"First Hills- Truly lives upto it's name" Mudumalai by abi_maha

Mudumalai Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 17 photos

AJ's Bday and a photo-journey

AJ hadn't put his 300 MM Prime to good use ever since we'd gotten back, hence when his bday approached it was only obvious that I gift him a photo-journey and accompany him on the same! :-) <perks of encouraging your husband to take up photography as a hobby ;) >

Mudumalai National Park is around a 5 hour drive from Bangalore. The name Mudumalai literally translated to mean 'First Hills' and south of the Himalayas it is the highest ranges. It hosts plenty of wildlife and is in fact one of the first wildlife sanctuaries established in India. One will have to try hard to miss wildlife while here, it is a coomon sight to see herds of elephants and deer almost everywhere at any time of the day. Not uncommon are bisons, mongoose, peacocks and wild dogs (Dhole). We were here for exactly a day and a half and we s aw them all!! AJ couldn't stop being amazed at how easy it was to have a 'sighting' of the animals in this forest! The sanctuary is divided into 5 ranges - Masinagudi, Thepakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi and Nellakota. On this particular trip we stayed at Masinagud, I am sure we will visit all others in the coming months so will surely keep updating this page.

The Mudumalai Sanctuary is an important wildlife habitat due to its strategic position as a Wildlife corridor between several other protected areas that are a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. To the north is the Bandipur National Park and Nagarhole National Park. To the west is the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and in the south are Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley National Park. To the east is the Segur plateau which connects to the Sathyamangalam wildlife sanctuary and Reserve forests and Biligirirangan Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. These parks, sanctuaries and the adjoining Reserve forests cover over 3,300 square kilometres (1,300 sq mi) of forest area that houses 266 species of birds and some 200 species of animal life.

The elevation of the sanctuary varies from a minimum of 960 meters (3,150 ft) m to a maximum of 1,266 meters (4,154 ft). The best areas to stay in to ensure good wildlife sightings are either at Bandipur (which is slightly more commercialized) or at Masinagudi. Masinagudi itself has resorts right at the foothills of Mudumalai and it was in one such resort- Jungle Retreat- that we stayed in.

Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary- Trip Report

We drove down from Bangalore and reached the Bandipur sanctuary at around 4 in the evening. Even as we entered the forest area we saw herds of spotted deer. A light drizzle in the air made the weather very pleasant and assured us of wildlife sightings. Even as we crossed the forest offices we saw a lone elephant scratching it's back against a tree trunk. We stopped a good distance away and got some good shots of the guy. Sadly another car saw the elephant and drove up all the way next to him. Shockingly one guy stepped out of the car and stood to pose with the elephant as his friend tried to get a photo on his mobile!!! I don't what they were thinking, this was an elephant in the wild not one in the zoo!! Needless to say the loner charged at them and gave them chase for almost a KM!! One guy was literally hanging from his open car door and am sure suffered some injuries... once they got away the elephant looked at us, and calmly crossed the road and made his way into the forest!! It is so sad that in a country where wildlife is so abundant, the people seem to have such scant respect for them!!

Soon we moved on and saw some Flamebacked Woodpeckers and Bee Eaters. We also spotted a raptor that we couldn't recognize!! After crossing the Bandipur Sanctuary we reached Theppakadu from where we took a left on a small rickety bridge into Masinagudi reserves. Here we saw a herd of bisons. The Indian Gaur is one of the largest species of Bisons in the world! To see this herd with the little ones was a heartening sight indeed! We spent almost half an hour just gazing at them till they suddenly became aware of our presence and headed off into the thickets. Just as we got started another cheeky fella was peering curiously into our car- a striped necked mongoose!! It was fun to watch him fidgeting around and twitching his whiskers at us!! Thrilled to have spotted so much enroute itself we headed off to our resort. The roads were great till about a mile to the resort. The last mile was unpaved roads and ensured some good 'trekking' experience for our brand new car! :-)

Our stay and other experiences

Even as we entered Jungle retreat we saw a herd of spotted deer scampering away. This is a beautiful place to stay in for anyone who wants to be one with wildlife. They have cottages, executive lodges, tree houses and standard. Our's was the farthest room in the 35 acre retreat. Overnight a tusker came visiting and we saw so many birds even from our window that it was amazing. The pool at the top of a small hillock is almost like a bit of heaven on earth as we had the Nilgiris as a backdrop to the pool! The owners- Mr & Mrs Mathias as nature lovers and fabulous hosts!! They and the staff ensure that each of the visitors feel at home. They are well read and well traveled and hence make for very good company! Recent political interference has taken a toll on their property too and it was saddening to hear that they may have to vacate this property in the near future!! They have 3 dogs and 7 cats on this property which make for some excellent company while in the retreat. They also arrange wildlife safari's, bird watching walks and other activities.

Upon their advice we took a drive to Singara and thoroughly enjoyed the wildlife sightings we had. One Mr Danny who visits the premises knows so much about the animals in the forests he can almost tell you where which bird or animal can be sighted!! Amazing to have interacted with such people! Luckily for us one of AJ's childhood friends' working here and he gave us some amazing tips of where to look out for what!! All in all, it was an unforgettable trip. We will surely keep returning!!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Amazing wildlife sightings
  • Cons:Unpredictable weather
  • In a nutshell:Wildlife Haven
  • Last visit to Mudumalai: Jun 2011
  • Intro Updated Jun 27, 2011
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abi_maha

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