The year 2020 will possibly be remembered as the year of the pandemic, where entire world struggled but eventually came together against the Covid-19 pandemic. We desperately wanted to make some good fond memories out of Year 2020 and travel to few places at least to get out of the routine of work from home. After having to stay indoors / work from home and volunteering with local NGO for few weeks during Migrant Laborers travel crisis, we wanted to have a family getaway somewhere close to Bengaluru city. And since the Covid first wave was coming to an end, and ease of travel restrictions allowed us to plan a small getaway close to Bengaluru in November month.
Please Note: We as a responsible citizens, have followed all the Covid-19 appropriate behavior such as wearing masks at all times/Use of sanitizers/Staying away from crowd by social distancing, during our short 1-day travel within the state.
The Planning of the Journey:
I had been to Kabini previously on solo one day ride from Bengaluru back in 2017, but had not visited few places and not stayed in Kabini. And this time I came across a nice resort in Kabini which was recommended as family friendly and a relaxed getaway from the city's hustle bustle life. So, I began searching for a Rental car option with a driver who can help us reach Kabini along with our family and travel back to Bengaluru on the next day. After doing some inquiry and research on Google/Facebook, I came across "Shesha's Globe Trot" - a Travel Agency which provides SUV Cab services from Bengaluru to other places. Thus we decided our dates for travel and prepared for our journey.
On November 28, as per our plan, We started from our place in Bengaluru at around 5:30am and took NICE Ring Road to hit the Mysore Road (a highway which connects Bengaluru to Mysore). The total journey of Kabini Lake-view Resort from Bengaluru was around 210 kms (4hr 45mins) ride. On the way, we had breakfast in "Hotel Ruchi Mane" close to Srirangapatna. The food was extremely good and the hotel was maintaining all the hygiene and following all the Covid-19 guidelines to safeguard its staff as well as customers.
After breakfast, we went further on the Mysore road and took a right turn towards Ring Road for bypass (to avoid entering Mysore City) and head towards Heggadadevankote (H.D.Kote) to eventually reach the Kabini Lake view resort, where we had our stay booked for a night.
There were very less travelers staying in Kabini Resort that day, apart from 2 or 3 other groups. So, we were greeted by coffee/tea, before we checked into our cottages and freshened up. Once we came out of our cottages, we were welcomed by the sounds of chirping birds at the property which is filled with lots trees and grassland to wander around and relax with nature. In the afternoon we were invited to the sumptuous buffet lunch (Vegetarian) at the open dining place at the resort itself.
Post lunch we took some rest and at around 3:30pm, we woke up to the sounds of Rain drops and we thought our evening plan to visit Kabini Backwaters and boat ride would be hampered. But around 4:30 the rain subsided and we took off to visit the open backwaters of Kabini which was around 07kms from our resort. Amid the slight drizzle we walked to the shores of Kabini Backwaters which was surrounded by the Nagarahole Forest. It was a precious and priceless view of cloudy skies and calm waters of Kabini and after so many days of Lock-down due to the pandemic, this was even more precious. We wandered around the shores of Kabini until we were forced to get inside our car due to heavy rains.
Since there was no hope left for the Boat ride in Kabini Backwaters due to intermittent rains and the sun was setting down for the day, we decided to head back to our resort. When we reached our resort, the rains stopped, clouds moved away and we felt cheated by the nature :)
Finally, we decided to play some Badminton in the open ground of resort and some cycling to make it more fun as our parents took the opportunity to walk together around the trees of the resort garden which was much needed getaway for them too to feel some nature after so many days of isolation at home.
During our dinner time, we noticed, few more families have turned up into the resort in the evening for the night's stay in the resort. The dinner was multi-cuisine buffet and food was delicious and well prepared. The kitchen at the resort, takes side orders as well to prepare the food of guest's liking as well, if requested which is a plus point when you are travelling with family.
Next day morning, we head to Antharasanthe Forest range for our morning jungle safari which was pre-booked online by us a few days back. We waited for our safari bus to arrive, and this was the only time, we felt, there was a slight problem as it was very difficult to ensure social distancing inside a bus with more than 20 people. All in all, we masked up properly and sanitized our hands regularly during the entire safari and so do few other groups in the bus did the same. We were lucky enough to spot a tiger taking a morning dump in full human view on the safari route itself. I guess it was a more polite "tiger way" of marking its territory :) We could spot more number Deer's and Peafowls and listen to the chirping of birds. It was a safari of around 1hr 30minutes, by covering around 10-15kms of forest area, in search of Elephants and Tigers.
