We planned this trip as a remedy to fix the disappointment of our failed plan to go to Mauritius and in the midst of an illness this seemed a preferable outing; least did I expect it to be the best holiday I have ever planned and the first I planned from scratch all by myself.
Having read just a few lines written by each of the hotel guests online while browsing for a place to stay in, I blindly prayed the place was worth it; after all it was a makeshift plan that just HAD to work out.
I lived in Bangalore for almost a year but never had I even heard of Bandipur leave aside visiting this heavenly abode that took us a day from Poona but just three hours from Bangalore city.
Forest. That’s the only word that can describe our trip. In the middle of somewhere we stayed in cottages as cosy as your grandma’s home, ate food that reminded you of that one restaurant you wish you could visit once more and glared at the view that resembled some kind of fictional mix between Harry Potter’s world and Alice’s Wonderland.
At our arrival we were served a yellow juice which by the look and aroma I could tell was not poured out of a bottle and was made by hand by the server himself. It was Amla juice extracted out of the fruit they grew at the resort. So full of rich flavours, I told my mum I wanted him to make a whole bottle of the juice for me to take with me back home. Just then I felt my bag brush through my leg like someone picked it up trying not to alert me. I looked back to find a tall and dark looking fella in a safari-like suit so faded that I had to look harder to figure out it was really old now. For a minute there I felt like we were heading towards an African safari. He introduced himself to us as Jadaya, and he was going to be our bellboy-cum-tour guide throughout out stay.
I have to tell you this part because it has surprised me to no end. Jadaya was a tribal person who belonged to the local village which was situated even further inside the forest and the amazing part was he spoke to us only in English, like proper English without stammering or breaking sentences like most South Indians tend to do.
We were then escorted to our cottage which was somewhere in the bushes. We had to walk on stone steps that made its way up a tiny hill slope. At the porch was this tiny bench covered in plants and colourful butterflies that made the cottage look so pretty from the outside. Painted tiger footprints begin on the outer side of the door and make its way to the inner walls of the cottage and end at what was a beautiful painting of a tiger walking besides tall grass, placed right above our king size bed. Scary to have a life size painting of a tiger above your bed!
Our duplex cottage seemed too huge for just the two of us, but boy! Did we make good use of it or what!!
All through our 3 days at Bandipur, we spent as much time as we could admiring the beauty of nature and now I comprehend the term ‘Mother Nature’.
We went on 7 am walks to the cliff from where apparently my mum could spot the resort and our room but I could only see really tall trees that sort of looked like coniferous trees minus the snow. But I made myself feel better by spotting the cliff from by cottage balcony and screamed just like my mum did at the cliff.
Until this trip I had only heard of something called ‘bird watching’ and I thought people do so in their back yard or something. Hell no did I know bird watching was done with binocs on hills and tiny pathways in the forest. I considered myself lucky to have spotted such rare and exotic birds some of which I might never see again. Even the more commonly seen birds were rare for me. Yellows, browns, greens, blues and oranges were the only colours up in the sky zooming from one branch to the other, so fast I struggled to take pictures.
Though our safari ride didn’t work out we still spotted deer, elephants, giant squirrel perched up on the tree, wild boars and so many more. The resort we stayed at was situated so deep in the forest that elephants would make their way towards the cottages at night following the lights while we would find our way to the cottage following fireflies..
At the end of our four days, I left paradise with a heavy heart. But life moves on and so will I, to another destination.