By Ahana & Ananya Ramji

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We went on an unforgettable trip to Mysore last summer, and although it was only a two-day trip, we experienced South India’s vast wildlife through a safari in Nagarahole and by visiting the famous Mysore Zoo. It was a four-hour journey by car from Bangalore with our cousin, brother and father. We ended up blasting music the whole while, so it was a pleasant, not-too-boring car trip. Once we reached the city, we made our way to the Mysore Zoo, where we spent about two hours admiring various species of animals. Starting at the bird’s enclosure where we saw the spoonbill, pelican, and painted storks. We also saw white and blue peacocks, hornbills, emus and ostriches, brightly coloured flamingos, love birds, various types of geese, ducks, and more common birds like parrots, vultures, and eagles. As we went further into the zoo, we came across the reptile section where we were fascinated by the sight of the king cobra, pythons and star-studded turtles. We were stunned by the variety of animals that we came across. We saw many rare species of animals like the gaur, nilgai, spotted deer, black bucks, bears, barking deer, all kinds of elephants and the favourites- tigers and lions. Before leaving the zoo, we treated ourselves to some ice cream!

Then we all jumped back into the car to drive to our next destination – HD Kote, which is a small town on the way to the forest. From there we went to Handpost, a village on the edge of Nagarahole. We drove around Nagarahole, enjoying the greenery, and were surprised when we caught sight of a few elephants with a calf in the herd! They didn’t seem too scared and we managed to take a few pictures. It was around four in the evening when we set off to a field station where we would spend the night. It was quite secluded, with only a few local restaurants. At this point, it was time for our brother and father to return home to Bangalore because they had to work the next day. We stayed behind with our cousin however and relaxed in the room at the field station for some time. The room was a small, cozy, little place. It had a common area with sofas and two bedrooms, each with two beds covered in mosquito nets. This was helpful for the night, when it seemed like all the mosquitoes in the world decided to attack us! We had a light supper in the field station that consisted of some staple South Indian delicacies and went to bed soon after.

An elephant strolls past our tour bus (Image: Priya Ranganathan)

The next day, we woke up bright and early at 4 a.m. to head to the Forest Department safari post near the Antharasanthe gate of the tiger reserve. The queue to get tickets for the safari was quite long. After waiting for a while, we finally got our tickets and hopped into one of the buses. We were quite lucky as we secured a seat by the window. Cameras and phones in hand, ready to click pictures, we waited in anticipation as the bus started on the two-hour long journey through the wild.

Luck was with us, as barely five minutes after the journey began, we spotted a tiger. We had never seen a tiger in such close proximity before, and we stared at the beautiful animal in admiration. As the bus moved along, we saw many deer, elephants, monkeys and birds enjoying themselves in their natural habitats, in contrast to what we saw in the zoo. Our cousin, who is quite skilled at photography, took some amazing pictures of the animals that we saw in the safari. We spent a glorious two-hours on the bus, not feeling bored even for a second. We’re such animal lovers, so it was indeed an amazing experience for us to be surrounded by animals for a whole two hours! The furthest point that the bus reached was a crystal-clear lake, with a whole lot of deer on the other side. There were around fifty deer, peacefully minding their business on the other side of the lake, along with their fawns. It was an amazing sight, and we got some great pictures of that as well.

Finally, it was time for the bus to turn around and go back. Once the safari was over, we took a final trip to the field station and packed up all our belongings. We ate a quick breakfast at a local restaurant and then took a bus to Mysore. Once we reached Mysore, we visited the Mysore palace and then took a train back to Bangalore. It was a memorable trip, one that we will never forget, and we can’t wait to go on more exciting trips like this with our cousin again!

About the Authors:

Ahana and Ananya Ramji are science students in the 10th standard in Bangalore. They are avid nature enthusiasts and enjoy learning about India’s fascinating environment and wildlife.