Mountain View
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Introduction

Kenneth Anderson, Like Jim Corbett, was an avid Nature Lover.His Books inspire many though originally written 70 years ago.Those days, the wild life abounded and hunting was not prohibited. Many Kings have involved in Hunting, but none has the interest to document it for the future generations, whose chance of Hunting or learning about the Jungle folks were practically nil..

21st century dwellers like us are thankful for the wonderful insight of Kenneth anderson and Jim Corbett.Besides the interesting bedtime stories they have written, the true documemtation of clever jungle folks amazes us always, without their efforts, we would have missed all that joy of reading!!

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Bettamugilalam Estate

Bettamugilalam (Bettamugalam) is a known place for Kenneth Anderson Followers.Here is where, the Hunter and the Nature conservationist has encountered the Bettamugalam Man eater.

Very long time, i was thinking that, this story is a fairy tale in an imaginative country.NO,It is a Superb Place, when i mustard the courage to take few friends and traveled i realized.

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The Most Interesting thing about the story is the British Collector’s Farm.I have tracked it down last week.This place is roughly 40 kms away from Denkanikottai.

Please read the KA Descriptions about the Incidence.

“MANY YEARS AGO A RETIRED BRITISH ADMINISTRATOR, POPULARLY known as the Collector in those days, had acquired for himself 300 acres of jungle land on the northern slopes of the Gutherayan range of hills in the district of Salem, where he built an incredible bungalow.

He built it all of stone and to the pattern of a castle. This man loved the jungle and he preserved it at a tremendous expense to himself by engaging an army of coolies to hack away the thorny undergrowth and the lantana plants which, in those years, were just beginning to envelop the forests of southern India.

He called his place Bettamugalam Estate, after the name given to the local sub taluk area, and his stone house he called ‘Jungly Castle’ Cleaned of the strangling lantana, the natural forest grew apace The grass that flourished in the glades between the trees attracted bison and deer, which in their turn brought their natural foes, tigers, panthers, and the still more voracious wild dogs.

Conditions then began to change. The British Collector died and Bettamugalam Estate, with Jungly Castle, was bought by an Anglo-Indian who did not…” thus goes the story.

“I have called so many people in the past.I  wanted to see the remains of Jungly Castle..No one had a clear idea.Many had confused me.The most beautiful adventures happened in melagiri  area in all his stories”Kenneth maintained great friends in these places.

Today, Still, Bettamugilalam is a beautiful Country side.I could see the collector’s farm, as still the people of Bettamugalam calling it that way.Only, His castle is no way to be found.The story is much old, so the power of  time might have obliterated the remaining traces of Jungly castle.

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Near to that Place, There is a Most beautiful Forest Hill Estates have come up.Though the promoters have no information about KA. They have opted the beautiful place for their country Homes.

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This estate is  opposite to the British collector’s farm and The Most windy place i have ever gone. It was all by accident, i have communicated with the developers,and have heard that, the MD,  Mr. Shyam Reddy is a nature Lover, and he built this estate for people like him to stay away from the hassles of city.

Though, they do not have any idea about the legendary story, I must admit their love for developing a gem like this.Every inch of their week end abode is tastefully done.

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While talking to the manager, i have explained my field of interest and my profession..They have overjoyed to share their Home for a night and we had shot many nice snaps in that historical vicinity.



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Bettamugilalam is a village consists of many many small villages.You have to cross ‘kamayeri’ to reach Bettamugalam.

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The drive to Bettamugilalam is a simple one.You will have to cross the forest check post at Aiyur, and drive 20 kms road.This area is elephant infested and mostly rogue ones.

The road is good.But, you need to be careful as it will mostly pass through the Bamboo forests.No shops and accommodations are available en route.

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Kenneth Anderson, thus narrates the Story involves this place..

“Now, in the village of Aiyur, a little over four miles away, lived a man of about twenty-five years, whose name was Gurappa. Gurappa had married very late in life for one of his caste and status, the usual age being around seventeen to eighteen years for a boy and thirteen to fourteen years for a girl. But Gurappa’s father could not get his son married earlier, for they were a poor family,

and the parents of every prospective bride turned down the marriage of their daughter to a mere yokel, the son moreover of such a poor father. But a girl was found at last. I was told that she was very deaf and had walked with a limp from birth. Very likely these impediments had caused her parents to agree to the marriage with Gurappa, who was so poor.

