Set on the banks of the Cauvery river, Bheemeshwari Adventure and Nature Camp lies 100 km from Bengaluru and makes for the perfect weekend escape from city life.

Image courtesy: Jungle Lodges & Resorts Image courtesy: Jungle Lodges & Resorts
Features Travel Friday, December 24, 2021 - 11:35

This New Year’s Eve, if you want to escape from the parties and bars bursting with the exuberance of raucous rockers, head to Bheemeshwari Adventure and Nature Camp, run by Jungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd, in Karnataka. Set on the banks of the Cauvery river, this wooded retreat around 100 km from Bengaluru, is the ideal place for a whiff of adventure and a relaxed holiday. We chose this rustic adventure camp for a day’s outing, as it is quiet and relatively free from swarming tourists

The camp is simple and utilitarian on the surface. There are accommodation facilities in the form of log huts on stilts, sturdy tented cottages and rustic tents on one side while the beautiful Cauvery river flows on the other. The tents blended beautifully with the green of the undisturbed countryside. However, we discovered that ‘roughing it out’ was more of a euphemism when it came to the tents, for they are furnished with more than adequate furniture, ensuite toilets and baths with running hot water. South Indian buffet meals are served at the gazebo (Gol Ghar), a communal dining hut.

Some of us relaxed in the hammocks slung up between trees around the camp. After a hearty meal, it was perfect for a repose, lulled by the babble of the river and birdsong. Bonnet macaques and endangered grizzled giant squirrels gambolled in the canopy of trees overhead. Some clambered up the tumbling nets prancing around like monkeys. It brought back childhood memories of climbing mango trees in the backyard.

We found plenty of activities to indulge in at this dream destination. Most of them revolved around the ubiquitous Cauvery river which flows sinuously through the varied terrain of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. Birding, bonfires, coracle rides, camping on the sandy banks of the river, trekking, ziplining, wildlife safaris, and bird watching are all part of the wilderness escapade. The experience encompassed a broad canvas. River rafting, another much sought-after adventure sport at Bheemeshwari, is offered only in the monsoon months. The Cauvery boasts of good fun rapids and offers the opportunity to paddle through them for an adrenaline rush.

Drifting down the Cauvery in a coracle

We flitted from one activity to another. We hopped aboard a coracle, the circular basket country boat and drifted down the river. Just floating on the boat, absorbing the sights and sounds of the jungle and watching myriad forms of wildlife pass by was an amazing experience. We spotted winged creatures of all sizes, and hues, especially kingfishers dotting the landscape. As we soaked in the breathtaking view of the gorge section and its wealth of vegetation we spotted marsh crocodiles basking in the sun.

The Cauvery gushing over treacherous rocks, relaxing into lazy green stretches and deep sapphire pools between dry hills, was fascinating. Along the river, we passed bizarre rock formations, small flocks of grey-headed fishing eagles soared overhead scanning the river in search of prey, and troops of monkeys paraded on the river banks. The grand finale of the coracle ride was a spin. When the boatman twirled the coracle, we screamed our lungs out.

The Sangam Valley has an astounding variety of wildlife. The lush green forests around the river are sheltered by valleys and fed by little streams, creating a fascination all its own. Because of the ideal habitat, it is home to some of the most fascinating winged creatures like the heron, ibis, cormorant, kites, eagles, owls, and kingfisher, and animals like elephants, deer, wild boar, monkeys, otters, flying squirrels, spotted deer, jackals, crocodiles and much more.

A spotted deer

After gulping down glasses of lime juice between nibbles of pakodas, we hopped onto a jeep and headed to a watchtower atop a hillock. From the watchtower, we had a magnificent view of the crystal-clear waters of Cauvery snaking majestically through the jungle. The only sounds that could be heard were that of the gushing waters and chirping birds. The bounty of nature held us spellbound.

On our way back, we gazed at the brilliant sunset over the undulations of the now deep-crimson Cauvery. And as the sun slowly disappeared over the horizon, we bid adieu to Bheemeshwari and the blissful world where time stood still, where the sun, the river and the jungle soothed our senses and brought us closer to the greens and browns of nature.

All photos by Susheela Nair.

Susheela Nair is an Independent Food, Travel & Lifestyle Writer & Photographer contributing articles, content and images to several publications, travel portals, guide books, brochures and coffee table books.

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