MasinagudiTamil Nadu

Masinagudi – Where elephants roam

Warning : The call of the wild is a cry that should not be ignored . It can cause you sleepless nights . Soon you will be woken up in the night by howling wolves and you will start seeing sillhouttes of elephants next to you in the dark ! A snake will slither down your feet as an invisible insect will screech into your ears .. So, when the cry started echoing in our ears , we decided to pack our bags and drive down to the closest wildlife sanctuary .

The best thing about Bangalore is that there are several options to get away from the city . And as living in the city gets progressively worse, weekend getaways seem to mushroom out of nowhere . We drove towards Mysore, leaving behind the concrete jungles and … the forests presented themselves .We were spoilt for choice – Nagarhole enroute Coorg , BR Hills , the wilds around Kabini and Cauvery rivers , Bandipur to name a few .. However my eternal favourite is Masinagudi , a small town in the neighbouring state , Tamil Nadu , located adjacent to Mudhumalai Wild life Sanctuary .

We had first discovered Masinagudi a few years ago . While I had visited Mudhumalai as a kid, Masinagudi was discovered through serendipity . Its just one stretch of forests from Bandipur to Midhumalai – as you drive down from Bandipur , you need to cross the border and you are into Mudhumalai . A slight drizzle welcomed us as we entered Tamil Nadu. A carpet of greens veiled our eyes .The sun filtered through the bamboos that were scattered around . A deer darted through the bush . The silence was only punctuated by the sharp cries of the babblers who probably announced our arrival .If there was paradise, I thought this was it !

A cluster of villages like Theppakadu, Bokkapuram have several resorts and home stays which offer a jungli experience . We found some interesting resorts during our three visits . The first one was Casa Deep Woods – we had been there some five years, and it has a stream running adjacent to our wild habitat , not to mention aesthetically designed open bathrooms, with trees as roofs. During our next trip, we decided to live high up in the trees in Wild Canopy Reserve, welcoming the new year . This time, we decided to go to some simple log huts at Jungle Hut. Most of the resorts here are an extension of the jungle , where elephants freely roam ..For them , there is no border, nor state nor permit..the densely thick jungles are their abode and we are mere tresspassers in their territory .

And thats precisely what we learnt as we went on a night safari . It was well past midnight and we were the last motley bunch who ventured out in the night . It was a bright starry night ..the wind was cold and we were in an open jeep, eagerly awaiting the sighting of animals..We drove very slowly and the trees looked eerie and long .

Our driver and guide , Sashi kept the night alive talking about wildlife escapades when the jeep suddenly stopped slowly ..A large shadow obstructed our gaze as the jeep pulled up ..We dimmed the headlights and there was an elephant taking ownership of the road . There was pin drop silence as we gazed at the elephant in reverence ..

Our driver whispered and our gaze followed the lights, we saw not one but a herd ,even a calf, snuggling to its mother..The elephants were on both sides of the road, probably crossing .The first one on our left turned towards us as the driver mumbled it was getting ready to charge . We switched off the lights and waited silently.A few moments passed and it seemed like eternity . A slight movement and the jeep moved .

We went upto Theppakadu with no more nocturnal visitors when suddenly we saw two huge shadows on our right .They were mammoth bisons , grazing , with their back to us , oblivious of us.. Suddenly a truck whizzed past us , shattering the silence and the bison’s supper. They did an above turn and were on their forelegs , all ready to charge. The sheer size stunned us and the horns looked absolutely devilish . This was scarier than the previous experience ..We quickly backed off and then took a detour and returned ..We could not take photographs as the light was low, and flash has to be avoided ..But I guess memories are best etched in minds..and probably , in words

We couldnt have asked for a wilder escapade . The weekend just whizzed past us , as we trekked, walked, laughed and chilled..The days were spent basking in the sun , going for safaris, a drive to Ooty veering past 36 hairpin bends and the nights staring at the sky, listening to the insects , counting stars …


  1. Aaarti 18 November, 2007 at 11:40 Reply

    have heard of Masinagudi ,but yet to go there.. the place looks so wild n yet so in one wiht nature.. love the pics.. 🙂

    and wow, u sure seemed to have had a full fun wild trip~ nice:)

  2. Shantanu 18 November, 2007 at 17:18 Reply

    Lovely place (seems so from your pics), but I hadn’t heard of it until now. I have lived my childhood in Mysore, and therefore Bandipur and Nagarhole were places I have visited and enjoyed immensely. Both my wife and I love the jungle; we even ended up at a desolate jungle resort north of Corbett for our honeymoon (instead of a beach or hill-resort which is the norm!).

