Sunday, August 17, 2014

Black Buck Sanctuary-Jayamangali-(Maidnahalli)-2014


When my friend Mr Sateesh contacted me to visit Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve since we had visited in 2011 nearly three years back, I contacted Mr. Harish and Mr. Viraj and we all left in Mr.Harish Bolero on 16th August 2014 by 5-00 am, had tea enroute by 7-30 am we had breakfast at Kodigengahalli, (Idli-Bajji and got Veg Palauv packed for afternoon) and reached the Forest by 8-30 am. 

How to reach:
Route 1
Bangalore – Tumkur – Koratagere – Madhugiri – take Hindupur road – Puruavara (10Kms from Madhugiri) – turn left on ID Halli road – turn right (after 8 KMs) where the board says ‘Jayamangali Blackbucks Reserve’.  (NOT GOOD)- AROUND 140-150 KMS

Route 2
Bangalore ----- Hebbal ----- Yelahanka ----- Doddaballapur ----- Gowribidhanur ----- Thondebavi -----  Kodigenahalli ----- Maidanahalli  (This one is OK and Good)-AROUND 110 KMS

We are a group of Photography Enthusiasts, who are mainly into all types of photography especially Wildlife,Pictorial and Bird Photography .

I think the photographs will explain more about these fantastic sightings than the words. so, here we go...

This area is located 23 km to the north east of Madhugiri town (Karnataka) and about 20 km to the west of Hindupur town (Andhra Pradesh). The geographical co-ordinates of the forest watch tower inside this area are 13 44’ 20” N and 7 19’ 41” E.

Brief Information 

Jayamangali (formerly Maidenahalli) Blackbuck Conservation Reserve is Tumkur district's only notified protected area. It neighbours Maidenahalli, a small village in Madhugiri Taluk, at the north-eastern tip of Tumkur district of Karnataka state, India. This area is a part of the plains of Deccan plateau and borders Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is a 798-acre (3.23 km2) patch of grassland with Eucalyptus and Acacia auriculiformis. It has the largest contiguous population of Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) in Karnataka, apart from Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary

The open grasslands of peninsular India were once widespread across the Deccan Plateau. Post- independence, however, they have shrunk to isolated patches thanks to immense pressure for cultivation, human habitation and other reasons that also include industrialisation. In 1987, the forest department of Tumakuru Division began protecting the area when the blackbuck’s presence was brought to their notice. In 1992, after sustained efforts by the forest department, the jurisdiction of the area was handed over from the Revenue Department to the Forest department. The Forest Department then fenced a portion of the area and raised a nursery. A concrete watchtower was erected along with two wood houses and watchmen sheds. But, the ownership of the land still rested with the revenue department.

Tumakuru’s nature lovers worked hard to have the area granted the status of a Protected Area, like a wildlife sanctuary. The first ever Status Survey report on the area was published by Tumakuru-based Wildlife Aware Nature Club (WANC) in 1997. This helped the wildlife wing of Karnataka Forest Department to source data on this area and recommend it be declared a 'Conservation Reserve'. The Government of Karnataka accepted this proposal. In February 2007, vide Government Order No: FEE 342 FWL 05, 798.33 acres (3.2307 km2) of the area was finally notified as Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve, (though the original area proposed to be included in this Conservation Reserve was 893 acres). Thus, Tumkur District's first protected area was born.

Information about Blackbuck

Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is a species of antelope native to the Indian subcontinent. Their range decreased sharply during the 20th century. Since 2003, the IUCN lists the species as near threatened.

This species is the only living species of the genus Antilope, and has been introduced in Texas and Argentina. It is one of the fastest of all terrestrial animals reaching to speeds of up to 80 km/h and is one of the few antelopes where males and females have distinctive coloration, as the male bucks are a distinctive black and white and have long twisted horns, while females are fawn coloured with no horns. In its scientific name Antilope cervicapra, 'Antilope' from 'anthalops' (Greek) a horned animal; 'cervicapra' from 'cervus' (Latin) a deer and 'capra' (Latin) a she-goat.

