My husband (Karthik) and me were just planning something for our 1st marriage anniversary. Our plans were very simple; maybe a long drive and a dinner (boring). In fact we weren’t even discussing much for the anniversary as everyday felt new for us, it was like everyday we were celebrating our wedding anniversary. One day when we were just discussing something, my mother-in-law asked us our plan for the anniversary. Before we could reply something she asked us to plan a trip to some place rather than just doing the routine thing. That is how this trip came up.
My husband enjoys fun activities and I also enjoy doing them as long as they are safe 😇. He was searching for some places where the resorts were providing such activities like river rafting, or kayaking etc.. We called up all such resorts to enquire about these activities, but due to rains these activities were barred. He was very disappointed, but still we did not loose hope, as we wanted to do something out of the blue. I was very fascinated by the idea of staying in a tree house. So we decided to search for resorts availing tree houses. To our surprise all the resorts with the tree house facility were full and were booked for the next three months. There was a lot of demand for the tree houses so we realised that the booking must be done 3 months in advance. We searched in a lot of places like Waynad (Kerela), Masinagudi, Bandipura (Karnataka), Nilgiris (Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border). We liked Waynad a lot, but due to heavy floods we had to strike out that place from our list. Finally we found one place in the B.R hills and it was called as ‘Gorukana‘. First it was difficult to reach them as their number seemed to be a little funny. Though the number was correct the call was not completed. Then I tried to ask their number to ‘Mr. Google Kumar’ and the number (Gorukana-094808 26377) that I got immediately got connected. So the first thing that I asked them was whether the area was affected by floods, to which she assured me that all was fine and safe. So we decided to go ahead and book the place. We booked the resort through Yatra. I called her back to confirm the booking and she confirmed it immediately. Per night cost for the tree house was Rs 15000/-. We stayed for 2 nights so our room charges came to around Rs 30k. But the best part was everything was included in this 30k. Food, sightseeing, activities and all the visit to the tribal village, all were included. We decided to drive down to B.R hills. We planned to book a car. We booked a self driven car on zoomcar.
We were now eagerly waiting for the day to come when we will visit Gorukana.
Day 1- Check in and jungle tour
Finally the day of our anniversary arrived. Since we were going to drive down we were free to start at any time. We got up by 7-7.30 and carried out our routine chores and had breakfast and left by 9 am.
We started on our journey. Though we had our breakfast, we again stopped for breakfast at the Kadamba Veg. restaurant. We took the Mysore road. Though we did not see the Barachukki falls, we crossed the bridge under which the river was flowing. It was a beautiful view.
The complete road was very beautiful. And only greenery on both sides. Sugarcane dominated the fields. Since it was rainy season, Rice fields were very prominent.
And the roads were very good and clean with beautiful scenery all along.
It was a complete rural belt and the farmers were harvesting sugarcane and the harvested sugarcane was being exported in trucks.
We had to drive through a small village with very narrow roads. All cows and buffaloes were taking sun bath on the roads. Finally after passing the village we came to the BRT tiger reserve forest. To reach the resort we had to pass through a beautiful forest. This forest consists of different animals like tiger, monkeys, elephants. This was the beginning of B.R hills. it was called as Biligiriranganatha Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or simply BRT Wildlife Sanctuary (you will get the details in wikipedia). I was very excited to see some tigers and some wild animals. So we entered in the register and started driving through the forest. The forest was awesome, filled with trees.
To my disappointment, we did not see a single animal, not even a bird. It was a bit cloudy. It seems during the rainy season it is difficult to find any animals. Finally after a beautiful ride we reached the resort. We had called the resort and told them to reserve some food for us as we were reaching the resort very soon.
The check in time was 12.00 pm. and lunch time was between 1-2 pm. We reached there by 3.00 pm. The weather was so beautiful and romantic. The moment we reached there, it started raining. We reached the resort and after registering at the resort, we went directly to the mess. We were first served coriander soup (very tasty and yummy).
The food was very decent, basically north Indian (though we were expecting something authentic). It was raining for some time. So after lunch we decided to go to our tree house. Since it was raining they gave us umbrella. There was one more couple like us. Finally we reached the tree house which was the end point of the resort. Gosh!!! it was soooo beautiful.
They asked us whether we would like to go for a jungle tour now, we decided to go and finish that on 27th itself as there was nothing else to do. One of the persons working there assisted us. It is better to have a car as the resort in which we were staying did not have a special provision for the safari. There is a separate Kyathadevara Gudi Wilderness Camp (K Gudi) for the safari tour which does not come under their package. The forest gates were open up to 6 after which no one is allowed to pass through the forest. It was an hour drive. This was again a beautiful drive. My camera was out ready to shoot a tiger or an elephant maybe coming towards us. But all we spotted were some Sambhar and a barking deer.
The roads again were awesome. K gudi was the end point from where we returned back to our tree house. We came back by 6.30 pm. It was dark and quite. By 7.30 we decided to go for dinner. Torch was provided in our rooms. Even though he was reluctant, I always insisted Karthik to carry the umbrella (as a weapon 😨🙃). We took the torch and and the umbrella and started walking towards the mess. Karthik was holding the torch and luckily the light happened to fall on a snake which only I noticed and warned Karthik about it. We just stopped there for sometime, allowed the snake to go its way and then moved towards the mess. Finally we reached the mess, had our dinner and left for our room. One of the staff members assisted us towards the tree house. The most adventurous part was that, there were only two families staying in that big resort including us. The staff member escorted us because they wanted to make sure we were safe, as just two days back they had sighted a leopard near the tree house. I was like 😳😰wowwwwww!! We were back to our room. The staffs had warned us not to come down if we hear any sounds in the night. That was scary 😬.
