As we descended from the heights of Bababudangiri, we could sight some evergreen forest below, thick and dense as usual. But I did not expect to see so many tall and beautiful trees fighting within them for more sunlight. Muthodi, a small village located in the Bhadra wilderness is the place where we were headed, and planned to stay for that night. Bhadra is a protected tiger reserve located in Chikkamagalur and Shimoga districts of Karnataka.
The approach to Muthodi from Bababudangiri
The first thing we noted as we approached the sanctuary in the evening is a remarkable increase in the bird population. And few minutes after we reached Muthodi, I got to see a baby Malabar Giant Squirrel exploring a tall tree. The place we were staying in Muthodi is fairly deep in the forest and has a stream running just behind it!
The stream at Muthodi
The next morning, we headed deeper into the forest. Our jeep dipped into a stream and continued further away from the road. As we headed further, it was forest all around with trees taller than I had ever seen. It is one of those thick forests where sunlight tries hard to reach the forest floor, without much success. We saw quite a few barking deer which are not commonly seen; a peacock, a bison and many chitals in the next hour.
A Wire Tailed Bee Eater
The birds seen included wire tailed bee eaters, rocket tailed drongos and probably a tawny eagle. The best part was listening to variety of bird calls when you switched off the engine – all of them sweet but different. On the way back from the forest we could witness a pair of Malabar Giant Squirrels relishing on a breakfast of raw custard apples!
Pair of Malabar Giant Squirrels
After some refreshing and a lunch later, I decided it was time for another drive. We decided to drive and explore on the main road until we saw a muddy deviation. The small road offered us many surprises. It eventually took us to the top of a hill which offered a panoramic view of the entire Bhadra range of forests. We also saw many beautiful vistas of the hill ranges on the way. The best thing was to listen to funny calls of a lone hornbill calling, sitting on the top of a tree(You should witness that to enjoy it!).
A Malabar Grey Hornbill calling
To our surprise, we encountered some coffee estates deep in such wilderness. The friendly estate owner advised us to go up the top of the hill which gave us such a great view that we felt the entire journey of an hour’s drive and an hour’s walk further was completely worth the effort. He also invited us to his estate and treated us with some nice coffee.
As the sun moved down the horizon, we returned to Muthodi. It was time for us to return to the bustle of Bangalore.