Saturday, July 03, 2010

Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary, Palmaner, AP

Let me take a break from Nano and write about something else. About our 2 day trip to Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary and Horsley Hills in AP. Actually there isn’t much to write about this sanctuary. As I started writing about Horsley Hills trip, the post got elongated and I had to split it into part 2, so Day 1 activities are being published in this post under the above title.

Horsley hills, a small hill station some 300 kms from Chennai, (200kms from Bengaluru) located in Andhra Pradesh, was on my hit list since long time. Many people declared “there’s nothing interesting there” and internet websites only had typical marketing contents-all similar.

After multiple attempts, a trip to Horsley hills finally materialized on last weekend of May. We (myself, Ram, Rajesh and Satish) had booked a Swift Diesel and even paid advance, but the stupid and unreliable dealer failed to give us the Swift VDi we’d booked. (these local dealers offer cars at a rate cheaper than regular agencies like Hertz, but that cost saving comes at a price- they are highly unreliable) Our option was to take a petrol car (city) or an old India Diesel or cancel the trip.
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(Above: An multi axle truck toppled over- a common scene on NH4. No I wasn’t driving this thing)
We decided to proceed with Indica Diesel, which had logged over 1.3 lakh kms and was in not so good condition. We set of on Saturday early morning and reached Horsley hills by afternoon. Once on highway I realized that its 5th gear is not working properly as well and our max speed was confined to about 100-110kmph (Nano was better off!) We entered Chittoor town in search of breakfast and also took a deviation near Palmaner searching for elephant sanctuary.
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Above: Ram looking at a Natural lake at Palmaner. Right: A dragonfly

Internet sites suggested existence of Koundinya Elephant Sanctuary off Palmaner. When we reached Palmaner, localites had no clue about any wildlife centres around. We faced a bit of launguage problem-I called a telugu friend and got exact telugu words (Vanya Jantu Pradarshana Shala- Telugu for wildlife sanctuary and another phrase for Elephant habitat, which I forgot). Still no one were aware. Eventually, one gentleman offered to guide us. He took us several kms inside. We found No elephants, but found several small water bodies having good number of birds around it.

Cattle egret3 Red wattled lapwig
Pied KingfisherAshy Wood Swallow
Above: 4 of my best bird photographs during the trip. Disadvantage of point and shoot camera-higher the zoom, lower the resolution were obvious (In first Row: Cattle egret and Red wattled lapwig, identified by Shankara. In Second Row: Pied Kingfisher and Ashy Wood Swallow respectively, names sourced from Ram) I still have a lot to learn.

Finally the guide suggested that we go another 6 kms inside a kachcha road, we decided to abort the plan and return to main road and head towards our primary destination, Horsley Hills. This sign board is all we could see, as far as elephants are concerned (also it is a vast area, spread over 358 square kms and supposed to have about 50 elephants-we can’t expect them to be visible near the roadside)
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Above: A signboard confirming that its supposed to be an elephant reserve. Right: Gangotri, a pond few kms earlier to Horsley Hills. One is supposed to find Sambar Deers and other wild animals here, a per the adjacent signboard.
Without any difficulty we reached Horsley Hills after another stop near Gangotri, a nice and scenic water body.
The Main accommodation facility, run by APTDC (there’re different types of rooms suiting various budgets) was all full. Other two major options were Governor’s Bungalow and AP Forest department’s guest house. While APTDC accommodation can be booked in advance online, the other two are let out only selectively. So we were guided towards another private facility, which rented us a dungeon kind of room for 500 Rs. Buffet lunch at APTDC restaurant costs Rs 100 and food was reasonably good.
Read the next post about Horsley Hills.

Similar: Wayanad Travelogue * Ooty Travelogue *

8 comments:

Mridula said...

Lovely set of birds though.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Mridula

Trails of a Traveler said...

I think we need to spend more time in the Koundinya sanctuary. I doubt if there would be any elephants, but there definitely are lots of birds.
It will definitely be a very good place for bird watching..

Anu said...

Nice bird pics.... sad that you didnt see any elephants or deer. maybe u need to spend some more time there to see them!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Ram and Anu
Yes, need to spend more time...

I had sent SMS to elephants and deers to come near the roadside, guess they didn't get it due to signal problem...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

This was not our primary destination. We took a detour to check out the place. Couldn't have afforded to spend all day there.. Its too huge a campus and animal density is too poor.

Sankara Subramanian C said...

Lovely Bird shots! You are lucky to have spotted a pied kingfisher. They are kinda rare. The birds on the top of the kingfisher are cattle egret and red wattled lapwig. Thought you should put the names up so that people get to know :-)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Sankara

Updated the post with names of the birds and also gave credit

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