Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend stress buster - Bandipur and Gopalswamy Betta

This weekend was not a long weekend. But the itch to go somewhere was strong. We had a few options - Bandipur and Gopalswamy Betta, Nagarhole and Irupu falls, Yellagiri and optional Vellore. Finally at the last moment, we picked Bandipur and just packed whatever we could lay our hands on. We had had a lazy Saturday morning and an even lazier lunch of yummy mango custard and brown chana sprouts. It was 5:15 by the time we could leave home. We filled petrol and bought water bottles and we were on NICE road by 5:45. A break for tea and a dosa at the restaurant behind Coffee Day after Channapatna. We were at our hotel room in Mysore by 8:45. The room was small and nothing great but still cost us Rs 700.

Next morning, we left the hotel at 4:30 in the morning. We took a break by the road side to eat the biscuits we had got with us and reached the safari office at Bandipur at 6:45. The van was already filled and ready to leave. The driver cum guide told us to join him in the van. We got to sit on the wooden planks next to the driver's seat which offered the best view. But there wasn't much to view. There were lots of deer; some bison, some orange mongoose, some peacocks and one of them was dancing with his feathers spread out. There was also a lone elephant eating some leaves. We had more elephant sightings on our Ooty trip than this safari. The van had a noisy family who just couldn't keep quite in spite of the driver reminding them again and again that we are in a forest and should maintain silence. That was the irritating part.
With the safari done, there wasn't much else to do at Bandipur. So we had a nice breakfast at Pugmark restaurant and had a walk around the resort.

After that we were ready to go to Gopalswamy Betta. It is about 20 kms from Bandipur on the way to Mysore in Hangal village. It was nice to pass through the sleepy little village. Most of the fields had a “machan” because wild animals come to the area after dark. At the forest gate 25 Rs fee needs to be paid to climb up the hill. The road is open only from 7 am to 5 pm. It was nice to experience a couple of steep curves. It reminded us of the Ooty trip. At the top of the hill, we were greeted by some amazing views and a temple. After going to the temple, we sat at the temple compound for a while soaking in the greenery and the silence. We are suckers for greenery and silence ;) Finally at 11:30 we left the temple and were on our way back to Mysore.

At 1 we were near the bangalore by pass road and for some weird reason, we decided to take that route instead of going through Mysore city. That route seemed nealy 10-15 kms longer!! And it got quite frustrating when the White Orchid restaurant before Srirangapatnam said they are booked and cannot allow us to have lunch there. It seemed the Punjab police had booked the hotel as there were lots of police cars standing there. There go our plans of eating a relaxed lunch in a nice place. We were thinking we could have found an A/C restaurant in Mysore and had a good lunch. On the way we saw Fun Fort which had a restaurant. We decided to find out if we could have lunch there. The sun was beating down hard and we just needed a break. Thankfully, for restaurant entry they charge 50 per head which would be deducted from the bill if the bill amount is more than 100 Rs. Otherwise the entry fee is 275 per head. The restaurant was called seafood restaurant but we were assured of getting vegetarian food. Thankfully, we got vegetarian food which wasn't too bad.

At 3:45 we were on the road again. This time there was some Sunday evening traffic along the entire stretch between Srirangapatnam and Bangalore. With nothing else to do, I started reading the sign boards along the way and found some funny ones "Sri 'some name' parboiled by rice" !!! , 'Sachin heir saloon'

We stopped at Kamat for tea. And as soon as we were about to finish our tea, the rain and wind started coming down heavily. So we waited for a while for the rain to subside a bit. We left from there at around 6 and were home by 7:30.


Chetan said...

yummy mango custard and channa sprouts????

Jee2 said...

hey Nikita,

Do you by any chance have the telephone number of Pugmark Resort near Bandipur? I just read in your blog that you been there..

Thanks and Regards

Nikita said...

hi Jee2
I am sorry but I do not have the telephone number of the pugmark restaurant. you could try this as the restaurant was part of the jungle lodges resort.