One of the top attractions in Coorg, the land of coffee, is Dubare Elephant Camp. In Nilgiri region, you will encounter many Elephant and Dubare is one of the place where they look after elephants.

If you have been to places like Kerala and Sri Lanka, Dubare Elephant Camp is also something similar. It is a huge place where you will find more than 20 elephants from small to the oldest one. People here look after the elephant and provide them basic facilities.

Dubare Elephant Camp is located near Kaveri river. It is also close to Kaveri River Rafting spot. Take a boat ride to cross the river and you will land on Dubare island. 

Entrance ticket cost is very minimal to see the elephants. Other activities like bathing the elephant, feeding them or ride on them is additional. 

During my visit, I have not done any of the above activities, except click endless pictures of elephants.

Right at the entrance, you will get a chance to see Elephants taking a bath. This was one of my favourite ones as I saw one baby elephant having fun in the river and teasing elder elephant. 

Baby elephant was going deep into the water and then suddenly emerge on the surface with his truck full of water and spraying on himself. 

Big elephants were rather more quiet and let human friend wash them and splash water on them. They were the one who liked getting pampered. 

Moving on from bathing spot, next was feeding spot. Here again, caretakers were feeding them and also giving the opportunity to visitors to feed the elephant and click pictures with them.

At some point, you might feel that poor elephants are tortured to entertain humans, especially when the mean people comes to visit them, who don't care about animals and only look for perfect selfies.

Third spot was riding the elephant, surprisingly I didn't see anyone taking a ride, or maybe I was too busy clicking elephant pictures that I didn't pay any attention to that part.

Overall, the experience in Dubare Elephant Camp was pleasant, as I ended up clicking tons of picture of elephants. Especially clicking pictures of baby elephant as they bring joy and fun to the entire experience.

Category: Wildlife and Photography

Location: It is located around 1 hour drive away from Madikeri, big city in Coorg. Combine Dubare with a trip to Kaveri River Rafting, Golden Temple and Nisargadhama. 

Time: Visit to the elephant camp is around 3-4 hours considering traveling from city centre, Madikeri. As photographers, you can spend an entire day capturing various activities of elephants to get that one amazing capture.

Carry: enthusiasm and camera to capture amazing animal. Also an extra pair of clothes if you wish to do elephant bathing or river rafting. 

More pictures:

On my last trip, I realised that the best trips are those taken on the road. We started our road trip journey from Bangalore to first stop in Mysore, second one in Bandipur and then moving on to Coorg as our last destination. In between, we had an option to take a stopover in Kabini, before Coorg, due to shortage of time, we headed our way directly to Coorg. Another destination you can explore if not Coorg is Ooty after Bandipur. Again, the road leading to Ooty from Mysore is via Western Ghat, one of the best road to take in India.

Cities covered: 

Bangalore --> Mysore --> Bandipur --> Coorg --> Bangalore

Fun of Road trip
As much as road trip sounds interesting, it is also dangerous. There are basic things to take care of before you think about heading off to the ghats and risky roads.

1. Be a careful Driver - Driving is fun, however, in a split second it can also become dangerous. There is no need to speed up or overtake just to be 2 second early. As road sign in Ladakh says, "it is better to me Mr. Late than be Late Mr.". 

2. Remember your Route - Nowadays, technology is so advanced that we can estimate our traveling time along with expected traffic on the road. Make good use of it, information not actioned is information not received. Know your road so that if gadget fails in between, you will know your way (even if it's half away)

3. Understand basics of Car - We all know driving, but that doesn't make us experts. There are so many information to learn if not everything! Learn about engine or how to change a tire before heading into nowhere! 

4. Take Breaks - Even though we have short time to reach or a short holiday, take breaks between your drive. Whether it is bathroom breaks or just stretching a leg. Be fit to drive, not exhaust while driving

5. Have a Good night's Sleep - Again, driving can be dangerous if the driver didn't get their sleep. Sleep well before a long journey as sleeping while driving will be sleeping forever!

With above safety notes, drive through the forest and nature will inspire and encourage you to explore more!

I started my drive from Bangalore airport. We started our drive through the Bangalore city with a break for lunch. Post lunch, we moved on to our first destination, Mysore. Mysore the city so bright and full of culture, we spent our day exploring local sightseeing like Mysore Zoo, Mysore Palace etc. 

Mysore Palace
Our road trip journey, powered by CEAT, continued towards western ghat leading to Bandipur National Park. 2 days of stay in the forests are indeed between nowhere still somewhere.

Roads in Bandipur National Park
Next to Bandipur National Park is Madumalai National Park. A very short drive from Bandipur will lead to Madumalai, a much denser forest than Bandipur. Safari around the park is a must for photographers and wildlife lover.