After the safari, we head back to our base which is Kabini Lake-view resort and had our breakfast. At around 10am we checked out from the resort and started our return journey.
We had only 3 more stops before we reach back to Bengaluru.
Stop-1: Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.
On the return journey, our stop was at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Srirangapatna. We had visited this place many a times and last on October 2020, when the lockdown and travel restrictions were lifted. We reached this place around 11am and spent some good 2 hours here, observing the birds, Exploring the Tree Park, Boat ride to watch the migratory birds like Pelican and also visiting the Dr. Salim Ali Museum situated on site. (More details in the next section)
Stop-2: Lunch at Halli Mane dine-in Restaurant
We stopped for lunch at Halli Mane Restaurant, which was a crowded place but food was authentic and had many varieties to choose from. We had the Halli Mane special thali where we were served with welcome dish as well.
Stop-3: Shopping for handmade toys at Channapatna
After lunch, we continued our journey and stopped at Channapatna Toy store for shopping some famous wooden engraved toys from here, for which the town of Channapatna is famous worldwide.
The road condition was bad from Mandya to NICE Road diversion near Kumbalgodu, due to the on-going construction of Elevated Expressway corridor between Bengaluru - Mysore. We reached home at around 7pm, safe and sound with a mindful of good memories which would be needed, to keep us going, until we get over with this difficult patch of Pandemic life.
1. Kabini Backwaters:
At a distance of 210kms from Bengaluru (4hr 30mins ride), this can be reached via Mysore road and a diversion at Mysore Ring Road towards H.D Kote (Heggadevanakote). There are plenty of good resorts here at Kabini close to the backwaters like Kabini Red Earth, Kabini Lake View Resort etc.
We stayed in Kabini Lake View Resort and the facilities and our stay was really worth it. Kabini Backwaters is right next to the Resort, but for a clear view and to get close to the Kabini waters, we need to go for boat ride or travel further 07 kms towards Red Earth Kabini resort, where you can drive all the way to the banks of Kabini River and feel the vibes of backwater and sunset. Antharasanthe Range of Nagarahole National Park is just 5kms away from Kabini Lake View Resort, where you can go for Jungle Safari organized by the Forest Range office (Dammanakatte).
2. Nagarahole National Park (Antharasanthe Range):
At a distance from 220kms from Bengaluru and 5kms from Kabini, this Antharasanthe Forest Range office of Nagarahole National Park offers Jungle Safari on daily basis. This is one of the crucial stretch of connecting habitat for tigers and elephants to other areas of Western Ghats through Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary and to the Eastern Ghats through Bandipur Tiger reserve. This national park boasts of being a home for over 300 species of flora and fauna and deemed as the Tiger Reserve and also has the highest number Asian elephants anywhere in the world.
Details about Safari booking can be looked up at below website of the Nagarahole National Park:
For Safari you have two options. Either on Bus organized by the Antharasanthe Forest Range office or Jeep Safari organized by the JLR (Jungle Lodges & Resorts) and JLR option is a bit pricey, but worth the money for the professional wildlife enthusiasts, who need a bit more personalized safari.
Safari Charges on Bus from Dammankatte: 400rs/per person
Safari Charges on Private Van or Jeep (Organised by JLR): 1500rs - 2000rs/per person
Safari Timings (Bus) from Dammanakatte (Organized by Antharasanthe Forest Office):
One trip in the morning and one in the evening.
Morning: 6:30am - 9:00am (Weekday)
Evening: 3:30pm - 6:00pm (Weekday)
During weekends there will be one more additional trip in the morning as well as in the evening.
3. Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Srirangapatna:
This is one of the very well maintained Bird Sanctuary with multiple observatories to view the migratory birds, which descend upon the quiet village of Ranganathittu and make their home during winters in India, between November - March. The Kaveri river flow from the nearby KRS dam, fills up the Ranganathittu wetlands and makes the home for marsh crocodiles too here in the sanctuary. There are multiple small islands (some of which are man-made) for the birds to create their nests and live peacefully for their summer vacation here in Ranganathittu.