Now another problem presented itself. The bridegroom had no house. His father had sold the hut the family had lived in. Not even in India can a bridegroom bring his bride home on their wedding day to no house!
So Gurappa decided to build one in a hurry. True, he had no money, but fortunately a good number of stones still remained of Jungly Castle, although the best and largest of them had already been pilfered. Scorning to wait for a moonlight night, the would-be bridegroom begged the village headman to lend him his cart.

The story goes on telling us, that he met the Tiger at the collector’s farm while stealing the stones from “Jungly castle”. You have to read the story to understand why we are all mad to be after wild life…It is so damed interesting.The Life of villagers and the Head man and all of the characters  come to live! even today when you read on…

Some more excerpts..

“it was getting dark when we returned to the Forest Rest House at Aiyur. The Range Officer offered me accommodation at his bungalow for the night, but the thought of the dry biscuits in my pocket made me decide to return to my camp at Sivanipalli and the corned meat that awaited me there. I had my torch, and after all the tiger might not be a confirmed man-eater. So I started out to the dismay of the two officers, who shouted a warning behind me that I might never reach Sivanipalli.

The path wound downhill mostly, between lantana, scrub and scattered babul saplings till, as a lower level was reached, the trees became loftier and clumps of heavy bamboo grew in among them. The darkness became intense, through which the beam from my torch cut only a narrow pencil of light. Suddenly a feeling of great uneasiness came over me—rather, a feeling of mortal fear. Why, I could not imagine. I had heard no sound, nor had I caught any audible cries of alarm from the deer and other creatures in the jungle to warn me of danger.

Complete silence reigned on every side. There was only the soft crunch of my own rubber-soled boots on the ground, and the occasional crack of a twig or crackle of a leaf as I trod upon it. I halted abruptly and spun around, fully expecting to see the tiger stalking me from behind. But there was nothing to be seen, not even the glimmer of a firefly. There was nothing to be heard; not even the chirping of a friendly cricket. Then I knew why I was so afraid: it was the idea of absolute loneliness. There was no living
I creature nearby to witness what happened to me. Nothing, and nobody to help. And, although I could not see him in the gloom, or hear him, even in that absolute silence, I was as certain of the presence of the tiger there as I was of my own. I have found that at times of great peril in the jungle, the human reflexes act in one of two ways.

The trumpeting scream of a charging rogue elephant, or the guttural roar of an attacking tiger or panther, sometimes galvanizes the victim into precipitate flight, or else he is so paralyzed by fear that he is rooted to the spot and quite incapable of movement. It is rare, indeed, that the victim can think at all, much less think clearly, of what he should, or rather could, do in the circumstance. There is no time for thinking. But in this case there was no screaming elephant before me, nor a roaring tiger for that matter.

Only silence, and the certain knowledge that the man-eater was there. And the reflex that came to me was to run, and to run fast, as fast as I could, away from that dreadful spot”….

These things might have happened at 1935..As of today,(2016) there are changes like..You can’t see a tiger because they have been wiped out..There are full fledged electricity and Bsnl Signal, Cable tvs etc.

Yes! Elephants are still over populated..Deers are here and there. Bisons yes! The Villagers claim that, they have seen Panthers…The only face saving grace is, The place is not crowded.A proper one day nature visit is going to be refreshing..Leave Bangalore at 4 am..You will be here at 6 am…Just 2 hrs drive.

In all truth, Hogenakkal should be a great place theoretically…and onward drive from here,But, for some unknown reason, India’s Most cheap crowd gathers there…They some how posses the capability to turn the clean water to black waters in no time….So, Please avoid that.

While, at night in Bettamugilalam (Bettamugalam), i was overjoyed to be in a wonderful place.The Forest Hill is amazing.09

Please be aware, that,this is a  private property.They won’t allow any travelers,and no per day rent system also.In my case, being a An Architectural Designer myself,I could associate with them to certain extent.Since, i love these places, in future i would be contributing to builders who has a passionate ideas like this one.

