BANGALORE: A meandering road that passes through lush trees with mist and clouds hanging low, almost as though their descend is a formal invitation. Sounds like a fairy tale, well, this is the route to Kabini. This is probably one of the most famous wildlife destination in the state. Kabini is actually a river that flows through three national parks viz, Bandipur, Nagorhole and Madhumati.
A number of lodges and resorts have mushroomed in and around the banks of the river that offer jungle safaris, boat rides and an opportunity to breathe in fresh air that has now become a rare commodity in the big cities. Located approximately 220 kilometres from Bangalore, the Kabini River Lodge is one such destination. Once a hunting lodge of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore, today it is stands as an epitome of pure peace and serenity. Located five kilometres off the Mysore-Mananthavadi Road, it is this stretch that can be a tad demoralising. However, once you cross the threshold of the resort, the opinion transforms almost miraculously. Green, green and more green... The cottages are built in old colonial style with high ceilings and a cosy fire place.There is a lot to do here -- sit around and laze in the serine environs, boating or wildlife safaris. There are two safaris that you could opt for — one is at the crack of dawn while the other is at 4.30pm. A comparison of the two would be quite a task as at both the times, you could spot different wild animals — elephants, sambhar, spotted deer, gaur, wild boar, sloth bear, wild dogs, etc., are almost assured, while if one is lucky, a tiger or a panther too can be spotted.
However, a word of caution, do ensure that you are well-equipped with light woolens for the morning safari, as it could get a tad nippy. The afternoon one on the other hand, is a little more welcoming, especially for those who are sensitive to chilly temperatures.
Once the afternoon safari is done, you could even go for the boat ride — the coracle (a circular boat made of bamboo) or the motor boat. Whichever the option, inform the locale staff and they will ensure that the needful is done.
The evening does not end here, there is also a screening of wildlife movies before dinner. The movies describe and educate the tourists about various animals, especially those in danger of extinction — the tiger.
Though one can visit the national park anytime of the year, the drier months — March, April and May is when one can spot probably the largest congregation of Asiatic Elephants . This is usually the time when the elephants head to the back water for food and water. Though during the monsoons the foliage is at its best and greenest, the frequency of visibility of the wild ones is rather scarce. Apart from animals, bird enthusiasts can also enthral themselves with the beautiful species of the aves available here.