After a topsy-turvy whole night bus drive from Bangalore reached Kuduremukh by 0635AM, had no clue how I will be heading towards the Bhagvathi Nature Camp. A chai shop is always good place to start with and there I met couple more participants from Bangalore. Yes, it was Eco volunteer training, a five-day course, where we get introduced to various flora and fauna.
The chai wallah informed us that the local bus that goes towards the camp would be here in about thirty minutes. We boarded the local bus towards the camp and in about twenty minutes time we were in pristine land.
This is where it all began; we walked through this beautiful path towards Bhagvathi Nature Camp...
During one of my little walk through the play area at Bhagvathi Nature Camp, I found this lifeless form yet full of life. Interesting, this Exoskeleton of a cicada. This camp is full of them; I meant the living cicadas, who sings all night!
Ferns form an integral part of this great landscape, so everywhere I walked through I found them and their pattern is simply breathtaking.
Mid day rain was most common during our training and during evening walks these fern leaves bore these tiny droplets, which were the most captivating and memorable scenes.
Early morning when I sit on the banks of sweet flowing Bhadra river, listening to the whistling songs of Malabar Whistling Thrush, the water gushing and meeting the stone boulders, reflections of the gigantic teak trees. Priceless moments. This part of my life will always remain very close to my heart.
Before the sunrise the action that takes place on the tiny stream behind the camp is most breath taking. These stones were so smooth I slipped many times before I got to the shore, the rush and sound of water flowing through is the most exciting and heartwarming experience. Giant wood spiders huge webs all along the shore, catching any flying insects that is careless. Sambar deer is galloping across the stream, blue-eared kingfisher glowing in the sun and a langur hooping call. That's only the morning session!!
Just like these pebbles of various shapes, sizes, character, texture, color, contour etc. We humans too have many differences however we all belong to the same planet. Mother Earth never differentiates; she treats one and all with same care and affection. On one of the morning walks at Bhagvathi Nature Camp, I learnt this vital lesson.
Most of us joined the Volunteer camp as complete strangers and have not known each other and few have become great friends. A week's time is too little to get to know people however we had such diversity yet there's one thing that's common within us; Our love for nature. Sharath is into film making and currently working on Bhadra film making project. Ravi Koushik was a techie and he quit to get into to Organic farming, one of the most observant and kind-hearted person. Prathap is into travel writing and he is very good observer as well. Makes notes of every little details that he comes across.
Tiger leaches took great liking towards me, overall 22 bites and still recuperating from those bites. There was one leach, which had drunk my blood to its full and was attacked by Red Ants, it spit some blood and started crawling back. Interesting little beast of this forest.
At Kudremukh after early morning trek, the view is nothing more than magic. The beauty of nature is not to possess but to observe, stand in admiration and stink in as much knowledge as possible. The time we try to grab its beauty it will lead to nothing but distraction. Like this tender moment, no words, no poetry, no photography, no painting will ever come close the real experience! The more we try to possess beauty farther away it will go away for us!
After reaching the top, it was time to get down, few sightings. While we all are stuck with the rut of ever-fast paced life style, there are our fellow beings that enjoy the slow pace of life. Snails never disappoint me, their gentle movements, the movement of their antennae gathering information of the surrounding, the shinning silky trails they leave behind, they way the crawl back to their shell when they sense danger. Simply the greatest subject I love to draw, never in hurry and a great poser!
Sambar deer's bullets are a great sign of sambar deer around. While talking through the forest, we need to pay close attention to very detail, which will ensure our safety and also help us track any mammal or bird.
On our way to setting camera trap, the lush green path had unlimited possibilities, excitement and eagerness. Something everyone was excited about. Camera trap is a remotely activated camera that is equipped with a motion sensor or an infrared sensor, or uses a light beam as a trigger. This technology is helping researchers and forest department to record animal movement when they are not present at location. Very interesting technology, I would love to explore and experiment soon.
Water holes are great places for the herbivores to hang out, rich sources of minerals are found here. Also a place where the great drama of survival takes place, the predator knows these spots well and waits patiently for the prey, the prey to know the presents of the predator, still they risk their lives for the essential minerals from the source. Also a great place to hang out for the young herbivores, who are the prey base for the predator most of the time. We talked through the sholas and streams and reached the camp. That ended our week long journey of both practical and theory sessions.
Hymns of the Atharva Veda, BOOK XII, A hymn of prayer and praise to Prithivī (Earth).
To whom the winged bipeds fly together, birds of each various kind, the swans, the eagles; On whom the Wind comes rushing, Mātarisvan, rousing the dust and causing trees to tremble, and flame pursues the blast. hither and thither; Earth, upon whom are settled, joined together, the night and day, the dusky and the ruddy, Prithivī compassed by the rain about her, Happily may she stablish us in each delightful dwelling place. Heaven, Earth, the realm of Middle Air have granted me this ample room, Agni, Sun, Waters, all the Gods have joined to give me mental power.
Picture of Ravi Koushik at Ganpathy Katthe. The End of the little Journey, the end is just a new beginning. We headed back home with fond memories and bag full of knowledge and end number of friends who have the same interest, that is nature!