this eases the others to directly head towards the direction and enjoy the sighting’s…




We saw many deers(chitals), samber, beautiful peacocks, jungle fowl, langoors… the elephant pugmarks and dung was telling us that the herd was around… we passed a location where day before the same Gypsy spotted a tiger too…




we had to make ourselves happy sighting his pugmarks only, they say you have to be lucky enough (!) to see the Tiger.



This jungle with a spread of over 880sq.kms houses animals like Tigers, Leopards, Elephants, Gaur, Sambar(deer), Chital, Sloth bear, Mouse deer, Wild dog, Wild boar, Barking deer, Four horned Antelope, Hyena. The birds we could see were Grey Junglefowl, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Red-headed Vulture, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, besides known existence of Honey Buzzard, Brown Hawk Owl, Bay Owl, Malabar Trogon, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Little Spiderhunter, Plain Flowerpecker. All of these enjoy the forest consisting of bamboo, teak and other flora.. The guide told us that we are actually visiting the safari at a right time to have chance of tiger sighting as the forest has shredded it’s leaves and tigers prefer walking on the mud roads to avoid the noise created as they walk on the dry leaves lying on the ground…

The safari ended with an amazing sunset painting the sky with wonderful colors and on our minds, the return to the resort only endorsed getting ready for the next day’s safari …



A great camp fire, with great dinner makes the day memorable on the latter discussions on the tiger and tusker trails spotted recently and the theories of the wisdom roll down with beer ..the night takes over the jungle and the sky pours thousands of the diamonds for your eyes only, the near magnitude 5 stars are clearly visible and we wondered what we have been missing in from the cities…we could spot nice Orion, Pleiades easily and was even telling stories about….


The next day was as exciting as the first one and we could enjoy a magnificent sunrise, gently appearing on the mist of the Mangala Dam…the pictures Sidd took are amazing…





The colours of the sunrise in the forest were spectacular to sight, the magical moments will be cherished longterm on our hearts…



The mist was still settling down with the sunrays…


(all sunrise images by sidd)

As we enjoyed the mist we spotted a dead Bison near a water hole and a tiger trail of pugmarks around… we decided to follow the trail till the water body of Mangala dam.


while we returned we could see fresh trails on the track riding on the tracks of our gypsy which just passed by and suddenly we hear a ‘monkey call’ for tiger just 100 ft to our left….


The gypsy engine was turned off, we were all ears and eyes towards the bushes… the monkey’s gave the calls again…guide said, they are sitting under that tree on which the monkey’s were calling in from….the tree was just a stone throw away…the hush hush of monkey’s begin and soon they all disappeared inside the jungle, a chital male walked graciously crossing our path and moved in the same direction the tigers went…the guide started gypsy and said ‘ they are gone!!” we kept looking at the pugmark trails and begin studying it at length.. the marks told us that there were three of them, a big female, a small male (perhaps her big enough cub) and a small cub…they were walking in the same direction of our vehicle, moved inside the bushes as they must have heard us following their trail as we went to the water body and again reappeared on the same path we went crossing into the other side of the forest towards a big hill….


Grass was just turning golden, there was a utter peace around!!


I could really enjoy my son eager with his camera and ready to spot the never in his life imagination of seeing a Tiger in the wild…


returned to the resort to pack up, we kept on discussing the theories and till date when we look at the trails with our own version which seem never ending as we return the same after noon back to the city…promising our return shortly!!


Bandipur rocks!!

16 Comments so far

  1. Ravi (unregistered) on January 17th, 2007 @ 3:58 pm

    Seriously, you’ve really had a ‘wild’ holiday. Nice post!

  2. karthik Bharadwaj (unregistered) on January 17th, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

    Great that was awesome……. can u pls tell me how u booked the lodge???

  3. Mehak (unregistered) on January 17th, 2007 @ 6:14 pm

    I need more info about the lodge…reservations…tariff..

  4. Mysore (unregistered) on January 17th, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

    Fantastic. Sid, young man, you are a good student. Looks like we will be seeing your pictures very soon in the magazines!! Great job Dangi Family. I really enjoy reading this blog with a cup of coffee and rusk. This one was exciting and interesting.

  5. Rahul.Durve (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 2:25 am

    hi Rajesh It’s me Rahul from mumbai saw snapes it’s really great. Give my love to sidd & priti.

  6. Rajesh (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 8:30 am


    Package Details:
    Particulars INR Rates
    1 night and 2days Rs. 2000/- (per person twin sharing) USD 75 per person
    1 nights and 2 days Rs. 2350/- (per person/ single occupancy) USD 90 per person

    Package includes:
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Coffee/Tea
    Park Tours Twice a Day (6.30 am & 4.30 pm) for 2 ½ hours each with guides
    Entry – fee to National Park
    Wildlife Audio Visuals
    Library on Wildlife and Nature
    Hotel Taxes
    Most importantly, Peace!!

    Note : Child below 12yrs 50%
    Checkout : 11am

    Validity : 1st October 2006 till 30th September 2007

    Contact : Mr. Kumar, Raj Safaries Pvt. Ltd.
    ‘Shreeyum’ palace grounds, Ramana Maharishi Road, Bangalore – 80
    Tel : 080 23618024/30 Mobile 98453 26467
    Email : rajsafaris_9@yahoo.co.in

  7. Rajesh (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 9:01 am

    Hey Rahul, thanks for writing in.

  8. silkboard (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 9:14 am

    Wonderfully detailed informative post Rajesh!

  9. Christopher (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 9:23 am

    Awesome post and the same with the pictures as well.

  10. netra (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 10:58 am

    hi rajesh, priti,sid..sure looks like you guys had a great time..pics are good,almost like being on safari with you!!!i could even smell the fresh air!!

  11. Mehak (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 11:10 am

    thanx for the info Rajesh.

  12. Rajesh (unregistered) on January 18th, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

    Thanks Netra, Chris.

    Welcome Mehek.

    keeps me going!

  13. Amod (unregistered) on January 20th, 2007 @ 7:42 am

    Hi Rajesh Photos were good. I like the last sunset and nature photographs. but sadly i didn’t find rajesh touch there
    happy clicking

  14. indira (unregistered) on January 24th, 2007 @ 4:54 pm

    Rajesh, Lovely as usual. The spotted deer in the bush was delightful. The room too. Only could not see Preeti too clearly. We must do the same one day. Pls give details. Auguste and I will do the same after coming to Bangalore.

  15. Rajesh (unregistered) on January 24th, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

    Thanks Amod and Indira.

  16. Pooja (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 9:42 am

    WOW! it make me say wow…Really Rajesh the pics are too cool.Sid is following ur steps.The way u have described each and every detail about your trip inspired me to visit this.
    Keep it up!

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