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India: Karnataka: Bijapur, Coorg, Hampi, Kudalasangama, Mysore, Nagarhole with Irpu Falls
Nagarhole with Irpu Falls, Karnataka Ė A rewarding detour
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Instead of heading straight to Mysore from Coorg using the main highway, we took the inner road via Irpu Falls and Nagarhole National Park. The additional kms and the extra driving time were well worth our while. After enjoying a 3-day trip to Coorg, we had plans to spend 2 days in Mysore. After going all that far the detour proved to be one of our wise decisions.
We left Coorg at 10AM. We took the Nagarhole road thatís about 100 kms from Coorg. About 18 kms before Nagarhole, we took a right turn to reach Irpu Falls. Itís a fascinating waterfall that comes down 52 meters. Itís the river Laxmithirtha (Laxmi is the Goddess of wealth and Thirtha is blessings) that merges with River Cauvery.
The Irpu Falls are a 700 meters walk from the parking lot. Thereís an entrance fee of Rs 15 per head. The walk can get a bit tiring because itís uphill. You would need to climb lot of steps. Unlike Abbey Falls (refer to my article on Coorg), visitors can actually get beneath the falls and drench themselves. I avoided the temptation for 2 reasons Ė I forgot to keep a change of clothes with me; and it was winter time! Of course, there were plenty of tourists enjoying their showers.
After spending about an hour up there, we commenced our journey towards Nagarhole. The national park is now known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park. Itís a reserve for wild animals. A section of road before Nagarhole and Mysore is barricaded. Vehicles need to pay Rs 20 entry fee. Itís advised not to get down from the vehicles on this section.
The park opens at 6AM and closes at 6PM every day. The times can differ a bit depending upon sunrise and sunset timings. Private vehicles are not allowed inside the park. The park authorities organize safari trips that run by the hour except from 1PM to 3PM. Thatís rest time.
Visitors must enroll their names for the safari trip. Tickets are issued on a first come first served basis. There are 3 buses and every seat in each of the buses is numbered. Instead of choosing the 3PM bus, we opted to go for the 4PM safari Ė that ensured we got seats right in the front. In fact, I got seat no. 1, right next to the driverís seat Ė giving me unobstructed views.
The park is inhabited by tigers, leopards, jaguars and their prey. Well, you need to be extremely lucky to sight these animals. The safari took us through the deep forest and the journey lasted for an hour. We couldnít sight any of the mentioned animals but we did get to see deer, monkeys, Indian gaur (bison) and an elephant. Thatís it.
Well we were not entirely disappointedÖ the kick of seeing animals in their natural habitat did the trick. However, the luck was on our side when we started to drive towards Mysore. A few wild elephants were out just on the edge of the road. The day was made!
By the time we reached Mysore it was 7:45PM. I am being so precise because it was a Sunday. The Mysore Palace gets illuminated by 96,000 bulbs and the lights are on, only on Saturdays and Sundays from 7PM to 8PM. Our van crossed the palace. I could take just a couple of pictures from the moving van. Had we known this we could surely have reached an hour earlier and enjoyed the magnificent view. Well, we missed it. You can plan your days accordingly. Itís a phenomenal experience to see the royal palace bathed in gold. More about the Mysore Palace and pictures in my feature on Mysore.
By 8PM we were in the lobby of Hotel Sandesh The Prince. A nice hotel thatís conveniently located in city centre. Well appointed rooms and excellent restaurants would come in handy for the next 2 days.
Nagarhole with Irpu Falls Image Gallery Photo viewer
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