I set off at dawn on the 26th of September, the destination for the day being Muthodi in the Bhadra wildlife sanctuary. The route would be

B’lore–>Nelamangala–>Kunigal–>Hassan–>Chikamagalur–>Muthodi

I started at around 5AM in the morning and reached C’magalur by noon. The drive was pleasant and the stretch between Hassan and C’magalur particularly so. En-route i passed through Belur but resisted the temptation of visiting the magnificent Hoysala temples.

Once in C’magalur, i visited the DFO’s office to collect my permits to stay at Muthodi. I was told over the phone that they will be issued as and when i reach C’magalur. On reaching they told me that prior booking was required.  I met the ADFO who was kind enough to give me a letter instructing the caretaker at the Muthodi Nature Camp (MNC) to let me stay there. After lunch i proceeded towards Muthodi which is 20 odd kilometers from C’magalur.

The MNC is situated amidst pretty dense forest. En-route i was also blessed with the sighting of the majestic Black Eagle. The surroundings of the camp are a nature lover’s delight. Malabar Giant  Squirrels can be seen scampering all over the place, birds are plentiful and a forceful stream flows nearby.

Malabar Giant Squirrel

The forest guard gave me a small dark room for 250bucks but given the surroundings, i was not complaining. There were abundant butterflies too with lots of them seen mud-puddling. I spent quiet some time sitting by the stream and for the rest of the evening wandered around soaking in the ambience.

Stream, Muthodi

After that it was an early dinner cooked by the caretaker’s wife and i retired for the day to the calls of owls, giant squirrels hopping around in the trees. And the gushing water of the stream.

The next day morning woke up to the sound of bird calls. About 3kms from MNC is Sighekhan and one has to take a gravel road to reach there. I slowly proceeded towards Sighekhan birding along the way. As it is with dense forests, one hears a lot but sees little. I was lucky to come across a “hunting party” with lots of tits, nuthatches, woodpeckers etc. The definite highlight was the sighting of two Blue Bearded Bee-eaters. There were plenty of wood spiders along the way.

Giant Wood Spider

Sighekhan also has a forest guest house and offers panoramic views of the forests. After spending about an hour at Sighekhan, i drove down to MNC and proceeded towards Agumbe. This was my first visit to Muthodi and it is definitely one of those places which will compel me to come back to it again and again.

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