Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Is Masinagudi Phantom's Denkali?

The Puli (or Tiger in Tamil) is a big draw for those who visit Masinagudi - located as it is on the edge of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. The chance of a weekend getaway (in the guise of a weekday) saw me putting some Tiger in the Tank (with apologies to Esso) for the drive to Masinagudi. From Bangalore, it's about 145 kilometres to Mysore (3.5 hours) and about 81 kilometres from Mysore to Masinagudi (about 2 hours).

I've been into Mudumalai/Bandipur (the Tamil Nadu part of the reserve is Mudumalai forest and the Karnataka section is Bandipur) several times but the Puli (the big cat) has always eluded my camera. This time it was different: What I saw at the main gate of Bamboo Banks was absolutely the Cat's Whiskers - there was a Puli sorry pulley there.

A view of the Nilgiris from Bamboo Banks Farm Guest House

It's perhaps do to the fear of the Puli prowling around at night, that the gate is manually automated with a pulley system. You reach the main gate of Bamboo Banks and pull a rope. This starts the flow of water which fills in a bucket. As the bucket fills it acts as a counterweight for the gate which opens as fast as the bucket fills in. The leaky bucket discharges water at a rate slower than the time required to drive in via the now wide open gate. As the bucket drains the gate shuts.I am sure the Tiger will never figure this out and may have to try its luck from elsewhere on the perimeter of this 42 acre farm.

I remember that Phantom too has a similar system for his Tree House in the Jungles of Denkali.

A view from the Bokkapuram Hillock - A Short Drive from Bamboo Banks Farm Guest House

Mr. Zerasp Kothavala's tour of the large farm is in itself a safari of sorts. Stags,Spotted Deer, Wild Hare, Peacocks are standard fare. Lunch, however is not - it's sumptuous but does not have any Puli'ogere mix on the menu (sorry - I keep getting carried away by the Puli). The view of the Nilgiris mountains from the farm is excellent - but dinner is even better.

A view of the Bamboo Banks Farm Guest House

Great weather (when we were there on the 16-17 June, 2016), the sparkling room (thoughtfully furnished which includes a small scissor to cut the Dairy Creamer sachet - though you must remember this is a farm and not a resort) and thoughts of the pulley at the gate perished any thoughts of going on the Tiger Safari which is only a 7 kilometres drive from Bamboo Banks Farm Guest House. We, instead climbed the hillock at Bokkapuram village - a very short drive from Bamboo Banks Farm Guest House.

With just 7 rooms/cottages Bamboo Banks is not po'Puli'st!

We had a great time and have no compunctions in recommending Bamboo Banks Farm Guest House at Masinagudi unhesitatingly.