Many destinations to go wild

Many destinations to go wild

Denizens of nature Tread down the nature’s path in these wildlife sanctuaries and spend your holiday with wild beauties, writes A Varsha Rao.

Edward Abbey, a famous environmentalist once said, “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilisation which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilisation itself.”

True to his words, our state has demarked certain areas just for the wildlife. We are now home to more than 15 wildlife sanctuaries housing diverse flora and fauna. A wildlife sanctuary aims at providing a natural geographical area for the animals preferably the endangered ones.  These natural territories look beyond the artificial restrictions of national parks and provide a safe haven for the animals. Hunting and poaching are strictly prohibited here.

Here are some of the notable wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka that are bound to mesmerise and entrance you.

Dandeli Wildlife SanctuaryNestled among the Western Ghats in northern Karnataka, Dandeli is an adventure-junkie’s paradise. This sanctuary is a tiger reserve and houses many of the royal ones. Feast on the sights of flying squirrels, black panthers, reptiles,elephants, bison, antelopes, bears and much more.

Since the sanctuary is located right on the banks of river Kali, you can spot innumerable crocodiles. This is one of the few places in Karnataka where river rafting is available. So put on those life-jackets and thunder down the river whilst taking in the alluring sights of the area. You could also take up on other fun activities like boating, bird-watching, trekking and crocodile spotting. Adjoining this sanctuary is the Anshi National Park with abundant panthers, sloth bears and deers. Dandeli is 480 km from Bangalore.

Bhadra Wildlife SanctuaryNamed after the river Bhadra that flows through these forests, Bhadra wildlife sanctuary is the perfect wildlife vacation. Having more than 100 different plant species, 200 species of birds and even more number of animal species, this place is nature at it’s best. Take a safari ride, ogle at the exotic birds, butterflies, gaurs, tigers, panthers, monitor lizards and a variety of snakes.

Surrounded by the lush hills of Baba Budangiri, Mullayangiri and Hebbegiri, this place is a biodiversity hotspot. You also have the options of boating and island camping on the waters’ of Bhadra reservoir. Mullayangiri is the highest peak in the state and houses caves where saints worshipped Lord Shiva. Take a religious detour and visit the Hoysala temples of Mhakta Markandeya and Bhavani Shankar in Hebbe closeby. Bhadra is 270 km away from Bangalore.

Brahmagiri Wildlife SanctuaryJust 250 km away from Bangalore, is a lush paradise of green hills, abundant flora and fauna. Sitting high at 1600 m above sea level and bordered by Wayanad district of Kerala and Kodagu of Karnataka, this sanctuary is a place where jungles cats, bulbuls, pythons, otters, langurs, tigers, elephants and lion-tailed macaque come together.

Trek along these scenic hills and enjoy the nature’s bounty and walk among the clouds. On the northern side of the Brahmagiri range is the captivating Iruppu Falls. Legend goes that Lakshmana shot ana arrow into these hills to quench his Rama’s thirst, while on their quest for Sita.  Hence it’s also called Lakshmana tirtha. This sanctuary spread over 180 sq km is a picture perfect destination for a short getaway. Biligiriranga Wildlife SanctuaryThe right-most side of the Western ghats is encloses BRT wildlife sanctuary and is one of its kind. It merges the eastern and the western ghats and thus is a very diverse biological area. It is mainly known for its beautiful peaks that soar high above the clouds. Elephants are quite common here and so are giant flying squirrels, chitals, guars, cheetah and more than 200 species of birds.

A temple dedicated to Lord Venkatesha is located on the tallest hill and gives the area the name “white hill”. If you are up for a little trek, then visit the Doddasampige, the biggest and the oldest  champaka tree. This sacred grove houses many important species of plants and shrubs. B R Hills is 250 km away from Bangalore and is easily accessible by road.

Pushpagiri Wildlife SanctuaryThe northern part of Kodagu in Somwarpet taluk, is teeming with evergreen forests, named the Pushpagiri range. You can find the tallest peak in the state here, Pushpagiri peak followed by the very famous Kumara Parvata. Some of the most endangered species of birds have found a place in these hills.

You can also find civets,  deers, wild pigs, asian elephants, otters and mongooses. Ddo not forget to visit the breathtaking Mallalli falls, 25 km away from Somwarpet. White, frothy water from the river of Kumaradhara drops down from a height of 60 m and creates a mystical aura.

Cauvery Wildlife SanctuaryWho doesn’t love a place interspersed with green lush hills, a teeming river and where animals and birds live in perfect harmony? So take a trip to the Cauvery sanctuary located just 100 km away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This sanctuary is the perfect amalgamation of wildlife and adventure. Fill your day with lots of fishing and trekking.

If you are lucky, you can spot the mighty Deccan Mahseer in the waters’. Enjoy the soothing sounds of cuckoos and bulbuls or just laze around and watch the beautiful river pave its way across the forest. Feast your eyes on the Malabar giant squirrel, dholes, langurs, crocodiles, mud turtles and even barking deers.

So take a different route this time, journey across new destinations, explore the unknown and treat yourself to some wild nature!

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