On the borders of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is the exquisite Masinagudi wildlife sanctuary. A quiet and serene vacation awaits everyone here, with many a surprises that unfolds for you as you explore the sanctuary. Pooja Sri recounts her experience here…
Travel from- Chennai
Mode of transport- Train
Route – Chennai-Mettupalayam-Ooty-Masinagudi
Our first anniversary was just an excuse for me and my husband to plan a travel to Masinagudi, a wildlife sanctuary situated in between the Bandhipur National Park, Karnataka and Mudhumalai National Park, Tamil Nadu. With great excitement we packed our bags,but before leaving we did do a bit of research and got to know that carrying a good sunscreen cream, a pair of shades and a cap would be really helpful specially if you are traveling somewhere in between March-April, as we did.
Though one can plan for a road trip, we preferred going by train. It takes about 8 to 9 hours to reach Mettupalayam (Coimbatore) from Chennai and from there you have various mode of transport to commute till Ooty. I was fascinated when I saw the Toy Train at the platform ready to take its passengers to Ooty, but to my disappointment we could not manage to get the tickets as there was a long queue in front of the ticket counter. Lesson we learnt – if you are planning to travel by the Toy Train book your tickets online! The first class ticket costs somewhere around Rs.75 and the second class around Rs.9, the Toy Train takes around 5 to 6 hours to reach Ooty in comparison to other modes like cab or buses which take around 2 to 3 hours. We decided to take a share cab which cost us Rs.100 each. A private cab which will cost somewhere between Rs.1500 to Rs.2000 for a drop till Masinagudi, also do note that there are frequent bus services also.
We reached Ooty in 3 hours and managed to get a bus immediately to Masinagudi. The breeze was chilly; I just closed my eyes and took a catnap before we reached Masinagudi.
The resort management had already arranged a jeep for us at the bus stand to fetch us to the resort. The way to the resort is via the sanctuary and I was so engrossed in the scenic beauty that I almost fell from my seat when two tall langoor’s jumped across our jeep and tried blocking our way by sitting on the center of the road. Our driver stopped the jeep and waited for them to leave while we learnt the rule – in the jungle the animals have the first right of way!!
As we entered the resort we could hear loud noises of a birdy kind and not being sure of which bird it was, I ran towards the direction from where the noise was coming, and there I was totally enthralled to see a peacock walking around the resort with poise and in colorful splendor. For the records a few monkeys were also playing around.
Later in the evening, we stepped out for the night safari. We were told by the resort management that we could spot more animals during night time as all of them come out at night to drink water from the lake. We were super excited;it was getting pitch dark when we entered the deep woods The first animal that we could spot was a Spotted Deer followed by Sambar Deers, Bison’s, Wild Boars and couple of Elephants. Overall it was a thrilling experience and is highly recommended. The night safari would cost you around Rs.1500.
The next day we got up early and went for a trek near the resort, it was arid but the weather was pleasant. The guide took me to the top of the hill from where I could get a bird’s eye view of the sanctuary. The scenic beauty was just amazing; I sat there for some time and felt the cool breeze on my face. On my way back to the resort I found an antler shed by a deer. Our guide told me that deer’s shed their antlers annually for regeneration of new ones. That was one interesting piece of information I got early in the morning!
We decided to be in the resort for the later part of the day and got ourselves involved in activities arranged by the resort management. The resort manager told us interesting facts about the jungle rules and the habitat of the cat family. He also suggested tours that Masinagudi was the place for people who love bird watching. We did not go for a bird watching session but spotted at least 5-6 varieties of birds in and around the resort itself!
Overall, stay at Masinagudi was an awesome experience and I would love to revisit the place again, but this time somewhere in between October to December; post monsoon, when there would not be even a single piece of parched land to be seen.
Since Ooty is quite close by, and we had some time in hand before we caught a train back to Chennai, we packed our bags and headed toward Ooty. I had heard nice things about Ooty and was looking forward to my short visit.
Pooja stayed at Zest (a Club Mahindra property)
to be contd…