A Wild Monsoon Outing & My First Tiger Sighting - K Gudi Jungle Lodges at BR Hills

Last week I spent 3 days in the dense forests of Biligiri Rangaswamy Hills in Karnataka along with fellow travel blogger Anita Bora, on invitation from Jungle Lodges. BR Hills is where the Eastern Ghats meet Western Ghats and you can see the landscape change quickly from one side to the other. This little known Wildlife Sanctuary also happens to be a Tiger Reserve with 44 Tigers, 75 Leopards and 600 Elephants! Ever since my visit to Kanha & Bandhavgarh last year and Dandeli earlier this year, I have been slowly growing fond of wildlife and jungle safaris. This trip sealed the deal with the beautifully green, rain-soaked forests and my first ever Tiger sighting in the wild!

Did you know? Unlike other National Parks in the country, Wildlife Sanctuaries in Karnataka do not close down during monsoons. Meaning, you get a chance to witness the beauty of the forests in full monsoon glory!

The generous monsoons have turned the forests of BR Hills into a magical green paradise! We went on the safaris with constant drizzle and heavy downpour for company. It was so cold in the open jeeps that I caught cold right away but it was totally worth it.
Changeable Hawk Eagle
Our first sighting was handsome Changeable Hawk Eagle. I am usually not that fond of birds but look at the beauty of this majestic bird!
Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats meet at BR Hills
One afternoon, we went to the centuries old Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple on the hill top. We walked up the stairs and I walked around the temple to find this breathtaking view of what looks like Eastern Ghats to me.
Dense Evergreen Forest drenched in Monsoon Greenery
If you go towards West, this is the kind of forest you encounter which is very typical of Western Ghats. The forest was green beyond imagination, drenched in fresh rain and full of misty views.
Tiger behind the bushes!
Look who's behind the bushes! My first Tiger sighting in the wild, it was as exciting as I had always imagined. The sighting lasted less than 5 seconds but we could hear the pair moving around us and grunting loudly for more than 10 minutes. It is extremely difficult to sight tigers in the monsoons and even more difficult to sight them in BR Hills with its dense forest. But I guess, my time had finally come to witness the magnificence of this creature.
Ponds and other Water Bodies brimming full under the spell of generous monsoon
All the ponds inside the forest was full and brimming. We saw Stripe Necked Mongoose next to one pond, several deers and sambars next to others. It was so nice to see the forest lush and thriving!

Jungle Safaris inside BR Hills Wildlife Sanctuary
We went on a total of 4 safaris - in the morning and in the evening. We saw many birds, Indian Gaur, Wild Boars, Barking Deers, Serpent Eagles, Jungle Owlet, Wild Mynas and many more birds whose names I do not know. For such a dense forest, it was surprisingly easy to spot wildlife. Loved all the safaris.
Stunning view of dense forested mountains seen from BiligiriRangaswamy Temple
Stunning view of the dense, layered and forest-covered mountain slopes from the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple. Dark clouds moved swiftly across the sky pouring down like crazy one moment and disappearing the next. Being in the Western Ghats in monsoons is an unparalleled experience!
Crested Serpent Eagle
A Crested Serpent Eagle gracefully sitting on top of a dried up tree. It sat there quietly as we drove towards it. It was very curious and from what I could make out of its head movements, it was checking us out too!
Nightjar on the Safari Trail
A nightjar, which apparently is quite rare to see in the daytime this being a nocturnal bird, stopped us in our tracks as you can see. This particular safari was even more enjoyable as we were in company of avid birders and a knowledgeable Naturalist.
Barking Deer
A Barking Deer wondering when is the right time to run away into the bushes to escape the incessant clicking noises! Shortly after we, the photographers, started clicking, it ran back into the dense forest.

This camp is one of the very few resorts in India which is located inside a wildlife sanctuary and offers a truly wild experience. Since it is located inside the forest, there is no power supply. Generator is used for electricity needs through the day only for few hours and it is shut down strictly by 10PM leaving the camp in absolute darkness. There are no fences to keep the wildlife out and wild animals freely walk into camp after dark and many times during the day as well. There are 8 well appointed tented cottages and 3 wonderful log huts(stayed in one of these). The camp overlooks densely forested hills and is surrounded by tall trees that sway like mad on windy days. There is absolutely no noise pollution apart from the sound of screeching insects and wild winds.

Location - 86km from Mysore and 225km from Bangalore

The comfortable Log Hut we stayed at. (Left) The interiors of the Log Hut - 3 beds, attached Bathroom, and a beautiful balcony to see the mist rolling on the hills opposite to the hut. (Right)

So this was my first monsoon foray in this season and I couldn't have asked for a better start!

{P.S - I was about to leave to BR Hills with just an Ultra Wide Angle but in the last minute I rented an 18-200mm Canon Lens from Tapprs - my gear partner, just in case I saw a tiger! Highly unlikely scenario but so glad I borrowed it. :)}

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