The blackbuck, is the provincial animal of India it is known as Krishna Mriga in Kannada. Also known as Krishna Jinka in Telugu, it has been declared as the state animal of Andhra Pradesh. Other local names for the species include Krishnasar in Bengali, Kala Hiran, Sasin, Iralai Maan, and Kalveet in Marathi.[4] It is often simply called Indian antelope though this term might also be used for other Antilopinae from the region.

The skin of Krishna Mrigam plays an important role in Hinduism, and Brahmin boys are traditionally required to wear a strip of unleathered hide after performing Upanayanam.

Blackbuck fleeing at Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu, India 

Male and female blackbuck 
Body Length: 100–150 cm (3.3–4.9 ft)
Shoulder Height: 60–85 cm (2.0–2.79 ft)
Tail Length: 10–17 cm (3.9–6.7 in)
Weight: 25–35 kg (55–77 lb)

The distinctive horns of the Blackbuck are ringed with 1 to 4 spiral turns, rarely more than 4 turns, and can be as long as 79 cm (31 in). A trophy Blackbuck is greater than 46 cm (18 in). In the male, the upper body is black (dark brown), and the belly and eye rings are white. The light-brown female is usually hornless. Blackbuck usually roam the plains in herds of 15 to 20 animals with one dominant male.

On the open plain, the Blackbuck is one of the fastest animals and can outrun most predators over long distances. Its chief predator was the now extinct Indian Cheetah. It is now sometimes preyed upon by wolves, feral dogs, etc.

The diet of the Blackbuck consists mostly of grasses, although it will eat pods, flowers and fruits to supplement its diet. The maximum life span recorded is 16 years and the average is 12 years.

There are four subspecies or geographic races
 Antilope cervicapra cervicapra
 Antilope cervicapra rajputanae
 Antilope cervicapra centralis
 Antilope cervicapra rupicapra
 Albino Blackbuck 

Albinism in Blackbuck is rare and caused by the lack of the pigment melanin. The animal looks fully white due to the lack of melanin in their skin. Wildlife experts say that the biggest problem with these Albinos is that they are singled out by predators and hunted.

Distribution and habitat 
Originally spread over large tracts of India (except in North East India). Today the blackbuck population is confined to areas in Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka with a few small pockets in Central India.

In Nepal, the last surviving population of blackbuck is found in the Blackbuck Conservation Area south of the Bardia National Park. In 2008, the population was estimated to comprise 184 individuals.

Flora and fauna
More than 80 species of plants have been recorded from this area. Many of these plants have medicinal value.

Sixty-seven species of butterflies belonging to seven families have been sighted in the area. Most of the species recorded are common throughout the Indian Peninsula and some are typical of the arid regions.

Jayamangali (Maidanahalli) Blackbuck Conservation Reserve has the second largest contiguous population of Blackbuck in Karnataka, after Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary. In total, 19 species of mammals belonging to 11 families have been recorded in the area, including the Near Threatened Blackbuck. The first ever census of Jayamangali Blackbuck reserve was jointly conducted by the members of WANC and Karnataka Forest Department in the area on 15–16 November 1997, during which a population of 408 Blackbuck was recorded. A subsequent census was held by the above on 1–2 October 2002, which revealed a population of over 600 blackbuck.

Apart from the blackbuck, other mammals present in the area include Indian wolf, Bonnet macaque, Jungle cat, Small Indian Civet, Indian Gray Mongoose, two species of bats, the Indian Fox, the Indian Hare, and six species of rodents.

About 125 species of birds belonging to 37 families have been recorded in the area, of which 22 are migratory. As expected of grasslands, the area is rich in ground birds, shrikes, larks and raptors. This is one of the few habitats in Tumkur District where the Indian Courser (Cursorius coromandelicus) and Painted Sandgrouse (Pterocles indicus indicus) have been seen. Some of the surrounding villagers claim to have seen the Great Indian Bustard in the past. Although none of the authors nor any birdwatchers have the bird in the area, efforts are on to sight this highly threatened species.

