Category: Travel

Bird-watching at Kaikondrahalli Lake

Kaikondrahalli Lake – evening

We went bird-watching to Kaikondrahalli Lake over the weekend. I usually go bird-watching in the mornings, but for a change, this was an evening outing. And it turned out richly rewarding, with two ‘lifers’ for me. Here is the complete list of bird spotted:

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Cormorant
  3. Little Cormorant
  4. Darter
  5. Spot-billed Pelican
  6. Grey Heron
  7. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  8. Indian Pond-Heron
  9. Cattle Egret
  10. Median Egret
  11. Little Egret
  12. Painted Stork
  13. Oriental White (Black-headed) Ibis
  14. Glossy Ibis
  15. Spot-billed Duck
  16. Northern Shoveller
  17. Black Kite
  18. Brahminy Kite
  19. White-breasted Waterhen
  20. Common Moorhen
  21. Purple Moorhen (Grey-headed Swamphen)
  22. Common Coot
  23. Red-wattled Lapwing
  24. Wood Sandpiper
  25. Common Sandpiper
  26. Spotted Dove
  27. Asian Koel
  28. White-breasted (throated) Kingfisher
  29. White-cheeked Barbet
  30. Black-naped Oriole
  31. Ashy Drongo
  32. Rosy Starling
  33. Common Myna
  34. Jungle Myna
  35. Jungle (Large-billed) Crow
  36. Red-whiskered Bulbul
  37. Syke’s Warbler
  38. Tickell’s (Pale-billed) Flowerpecker

Road Trip: Day 5 – Drive back

View from Agumbe

The last day of our Road Trip to Manipal was about the drive back to Bangalore.

After another delicious and filling breakfast at our hotel – The Country Inn & Suites by Radission – we left for Bangalore. The route we took this time around was via Agumbe and Sringeri.

Soon after we left Manipal, we were at the foothills of the Western Ghats and after a few minutes of ascending via steep road with multiple hair-pin bends, we were at Agumbe. Agumbe is renowned as a place that received extremely high rainfall during the monsoon season and for its views over the coastal plain and down to the Arabian Sea. But this is best viewed during sunset as the coast is to the east and the morning sun makes it difficult to see in that direction. I also saw the sad sight of a Lion-tailed Macaque, a monkey species endemic to this region of the Western Ghats, scavenging at the side of the busy road, hoping for food scraps from the cars passing by.

Lion Tailed Macaque

The next place we crossed was Sringeri – home to the Sringeri Mutt. This is one of the four Mutts established by Sri Sankaracharya in the 8th Century – the others being at Dwaraka in the West, Puri in the East and Badrinath in the North. We drove by the temple, but it was very crowded and wary of Covid, we did not halt, but continued driving.

The next part of our route took us past the stunningly beautiful Malnad region, with coffee plantations running up the hills on both sides of the road. After some time, we stopped for lunch at a small cafe by the side of the road. The food was nothing great, but the location, amidst coffee estates was stupendous.

Soon after our lunch break, we exited the mountains and were back on the plains. After a halt for tea and coffee at Hassan, we continued on and reached home at around 10 pm, bringing to an end a wonderful road trip in Southern Karnataka.

Road Trip: Day 4 – Manipal and Hoode

Salu Marada Thimmakka Tree Park – Manipal

On the morning of the 4th day of our trip to Manipal, I took the children to a couple of local attractions. First up was Arbi Falls. A small stream emerges out from a hill behind a temple and cascades down a series of boulders. The flow of water at this time of the year was barely more than a trickle, but the setting amidst a thick canopy of trees was beautiful. I was also lucky to spot a Malabar Whistling Thrush here.

Vaishnavi Durga Temple – Arbi Falls is behind this temple

After making our way back from the falls, we made our way to the Salu Marada Thimmakka Tree Park. This is a urban park, situated on the outskirts of Manipal, adjacent to the T A Pai Management Institute (TAPMI). The place was almost deserted when we walked in around a little before noon. The park is dotted with informative plaques about the ecology of the area. There are also a few play areas dotted around and the kids had a blast exploring the place. Among the birds I spotted were a juvenile Asian Paradise Flycatcher with a full-length brown tail and a Common Hawk-Cuckoo, or Brainfever Bird.

After lunch, we decided to hit the beaches. First up was Kodi Bengare Beach. This is situated at the end of a small peninsula where the Suvarna river meets the Arabian Sea. The drive through the thin peninsula was spectacular, with the sea on one side and the river on another and the road shaded by coconut trees.

If the drive was beautiful, the beach was even more so. The sand extends round the tip of the peninsula, so one can walk from the sea facing beach to the riverine beach. The sand was spotless and the waters very clear and clean. The only downside is that one has to clamber down a rock wall to get to the beach.

After spending some time on the sands here, we drove to Hoode Beach. Again, the beach was truly spectacular, a long expanse of golden sand framed by coconut trees. We reached here around 5 pm, which was the perfect time to observe the sun setting over the sea. bringing to an end a wonderful 4 days in a truly beautiful part of our country.

Road Trip: Day 3 – Mangalore and Surathkal

On the third day of our road trip to south coastal Karnataka, we drove down to Mangalore to visit some relatives for lunch. The drive from Manipal to Mangalore on the National Highway was a beautiful one. The sea is never far away and one can smell the ocean in the air. Throw in swaying coconut palms and the warm humid air and it’s just about perfect!

In the evening, we visited Surathkal beach. And again, it was just about perfect, with extremely clean sands backing on to coconut palms, warm clean water and the sun setting on the horizon. Kids had a blast splashing about in the waves.

It was dark by the time we headed back to the hotel, but it was a good day out.

Road Trip: Day 2 – Manipal

Sunset over Mannapalla Lake – Manipal

The second day of our Road Trip to Manipal was a quiet one. We spent a relaxed day taking in a couple of sights around the town.

The first place we visited was the Heritage Village Museum. This is a private initiative of the Hasta Shilpa Trust which is striving to restore and conserve India’s incredible architectural heritage of private homes. They have meticulously reconstructed examples of traditional houses from different parts of the country, some dating back to the 13th Century! We went on a one hour guided tour which was an enlightening experience. Some of the houses have to be seen to be believed. This is a not-to-be-missed attraction while in the region.

We then went to a local hang-out for lunch. Manipal is essentially an University town. Having studies in one (Pune), it was nice to spend time in another, much smaller and more student oriented.

After lunch, we headed to Mannapalla Lake. There was a small children’s play area that the kids enjoyed playing in before we took a walk around the lake. The sun setting over the lake was a beautiful way to end the day.