In the room we were just lying down on the bed. There was nothing else to do as there was no TV in the room, but luckily mobile signals were strong. We first decided to see some movie online, but then cancelled the plan and started chatting with each other. Karthik was very sleepy and tired as he was only driving all along, so he went off to sleep. I did not sleep for a very long time. I could hear the crickets and frogs making different sounds and calling out their mates. After a couple of browsing I dozed off to sleep.
Day 2- Bird watching, tribal village and the drama
We had planned for a bird watching trip to the forest with a village person (tribal man).
We got up early and went for bird watching. It was a foggy morning. We hardly saw any birds though. But it was a good trekking and we also visited the ‘Soliga‘ tribals. One of the villager guided us through the jungle. He showed us around and took us to their village. He was explaining about the meaning of Gorukana. Gorukana meant ‘spinning of a spider web’. He was talking about their Gods such as Rangaswamy of Biligirirangana Hills. The Gorukana guests are generally entertained by the tribal dance performance (usually performed while worshipping the Gods), but as there were only four spectators, they cancelled the show 🙄.
They also sell these things which are made by the villagers. I felt this kind of an initiative taken by Dr. Sudarshan (the owner of Gorukana) is really awesome, as the villagers are empowered and this provides a livelihood for the tribes. Finally after the pleasant trek we went back to our resort and took some pics with the beautiful backgrounds. We avoided the safari tour as we were sure that sighting a wild animal would be impossible due to the rains. Instead, in the afternoon we decided to just walk around and explore the rest of the village. But Karthik started getting a headache and we had to come back to our room. I did some time pass and he rested till his headache got cured. A sound was heard continuously for some time, finally we found the source of the sound, it was a bird.
In the evening the other couple decided to go to the Ayurvedic Spa near the pond. We decided to rest in our room itself. We sat in the balcony and enjoyed the scenery. We kept chatting and talking. We never run out of topics to talk to each other (touch wood 🤞 ). It was almost 8pm and Karthik started feeling little hungry. But I was a scardy cat 🙀. Now starts the drama. I did not want to go to the mess as I was scared of the Leopard 🙄. He told me he will go and get the food, but I did not allow him also to go. Finally poor guy , my husband started eating ‘Parle G’ biscuits. Then we decided to call somebody and ask them to deliver the food. But the phone was dead. And we tried calling the Gorukana people. But they did not receive the call, maybe it was very late. Luckily after some time one of the staff came there to call us, as they wanted to close the mess. Finally we went after them, had our dinner and then they escorted us back to our room. We were laughing and Karthik was kind of thanking God for sending a messenger to escort us 🤣. Finally we came back and decided to go off to sleep. That night there was not electricity at all (for the whole night). Finally we slept off.
Day 3- Final day of the trip
We got up by 8 am on the last day and had our breakfast and decided to just roam around the resort. There were a lot of coffee trees planted there.
There were some pepper plants also.
We were exploring the other rooms also. We also sat on one of the hammocks. The hammock on which Karthik was sitting broke and he fell on the ground. Luckily he did not get hurt.
We were exploring the architectural structure of the tree house.
We saw a woodpecker also.
Karthik also wanted to try his hand on photography.
We walked down the trail around the resort.
Finally we came back to room and started packing our bags. And finally we left the place. We wanted to buy some products made by the soliga tribes. So we stopped at a Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGKK) centre. They had all the equipments to prepare the products.
We bought some soap nut powder , shikakai powder (herbal shampoo) and honey one bottle. All were cheaper than what was obtained in the regular shops outside. After we bought the stuffs, we left for Bangalore.
We had to pass through the B.R. hills tiger reserve jungle. On the way I decided to refresh my driving skills. I have my licence, but was not confident enough to drive. I started driving. The road was narrow and only one vehicle could pass through it at a time. At a turn, I saw another huge car coming towards us. I got startled a little and instead of staying calmly on one side of the road, I let the car slide into a small ditch like thing on the extreme edge of the road. I could not remove the car out of it. Monkeys surrounded us as though they were enjoying our struggle. Finally we came out of the car and exchanged our seats and Karthik managed to pull the car out of the pit. On the way we happened to see Langur, but by the time I could click some pics they were gone. I again drove the car upto a village. Karthik drove the car through the village. The car was driven by him only for the rest of the journey. We went through a different route this time. The traffic in this route was very less. By around 2 pm we started feeling hungry. We were searching for some good restaurants. We searched for restaurants nearby in google maps. It showed us some restaurants. But the staffs in all these restaurants were just getting up from their sleep and none of them seemed to be interested in providing any service. So we decided to go elsewhere. Finally google map showed us ‘Hemant tiffin centre’. We had our lunch from a roadside tiffin centre (but not Hemant, the one beside it). The owner was so happy to see us. He never expected people like us to come to his shop and have food. Only drivers and some labourers were seen eating in this centre. So though not luxurious, we had a good lunch.
While coming it also drizzled a little and the road was looking so clean and beautiful.
The villages everywhere looked clean. Garbage not dumped here and there. I don’t know how they dispose of the garbage, maybe they burn it, anyways it looked clean except for the cow dung here and there of course 🙂.
Finally we reached home by 7pm. It was really an adventurous trip. It is always fun exploring new places. We can go to water parks or go for a romantic dinner anytime in the city, but staying admist the wild can be really an eye opener sometimes. It is nice to know that people are not abandoned in the forests and there are certain people like Dr. Sudarshan who are trying to help the needy.
Like they say,
“Breathe the fresh air of the countryside”.