This section covers the activities that one can venture into, within the resort and in its vicinity.
As I mentioned in the earlier post, this is primarily a destination for those with the jungle safari in mind. However, there are a plethora of other activities too, that one can participate in.
But first let me take you through the more interesting ‘non activities’ that people like me would indulge in 😀
The property is a veritable paradise and one can opt to just loll around in its balmy aura. The Hammock tempts you to pick up a book and curl up in its netted embrace. The pretty green benches near by, vie with the hammock to lure you into their lap and sit still just gazing at the water lapping the shore.
The swimming pool is of course always an option or you can lounge lazily in the deck chairs that lie in the shade of the giant jackfruit tree.
You can even stay right inside your cottage and luxuriate in the scents of their special handmade bubble bath products, in the private, open to the sky jacuzzi, in the walled yard.
Parihasa, the children’s play area, keeps the little ones occupied and the ‘big’ ones have indoor games like carrom and snooker that are provided in the bar.
There is also a large trampoline that permits only those below 15 to bounce on it … darn I just missed it by one year 😛
In the evening, the conference room Samarya, meaning meeting place, screens movies on wildlife and is a great way to indulge in Armchair Safari 😀
Or one can choose to go back to the river bank and watch the day fade over the waters that swallow up the sun, while the dragonflies flit across the frame as if on a rescue mission !!!
As darkness falls, the lights of the dam twinkle in the distance. Sometimes an occasional fire blazes on the opposite bank, which farmers light in order to burn the remnant harvested stalks of sugarcane. Red Earth turns Earth’ereal at this hour !!!
At night, a bonfire is lit near the stage and on some days there is entertainment provided in the form of traditional performances by the locals.
The cozy and homely atmosphere of the resort also brings about a sense of bonhomie among the guests and sometimes strangers become friends and relationships are forged in moments.
I mostly travel alone on my assignments and am perfectly capable of keeping myself occupied, while at the same time being open to like minded company. Apart from becoming good friends with the owners themselves, I was also fortunate to meet Christine and Hans, visitors from Switzerland.
My connect with Christine was so instantaneous and deep that we felt we were sisters from 2 different continents … or as I would call her – my Swiss’ter 😀
And while it may seem that I am digressing, I needed to introduce you to her because we did go on some of the jaunts together.
For those who need pampering (actually who doesn’t ?), the peaceful and aesthetic spa Zvasthii, which means to breathe, provides relaxing massages and other ayurvedic therapies rendered by its skilled and trained staff. An informative brochure helps you decide on how you want to be spoiled 😀
If going out on the water is your thing, you can book a coracle ride that will take you on a gentle ride into the water, from where you can view the shoreline of the peninsula.
There is also a barge that lies tethered at the boating point. This can be booked by private parties to sail out and anchor at some distance in order to … party of course 😀
A more adventurous speed boat will slice through the water to take you to the opposite bank where the Ravi Rameshwara, the 1600 year old ancient Shiva temple lies, with its ruins steeped in history.
The board in the restaurant tells the tale of the ancient Punnata civilization that the temple belonged to and the stone tablets that rest on a wooden table, are precious relics of the 4th century BC, that have been located on the river banks of the property.
Speaking of the restaurant, guests can book Culinary classes that will be conducted by the in-house chefs.
A jogging track along the shore, helps burn the calories that you gain after this 😀
Chorus walk –
Offered complimentary with the stay, is the bird watching activity. Swami the in-house naturalist, leads the guests who have commendably woken up well in time to start the walk at the break of dawn, along with the sun that lies poised momentarily on the tip of a banana leaf 😀
Beginning at the resort itself, the Chorus walk as this is named, goes along the banks of the river and then into the neighboring villages, as Swamy armed with his book on the birds of this region, spots varieties of birds with an eagle eyed sharpness 😀
Binoculars help the less observant, and colors and beaks and tails and wings become more distinctive with its aid.
Treks and expeditions –
The resort also arranges walks, bullock cart rides and cycling expeditions into the village.
Those who want to venture outside the peninsula, can have the excursions arranged to the many trekking trails and heritage walks in the surroundings.
One can also have trips organised to the elephant camp at Balle, 24 km away, the Buddist monastery 33 km away in Gurupura, which is the only Tantric university in India and where the Dalai Lama visits.
Day long excursions are also offered to the surrounding localities of Mysore city, Coorg and Wayanad.
The safari of course, is the highlight and being solely conducted by the government, one has to follow the norms that are set regarding schedules, jungle etiquette and camouflaging attire, to ensure sensitive tourism.
The rich wildlife in the Nagarahole forest includes gaur, elephants, Malabar giant squirrels, spotted deer, sambar deer, barking deer and of course the elusive leopard and tiger. There are also several species of birds to be found.
My adventures –
During my stay there I opted for a mix of activities, based on my time and interests.
Day 1 –
On my first evening, Lokesh from the resort, escorted me on a village walk. Actually it was to be a ‘village ride’ on bicycles but after posing smartly with one, I decided that ambling would require less energy … after all, I had to adhere to the energy conservation, eco friendly theme of the resort, right ? (you really need to consult me if ever you need good excuses 😛 )
We visited the near by habitation less than a km away. The friendly and hospitable people invited me to visit their homes and excited kids and even more excited adults (especially me 😀 ) came together for pictures with a lot of giggling and posing. Being proficient in the local language Kannada, it was easy for me to chatter non stop with them (not that lack of knowledge of a language has ever deterred me from interacting with anyone 😀 )
Day 2 –
On the next morning, though I had planned to visit the Shiva temple, I was unable to do so since the temple priest was away during the days of my stay and there was no one else in charge.
