Vilaspur, more popularly known as the Blackbuck resort of the Jungle Lodges and Resorts group, is a quiet place tucked away near the Honnikeri reserve forest. Just 18km from Bidar, and 150 km from Hyderabad, it is easily accessible by road. But once you are in, there will not be any connection with the outside world. No internet, no cell phones buzzing (except Airtel nothing else works here). My three days there flew away in bliss.
The resort has 18 spacious and beautiful cottages dotting the periphery of the lake that are thoughtfully designed to suit the local weather. Well furnished and air-conditioned, they spell comfort combined with elegance. Coming in varying sizes, each offers a unique view of the pristine lake. Mine has an excellent view of the lake and the forest beyond.
Standing in the balcony, the trees are at my eye level and the cute little birds are at hand’s reach. Bright red Palash flowers contrasted against the pale green of the drying up grass and the blue waters behind. It is a visual treat! Squirrels that come to nibble at the red flowers chase each other, going up and down so swiftly. It is such a pleasure to watch them run. Once you take your eyes off these, you see the river with cranes hunting for fish on the bank and ducks swimming at the edge of the lake.
Sanju takes us for a boat ride, called coracle it is rowed with an oar. I love the gentle movements of the manual boat, accompanied by the soft gurgle of the water. It feels heavenly, with the water birds making pleasant sounds as the soft breeze that lets you savour the beauty of every moment.
With hills all around and a lake that reflects the setting sun, the resort is very picturesque. It is a perfect setting for those who want to watch the sedate environs come alive with the birds singing and the Langur monkeys swinging on the tree branches. Black naped hare, wild boars and porcupines are also found here. Peacocks too make a sudden appearance and spring a surprise.
Birds like sand grouse, doves, robins, red-vented bulbuls, tree pies, kites and many others can be spotted in the resort. Cormorants, kingfishers, egrets and spot billed ducks are regular visitors to the lake.
Trailing blackbucks on foot and watching them disappear into thickets is a unique experience.
But it is worth it: watching a lovely sunset and later to be rewarded with sighting huge groups of black bucks. Their gait while running, I find the most graceful. We follow in the jeep, wherever the black bucks run. They run so fast, it is tough to get a good close up. But I am content looking at them and freezing the moment in my mind’s eye. What more can I ask for?
Getting there : From Hyderabad, Bidar is 140kms. The resort is 18kms from Bidar city. From Bidar, go towards Navbad (6 kms), proceed for another 6 kms and look out for sign board indicating directions to the resort. Follow signboards for the next 2.5 kms to reach the Blackbuck Resort.
Best time to go: After monsoon, anytime. The surroundings are lush and the weather is at its best between October and February. This is also a good time for bird watching and outdoor activities.
Places to visit: Bidar Fort, Barid Shahi Garden, Gurdwara Nanak Jhira Saheb, Chowbara Must do: Blackbuck trails, Coracle rides, Bird watching, Nature walks, Visit to the heritage monuments nearby.
(The author is a travel writer and a documentary filmmaker focusing on art, culture and history)