When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy, And the dimpling stream runs laughing by; When the air does laugh with our merry wit, And the green hill laughs with the noise of it. —-William Blake
And I felt every word of these lines in the green woods of BR hills. I have visited many nearby forests and wildlife sanctuaries but this was for the first time, I was visiting any during Monsoon and the greenery just mesmerised me, spellbound with the beautiful roads and the cool breeze, I must say the journey was equally beautiful as destination.
About BR Hills:
The BR hills are located at the easternmost edge of the Western Ghats and the westernmost edge of the Eastern Ghats. Thus this area supports a diverse flora and fauna in view of the various habitat types present. A wildlife sanctuary of 322.4 square kilometres (124.5 sq mi) was created around the temple on 27 June 1974, and enlarged to 539.52 square kilometres (208.31 sq mi) on 14 January 1987. sanctuary derives its name Biligiri (white hill in Kannada) from the white rock face that constitutes the major hill crowned with the temple of Lord Ranganathaswamy (Lord Vishnu) or from the white mist and the silver clouds that cover these hills for a greater part of the year. An annual festival of Lord Vishnu, held in the month of April, draws pilgrims from far.source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biligiriranga_Hills)
How To reach?
Nearest Airport: Bangalore( 170 kms)
Nearest Station: Mysore( 82 kms)
The best way to travel is private vehicle as you won’t be getting any vehicle on the hills for sightseeing.
Places to visit:
BR Hills is one such place which is equally famous for Biligiri Rangaswamy temple other than its most talked about BRT wildlife sanctuary. And you can also try some fun activities like river rafting, trekking, visiting honey farms but these activities can be experienced during their respective seasons only.
- @K Gudi
Places to stay and Eat:
BR hills is not highly commercialised like other famous hill stations in the vicinity so you may find it hard to find too many places to stay, eat or shop. For stay you can opt for K Gudi wilderness camp( jungle lodges) as they conduct the safaris officially and other places are a bit far from the safari point, but the price is on expensive side.
So you can try few other places too such as Gorukana, Giridarshini, Shwetagiri, Rajathadri, KTDC mayura etc. We could not find any standalone restaurant, however one can try in the restaurants of the above hotels.We stayed at Giridarshini and it was a really amazing experience. they charge 2000/- per Adult( 1250/- for kids) including all the meals, snacks and Bonfire. The food and accomodation was hygienic and praiseworthy, the only point of concern for me was that they don’t serve Non veg.
We started at around 6 am and reached there at 12:00 noon after having 2 long breaks on the way. We took kanakpura road while going and had breakfast at Sri Renuka thatte Idli- a must try ! It took us almost 6 hrs due to few breaks and the roads of Yemalur Village( see points to consider)After reaching, we had our lunch at the hotel itself and then we left for Safari at around 2:00 pm. The safari starts at 3:00 pm and it was around 18 kms away from Giridarshini. The safari was for 1 hr , Unfortunately we could not spot any Tiger but the view was worth watching . Safari cost- 1400 INR for 2 adult and 1 kid( only jeep safari is available). As it started raining in the evening so we retuned to our room by 6:30 pm. We enjoyed bonfire at our hotel along with masala peanuts, followed by dinner at 8:30 pm. There were many other guest and we enjoyed chit- chatting during bonfire and dinner.
Breakfast @ Bidadi
- Plantation @Giridarshini
Next day, everybody took their vehicle and started for a private safari at 5:45 am , guided by the resort caretaker. It was a one of a kind experience to experience the beauty o nature. We spotted many birds, deer, peacock and even wild bison. We returned at around 7 :00 am and got ready for temple visit, which was just at a walking distance. we returned by 8:30 am and had a scrumptious breakfast . Then we started packing and left at around 11: 00 am. While returning , we also visited Sivanasamudaram falls and this time we took Mysore road as the roads are better than other route( via Kanakapura Road)it has plenty of options for lunch. After having lunch at Empire restaurant, Maddur, we left for Bangalore at 4:00 pm and reached here by 7:00 pm surpassing all the Bangalore traffic.
deer spotted during early morning ride
Fish fry near Sivanasamudram
Points to consider:
- There aren’t many staying options so do book your rooms in advance. and same goes with the eateries so you should carry some snacks/eatables for emergency especially if you have kids.
- If you are coming via Kollegal- yamlur road( Most likely in case you are following the GPS as its the shortest route), you may have to cross roads where the villagers would have laid hays and other scraps from the crops mainly targeting the big vehicles to crush those scraps. So in case you don’t have a powerful vehicle, you need to take out your vehicle carefully.
- You can also plan to visit few places like Sivanasamudram, Talakadu, Somanathapura while returning.
- Its not highly commercialised, so you might not get even few of the basic shops there, better to carry beforehand whatever you need.
- And last but not the least, be vigilant while driving as we spotted few dead animals ( like mangoose, squirrel)on the road who died because of some overspeeding vehicles.