Make way towards Madumalai National Park
As mentioned before, while moving towards Coorg, take a stopover in Kabini or opt for a day long drive to Coorg. We opted for 2 cities in Coorg, Virajpet and Medikeri

Breathing the coffee and fresh air
Virajpet lies in the southern part of Coorg. We stayed in Club Mahindra Virajpet, one of the best Club Mahindra Resort. There are many things to do in Coorg and one must go for Coffee Plantation Walk.

Coffee plantation walk in Coorg
After 2 nights stay, we moved to the big city in Coorg, Medikeri. From Medikeri, you can drive cross various attractions and sightseeing. 

This led to the end of my journey across the beautiful roads of Karnataka when I made my way back to Bangalore. The roads across Karnataka is surrounded by greenery and plantation. The small coffee estate around the roads add to the fragrance of nature. 

Road trips are always the best way to find a good part of the destination. 

Category: Adventure and Nature

Location: Karnataka is located in the southern part of India. 

Time: Each destination is located around 6 hours distance 

Carry: A good car to enjoy the journey

‘I’m chronicling my road trip adventure for CEAT Tyres in association with BlogAdda.’

Roads surrounded with nothing but greenery!
Being in coffee estate and don't opt for a walk around the estate will be a shame. Coorg is known as Coffee capital, you will find Coffee plantation in each and every part of Coorg. Whether it is small estate or big, the smell of coffee will make you go on a walk around or maybe just sit in the balcony overlooking the plantation and sip on hot coffee.

Walking in the coffee plantation
Like everything, even the coffee plantation has a season. I happen to visit Coorg during monsoon, means, coffee beans have not grown fully to be plucked and put into the process. The entire process of coffee powder making is interesting yet intricate. It all starts with planting the seeds and growing the beans. There are two types of beans or you can say Coffee, Arabica and Robusta. Robusta is more stronger, whereas Arabica is lighter. Each coffee mix is mixture of Robusta and Arabica. It depends on the expert to create the mix to make the perfect cup of coffee. After plucking the beans, it gets roasted, which is the most important process of coffee making. 

Coffee beans
Let's not go too deep into the entire process. The roasting is very secretive method and only few gets a chance to see it. The walk around coffee plantation is to give you basic information about the entire process and method behind creating the perfect mix. 

Inspects around the plantation
The coffee was not fully grown as we went in the off season, September. If you really want to understand more behind Coffee, visit Coorg in Feb-Mar-Apr months when it is time for the owner to pluck the beans and start roasting. Both plants of Arabica and Robusta are different in nature, however, the difference is very minor for naked eye, for the expert, it is a huge difference. 

Difference between Arabica and Robusta plant
Apart from coffee, Coorg is also known for spices. On our walk, we came across pepper plant, both black and white pepper. 

Pepper plant
Each estate in Coorg doesn't only grow coffee, you will also find other plants around. We saw various types of plants used to create furniture. These can be as simple as bamboo, sandalwood or many more (I don't even remember their name). Some are planted to support coffee or pepper tree. 

Various plants around the plantation
The walk around the estate encountering not just plants, but also, insects and spiders. The entire area was flourishing with flora and fauna. I had tried my hands at clicking pictures of spiders, insects and butterfly. Luckily, I managed to capture few great pictures.

Crazy and not creepy looking spider
Walk around Coffee Plantation was not just informative, it was also an experience for me to do different type of photography. Those who love micro photography, they should definitely pay a visit. Even otherwise, one should go for a walk to explore nature and coffee. 

Category: Nature and Photography

Location: Coffee Plantation walk is available everywhere in Coorg, whether you go for homestay or hotel. Each estate has their own specialty. I did mine in Virajpet city. 

Time: The entire walk will take minimum 2 hours, if you are a photo bug like me, you will end up spending more time. Also, opt to walk in the morning to capture freshness. 

Carry: Just carry your curiosity to know more and camera to capture the beauty of nature. 

More pictures:

Beautiful Butterfly on flower
Beans, not fully grown yet
Flowers near the plantation
The extension of Bandipur National Park in Tamil Nadu region is called Madumalai National Park. Since we were staying in Bandipur for a day, we thought of going to Madumalai National Park for the afternoon safari. From Our hotel in Bandipur to the border of both the state, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, we went in our car. There is a place for parking where we parked our car, crossed the border and took a taxi to the forest office of the Madumalai National Park. 