But Devaraj from the village, did take me on a gentle coracle ride over the waters, as he pointed out the various water birds that skimmed across along with the dragonflies that were too quick even for the eye … trapping them on camera being even more impossible.
It was likewise with the fish that abounded in the river … their darting movements leaving behind a mere blur to the untrained eye.
What I did click though, was the shoreline of the peninsula, as the boat swirled around the headland, giving me a clear view of the periphery. A healthy green filling of land within the sandwich of sky and water, with the clouds and their reflections poised in a perfect pandering to my obsession with symmetry !!!
A Land’wich if you will 😀
I was also taken on the speed boat ride, and I requested them to make it a ‘slow boat’ ride mainly to ensure that my phone did not fly away during the selfies … oh those tell tale selfies that reflect your hands in your sunglasses 😀
The winds are strong and one would do well to hold on tight.
The staff is very obliging and gentle and they heed all requests willingly.
Back at the resort, I submitted myself to a relaxing foot massage rendered by the pleasant and cheerful Devika at the spa.
Devika is a trained spa and ayurveda professional and while the calm environs of the spa itself are sufficient to relax you, her skilled hands add to the experience and the pampering takes your holiday to another level.
After lunch, due to my limited time, I had to choose between the safari and the elephant camp at Balle. I opted for the latter because getting to the camp meant traversing through a part of the jungle, which was a mini safari of its own and so to some extent it was like achieving both.
I was driven across the 24 km (and 40 minutes), accompanied by the sharp eyed Swamy and equally observant driver who kept a close watch, as they attempted to locate and point out the animals to me.
The easiest to Spot were the Spotted deer (but of course) and they were visible at almost every Spot (ok ok I will Stop 😛 )
Apart from this, there were a few barking deer, some peacocks sidling shyly in the bushes and innumerable monkeys scampering around.
The actual jungle safari vehicle takes you into the inner tracks and hence a wider range of animal sightings are possible.
The Balle camp was the location for the Kheddah operations that used to be conducted in the past. Domesticated elphants were used to train wild elephants that were trapped using man made camouflaged pits.
However, nowadays the place is merely used to nurture the elephants that are used in the Dasara procession.
I had the opportunity of seeing Arjuna and Kumarswamy the 2 main pachyderms of the procession and of course I had to take an ‘elfie with them … which is a selfie with an elephant 😀
The majestic Arjuna is the chosen one and he carries the golden Howdah at the annual Dassera procession in Mysore.
Posing next to the 5000 kg giant, makes one feel very slim indeed, though for some reason my picture seems to match him in size.
Let us blame the angle okay … or maybe it was the elephant Kurta that I deliberately wore for the occasion 😀
I also managed to trap into my camera frame, a few monkeys that were prancing around in the area thus obtaining my version of Monk’ie too 😀
The journey back was quite eventful, as we drove just a few feet away from a large wild tusker that was grazing nonchalantly just beside the road, blissfully ignoring his excited human audience.
Back at the resort, a bonfire had been lit and it crackled brightly, with its rising sparks twinkling along with the stars in the clear night sky. There was no cultural program that day, so I just rested in the chair nearby and gazed at the flames as I took in the beauty of the night.
Day 3 –
On the third day which was my final morning there, I decided to go on the Chorus walk and managed to cajole Christine into keeping me company. Pacts and promises were made and resolutely adhered to as we met up at the dining hall on the dot of 6.30 am.
Swamy energetically led his bleary eyed procession of two but managed to pique our interest quite quickly with his informative lecture on the local birds. And very soon Christina and I snapped out of our sleepiness and began chirping as brightly as the featherd friends around us.
We also bullied Swamy into constantly clicking pictures of us and in turn I clicked one of him, holding a bunch of fresh Tur (pigeon pea legume) that was plucked for us by the villagers. Of course I did that just so that I could caption it – On the village Tur with Swamy (I had to reward myself for waking up that early, right ? 😛 )
Well we early birds managed to spot the other R’eally birds (= real early birds) and Bulbuls, Lapwings, Hummingbirds, Parakeets, Mynahs, Larks and many more, were identified and examined with the binoculars.
We also saw also Early humans who were unduly enthusiastic at that unearthly hour 😀
The hour long walk ended back at the resort in time for a wash and breakfast.
Day 3 –
It was the third and last day of my stay and I was to visit the Buddhist monastery in the morning, on my way back. Unfortunately that trip got cancelled due to certain unavoidable circumstances.
Though I was disappointed, I urged myself to look at it optimistically and take it as an opportunity to go back another day.
Leaving something undone is a great reason to return to a place and this is a place that is worth coming back to !!!
And now that we have built up an appetite with all these activities, come wine and dine with me as I guide you through the food and drink.
For more pictures see My Facebook – Red Earth Kabini-Activities
Nov 8th-10th, 2017
To book a holiday with them please connect with Red Earth Kabini
Disclosure – This trip was made in collaboration with the Red Earth Kabini. This narration is based on my own observations and experiences.