Kabini is a part of Nagarhole Tiger Reserve in the southern part of Karnataka adjoining the state of Kerala. Nagarhole means Snake Stream and its gets its name from the shape it takes while flowing which resembles that of a crawling snake. The park was an exclusive hunting reserve of the kings of the Wodeyar dynasty, the former rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore. It was set up in 1955 as a wildlife sanctuary and later its area increased to 644 Sq. km. It was upgraded into a National Park in 1974. The park was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1999.

Kabini is located on the north-west of the Bandipur tiger reserve and is separated by the Kabini reservoir and this is how this part of Nagarhole Tiger Reserve (Balle Range & Antarasanthe Range) is known as Kabini.

I thought let me start with the above brief of one of my favorite places on earth. I have spent many days & seen many moons in Kabini watching and studying the flora & fauna, this magical forest offers. There have been so many memories I have made here which I will cherish forever. This park has a great mix of predators and prey. Right from our national animal the Tiger to Leopards, Black Panthers, Wild Dogs, Elephants, Indian Gaur, Grey Langur, Sambar Deer, Barking Deer, Crocodile, Pythons, Eagles, Drongos, Hornbills…one can find plenty of species of mammals, reptiles and birds in Kabini, which makes it one of the premier Parks of the country.

This park also has a highway that cuts across the woods to reach the neighboring state of Kerala. Mananthavady is the town that this road leads to and this road is famously known as MM (Mysore- Mananthavady) Road.
This blog is all about the Old-MM road and the stories it has to offer. It was a long weekend in the month of October and as usual, I had planned to spend my time in Kabini. The Park was just out of monsoon and was a pleasure to see greenery all around. The foliage was very thick making it very difficult to sight wildlife.

It was a quite morning and the woods were beautiful with the sunrays kissing every dark corner of the Park. I drove through the woods while watching many birds fly away from their nests and many families of spotted deer watchfully coming to the waterhole to quench their thirst. My eyes were endlessly searching for a big-cat but the thicket made it very difficult for me to track them. I decided to come on the Old MM road.

My driver friend carefully whispered into my ears… Tiger!!!

kabini

Photograph: Sheshadari Vasan

 

I guess, very few things on this earth can surpass the beauty of a Tigress. She sat with confidence looking straight into my eyes and I was thrilled to see her on the highway blocking my way and for a change I loved this road-block.
After a few minutes she turned and started walking on the road, the forest, which was silent, suddenly was filled with the warning calls from the langurs up on the tree, which alerted their deer friends about the arrival of the predator.

Within a few seconds I could see a herd of Spotted Deer coming out the thicket and strangely one young deer decided to stop on the middle of the road and look into eye of the Tigress. A face-off I had never experienced and the moment that was very special.

kabini

Photograph: Sheshadari Vasan

 

I would like to leave you all with your “Wild” Imaginations on what happened next, did the Tigress go for the kill, was it successful, did the Deer escape… well you may want to visit Kabini and experience such moments while I plan my next trip to Kabini soon.