 

Before finishing this..I have a suggestion to fellow explorers.Please be accurate in explaining places like these.Those times, when i have read the trekker’s write ups regarding Spider valley, Aiyur and Kodekarai, i mostly ended up confused.They could not capture the place and they neither got the spirit of the Location…Many had gone with Biscuits and Lemon rice.Made a lousy story about what they have encountered.Sad!

Signing off..

Warm regards,

Peppin Jerold.

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Sangam Panther, A Picnic spot today!


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Touring and trekking in and around Bangalore is a bliss! Because of its close proximity with near by wonderful places!
Sangam is one among those cute spots. Many, many years ago, Hunters like Kenneth Anderson have visited these places for wild life hunting and adventure sports.

Those days, these were remote places and the cultured crowds were non existent, only Villagers and cattle.

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It always amazes me to read the wild days in 1950’s and those bygone days, the greenery is in abundance, and the wild animals are always traceable. While, we did not have a chance to troll in those years, KA has documented those lovely times in vibrant detail.

Sangam Panther story is one among those narrations.!

Picnic spots are always great if you go with a friend or a group. Sangam is a great choice for a day picnic with family near bangalore.And, summer might be a right time to visit because the water is crystal clear and no flood and undercurrent threat.

It’s a place, where the river cauvery and the tribute arkravathy merges.So the name Sangam, the union.And the famous mekka datu (make dat) is here.That is a gorge small enough for a goat to leap.Probably a fastest and a gifted goat!

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The reason Kenneth Anderson have gone to Sangam is, to shoot a man eating leopard.The beauty is, he have written about the area and it’s surrounding in a way that matches astonishingly perfect today.

I have stayed in Sangam and cross verified every small details and just was speechless in his wonderful narration.

Sangam is around 100 Km from Bangalore. After reaching Kanakapura on NH209, take a left turn to sangam on SH 92.  About 16kms from Kanakapura you will reach a junction, to the right of which is Cauvery fishing camp.

We reached in about 2 hours from Bangalore(with loaded traffic), and parked the car.

This was late evening and we ventured in to the water of carvery by crossing the knee depth arkravathy river.

The waters were so pure and distilled,that tempts us to take a dip.We have roamed around the place for an hour, that inspired us to stay for the night in Sangam.

The Night stay was in Mauriya Sangama ( Karnataka State Tourism Dept Hotel).It was a Pleasant stay, as, the rooms were air conditioned.The Beauty is, Kenneth Anderson stayed in this very spot  long ago,and the old structure gave away for this new abode.

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In the Book “Man eaters and Jungle Killers” KA described the locality and the villagers..The Moment you reach the river, you will see boulders and boulders….Very dangerously slippery.

I was almost falling on every rock.No shoes can help you grip.And In flood, you wont even know where these boulders are, so even more dangerous in rainy days.

Kenneth, in the pursuit of the panther, have gone through the river side valley, which is, even now difficult.He walked, as the story says, along the cauvery river from sangam to makedat in the narrow cart road.This road leads to Makedat (mekedatu) at 5 kms distance.

I and my friend tried walking in this route at the sunset, but somehow was afraid to carry on, so we decided to take the bus next morning..Not recommended if you are alone.

From sangam to makedat(mekedatu), In the year perhaps some 1960’s he was searching for the panther’s footprint in the cart and ghat roads.Today, Only monkey’s foot print is available for all of us, But, the early morning bath at sangam is truly mesmerizing, as the waters were cold and clear.

We had bathed, read the story once again , and took the bus to makedat(mekedatu) to see that river in gorge.There were a lot of security, as this place is a death trap.Chances of falling into the gorge is very high, and they say, crocodiles are also too many.Professional swimmers too lost their life in this area, because of the sharp rocks..You just can’t swim.

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Galibore fishing & Nature camp entrance.

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The Main Cauvery river flows from west to east, and in summer, it appears to be like pool but has depth and under current.

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Arakravathi tribute in the backdrop.

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Unique Boulders all around en route!

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Ettina bhuja and Mudigere Trekking report.

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Ettinabhuja trek is not difficult, rather it is fun!

But, you need a little more practice and a guide to start.The preparation is, first, a small mountain climbing, that , according to us was, savanadurga bald hill climbing.

