|Sunrise at Lovina|
|Dolphin watching tour, Lovina
Dolphin Watching Video
|Private gazebo at Bali Green Spa|
|Peppers at Coorg|
Tips: According to our homestay owner and several coorgi colleagues, the best time to visit is, in the monsoon months; June to August. Just laze around on a hammock, chill in the breeze or sit by a sparkling bonfire; its really what one does at Coorg. And the more, the merrier it’ll be!
Awesome! Aren’t they???
We were allotted one of those Safari Jeeps and we set-off into the jungle. The road tapered till there was just a narrow muddy track. On n On it went taking us more into the depths of the protected reserve. The first animal we spotted was the deer. Abundant in numbers and easy to spot. The jungle was full of them. Ample of food for the lions I guess :-p
We rode on further, spotting owls and some varieties of birds, sambhar, jackals and wild boars. The main attraction of Gir is ofcourse … The Asiatic Lion! The only place it’s found today! We hadn’t seen any yet! We had to see the lion, otherwise this trip would be incomplete! The guides in the other jeeps exchanged info. if there was some lion spotting so they could take their tourists to the spot as well. There seemed to be some alertness among them, the way they signaled to each other.
We moved on and a few meters ahead we saw about 4-5 jeeps parked, everyone very quiet and peering at something behind the trees. Our guide declared … “lions”. Whaat I thought … Where … I couldn’t see any … I looked into the direction where everyone was looking … still I couldn’t see anything … then slowly my vision became clearer and I spotted a full grown-up lion … it was so very well camouflaged in the trees and bushes. Along with him was a lioness sitting opposite to him. Our guide informed us that it was a mating pair. Wow I thought as I looked at these majestic creatures, in their natural habitat, so much at ease. What if they come charging at us like right now? There was pin-drop silence at that spot but my heart was beating with joy. We hung in there for sometime along with the other jeeps. Clicked pics and willed for the lions to roar. They never did! Lazy creatures! We completed our safari and went back to our resort for a shut eye. YaY for spotting the elusive lion!
Shortly post lunch it was time for the evening safari. This time it was a different route. Unfortunately, we did not spot any lions this time. Actually winter is not the best time to visit Gir. Summer is better because the lions come out to the man-made tanks for water and spotting is easier. Also, the shrubs and trees dry out and you can see much farther inside the jungle from the tracks. However, the most amazing aspect of this route was that the forest opened up into this magnificent lake. It was so beautiful … although there were crocs criss-crossing in it … in hundreds … which reminded me of khoon bhari maang … lol! And we could GET DOWN (that’s something!) from the jeep and go to this observation tower.
The onset of winter brings back memories from last year! There were six of us. I don’t know how we ended up making up this crazy plan of visiting Manali in the December of 2010. Our initial plan was Goa … Warm sunny beaches and the works. But, one thing led to another and we were headed for Manali instead. I had never seen snow in my life and the prospect was exciting! It took us a good 16 hours from Delhi in an Innova. We started off from Delhi at 4:00am and reached our destination at 7:00pm.
On the way we sang and talked and laughed and ate and slept and on and on we went. On the way, we stopped at this lovely river bank and had Maggie sitting around a small fire.
The next morning we were woken up by the guest house keeper knocking on our door urging us to look at the falling snow. “Madam, Sir … baraf gir rahi hai … bahar aaiye, dekhiye”. Whaat!! I was up in an instant … Me and my sister went berserk, squealing like crazy we put on out shoes and jacket and cap and ran out the door anxious to enjoy the snowfall while it lasted. It was a first for all of us and we went about clicking pictures not caring about our socks and gloves getting soaked. We were ecstatic! After a while we had to get back in … it was soo damn freezing outside! We then had a goood breakfast of aloo parathas and garam chai. Heavenly it was in that weather! Our driver informed us that we will set out for Rohtang once the snowfall stopped.
But the snow just wouldn’t stop. The snow fell and fell and fell intermittently the whole day. By evening it had become thicker and the trees, bushes, railings and slopes of houses had a thin layer of snow. We considered ourselves extremely lucky. We strolled outside. Clicked more pictures and played snowfight! It was great fun! From our window we could see the snow falling and it was such a pretty sight. That day we obviously could not venture outside. Tomorrow we thought excitedly, we get to ride on a sledge at Rohtang!
|Same tree as in the picture above, now covered with heaps of snow|
But that tomorrow when I looked out the window in the morning, I was bowled over looking at the amount of snow there was now! Our guest house keeper informed us that it had snowed the whole night! Only a day ago there was nothing, now there was about 1-foot cover of snow. We ventured outside once again covered from top to bottom. And it was acutely ch-old yet it was breathtaking. The landscape was now white … the mountains, the trees, the houses … everything … all stark white yet so beautiful! It was one of the most gorgeous sights to behold. And it continued to snow …
We finally reached the main road and there ensued a round of snowball fighting! Our target was each other’s bum! 😉