Since it is a grassland, it has quite a number of reptiles typical of dry areas/plains. About 26 species have been recorded in the area, including 14 different species of snakes

Note: There are no options for food around the Reserve. So, its better to pack food, if you happen to be in the reserve during the food timings. Also, ensure that you carry sufficient water with you.

we had  lots of fantastic sightings of birds. from birds like Bushchat's, Robin's, Bee-Eater's, Indian Roller's to big raptors like Honey Buzzard's, White-eye Buzzard's, etc.  on the route 

after having lunch we decided to visit HESSARAGHATTA lake, after a few snaps enroute the village life picked some shots enroute


Hesaraghatta Lake is a manmade reservoir located 18 km to the north-west of Bangalore in Karnataka state, India. It is a fresh water lake created in the year 1894 across the Arkavathy River to meet the drinking water needs of the city. Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, the then Dewan of erstwhile Mysore state and the then Chief Engineer of Mysore, M. C. Hutchins, planned to build the scheme called the “Chamarajendra Water Works” to store a three-years' water supply to the city.

The reservoir is reported to have filled up last in the year 1994 and thereafter the lake’s deterioration and drying up started, reducing its reliability as a water supply source.

The reasons attributed to the lake’s drying up are erosion in the catchment and consequent capacity shrinking due to continuous silting. As of July 2009, the lake is completely dry.

In recent years, the Hesaraghatta Lake bed has seen an increased number of bird photographers who drive on the lake bed using their cars and SUVs as hides resulting in extensive damage to the grassland habitat. This has increased the vehicle tracks to 43 km in total, with the average track width coming to 1.62 meters. About 136 hectares of habitat was either lost or disturbed because of vehicular movement.

Main factors affecting degradation include sand mining, movement of tractors, tree plantations, and grazing of cattle.

Information Source : Wikipedia

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Idlumane-Kodachadri 2014

Date: 05th July 2014 and 06th July 2014

Mr.Sateesh, Mr.Viraj, Mr.Umesh & Mr.Harish from Bangalore called me over phone that they intended to come to Shimoga for 2 days. I decided to take them to Vihara Nisarghadhama owned by Mr.Manjanna (fondly called) a eco friendly, South India Yoga Champion, Humanitarian, Trekker and a good hearted person.

The Team left Bangalore on 4th July 2014 at 6-30 pm, in Mr.Harish Bolero, and reached my house by 10-30 pm, I welcomed them and had dinner (Onion,Potato & Brijal Sambar).

05th July 2014

I had planned to take them for bird watching nearby place called Purdal Dam in Shimoga, luckily we were able to shoot some pictures.

Purdal is a small village nearby Shimoga city which has beautiful scenic view. There is a water reservoir to store the water from the nearby steep areas. Purdal dam is also the major water supply for Lion safari and forest around Purdal. A very calm place which receives less crowd. Purdal is best suited for family outings nearby shimoga. Purdal can be reached by two ways - one is from Sagara road and another is from Anupinakatte road. There is huge parking space next to the dam and evening is the most opted time to visit the location. A popular television hosted a reality game show at purdal few years before which made purdal to come into the public notice. A beautiful road leading to prudal with semi-forest is treat to watch.




After returning from Purdal, I prepared Breakfast (Uppama), and left Shimoga by 12-30 pm, in Bolero towards Vihara Nisargha Dhama (via. Ayanoor, Ripponpet, Hosanagara, Nagar, Nittur) on a 118 km drive, and reached the place at 2.30 pm. 


Vihara Nisargha dhama is about 2.5 kms from Nittur, the route from Nittur is a Katcha Road.

Nisarga Vihara Dhama is a retreat built amidst forest consisting of log huts and tents (on request) to stay overnight on a sprawling 10 acres. This is a brain child of Manjanna who is in charge of almost everything in this place. We were received by Manjanna and we were directed to a log hut to put things in place and get fresh. 


We had lunch (Jackfruit Palya, Nugge Soppina Chatni, Chapathi, Rice and Curd).

After having Lunch  we started towards Idlu Mane falls to a point where the trail starts. The road is not all that good so always take a Jeep and never your car. It took about half an hour and some effort to reach the first stage of the fall.


Start from Nittur for 3 kms and take right turn towards Kodachadri hills. Drive for 13 km to reach Idlumane, and trek for 6 kms  to reach the waterfalls. Idlumane falls also has one more route which is on trekking by Nagodi village.

