Monday, August 27, 2012

North Karnataka Trip

August 15'th, Time to plan for another trip. I have this habbit of planning trips during this holiday. I have been doing this for almost 6 years now and did not want to miss this time too.The initial plan was to go for a Malnad trip covering Jog, Thirthahalli and Agumbe. But because of heavy rains we had to change our plan.

We were in a dilemma of selecting the new destination. One day Narendra got a outlook travel book. After seeing the Badami temple in the book we decided that would be the right place to visit considering the weather and rains around. So it was decided and Transport(Innova) was booked and 2 days leaves(16 and 17) were applied.

Below was the route plan decided.

15-08-2012 (Vani Vilas Sagar, Kudalasangama)

When the day arrived the first pickup was from my home at 4:15AM. Vinay and Bindu arrived at 4AM before the cab arrived. We picked up Narendra and his wife on the way. We had coffee at home and the plan was to stop at Chitradurga for Breakfast.

Our first stop was Vanivilas Sagar dam which was a beautiful dam. It had some breathtaking views with hills, birds and lot of windmills around. After a brief photo session and visit to the temple we headed towards to Durga on NH4. Once we reached Durga we had our breakfast which was kind of ok and then headed on NH13 since we had to go to Kudalasangama.

Finding a good place for our Lunch was a tough task on NH13. We did not stop at Hospet since we reached there by 1PM else there were good hotels in Hospet. We were full and wanted to stop for lunch at around 2:30PM. At around 3PM we found a small dhaba which was ok but not good food though. Anyways we continued our journey and reached Kudalasangama by 4:00PM. We headed to the temple and completed the darshan. After that went for a small photo walk. Found some very good birds. Being a bird enthusiast myself it was difficult for me to miss any birding opportunity.

After taking photographs we headed towards the huge auditorium. The place was good to visit. I saw my first sighting of a Indian Silverbill. It was getting late, we decided to checkin to the hotel. Thankfully we were able to get the accomodation without much hurdles. It was a very nice place. Checked into the hotel and after small rest headed for our dinner which is arranged by the temple at around 8PM. Basic food but good. We slept early as we wanted to start early the next morning.

                                                   Brahminy Myna also known as Brahminy Starling

                                                                        Indian Robin (Female)

                                                                              Laughing Dove

                                                                              Indian Silverbill

                                                                                Collared Dove

16-08-2012 (Aihole, Pattadkal, Mahakoota and Banashankari)

We wokeup early in the morning. After bath I went for a small walk for bird photography. Meanwhile everyone at room were busy packing up and doing a small photo session. We checked out of the hotel and headed for breakfast at Kamat Upachar which is right opposite to the lodge. The food was good but they were taking their own time to serve food. Anyways after breakfast we headed towards to Aihole.

We enquired for a guide over there. For our surprise the price quoted was around 300/- for covering just one Temple complex. Since we did not want to miss the history behind the city we decided to go ahead with the guide. Aihole is considered as the birth place for South Indian Temple architecture. We completed the guided tour of the temple complex within couple of hours.

After a brief stop for refreshments we headed towards the mountain top to view the entire city. By the time we reached the top Narendra had made some fans who joined him to the top. The view from the top was very good. You could see all the temples and ruins. You could also see some of the temples which have been converted to be used as houses.

From Aihole we headed towards Pattadkal which are the last set of temples built during chalukyas era. Again we hired another guide who charged another 200/-. The temple is good with a very old kannada inscriptions. There are no daily poojas conducted here except in one of the Nandi temples.

The sun was out and it was pretty hot. We completed the temple tour as soon as possible. While taking some much needed rest I saw a Scaly breasted Munia flying around a small arch. On closer inspection I found this guy carrying fresh grass for its nest. It was nice to see him making so many round trips for getting fresh strips of grass with out much fuss for its nest. There was another Munia inside the nest which was trying to use the leaves which the male brought to re-arrange its nest. It was a collective effort of male and female in building the nest.

For lunch we decided to have "Rotti Oota" at pattadkal. People sell these home made rotti's near the temple complex. The food was good. We ended the lunch with butter milk.

Our next stop was MahakootaTemple. We decided to take a break before we reached the temple since we did not want to walk around in the hot sun. On the way to the temple we stopped at a field and decided to take rest under the trees. We had some home made food first and then decided to take some small nap. Narendra had a good sleep there, I on the other hand went for another photo walk with my wife.