  3. backpakker 19 November, 2007 at 11:50 Reply

    Arti – nature is wild and watching the animals in their natural habitat is an awesome experience
    Ive never been to a night safari, that too at midnight ..

    Shantanu- thank you..wild life resorts are more exciting than a regular beach or a hill resort .,pls make this place a must visit when you come down ..its a straight road from bandipur and you will see the Tamil Nadu border .

    Ashley – Im sure you will enjoy , especially if you are into wild life

    Stephanie – Im glad you enjoyed it…I can still feel the excitement in me

  4. AJEYA RAO 19 November, 2007 at 21:05 Reply

    Amazing pics…Would love to visit here. yes indeed, with city getting so busy and crowded, we prefer to drive out on weekends and have plenty of options too.

    i had been to wildlife film fest few months back and there we had a group who encourage village stay. you have to travel to this village near bandhipur and will stay with the villager, eat their food and spend time there. A trekk in the jungle also included. Sounded interesting to me, plan to go there sometime. and u need to pay the villager directly – only rs500 per night/per person

  5. backpakker 20 November, 2007 at 13:05 Reply

    Pijush – Masinagudi is one of my favourites ..its an amazing place..I had lived in a tree house one new year eve in one of the resorts fact it was my first post in backpakker

    Ajeya- sounds very interesting ..pls give me the details as well

  6. Kalyan 20 November, 2007 at 15:47 Reply

    WoW…some really stunning shots of the wildlife & the greenry…your photos are really tempting me to visit this place. I will surely try to find out more of this lovely place!…Excellent pics & the description!

  7. indicaspecies 20 November, 2007 at 19:08 Reply

    I’ve passed through the same road from Mysore to Ooty via Bandipur and Madhumalai, but have not stopped over at Masinagudi. I will, next time, and stay in a tree house too.

    I was in Bandipur again in April this year and unfortunately, the place looked dry in the summer. It’s so good to see the same vegetation but much more alive and green in these beautiful pictures you’ve shared.

    What an amazing time you have had. Thanks for a great post. 🙂

  8. backpakker 20 November, 2007 at 19:19 Reply

    kalyan – thanks glad you liked it ..let me know if you need any information to get there . i do hope you will as its one of my favourites

    indicaspecies – the tree house is great fun and we had a langur in the middle of the night as a visitor . Isnt the stretch wonderful ? its lush green let me know when you are here again next

  9. Caroline B 20 November, 2007 at 20:31 Reply

    You are so lucky! I would love to go to a wildlife park like this! We here in the UK are cold and wet and the most exciting wildlife is a damp rabbit or a moth-eaten magpie……

  10. GMG 22 November, 2007 at 05:46 Reply

    Hi Backpakker, sorry for having taken so much time to come back here, but these last weeks have been awful. And the future is not promising, but I’ll try to get some time to enjoy your posts…
    Wonderful Masinagudi! But also adored to see the incredible Jungfrau pictures, though the Top of Western Europe is Mont Blanc (4,808m)…

  11. backpakker 22 November, 2007 at 10:12 Reply

    Cosmic Joy- welcome to backpakker and thank you . I am glad you liked it

    GMG – good to see you back . Hope your conference went off well . Thanks for the information reg Mont Blanc . I just blindly went by the Jungfrau promotion 🙂

  12. backpakker 3 December, 2007 at 15:36 Reply

    Caroline – I would love to come to UK sometime ..not for wild life maybe..India has several wild life sanctuaries and parks..One of my aspirations is to see all of them

    Priyank – Thanks . I liked a few myself

    Sigma – The night scary was amazing ..but its unspoilt as of now..its also a plastic free zone and they are trying to enforce it

  13. Jeevan 4 June, 2008 at 20:05 Reply

    It would be a thrilling experience at night safari, inside jungle near bison and elephants. Last week I was on the route to mysore from ooty in night and I sighted three places where elephants besides, one was a group, but luckily got to snap one elephants in the car light. Great one here!!

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