There is boating facility which takes us for a 30min ride around the Sanctuary getting up and close with birds as well as with the Crocodiles in the water. This is one of the best places to spend time with nature in and around Mysore during winter season.
Entry Fee for Ranganathittu Sanctuary: 75rs/- for Adults, (25rs/- Kids) - Differential pricing for Foreigners
Boating Charges: 100rs/- for Adults, (35rs/- Kids) - Differential pricing for Foreigners
Parking Charges: 15rs/- (2-wheeler) , 60rs/- (4-wheeler), 125rs/- (Bus/Van)
We had taken the Mysore Road (Highway from Bengaluru to Mysore) and then H.D Kote route as our chosen route for this journey. During our journey in Nov.2020 the road conditions of Mysore Road was poor (lot of diversions) due to Elevated Expressway construction.
Bengaluru -> Electronic City NICE Road -> Srirangapatna-> H.D.Kote -> Kabini -> Antharasanthe Nagarahole Forest Range -> H.D Kote -> Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary -> Srirangapatna -> Bengaluru
with Overall 450 kms (around 10 hrs) of road journey.
Our Stay during this Kabini Trip:
Kabini Lake-view Resort:
First of all, our entire Kabini trip was planned around this stay option, which I came across from the recommendation through some travel bloggers over instagram who recently traveled and stayed there, so would like to share some experience of our stay at Kabini Lake-View resort from Nov.2020.
It was easy to locate the resort over google maps and except the last 1km stretch of the road (mud road with lots of up's and down's which could be a nightmare for some low ground clearance vehicles) the roads were pretty good. We eventually came to know there is another way to reach the resort by avoiding this bad stretch, if you go little further towards Antharasanthe and then take left turn between a village.
The open parking space was huge and so was the playground for any kind of games/sports or also for any event/function at the resort. We arrived early at the resort before our check-in time, but we were welcomed and within 15mins our cottages were cleaned and allotted for us. The cottages were tidy and clean with spacious living area and clean bathrooms with linen/toiletries.
Coming to the food served, it was always a buffet option for breakfast as well as Lunch/Dinner, but we could order separate side-orders as well to our liking, which was fulfilled by the Resort kitchen.
For exploring and to have fun within the resort, we had cycling, badminton and cricket kits at the resort. So, if you come with a decent sized group, you can have fun here as the resort has open play area in center surrounded by tree lines. The staff at the resort can help you book or guide you in planning the short trips around various places in and around Kabini and also help you plan and book Safari for the Nagarahole National Park and can arrange vehicles for transit, if requested in advance. All in all, it was pleasant stay experience at the resort which made our trip more comfortable and memorable as well.
Our CAB / Chauffeur for the Trip:
Shesha's Globe Trot - (Owner: Bharath - Mob: 063608 98908)
It was very well co-ordinated by Shesha's Globe Trot and we highly recommend their SUV CAB services and the Driver was very polite and managed our trip really well. The SUV was neat and clean and sanitized before and after our ride, keeping in mind of the Pandemic.
Food Options (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) on the route:
1. Hotel Ruchi Mane, Srirangapatna:
A nice homely atmosphere to have food with family on the Mysore road. It is situated in the Mysore Road, just after Srirangapatna town. There are many breakfast and lunch options on the menu and hygiene is well maintained while food preparation and serving. The sitting arrangement is good (far away tables keeping in mind of Social Distancing) along with clean washroom availability on site, which is not only for hotel customers, but also for the ongoing travelers as well. The open parking in front of the restaurant is spacious and well organized by the parking attendant.
2. Halli Mane Dine-in Restaurant, Srirangapatna:
A rather crowded restaurant (little crowded during our visit during back in Nov.2020), but well known for its Village style cuisines and overall setup of the restaurant. All types of cuisine available, but South Indian cuisine is a specialty here, the sitting arrangement is spacious along with clean washrooms. We were served free welcome dish of rice based idiyappam and thick sweet gravy before our lunch order. Parking is available in front of the hotel along with a parking attendant, but since the proximity of restaurant is very close to highway, the space is not enough for parking many 4-wheeler at a time due to the crowd of customers.
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