At around 4PM we started towards Mahakoota. This temple is in very bad condition. You could see people cooking and eating inside the temple premisis. We completed the darshan. Bindu decided to purchase bangles while Swetha and Revathi decided to have some refreshments. While drinking soda near the temple I heard a weird bird call. On closer observation I identified it as Grey Hornbill which I did not expect in these parts. It was good to see couple of these guys flying around.

From Mahakoota we headed towards Banashankari temple. This temple is maintained by Karnataka and Maharashtra Governments. Its a well maintained temple. The deiti here is considered to be very powerful. After darshan we headed for a coffee break. Had coffee and little snacks in one of the hotels and then started towards our next destination "Badami".

We reached Badami by 7PM, enquired KSTDC hotel for accomodation. They quoted very high price hence decided to check other places. We got another lodge close to KSTDC with reasonable rates. Checked into the hotel. After some rest we headed into the Badmi town in search of good hotel for dinner. We found one good hotel right opposite to the Bus stand which was good. After good dinner we headed towards hotel. The next day plan was to complete the Badami tour and Saundatti visit.

                                                                Great Tit also called as Cinerous Tit

                                                                       Common Tailorbird

                                                                       Scaly Breasted Munia

                                                             Common Tailorbird in Sunflower field

                                                                 Scaly Breasted Munia near its nest

                                                              Brahminy Myna with a mouthful

                                                                       Yellow Eyed Babbler

                                                   Yellow Eyed Babbler collecting grass leaves for nest

                                                                           Grey Hornbill

                                                                    Rose Ringed Parakeet


17-08-2012 (Badami, Saundatti and Naviluthirtha)

Woke up early and finished our breakfast by 7PM. Reached the cave temples. On the looks of it there were already tourists around the caves. The plan was to complete the cave vistits by 11AM so that we can beat the afternoon heat.

We hired a guide, this time the charge was 600/- to cover all the temples in Badami. There was no question of negotiation with him. But he was good. Took time to explain things in detail. The carvings in Badami are very very good. Its a place everyone should visit to understand how little the margin for error would be while carving these temple in a single rock. Since these temples are carved in a single rock there was no margin for error. We took lot of time to cover 4 cave temples because there were lot of photographs to take and lot of stories to hear.

After the cave temples we headed towards to Mallikarjuna temple. It is said that this lake has never dried till now since its formation in 7'th century. The temples again here are good with lot of carvings. The only issue with all these temples were they had lot of bats. You have to be a little careful while going inside these temples.

While going around the temple we spotted a Monitor Lizard on one of the small temple. It was my first sighting of this guy in the wild.

We finished the Badami tour by 11:30AM. Then we headed towards Saundatti. Here we could see there was a huge crowd in the temple since it was Friday. We decided to go for a special darshan(50/-) We finished our darshan within 30min. Again this place is not that clean.
For lunch we went to the city of Saundatti.

After a good lunch we headed towards Navilutirtha(Malaprabha Dam). There is not much water in the dam hence all the gates were closed. There is a nice temple at the bottom of the dam. There is lot of greenery in the park but there was not much of Bird acitivity there. As it was getting late we decided to head towards Gokak.

Because of some incidents which happend a week back we were not getting accomdation in lodges. We enquired in couple of big hotels(Gokak resort and Anmol) which denied to provide loding for couples. We did not want to waste time as it was geting late. Vinay arranged for stay in an Inspection Bungalow at Gataprabha project.

The place was beautiful. I will never foget this experience. The location was awesome. Thanks to vinays uncle who arranged everything including our dinner. It was a sumptuous dinner.
Again we slept early so that we can wake up early and go for a walk around IB.


                                                      Scaly Breasted Munia carrying leaves for its nest 

                                                                            White Throated Kingfisher

                                                                                Monitor Lizard

 18-08-2012 (Gataprabha Dam, Godachinmakki Falls and Gokak Falls)

Woke up around 6AM and after a quick bath went for a walk. I was lucky to spot a peacock near the IB. Since the light conditions were bad I could not get a good photograph of the peacock. But after a while the conditons got better for photography. I got some good shots of Minivet.

After the photosession we headed for breakfast in Vinay uncles house. Aunty had prepared very good Poha. It was very tasty, the poha I have at home tastes completely different than this. After breakfast went to couple of temples around and then we headed to see the Gataprabha dam.