Savanadurga is a small place near Dodda Aladha Mara spot.We did this small climbing for two Saturdays, and prepared for Ettinabhuja.

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Driving from Bangalore to Ettinabhuja is very easy, straight Tumkur – Mangalore route, and that takes you to shakleshpur.Ahead of 10 kms, you reach Hunbal village.

That’s it!

We reached the spot around 11.30 night, and stayed in a wonderful place, which is a secret spot in the forest clearing. But, you have many nice places to stay around.You can erect camping tents too.

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This is how we started, and I was the most inexperienced city guy for trekking kind of adventures.

My Trekker friend Arun guided me towards the route, and, while trekking in hills and valleys, what I experienced is that, only the starting point is the promising one.Once you start and reach in the mid way, in forest, all directions will look the same, you can’t go ahead and can’t come back.

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Twice we lost the way and groped in the darkness, but found it back nevertheless!We have heard, that, people lost their way and roamed for days, and survived with water and dry biscuits.

If you do not want to become a jungle book character, then experienced guide is a must.You will notice elephant dungs on the route, when I saw that at first, that too in a narrow road, a very narrow one, I was rooted in fear.But don’t worry, it seems, the jumbo population is very less and the area is too big.

As the for the hunters say, the elephants are short tempered. You never know what they will do once they spot you.

Once, my friend said he drove 100 kms / hr speed in a road inside nagarhole forest to escape a charging elephant,and I said, 100 kms/ hr was not a big deal.He said, he drove reverse at that speed!!!

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We did our trekking expedition in rainy season, and there was one advantage. You will surely finish the climb,because, Enroute will have thousands of leeches, and you will have to run in those dark places, lest, your feet will be covered by them.We have named this trip as Trekking, but, most of the places, we were practically running!

The places, where sunlight can not penetrate is the places where those leech factories formed! No matter how much I was tired, whenever I saw those cluster of leeches, I ran, mostly on the valleys, where at noon you can see hardly any thing as darkness envelopes.

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To add more to agony, there were snakes, they too crossed the path. We saw a cobra mother and son? Or sibling!

No matter how much we walked, the Air was so pure and the waters were glass! So, the refreshment was beyond the words could convey!

Trekking is a great opportunity to torture your body and lungs. The amount of calories evaporates are beyond measure.Ettinabhuja is a calorie killer.

This trekking is a must for those who work in computing and other sedative jobs.

This will add fresh speed to your life style.

Aiyur Forest Trip

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“If I can succeed in spiriting you away for a few moments from all that is mundane in your life, into the marvels of a tropical jungle and its excitements,………Then I shall feel myself amply rewarded”.  KA

Planning this trip for a long time!!!Just packing up the stuff, and getting ready from Bangalore. The easiest way to advance book this place is, to go to Mathigiri forest office at Hosur. You may have to give a written application and make 50% payment there.

Aiyur Trip will get you to the places around that too..Namely, Betamugalam,Spider valley,Kodekarai,Kempakarai and anchetty.

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Fine..Thus we begun the driving from Bangalore.As soon as we reached the Forest Rest House, and kept our belongings, Herds of elephants been reported by a policeman in the forest near samiyeri lake, immediately. we were driving towards the elephant watch tower…@ 4:00 pm.

The Moment i have seen the watch tower area, I realized the biggest mistake KA did in his write ups.The Police man was already in the tower,and we parked the car in the exact entry and climbed the tower to spot the Elephants.There were None! The Police man said, The elephants moved interiors,and, if we follow them quickly, we may spot them..I thought, this Police man is an eager potato!.( why enthu cutlet always?).Though the idea seemed good.

But there is a Problem…



Kenneth Anderson inspired us to go after Jungles,that too in night..! ( Night Ghooming) In fact , he mentioned the methods and strategies, once we are  inside the forest.,and the do’s and don’ts are  like “absolute stillness or freeze” and becoming silent, walking without stepping on dry leaves, looking at the wind direction and sign languages etc..

