Then came the trip we were waiting for…Mudumalai Forest Sanctuary. It is situated in the northwestern corner of Tamil Nadu at a distance of around 80 km from Coimbatore and is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. We took the shorter, but difficult route via Coonoor(64 km from Ooty), called the “36-Bend Route”. We came to know why it was called that as we drove on, it had 36 Hair-pin Bends and a gradient of almost 40-45 degrees. It reminded me of a Formula-I track. When we reached our destination – Safari Land Resort – in the heart of Mudumalai forest, it was heaven at first sight…we were given an
exclusive Tree-House perched atop a huge tree almost 10-15 metre high, with the tree going right through the room. It was an amazing experience to stay there for the next 2-3 days in the most ecological way…the tree- house was made up completely of bamboo, thatch & Wood. The swaying of branches & and rustling of leaves as you slept made it awfully peaceful, squirrels, chameleons & monkeys visiting you pretty often in the room…all this was tucked in the middle of nowhere…and was indeed an adventure in itself.
But our adventure in true sense was awaiting us, as Mr Ali, the owner of the place, had planned an excellent itinerary for us. The jungle tours were terrific and well organised, be it a day safari in the Forest Department van, or the night safari in their own open jeeps…we were lucky enough to spot animals in plenty during all trips. The elephants were shy, but the bisons were extremely camera friendly – they would pose gladly for the camera,and they were in plenty, so were sambhar, spotted deer, wild boars etc. The Night Safari was a different experience, wherein elephants almost charged at us as we were passing, but the bison were merrily posing next to the road.
The most exciting part was the early morning trek to the forest on foot, where we were welcomed by a huge black grizzly bear from an unbelievably striking distance of 10metre in the middle of the jungle. Apart from that, we were also fortunate to spot bisons & sambhar from close vicinity.
The experience was definitely one of my best, and I plan to revisit Mudumalai soon. For all you folks reading this, its a highly recommended place, if you happen to visit that side.