On our way to Madumalai National Park
Similar to Bandipur National Park, Madumalai National Park is managed and protected by the forest department of Tamil Nadu. As for the safari, Tamil Nadu only gives the option of bus safari. No jeeps are available here. We went to the counter and bought the ticket to approximately 30 minute ride around the national park. Compare to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu was a little disorganised and slow due to only one bus available for safari. The national park in the western ghats are open all season unlike other forest around India, where it is closed during monsoon.

Our journey started and we roamed in the greenery to try and spot some wildlife. Before we go for the safari, we were informed by resort guys that Madumalai National Park has less chances of tiger spotting, however, the forest here is dense than Bandipur. There was more greenery and healthy trees in the Madumalai National Park. 

Our first encounter was with the Wild Dog. They resembled more like a fox and for a split second we were wondering whether it is a fox or wild dog. Obviously, a forest person corrected us. 

Wild Dog heading towards us

Up close
Moving on, we saw ample of Deer around the park, but no tiger in sight. 

Deer posing for the photograph
Two deer having friendly fight
Another amazing sight was of Elephants. These were wild elephants, means not the trained one. The bus was brought to a sudden stop to let elephant cross their path instead of evoking them. 

Elephant Family crossing the road
Elephant looking at us
The journey soon came to an end with no tiger sighting.

Overall, Madumalai National Park is more rich in flora and fauna, however, when it comes to tiger sighting, it has almost the same chances as Bandipur National Park. The management for Madumalai is a little unorganised than Bandipur and sadly don't offer Jeep safari which I mostly prefer. 

If you happen to go to Bandipur or Ooty, do pay a visit to the Madumalai National Park, you never know when luck is in your favour!
Category: Wildlife and Photography

Location: Madumalai  National Park is 110 km from Mysore and 50 km from Ooty. Closest airport is Bangalore (240 km).

Time: The safari will take only 1-2 hours including the waiting. Not many people stay in Madumalai National Park, hence, you will take another 2 hours of traveling time from Ooty and maximum 1 hour from Bandipur National Park. 

Carry: Camera and hope to see the tiger!

Baby Elephant
Mysore Zoo is one of the biggest Zoos in India. It is also well maintained. Even after so much of an effort by the Government and Zoo keepers, the attraction fails to maintain international standard and that is only because of the public who visit the Zoo. Whether they are educated or illiterate or even school and college kids, the habits and actions of all are same. 

Our excitement of visiting attractions as a tourist or even as localities make us forget about manners we need to maintain at places like the Zoo. 

So I thought it is best to list down few annoying habits of people visiting a zoo. 

Respect the wildlife, they are not for your entertainment
We always seek attention and the same applies when you are viewing wildlife. Calling, teasing and throwing stones at them is strictly prohibited. I sometimes see the human being treating animals like they are their puppet and it is time that we learn to respect them. 

Don't feed the animals
Somehow people think that attracting animals with food will create a good selfie picture. They are not meant to eat your food as their natural habitant is different. Also, stop throwing food at them.

Try and maintain silence during your journey
Many of us have loud voices and we don't keep it down at times. Atleast, in places like these, we should maintain the decorum and don't create noise pollution. Also, making animal noise to get the animal's attention is cheap tricks. We all know your voice is great, just make everyone listen to it. 

Travel is not all about selfie
Selfies are not the way you travel or see wildlife. Forget about selfie and see the animal with your own eyes. A picture might stay for a long time, but an experience with your own eyes will live forever in your mind. Many times people are so engrossed in their selfie that they don't look at danger, so try and avoid it. 

Littering the place
We all know that we get hungry, we need food and we have wrappers of food or box with us. It will be a greater good if we focus on keeping our cities/attractions clean and don't throw those wrappers and boxes around. There are enough dustbins available at these place, please use them. Even if we have to hold the wrapper in our hand for 5-10 minutes, do it and throw it only in dustbin. This will only help in creating  the Zoo experience good for all. 

These attractions are created for all of us to enjoy and cherish, it is time for us to show some Respect and care for wildlife. Small steps at a time can lead to a big change in future. Discipline is the key, it is time for us to follow some!

Check out my blogs on Mysore Zoo and Things to do in Mysore city
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve once used to be hunting Reserve for Maharajas of Kingdom of Mysore. Now the entire region is spread across 3 states, Bandipur National Park in Karnataka, Madumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad National Park in Kerala. All National parks together Reserve the endangered species and flora of Nilgiri Biosphere. During my trip to Karnataka, I visited the Bandipur National Park and paid an evening visit to the Madumalai National Park

Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
Bandipur National Park is very close to Mysore (80 km approx) and you take about 3-4 hours to reach. It also comes on your way to one of the major tourist destinations, Ooty in Tamil Nadu. The road is open from morning to early evening to ensure that wildlife doesn't get affected by moving vehicles. However, speeding of vehicle and sudden movement of animals on the road lead to wildlife fatalities. 