No food is available anywhere on the way or at the spot. So carry your food with you. Please don't throw any non-biodegradable substance (plastics, water bottles, plastic plates etc..) there. Enjoy and be one among the nature.

After our Drive to Idulmane, we had to start our trek and were welcomed by the green fields then the real journey to the falls started by crossing over fallen trees and slippery mud (it had rained the previous day) making our trek a little difficult.

We were immediately treated with fallen trees covered with moss and flat mushroom, ferns, new leaves sprouting, fallen leaves, noisy insects, leeches, etc. There was a bit of humidity too.

We had to cross the most dangerous part of the trek, climbing bed of rocks with water flow and very slippery due to the water flow.

We had a surprise also, a Viper was almost next to us when we were taking rest.

To trek is to breathe clean air, cherish every step towards the horizon,test the endurance levels of each and above all experience a wave of thrill running through one’s veins. Keep crossing logs, be careful of blood thirsty leeches, clear the path branches obstructing you.

The beauty of these falls is that each of these falls are hidden from one another and they get better and better as you go up the cascade, culminating in a magnificent fall which is as secluded a waterfall as you can imagine! As we had gone in the monsoons, going up the cascade was anything but easy. The path was treacherously slippery with leeches feasting on you at every step.

The falls is in seven steps and people who really want to enjoy the beauty that nature has to take the pain of walking through the falls

Idlumane falls - the joy on our faces knew no bounds. It was simply breathtaking. Since the monsoon was yet to start, there was not enormous supply of water-flow. The water was gushing and icy cold. The force of the water felt as if it was being barraged by bullets. The falls is about 70 ft and it's a bliss to stand at the foot of the falls for the shower of your life.


We were back in Viahara Nisarghadhama and enjoyed the floura and fauna around, and took some pictures.

Inside the HUT, Vihara Nisargha Dhama

Birds found around Vihara Nisarghadhama

hall which can accommodate around 40-50 members.

                                    Mr.Manjanna, Architect of Vihara Nisarghadhama

Mr.Prashanth, Guide             Mr.Venkatesh Bhat, Cook

Hanging bride in Kalyani Chowk

MANJANNA  at his 200 year old Residence

Inside Mr.Manjanna house

Kalyani Nisarga Dhama
Nittur, Hoasanagara Taluk,
Shimoga Distt, Pin 577452

                                               KODACHADRI HILLS

Kodachadri is 1343 meters above sea level. A beautifiull hill abode that overlooks the panoramic Western Ghats. It is clothed with splendid evergreen forests.

Kodachadri is famed for its glorious sunrises and sunsets.

Nearest health camp : Nittur,Kattinahole,Sampekatte.

Approach : 

There are 2 trekking trails are there to reach koadachadri.
1)From karakatte gate and santosh hotel.this is the easy trek route. It will take around 2.5-3 hrs to trek.
2)From nittur via hidlumane falls.this is the toughest trekking trail. It will take around 4-5 hrs to trek.During monsoon season it is not advisable.

Contact persons : Nittur Rajendra(9449145540)
Best time to visit : During Monsoon u can see nature at its best.
                            Sep-Jan is best time to hang around there.

This is one trip that would be in your memory for long as it's nothing less than the costliest roller coaster ride that you can pay for. Sri Shankaracharya peeta which is about twenty minutes trek from here. The view of mountains and valleys is just amazing and if you have enough time it's also a beautiful sunset point.

Kodachadri is the highest peak (at an altitude of 1343 m above sea level) of Shimoga district in Karnataka state. Located in the middle of the Mookambika National Park, Kodachadri is home to many endemic and endangered species of flora and fauna. Kodachadri is famous for its wonderful sunrise and   sunset.

The main attraction of Kodachadri is "Sarvajna Peetha" which is on the hilltop. It is believed that  philosopher "Adi Shankaracharya" performed meditation at this place. The closest base to Kodachadri  hills is Kollur which is at a distance of 20 kilometers. Kodachadri hills form a scenic backdrop of the famous Mookambika temple in Kollur.We decided to visit   the famous Kodachadri sunrise. Also since we were told that the path to Arsinagundi falls will be really tricky because of the rains, we headed straight back to Nittur 

Kodachadri Tea Owner's Mobile