Jungle lodges and resorts is a chain of resorts run by the Karnataka government setup in right exclusive locations around Karnataka. Recently I stayed in Dubare Elephant Camp. Dubare elephant camp is located in the Dubare reserve forest in the banks of river Cauvery. To reach the resort you will have to park your car in the other bank of Cauvery and take a short boat ride across the river. Since its monsoon time now, the climate was welcoming and it was green all around. The sound of the flowing river was heard from my room and it was refreshing.
The cottage we stayed was overlooking the jungle with a solar fence between us and the forest. It had decent spacing and bedding. The highlight of the cottage was its balcony.
Lunch, dinner and breakfast is included as part of the package. There are not many good food options around the camp. So the only option is to take the food in the resort. We were called a day before we checked in to ask for our food preferences. The food felt like home cooked and was tasty. We had both north and south Indian food available.
The good thing about the Jungle lodges are the activities. Most of their resorts include safari in their package. We also had one. We started our safari into Dubare reserve forest in a jeep and we were the only ones who started that evening. Just out of the lodge limits is the elephant camp and one can see a lot of elephants roaming there. Kids playing with elephants as if its so normal.
As I had previously mentioned in a post, safari is not only about spotting the big cats but also but an excuse to experience the forest. In this safari, we didn’t get to spot any tigers or elephants. Apparently as per the naturalist who accompanied us on the safari, there are only six or seven tigers in the 110 sq.km area under Dubare reserve forest. So the possibility of spotting a tiger was real slim.
The forest here is moist deciduous forest. The bush growth is so tall at about 6 to 7 feet tall. When the vehicle engine is switched off one realize the sound of the forest. You are surrounded by tall bush all around and the sound you hear is all of buzzing insects.
We spotted Gaurs, Peacocks, Hawk eagle, Paper wasp nest, monkeys and woodpecker.
On the second day of our stay, we got a chance to interact with the elephants in the camp. On the first day when we were in our cottage, we heard a bell sound and some dogs barking. I went out of the cottage to witness a domesticated elephant grazing there. The next day, I woke up to a bell sound and came out of my room to witness an elephant grazing. I sat in my balcony and watched it till it left away from my eyesight.
We got to bathe the elephants which is restricted to only people who stayed in the resort and then we also fed the elephants. One can visit the camp and feed the elephants without staying in the resort.
Elephants were brought in to the river Cauvery by their respective trainers. Each elephant had a name Parvati, Cauvery, Kamali etc. Our naturalist told us the name, age and a short profile of each elephant when they came to bathe. Like humans in IT MNCs who go to onsite these elephants too visited Mysore Dasara festivals. So when each time an elephant walked into the river the naturalist was like this elephant has visited Dasara three times. Looks like its such a pride to visit Mysore Dasara.
We were allowed to bath the elephants and click pics with the elephants. The elephants knew how to make salam. Our naturalist showed us the place which they use to capture and train the elephants. It was like a cell with no space to move around freely. They are left there for almost a year before they are chained and took into the camp. When asked why, he mentioned they were rogue elephants and were out of control in the forest. I thought of humans who lose control and roam free.