The park has been established as a Tiger Reserve under the Project Tiger initiative by the Karnataka Government. Bandipur National Park aka Bandipur Tiger Reserve has managed to save tigers from the extinction and if you are lucky enough, you will be able to spot them in their natural habitant during of the jeep / bus safaris.

Similar to any other national park across India, Bandipur National Park also conducts the safaris in the morning and also in the evening. One can either opt for Jeep safari (a little expensive) or go with the economical safari in the bus. These safaris are managed by the forest department in a very professional manner. We opted for the morning safari in the Jeep, hoping to get atleast one Tiger sighting. 

Jeep Safari
Bus Safari
Tiger sighting in the park is not very rare and the probability is around 70%. The driver of our Jeep shared that they have one of the oldest Tiger in the park who is mostly seen by the tourist and he has become one of the friendly ones after getting so much of attention. The Jeep drives across national Park to find not just the tiger, but also sloth bear, deer, cheetahs and other wildlife. 

Our first encounter in the safari was with Sloth Bear, however, he was a quick one to ignore being spotted and I managed to get blur glimpse of him. 

Sloth Bear running away and I managed to get blurry glimpse of him
Unlike any other safaris, you will find plenty of Deer sighting in the park. 

Bunch of deers
I shall walk on my own path - Deer
We also found one Mongoose running across the forest, however, clicking his picture was difficult as he was constantly moving. 

Mangoose running away from being photographed
We waited near the pond in the hopes of thirsty Tiger, still no trace. We managed to see his footprints leading away, only to find endless forest and the stillness of the morning. 

Waiting near the pond for thirsty Tiger
Karnataka is also known for their Elephants and we came across a family heading inside the forest. 

Daddy and Mommy Elephant walking with their two baby Elephants
There are also many species of birds in the forest, though, it becomes difficult to spot them or even capture on camera with a basic zoom lens. My camera only managed to capture Eagle resting on the branch of the tree. 

Managed to get glimpse of Eagle
The park is also the residence of India's national bird, Peacock. You will find them roaming around and if you are lucky, you might see their dance during monsoon season.

Peacock heading to wild
Overall, the entire experience in Jeep Safari was exciting and at times boring when you don't see anything. The weather was chilly and sitting in an open Jeep makes is colder. 

Bandipur National Park two categories of accommodation, either expensive or very basic. Most of the resorts are super luxurious one cost approximately 15-21,000 per night including all meals. The basic accommodation will cost around 5000 per night. I managed to find something in between and yet expensive, Country Club Bandipur. Country Club Hotels are spread across India and also in international locations. The membership of Country Club can avail to stay in their hotel against the inventory they get per year. For those who are not members, like me, have to look for their deal online. Some of the rooms of Country Club Bandipur are sold online at approximately 7000 per night including breakfast. 

Restaurant inside Country Club Bandipur
The resort is well located near the park. It is a huge property with facilities like swimming pool, game zone, safari booking and so on. The staff is very friendly and help you with your requirement. Considering the location of the hotel, Country Club provides decent services and cleanliness. During the night, you will see deer roaming around the property or next to your way towards the room. The only down point of the hotel is network. There is no network in the hotel or even in some part of the park. On my first day, hotel wifi was not working making it a completely offline trip to nature. Food in the resort is also good quality with hygiene maintained. Breakfast is not lavish one, but it does offer 2-3 dishes with options like toast and cereal. 

There is no stand alone restaurant in the Bandipur National Park. Almost all the hotels offer stay with all the meals, so you don't have to drive all the way to the outskirt of the park to find food. The explicit location and high standard maintained by the Karnataka Forest Department, you stay in the Bandipur National Park will bring closer to the nature with luxury of the beautiful resorts. If you are choosy, I strongly advise you to carry snacks and ready to eat food packets.  

2 nights stay at Bandipur National Park will give you a good option to explore the place well.

Category: Wildlife and Photography

Location: Bandipur National Park is 80 km away from Mysore and 230 km from Bangalore (closest airport). You can also enter from Tamil Nadu, however, Mysore makes much more sense and less time consuming. 

Time: It is only 2-3 hours away from Mysore. One can also visit Bandipur National Park from Coorg, however, the road is quite long, approximately 4-5 hour journey. 1-2 day stay in the national park is enough. 

Carry: For morning safaris in monsoon and winter season can be cold, hence, carry jacket and cap. For afternoon safaris, cap and glares will be enough. Also, be ready with your camera as you will see wildlife at any point of time! 

Few more pictures:

Squirrel heading up and up
Elephant with her babay Elephant leading the way
Early morning sun in the forest