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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We walked where He Walked…The footsteps been revisited


Unless you are a Hunter and the year is 1950, Going to these places All Alone, are quite risky and your exploration will only be skin-deep.

I will become a social person, when it comes to forest and associated risks. Again, convincing your friends for an old KA areas, (Just because, you’ve been bedazzled by his writing storm), is also not an easy task.. As, many ‘man eater’ territories he hunted are, not as famous, like Coorg and Nilgiris.

Why would someone spend time in a parched forest?

No one will jump and say ‘Yes’ to come along. I have taken extreme steps to get my friends on board. When we stayed in Aiyur forest lodge, we could actually feel the ‘eerie’ at night, wondering, how those starry nights, KA with his friend Eric, took a gooming in the spider valley, that too without weapons.

The Morning drive at kodakarai was an adventurous one, as the routes were not tarred at that time. My ‘drink and be merry’ type friends never anticipated the steep climb and curve; the thrill was really unexplainable.

Kenneth mentions the kodakarai forest bungalow and the exiled afghan king’s statements while he stayed there. When you drive through those areas, you will re live and you will be a time traveler.

People say, there is hardly any wild life in these territories…might be true, but what matters is, the topography. These places are still the same. Except, the villagers, now wear cloths and have Fanclub for actors.

I have been planning to go to gundukottai, where the panther of sivanapalli narration incites. Somehow got hold of a Byra of 2018, eagerly would like to locate the panther’s exact cave where honey bees stung KA and his Dog.

Let me be a detailed man.!

Megamalai weekdays trip-Team Bhp follow up.

ALL SNAPS ARE FROM MY MOBILE PHONE. DSLR WOULD HAVE BEEN SPLENDID

Megamalai is a secret place until 2008, Though, this place is charming with natural abundance, the accessibility was restricted to private tea estates. The Roads were unusable and filled with stones, and were narrower. Recent years, the Government took over and the roads started improving and Finally IMPROVED!

While Planning this trip, the first thing I have done was, Checking it in Team bhp touring Portal. I have read, that, the road was still bad. We took a chance and moved towards.

On hill climbing, the lighter car performs better.So, i have borrowed my wife’s Alto. The drive is from MADURAI – ANDIPATTI- THENI – CHINNAMANUR – MEGAMALAI  in just 3 hours.(All inclusive)

Alto on the Move. Effortless driving!

We Live in a dynamic world, your planning should be very quick. Otherwise, it won’t happen!

I have convinced my three other local  friends in a flash, by, telling them, it’s a day trip and we will come down as soon as we climbed up. But, My evil idea was to stay for a night, and, get to see the early morning mist. When you are trip organizer, you need to be a qualified liar as well.

All agreed, and all of them got the go ahead from their spouses, and, offices where they work!

First things first, The Road is New and beautiful.This is the latest update. Team bhp, Please update your forum.

Plastic roads! Nice to move.But take small cars! No need of SUV.

No shops en route! [ Later we found,that, there are tea shops], So we had packed the food from the megamalai base, called chinnamanur.

All are Mobile phone clicks.No expectations this time!

The Drive was very Good! In a blinking of the eye, we have reached the spot. Now the sight seeing!

  • You have Dams built around! Have a wonderful walk. Megamalai is a water world!
  • There are trekking paths leads to the Megamalai wild life sanctuary
  • You can visit the Tea estates, and they will give you a grand tour.
  • The world’s most beautiful! estate bungalows are there to stay and enjoy the Mother Nature

The beautiful scenes started showing up on the top of the hill driving. You wont believe that, you have arrived in 3 hour drive from Madurai, a city which formed by fire and brimstone.

BRIMMING CHEERINESS!

This unexplainable Joy can still be explained…The Wives are not around!

The Estate bungalow, Tea factory and the wild life area are only accessible through A JEEP, OR AN SUV.Because,the road does not exist…you are expected to create a road and move.Hiring a Jeep would cost you a grand 2.5 k for a distance of 7 kms one way.

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If you are a gang of friends, You can stay in Government Buildings for a dime..But all of them are crappy abodes. Staying in Chinamannur or Theni and make a early morning visit to Megamalai is worth a billion dollors.
If you are with a family, Then, Woodbrior bungalow will be superb!at a cost of 10k for 4 people.

Megamalai Wood Brior group Staying facility

Signing out for now!

 

 

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…