But he did not foresee The “Rolls”Royce people who is always after chicken “rolls” and mutton “rolls”.In all the fact, i am a “Rolls” Royce..he..heee..have put more weight than required.So immediately i have scanned the facts.In the event of bull elephant charge, Mr.Police man can run, because, he is paid for chasing poachers, he can use that experience..and Arun, my companion is a trekker, so he too can sprint..Moreover, Escape is a favorite word for him whether in  work or in trek it does n’t matter!!

So, i did not want to come down from the watch tower, Plus had a keen eye on the Car.. They both went down,in search of elephants.What i took, was a right decision, as, because of being unfit, many wanderers and wannabe trekkers along with their juice pockets been smashed by  elephants.You need to have a Blinding agility..Elephants are fast…and this place is not Bangalore, Absolutely no traffic..So elephants may reach you promptly.The Result will be, as KA Says” Pulpy mass with broken bones”

Kenneth have not mentioned Physical fitness, because, all of his friends were Skinny and agile guys…Byra, Mara, Ranga,and sharekhan like..Those times, there were no software engineers and built-in canteens, that sells the “Rolls”!!

Again, I have waited for 30 mins, expecting some “Ayyo” kind of sound from the direction they went inside..Happy to see them,They came back with wide eyes, stating that, still no elephants, but very fresh dungs..felt hot it seems!!

(Folks who are interested in going to Hosur forest division, should always remember that, More than scenic and picnic..these places are Historical KA places.He Loved it for the Gaming Nature of Tropical Bush and Bamboo forests, No more coorg kind of home stay expectation scene.).

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So, we were Back to the Guest House,The Best Part of Aiyur Forest Guest house is, that, it was built in 1907 and Repaired by Kenneth Anderson himself.The Bad thing is, Artificial structures, Like Meditation center and Colorful painted buildings..Simple..They should have painted some earthly colors that would have merges with the surroundings.

Excerpt reference  from Anderson’s write up!

“Kenneth and Eric decided to travel by a car named ‘Sudden Death’. Anderson provides details of their preparation for journey to the Spider Valley.  They reached the Aiyur Forest and after dinner at the lodge set out for night adventures”.

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From watch tower, you can see things safely..They built wooden barricades, so the wild elephants can not reach this side of watch tower,as long as your stars are bright!!!

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This shot was taken by Arun who went with police man.People are normally not allowed to go this side of the forests.

There were Partially dry streams  towards bettamugalam aiyur route, and been inhabitant of wild elephants as, I could see a lot of spoors which I have never seen in any of the rain forests also.

In summer,I think, elephants play around the lake.And if we stay for some more days, we can easily be lucky..No big deal..

People may say, Sighting of an elephant is not a great deal..But Aiyur elephants differ with Kabini, Nagarohole, Bandipur elephants as they are roaming around official tourist spots.There is always human and vehicle crowd..Animals been kind of used to humans in constant basis.

The tropical jungle and bush forest like Aiyur melagiri range may not always be green and scenic, so the picnic crowd will be absent.These animals only deal with villagers in small numbers..So, No park kind of atmosphere..You deal with real raw Jungle, and will feel eerie silence and thrill when you are left alone in the route. I won’t go alone.!

Kabini is again very, very scenic, and professional photographers always flock there..The way the wildlife  photographers crowd there, sooner or later, the animals will learn modeling and posing..

The Aiyur forest rest house is nice.It is located in the beginning of the forest area. They had a check post very near by. As for the stay,they have glass house (as they call it, and it has two ordinary  windows with glass shutters…this case, all Bangalore homes can be called as glass houses!!) This Accommodation has twin bed and very clean and tidy.Toilet facility is too good.But do not come with families to Aiyur..
Then near to it, is, The genuine old forest rest house,where KA stayed.( Please refer “Sher Khan and the Bettamugalam Man-Eater”)The Kenneth Anderson Omnibus – Vol. 1

Plus some more bamboo huts, and dormitories…Those are not  really worthy to consider.

The problem is at week ends and holidays, Where,you can always expect an unruly crowd with heavy noise may arrive, as it’s happening now…The gang of 20 guys playing 1980 to till date Tamil songs…(most of them are kutthu songs as they named it) even the mighty crackers would not have threatened the elephants like this kutthu songs! @ high volumes.

