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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Doddamakali - Serenity & Solutitude at its best

I had written this article for the 'travel story' section of Deccan Herald last year and after multiple rounds of revisions which happened with the editorial team of Sunday Herald, I got so busy with something in life that I completely forgot to even check if this story was published in the paper!! Anyways, I found this while organizing my emails today and thought this should definitely go up here on my blog 'coz this has been one of the best places around bangalore that I have visited :)
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Want to know the true meaning of “isolation”? Love to enjoy the soothing murmur of the wind? Then I strongly recommend a visit to Doddamakali Nature and Fishing Camp. It is the remotest, most rugged and primitively beautiful place that I have been to. It’s actually in the middle of nowhere!

Nestled between the steep hills, in a valley deep in the forest, its tranquility and the panoramic view promise you the most peaceful and relaxed vacation. A barefoot walk along the river’s edge, sitting on the river bank with your feet dipped in the pristine waters amidst the jungle, sipping hot coffee on the hammock and enjoying the serenity and solitude is all you’ll need to break away from the busy and mundane city life. As you step into this place you will realize how nature can instantly instill tranquility and bliss within you! Doddamakali has no doubt become one of my favorite vacation spots.

Situated 6kms upstream of Bheemeshwari (Cauvery fishing camp), Doddamakali is a place where the Cauvery river slows down and collects into a large pool, making it an ideal place for water sports such as river rafting and coracle rides, in addition to amateur fishing. On the day of my visit, there was a huge group of people from an organization taking part in multiple outdoor activities. On enquiry, I was informed that this place is a hot spot for corporate team building exercises, which is conducted through OZONE, one of the leading outdoorsmen in South India.
The Doddamakali Fishing Camp is run by the Jungle Lodges Resort (JLR) as a wildlife retreat and an adventure resort. This is by far the only place available for accommodation there. The resort consists of about 6 cottages where electricity is available for only an hour a day. Living with a lantern added to our wilderness experience and the rustic charm of the place. As the night dawns, you can even sit by a camp fire set up by the river side accompanied with snacks, enjoying just the calmness and the sounds of the flowing water.

I ought to mention that Doddamakali is a heaven for nature lovers and birders. As I had got hooked into birding recently, I was looking forward to going on a birding tour here. So we skipped the usual morning trek which is a part of the stay at JLR and took a different path up the mountain to spot the birds. I was amazed at the vast species of birds that we could see. This place is supposed to be a home for more than 200 species of birds. Some of the exotic ones that can be sighted are the grey headed fishing eagles, spot-billed ducks, small pied kingfishers, black-bellied river terns, woodpeckers, ospreys and sometimes wildlife like turtles, crocodiles, deer and elephants. You are almost guaranteed a sighting of the ‘Lesser grey headed eagle’ which has made its home in the JLR camp. The best part is that you don’t have to walk too far; you can spot these beautiful birds just around your cottage. So do not forget to carry your cameras, because there is a lot for you to capture out there than just the landscape!

Last but not the least, I’d like to say that, waking up in the morning to absolute serenity and getting to watch the river and the chirping birds from the bed is truly a dream come true. It feels like you are in complete harmony with the nature. It’s just PERFECT! Now, if this isn’t a paradise on earth, then what is? I wish I had spent more than just a day out there.

Fact File:

Activities: River rafting, Trekking, Birding, Nature walks, Coracle rides, fishing.
Accommodation: For more details and bookings, visit http://www.junglelodges.com/
Getting there: Bheemeshwari is 100 km from Bangalore by road via Kanakapura/Halagur and about 85 km from Mysore via Malavalli. Doddamakali is approximately 140 kms from Bangalore and easily accessible by road via Malavalli or 6 kms upstream from Bheemeshwari. The best way to go from Bangalore is to take the Bangalore-Mysore highway. Take a left after Malavalli towards Shimshapura village. From then on you will find a lot of signboards to guide you. Note that the final 7-8kms is unpaved with approximately 10-14 hairpin bends and it alone takes about 45mins to an hour. The path is too narrow and rugged for buses to go. Hence a 4-wheeler is a must. If you have a private car, that would be the best option else you can hire a taxi. You could also contact Jungle Lodges much ahead so that they can arrange a jeep for you from the main road till the camp.


(c) 2010 Pratima Jayaram
P.S: Please do not copy/reproduce this article without my consent or due credits