Bandipur National Park is about three hours drive south of Bangalore and was recommended to me by some colleagues as being a good two-day break from the hustle and bustle of the city. I arrived around lunchtime and was shown to my cabin which was (as expected) fairly basic, but beautifully decorated. After lunch I had two hours to chill out before starting our safari, and although there were no activities at the resort, it was a quiet and peaceful spot to read, or just take a lazy afternoon nap—perhaps not on the “private terrace” though!
At 4:30pm we set off in a jeep for our pre-dusk safari, seeing lush unspoilt landscapes, spotted deer, huge Gaur, and the principal attraction, elephants.
The next morning was an early 6:30am start for a “trek” into the park. The itinerary had been rather sketchy about what this trek entailed, and it turned out to be quite a length hike up a medium-sized hill—not too difficult but rather more than my breakfast-less body wanted to deal with. The views from the top were almost worth the effort, but our guide then spotted a leopard sunning itself on a rock on the other side of the valley—initially no more than a yellow and black blur even through binoculars, but as we descended the hill, it became quite visible, to the point where when he eventually stood up and sauntered off, his movements were visible to the naked eye. Quite an experience and definitely worth missing breakfast for… Browse all photos.
Clearly my previous month-long business trip to Bangalore cannot have been too psychologically scarring since I was quite happy to volunteer to return for another three week stint. Sadly there has been little excitement to blog about in this trip—having too much work on is hardly thrilling material to write about—and this time I am staying at a different apartment complex that has an on site buttery service which does delicious (and safe!) food removing my most pressing need to venture into Bangalore proper. Very dull, but then I think I did see Bangalore’s highlights on my last visit!
Today, I did take an auto-rickshaw to the office and remembered how exhilarating it is to be in one of these as it nimbly weaves its way in and out of traffic much more efficiently than a car can. Definitely more exciting than dozing in the back of an air-conditioned car trying to make polite conversation with the driver! The open-cab design even means there’s a pleasant (of sorts, there were a lot exhaust fumes on the roads I took today) breeze to keep the passenger cool. I have to say though, while rickshaws are brilliant for shooting around small back streets, or slow moving roads, the dual carriageway that takes me to work has some pretty large traffic (well, the trucks are pretty small by British standards, but comparative to an auto!) that likes to zoom when there’s a clear bit of space, and suddenly only having a bit of thin plastic between you and the other traffic doesn’t feel very safe… Using autos makes every journey an adventure, but I think I will be taking a car again tomorrow. 🙁