With the NICE road easing the stress off your wheels, the drive towards Mysore is surely worth a try. The journey also plays home to many ‘rival treasures’ which many ignore or just don’t know about. One such diversion takes you to the wild and dense forests of Biligiri Rangan Betta. Two Hundred and fifty km from the city, this green abode for animals is a peaceful weekend getaway for nature lovers.
A bottle of juice and some good music is good enough to take you to the woods as the long winding roads and the green fields on either side don’t just soothe your senses but prepare you for the calm and quiet weekend ahead. Tea and coffee addicts might want their evening breaks for which there is a line of snack stalls with an army of monkeys welcoming you on your way to BR Hills. Its important to make the 6 pm deadline as the gates are closed after that.
On entry into the forest, the music can go off and windows lowered a little. The locals suggest, the partially raised window for one may never know when a Flintstones moment could occur with the trunk popping inside. With sign boards instructing you throughout, you reach the civilised part of the forest; the village. Beating the traditional sense of the word, this is just a long road with exactly three stops. The first is the hospital and school of Dr Sudarshan, a must see, the second being the only “restaurant” around and the third being the well known temple right at the end of the road.
The school for tribal children is definitely a dream place to study for all. Like described in most novels, this schools is vast and surrounded by greenery. Little cottages make classrooms and these classrooms are filled with the colourful projects of students. A self sufficient community, this large compound with little cottages as hostels, classes and other facilities.
One way you could make your trip worthwhile and adventurous is by going for the trek and jungle safari organised by the Jungle Lodges. The grand jeep Safari in which one can spot deer every two seconds, sambars and elephants. And what could tempt you to drag yourself to this early morning safari is that, the Jungle Lodges has three domesticated deer’s who comfortably walk around humans and a fetish for canteen food.
As a gang of five women who made this trip by car, we were criticised enough for it by any man we encountered on the way. Shunning the ‘unsafe’ comments , we knew that no man could have done anything better than the five of us to ensure our safety. Soon these thoughts were breezed away as we spotted an elephant family of three, a majestic sambar, three peacocks and deer. Lucky, yes, but one should take the safari to increase these chances.
A few pointers are would be to ensure all are indoors before 7 pm as it gets pitch dark here. Added to this would be to carry packed snacks as the place offers you just the one mess, Gurudarshini whose menu does not go beyond the regular chapati curry and rasam rice. Needless to say, carry warm clothes because no matter what season it is, the trees tend to keep the air chilly at night.
A little visit to the temple which also has a viewpoint is quiet and refreshing giving you a few moments to introspect. However, your little private moment could be massively disturbed by the hollering monkeys at the temple. They could take your food away or just have their own little party while you are around but its nothing to worry. It is a weekend getaway for anyone seeking for peace and quiet with a little bit of adventure.