It was a trip to a home stay at Srimangala (close to Iruppu falls), Coorg. We were travelling through the beautiful Nagarahole forest (Rajiv Gandhi National Park) and though we did not venture into the forest and kept pretty much to the motorable road – we did have hopes of sighting one of those big cats that had eluded us on our earlier trip to Bandipur!
About 10 odd kilometers into the park and surprise! We got to see a pair of sparkling eyes. But alas! it was a rather shy Indian Giant Squirrel also known as the Malabar Squirrel. (http://www.thewebsiteofeverything.com/weblog/pivot/entry.php?id=311 & http://www.care4nature.org/wildindia/squirrel.htm ) These animals are actually equally rare to spot and I was glad that I was able to click them before they disappeared in to the high canopy of the forest.
These beautiful squirrels grow up to 3 feet in length –and just their tails are around 2 feet long. They can leap a distance of about 6 meters or more. We spent a cool 10 minutes seeing them scampering around displaying their agility. It wasn’t a Tiger but it was sure a treat.
The rest of the drive was uneventful and we sighted nothing but some Spotted Deer and a lone Bison at a considerable distance –in fact some of us even ended up debating whether it was a buffalo or a bison 🙂
We finally reached the beautiful home stay at Srimangala that was our destination and were treated to a sumptuous coorgi meal (chicken curry, poputtu, nuputtu, mango curry, mutton dry etc) prepared by the couple who owned the place. The heavy meal, the lovely misty weather and the sight of the snug bamboo cottages had us heading straight for an afternoon siesta snuggled under the warm blankets.
The evening started with some piping hot coffee and we took some time taking in the beautiful scenery that lay in front of our cottages. The temperature had dipped further with a light spell of rain and the owners lit us a nice toasty bonfire – absolutely ideal for a relaxing evening with friends!
The next day we rose nice and early to explore the estate. A view point with bamboo benches amidst a canopy of trees seemed just right for a romantic rendezvous – and this inspired one of our pals to spend the better part of the morning sitting there under an umbrella, engaged in a marathon phone conversation with his fiancée.
The rest of us were a bit more adventurous and tried our hand at rafting in the small lake nearby. A visit to the famous Iruppu falls post another scrumptious meal wrapped up the trip.
The weekend was a complete stress buster and couldn’t have gone better. In fact, my 2 year old enjoyed the experience so much that she didn’t want to go back to Bangalore 🙂 – and neither did we!