ADVENTURE BY THE RIVER
Words: ANITA RAO KASHI
Photographs: VINOBHA NATHAN
GREAT FROM Bangalore, Mysore
GREAT FOR An active family holiday
Once you pass the forest check post denoting the start of Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka’s Mandya District, there’s no sign of humanity. Thick forests stretch out on either side of the road and, after a while, the sound of flowing water is added on like background music as you near Bheemeshwari. But it is only after you enter Bheemeshwari Adventure and Nature Camp, owned by state-run Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited, that you actually get to see the lovely Cauvery.
The river is all fluid grace, broken by clusters of rocks, leading to ripples and eddies. But these add a strange rhythm that is at once soporific and relaxing. To make the most of this view, the resort’s tented cottages and log cabins are all ranged along the banks of the river under shady trees, each well separated from the other for privacy. In between are swings, hammocks, wide nets for children to climb and romp on, as well as a large play area.
The resort accepts day visitors too, but it’s the overnight guests who have the time for and pick of activities. Your stay begins with a lunch buffet, but do go easy as it’s soon followed by the Burma Loop Walk. Suspended at least 30ft above ground and strung between the trunks of two huge trees separated by about 50ft, it’s a narrow rope bridge that you cross kitted out in a safety harness and helmet. It all begins staidly enough, but gets a bit wild in the centre when the bridge begins to swing. But the Burma Loop Walk is nothing compared to the pure thrill of the Parallel Walk, a military training-style walk across a rope suspended at a height with nothing but a wire to hold on to. Nope, it’s not for the faint-hearted. At the end of it, you are rapidly lowered to the ground on a rope via a pulley, a bit like how commandos slither down from a helicopter for a military op in the movies – all very exciting! Once the adrenaline is pumping, the two-stage ziplining activity, with sweeping treks on request. You might encounter wild boar and deer, wagtails, babblers, drongos, spotted doves and even the occasional scops owl camouflaged within the crevice of a tree trunk. The ascending path provides glimpses of the river, but these are nothing compared to the panoramic view from the tower atop a hillock. On display is a part of the meandering river against a backdrop of hills and valleys. As finales go, it’s difficult to beat. In contrast, the return trip is a tad deflating, but that last image should keep spirits elevated for quite some time.
From hotel options and activity timings to loo stops, find all the practical information you need to plan this trip now – in LPMI’s February 2015 issue. Pick up a copy from your newsstand or click to subscribe via Zinio or Magzter