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  • Writer's pictureYogesh Kardile

Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve : Roadtrip

A drive through the dense forest where once infamous Sandalwood & Ivory smuggler Veerappan roamed freely. a jungle now the largest Tiger project in Tamilnadu state. It was actually an impromptu trip. Earlier we were planning to go via Udagamangalam ( Ooty ) from Coimbatore. Staying in a tea estate bunglow and then descend via Bandipur route to Mysuru. But due to sudden work at home we decided to skip and drive via Udagamangalam (Ooty ) and reach Mysuru directly via Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.

We never thought it will be so dramatic. The first time in our life we saw elephants crossing roads in front of our car. Fortunately the family was in a good mood. The daddy elephant raised his trunk towards us and then signalled his family to descend. We stopped and gave them the passage. Once they finished crossing gently he looked back that no one is following them and vanished into the forest.

It was such a beautiful moment to see these gentle creatures. Especially looking into their eyes was like connecting with a fellow human and communicating. This happens when we look at a cow or a horse. These animals shows range of emotions and have strong family ties just like us.

This picture above was the first encounter of a Mumma elephant and her cub. We entered into the sanctuary and after few meters we saw them grazing by roadside. she was really calm and yet standing like wall for her cub. He was grazing besides her but facing towards the forest. The sunlight was filtering through leaves.

We went to Valaparai to see elephants but didn't had a telephoto lens. We saw four elephants in Lower Sholayar dam but from long distance. And the forest was thick and dark. Even afternoon was like night. Crickets were chirping heavily. What we got is happy feeling to see them into the wild. And here Bannari Amman blessed us and they appeared while we were driving through the forest. Before entering into the forest I prayed to the Mother Mahakali that this is the last forest we will be crossing before reaching home. Please bless us. There is a temple of mother Bannari Amman into the forest. When I reached back our friend from Mysuru told us that this is the same temple where Veerappan used to come to pay his respect to the Goddess.

Unfortulately he used to kill elephants, smuggle sandalwood. Now when he is not there; forest department is doing such a nice job that you can see elephants on roads. Lot of wildlife is all around you. And the road is in excellent condition. Tamilnadu Forest Department and Road Department are doing amazing job. You can see the difference while travelling across the nation. Even the remotest village is having smooth road.

Most of the time one has to do lot of efforts and pay a lot for wildlife safari. Here one can see wildlife on both the sides of the road. Only thing is you need to drive as per the forest department rules ( around 30kms per hour ) and do not stop unnecessarily. Nature will definitely reward you.

Make sure to travel between 06:00 am to before 06:00 p.m. Preferebly morning or evenings are good time for sightings. Avoid leaving late. In case if something goes wrong getting help will be difficult.

Even thought there are lot of lorries frequents from both the sides carry your eatables, drinking water in the car. Do not throw any garbage outside. That is not good for the wildlife and for us as well. There will be heavy fine as well.

The forest is like a joining of Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats. So as soon as you start from the plains the flora is deciduous and thorny but until you reach to the top of the ghats evergreen trees and huge bamboos dominates the landscape. That is another reason for variety in the fauna. Variety of wildlife is found here. This tiger reserve hosts around 80 tigers , many leopards and much more.

Eevn though you are not a wildlifer you will love this drive especailly your family. Kids will thoroughly enjoy this trip from Coimbatore to Mysure. There are lot many things to shop in both the cities. Both are know since centuries for their heritage, temples, zoo, palaces, silk , sandlewood and much more. The climate is different in both the cities. You will see typical Tamil and Karnataka culture within a day.

For any help / queries reach out to us on 9740932248 /

Coimbatore to Mysuru : 197 Kms

Dhimbam Ghat

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Photography & write up : Yogesh Kardile

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