Live Update: Noisy People resided in aiyur forest rest house on 25 th march 2016.
@9:55 pm

The Beautiful sounds in early morning!
Enjoyed the sounds of the birds around 6am..very pleasant climate..
We had a nice walk towards bettamugilalam road..

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Live Update: This area must be a bliss to bird watchers,as we could spot a variety of birds. We walked very slow just to listen their innovative sounds! We could only click the parrots, but you have many spices to see…Assured!!
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What about Breakfast,Lunch and Dinner?

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Forest guest house arranges the food,but,as Kenneth’s time to now,the attitude of the government officials are the same like Anderson described ages ago,so…Avoid them, however sweet they speak,they don’t deliver..They will provide you the rice from Tamilnadu chief minister’s (Amma) free Mid day meal scheme.(But they will separately charge you!!)

There are laid back villagers and you can get better food from them.Just 2 kms from the rest house.

Please note the numbers.

Villager:  Mathivanan :  09788303897 – You can Pre order foods from his Small establishment.

For tea break,you can drive to Bettamugalam..The Roads were beautiful! Chances are great that, you might be drinking the tea in an area where the man eater once walked and preyed over…Historical importance for KA fans! The Best thing about these places are that, you can rewind the years and imagine, how it would have been those days!!where the cart road existed, and foot prints of wild creatures were being seen so often..I am sure, though Kabini Jungle Lodges (JLR) are so beautiful, but has zero history documented..Thus, Less Important for me.

How ever i tried, I could not locate the direction of the British collector’s jungly castle and bettamugalam estates,!! probably,I don’t know how to reach there!
Any information? Please share.

Now, the amazing drive to kodekarai…Anderson explained this place with greater detail at “Marauder of kempakarai“.

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Excerpts from his write up!

peak of Gutherayan, which is over 4,500 feet high. On its slopes stands a lovely little forest lodge, known as Kodekarai Bungalow, amidst some of the finest scenery in the world. Rolling hills and jutting cliffs are to be seen in every direction

More than twenty years ago I had the honor of meeting the brother of King Amanuallah of Afghanistan, who was exiled from his native country and lived at Kodekarai Bungalow, which was his favorite abode. He told me that he loved the place

Trust me Guys…These write ups are true…You should visit this place in Winter..Though, we have visited summer..

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We genuinely thought of reaching kodekarai Hamlet in an easy drive…The Villagers said so..But, after our experience…we should say,.. a tough drive in mud road..11 kms of up and down hill.. Marked in the following snap..

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Yesterday night, when we were discussing the wild life to the forest guard Mr.Perumal at 11.30 pm,He said, This is an elephant country moreover, Deer,Panther, Bison, and wild boar have been spotted..,Then i said,i have problem in believing this..which made him  upset..I thought, in this forest with zero preservation, deer is a joke…Elephant is there, because, this area is infested with them all along and the spoor gives you a solid proof..But Deer and Bison…? Let alone Panther..?

The Drive to Kodekarai was a tough surprise…we were driving the Ritz..and when we crossed a partially dry stream, Wow..A huge deer crossed the mud road at a lightning speed, that i was not even able to raise my camera..A spotted dear…Just watched it disappear..with the thud..thud…sound!! Super Beautiful action.

My heart skipped a beat…Yes, i have seen deers in clusters at nagarhole and other rain forests…But, this area is a spent forest…The Glorious times been long over..Human beings literally wiped much of the fauna…But still this deer has, very closely crossed the car, that,we were pinned to our seats!!!in a momentum of surprise…The Ritz advertisement says, “Live the Moment”..And we did it..!!

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This is the place in Kodekarai, we have decided, in future want to put a tent and stay..Lovely in slope…in winter…Lucky fellas!!

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To reach these places are very easy..Just one and half hour speed drive from Bangalore!!! Just understand this map.Try reaching Aiyur..Read the sign boards…Done!!!

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Accommodation at Aiyur:

The Glass House: Per Head  950/- rs per day per head ( excluding food )

KA House(Kenneth stayed here on his time in history): 750/- per head.( excluding food )

Once you make an official booking at Forest office Hosur, Then Please be in touch with Mr.Mohan Kumar ( responsible for aiyur Forest guest house): 09952233918

The Collections of Kenneth Anderson Books: