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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Tigress of Jowlagiri, Temple priest Shoolagunda

Before Hosur ,there is Attebelle. I was there for a project meeting some months ago., and it got over around 4.30 pm.
Wanted to have a countryside drive,my colleague said yes!too.It was supposed to be a very casual half an hour drive.
We had passed Thally area,and since it was just rained,i was kept going…

On the way, a farmer warned us of elephants,as it was getting late in the evening.He even said, a rouge tusker is on this route in nights.
It was just an accident, that we reached Jowlagiri…otherwise i did not know this place except read in KA books.

Immediately my KA antenna woke up.Stopped the car, asked the villager about the directions of Sulekanta and the temple,where the priest was attacked and partly eaten by the tiger near babul tree right opposite of the temple.(Nine man eaters and one rogue book _ first story)
We took a small parcel of chicken pakoda from Jowlagiri shop and started driving further.
It was all fun,but,as soon as the light started falling..and Sulekanta is actually a deep forested area even now.that, i had a strange fearful feeling.

“My friend was so cool, since he had no idea who is KA and where we are going and what we may encounter, and the history of the place.
I told him,that the temple idea is bad for this time.He said, it’s okay we just can have a glance and return quickly”.

It was an eerie feeling and the road was kept going inside the forest, and sun light was almost gone.
Before a kilometer to the temple, i have narrated the priest partly eaten story to my friend, and he was immediately frozen in fear and glued to the seat.

The temple came, and it was so small one, that’s why,in that story KA said, all pilgrims were in front of the temple sleeping with the aid of camp fire.
I just could not imagine,how he spent the whole night there! with the trumpeting sounds of elephant and a pitch dark jungle.
It is so nice to read his stories, but once you are in that places, then, you need gallons of courage to keep calm.
even if the aid of rocket launcher i won’t stay….it’s so eerie…
As for my friend, he stopped eating that chicken pakoda and was silent till we came back to the city.

Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS)

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No doubt. Agumbe is one of the most scenic places in Karnataka.
The places around agumbe are thick rain forests and Kenneth Anderson spoke about the tall trees and the moss that envelopes them…and the constant rains that pouring in and out.
Anyone who visits this place in monsoon will feel heavenly..The king cobra is the one more reason, that agumbe is on limelight.To do research on these spectacular creatures, Rom Whitaker has established ARRS ( Agumbe Rain forest Research Station).

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Great motive! Some of those videos we see in You tube and BBC channel are truly nice.
Rom Whitaker is the man with a mission. Since then, whoever goes to agumbe, this ARRS been top in the list of places to see.
Because, the Hype and expectations are high. Many creates this hype without EVEN seeing the place.

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Fortunately, many,who tour, trek and stay in agumbe do not visit this research center, because of the lack of time in the Final Moment..

But what about the less fortunate who happened to visit this so called Research center?

Here is what our experience!
The Brand name ARRS is high…So many medias been raving about it..

So, we had decided to go there, braving the rain and the leeches for the joy of knowing about snakes and whatever items they research for.

No sign boards, there is no reasonably maintained path…Cars can’t go after some time…SUV’s with four wheel drive can try.
All are fine…Jungle research center should be like this only..

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So we had parked the car near a small corner and started walking towards the dream destination…ARRS..!
Hope was shimmering! To escape leeches, we were jumping the wet leaves and all the probable suspects plus looking for a cobra too.

Yes! A small banner (after 25 minutes walk) welcomed us as we reached the station. Here is the fun….

As we went near a dirty old home, ( That supposed to be the main building or station!) we started calling Sir…madam..Sir….for some time…
And we were circling that building too.
No one was there, and we thought, we have come to some Naxalite place! which agumbe is known for sometime.

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All of sudden, someone looks like a maid appeared! And we said, we are from Bangalore and are very much interested to meet the scientists, in pure Kannada.She went and got four young boys! May be research students.
That was even more fun.. They were so unfriendly and answered our basic starter questions with a look of “when will you go out of this place” attitude.

All we could see is the “snake banners” they hung on the walls of the old building. We tried to explain them of our interest and the reason why we came here and all.

Nothing worked…Trust me…Pulling the teeth without anesthesia is far easier than getting them to speak…

In the far, we could notice a lot more buildings, but with these bunch of careless guys, it is best to kept the mouth shut and look again at the “snake banners” and move…! With a much disappointing heart we walked away…this time we did not jump on the wet leaves.let the leech crawl who cares?

The biggest upset is…The Hindu wrote another hype article on ARRS Agumbe!..(very next day I returned from agumbe)…and they did not allow my comment to appear when I wrote the fact.

With no co- ordination, no proper explanation for visitors in the research center…how can you speak about this research centre has accommodation and facilities for all who has the interest?

At the time of this writing, ARRS official website in disarray and has some Chinese letters…probably hacked I think .
For a nature enthusiast, what ARRS did was Unthinkable.
Why all this marketing then? If you think nature lovers are Gate crashers, then don’t try to get media coverage.

Why don’t we not think, all is for fund raising?

It is a big let down for Rom Whitaker!

The Collections of Kenneth Anderson Books:

Wayanad and Coorg…

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For Bangalorians, Mysore is the weekend get away.They go because…there is madikeri,Wayanad and coorg. It is so popularized now a days..that,reaching kengeri in weekends are a nightmare..Let alone reaching Mysore.The traffic is worst,that worst.!

Going to Mysore also becoming a deal itself..The over speeding cars and so many villages on the way…The accidents….Kenneth’s time there was only a battered Ford Car..And he rode it,so blissfully to Mysore to reach the virgin jungles of coorg and wayanad.

Kenneth himself had visited these areas for a rare hunt of a man eating Tiger in Wayanad..”The Killer of Wayanad” is the book you should read.In his time, the places were lonely..There was a thrill in driving..

Now, every thing is Artificial here…Hundreds of Home stays, So many travelers, Drunken driving…you name it, you could see that.

But, The Nature is still Wonderful..I have very secret places, where i stay.They are still deep in the forest and Most beloved hospitality at very affordable prices.

This time i have gone there, not by my own will..Have designed a Farm house in wayanad for a software engineer, and a part of the site visit, i had to go.

The Client took care of everything for two days.!

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KA’S Description of the Place…In his Book, “The Killer of Wayanad”

TO THE SOUTHWEST OF THE CITY OF MYSORE LIES THE HEAVILY forested area of the Kakankote jungles, for centuries the home of many herds of wild elephants that are partial to the kind of jungle that grows in this district. The rainfall is heavy and the vegetation is luxurious.

In my opinion, the state of Kerala, in the extreme southwest of the Indian peninsula, offers a scenery second only in beauty to that of the Himalayas, though very different. It is a land of dense forests, fertile plantations of tea, coffee, cinnamon, rubber and tapioca, and emerald-green fields in the areas bordering the sea; of gently flowing rivers and waterways without number, along which palm-thatched river boats glide
among coconut palms laden with huge bunches of green nuts, and a sea coast without parallel, culminating at the southern tip of the peninsula in the famous beach of Cape Comorin.

The town of Manantoddy, on the Kerala side of the border, stands on the Western Ghats, the range of mountains that run down the west coast of India, almost from Bombay to the far south, at an average elevation of about 4,000 feet above sea level. This district is known as the North Wynaad,

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Kenneth Anderson further describes the downsides of this Place in Detail,

“Pleasant as they are in all other respects, these regions abound in leeches throughout the year, and in the rainy season their numbers are enormous. Moreover, that curse of the drier jungles, the tick, thrives in yet greater comfort than it does in the forests of the interior—both the large crab-tick that gives you tick-fever when it bites you in sufficient numbers, and the microscopic jungle, or grass-tick, smaller than a pin’s head, that provokes a small sore wherever it has sucked your blood.

Since it bites you all over the body, in hundreds of places, you become a very sore creature indeed, covered with sores that last for many months. You scratch and scratch yourself, night and day, into a mental and physical wreck”

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Okay, So, The waynad story in detail was in his book ” Kenneth Anderson Omnibus” Please read it, as it starts with the traveler (long back) traveled from kakankote jungles to mananthoddy…

The Excerpts from KA,..”Then, across the border in the state of Mysore, preparations were started for the next kheddah operation, in which many wild elephants were to be caught.

Coolies were engaged in hundreds to build the mighty wooden stockade into which they would later drive the elephants before the gate was dropped and the bewildered beasts captured. Much preliminary work was required; timber had to be felled, the forest cleared, bamboos gathered and bound together and then moved to the spot selected for the stockade. This required not only hard work but experienced workers.

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Men from the jungle tribes, the Karumbas and the Sholagas, provided most of the recruits, for they were experienced not only in tree-felling and bamboo-binding, but in the ways of the elephants, in driving them into the stockade, and in roping and shackling them and taming them afterwards.

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That was when the tiger struck, a second and a third time., before people realized that a man-eater was amongst them. Two Karumbas vanished within three days of each other and the half-eaten remains of the first showed he had been devoured by a tiger.

The body of the second Karumba, like that of the traveller to Manantoddy, was never seen again. There is another way of getting to Manantoddy from Mysore city, and that is via Coorg, which was for years an independent state but has recently joined Mysore. It is a more circuitous route, but the scenery is even more picturesque…

We had traveled over ten miles from Manantoddy and were negotiating a stretch of dense forest; mostly of bamboo, on the Kerala bank of the Kabini river,
when we saw a party of men approaching us, carrying a litter. And this is where my story really begins, for on the litter was a man, his tattered clothing soaked with his blood. The bearers told us they were bamboo cutters and had been working on contract by the riverside, just over a mile away,

when shortly after dawn that morning and without warning, a tiger had suddenly charged upon two of them, in full view of the others, and struck down one, whom it had grabbed by the shoulder and begun to drag away”.

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TO BE CONTINUED…



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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