I had never seen a dam up close till now. It was my first. Once the dam tour was done we headed to check the Godachinmakki falls. We were skeptical about the amount of water. But for our surprise the water was just enough for us to enjoy. The falls was beautiful. We spent good hour there enjoying the view and bird life around the falls. Got some good shots of lapwings and Wire Tailed Swifts(Again my first sighting of this bird).

After Godachinmakki falls, the main Gokak falls was let down. There was not much water there. But the walk on the bridge is one of its kind. Its risky and at the same time thrilling. And there were some mindless folks who started to swaying the bridge violently, Idiots I must say.

After Gokak we headed towards Belagum. Again the same problem with Lodges. But this time they were either full or quoting exorbitant prices. We decide to stay at Kavita's place. The idea was to visit her in the morning but we decided to stay overnight in her house. Kavita was looking good with her son. Her place is just over a hill. The view from her house is very good. The Markandaya river flows just in front of her house. We slept around 11PM that night.

                                                                             Purple Rumped Sunbird

                                                                               Small Minivet(Female)

                                                                                     Small Minivet (Male)

                                                                             Red Rumped Swallow 

                                                                                      Red Wattled Lapwing

                                                                                Little Egret

                                                       Wire Tailed Swallow(can u see the tail extending as wire) 

                                                                      Wire Tailed Swallow couple

19-08-2012 (Belgaum)

Woke up at around 6AM and went for a photowalk with my wife. The weather was very pleasant. Saw few Euoropean Thickknees, Large Grey Babbler and Common Tailor Bird. There was lot of bird acitivity near the house as Kavita mentioned. After a Bird photo walk we finshed our Breakfast at Kavitas home. Kavitas mom had prepared even lunch for us which was packed.

Kavita's brother was kind enough to show us around the places in Belgaum. First we went for shopping to buy some Belgaum Kunda for homes. It was something which you had to buy when you are in Belgaum. We visited Ganesh temple and Miliary Mahadeo temple first. And then headed to see the VTU campus. After visit to the campus we headed to Kapileshwara temple which was our last stop in Belgaum. We thanked Kavita's brother and headed back towards Bangalore. On the way we saw new Vidhana soudha being constrcuted in outskirts of Belgaum which will be used for winter session.

Reached Bangalore around 10:30PM.

                                                                                  Large Grey Babbler

                                                                                  European Thick-Knee

                                                                            Large Grey Babbler

                                                                    Large Grey Babbler (Grooming session :-))

                                                                           Vidhana Soudha construction

                                                                                 House Swifts

                                                                       White Throated Fantail

All in All a wonderful trip.

List of birds found during the entire trip.

1. Common Myna
2. Jungle Myna
3. Common crow
4. Jungle Crow
5. Black Shouldered Kite
6. Black Kite
7. Brahminy Kite
8. House Swift
9. Red rumped Swallow
10. Wire Tailed Swallow
11. White Throated Kingfisher
12. Pied Kingfisher
13. Indian Cormorant
14. River Tern
15. Cattle Egret
16. Little Egret
17. Pied Bushchat
18. White Browed Wagtail
19. Brahminy Myna(Brahminy Starling)
20. Indian Robin
21. Oriental Magpie Robin
22. Indian Silver bill
23. Scaly Breaster Munia
24. Laughing Dove
25. Collared Dove
26. Spotted Dove
27. Purple Rumped Sunbird
28. House Sparrow
29. Great Tit
30. Bats
31. Rock Pigeon
32. Indian BushLark
33. Jungle Babbler
34. Yellow Billed Babbler
35. Yellow Eyed Babbler
36. Large Grey Babbler
37. Ashy Prinia
38. Greater Coucal
39. Common Tailor Bird
40. Common Iora
41. Asian Koel
42. Red Vented Bulbul
43. Red Whiskered Bulbul
44. Pale billed Flowerpecker
45. Drongo
46. Small Minivet
47. Red Wattled Lapwing
48. Grey Hornbill
49. Rose Ringed Parakeet
50. Indian Roller
51. Peacock
52. Oriental White Eye
53. White Cheeked Barbet
54. White Throated Fantail
55. Some kind of Swan (Enclosure)
56. Some kind of duck (Enclosure)
57. Emu (Enclosure)
58. Wooly Necked Stork
59. Pond Heron
60. European Thick-Knee