Apr 20, 2019

gathering at Discovery Village, Kanakapura Road - part 2

..continued from Discovery Village, Kanakapura Road - part 1

Riding a bicycle after months, oh what a great feeling. Nitya, Sridhar and I rode ahead, paused after a kilometer to let Manju catch up.

The road was smooth, bikes were comfortable, it was warm but the air was clean, enjoying the silent ride..

Here's a short video of our ride towards a pond and a hill in search of birds.

That's our waterbody situated close to a small village. We parked and locked our bikes away from the road. Manju spotted a kingfisher and couple of other water birds. The kingfisher was perched on a slender stem sticking out from the water. Sridhar patiently stalked it and got a good shot. I caught a cormorant resting on a rock island. A heron and kite hovered around but too swift for our lenses. Sun was moving towards the horizon.. we decided to head to the hill. As we started riding I noticed a tall heron perched on a coconut tree. Can't ignore such a lovely creature, we paused, Sridhar got a good shot. Our winged friend took off before my lens focused on it. I was glad Sri captured it.

We rode a short distance and turned off the road into a narrow footpath. Bikes parked and secured with a chain lock we trekked the dirt path going along the rock littered hill. This is actually a group of two our three hills, all covered with dark colored igneous rocks.. this reminds me of Kappagallu near Bellary. Manju said this hill is known as Yogavana Gudda.

As we trekked, I spotted a big bird on a distant tree.. I alerted my team.. look, is that a peacock. Manju took one glance and identified it as Indian Kite. Indeed it was a Kite. Big fella he was. Both got decent shots before it dove out of view, seconds later we saw it pursuing another dark colored bird slightly smaller. Again Manju was resourceful. The other bird was an owl. First time I ever saw an owl and kite together. They were too swift for our cameras. Below is a collage of our captures.

Heron, Kite, Cormorant and Kingfisher
We had reached a point where we had to negotiate the path though the boulder ridden slope. The rock at the summit caught my attention, aimed my Canon and clicked few shots. Manju wanted to know what I was shooting.. my answer was the rock, the part which is sticking up. Manju smiled and said that I had shot a mongoose. Wow, that was one big mungsee! This hill is interesting!

The rocks and gaps were covered with dark ash. It seems dry plants was burnt recently, controlled forest fire. Anyway, the climb the summit was easy.

We made it on time to watch the sun set. Such a nice place this hill top is. Manju was carrying a binocular and a book on Indian birds.

A few silent minutes watch the source of energy of our Universe.

Suryadevaya Namaha.

I explore the hill top and found some animal droppings. Manju quickly analysed the droppings, showed the hairy bits and bones.. these were leopard droppings. Looks like the leopard had had a rabbit somewhere and pooped up here.

Wish we could explore the entire range.. we might have seen some interesting plants, insects and what not. Well, some other time hopefully. It was getting dim, we descended cautiously. The ride back was nice again, Hero ET-2 is an interesting mountain bike. I was seriously thinking of buying ET-3 for myself. Back at the resort, we parked the bikes and told our boys what a good time they missed.

Back at my room which I shared with Prashanth and Subbu, I had a nice cool bath, refreshing it was. The gang had gathered around a bonfire in the courtyard next to the dining hall. Snacks were served, we prepared our drinks and glasses tinkled.. cheers! Our conversations touched school day antics, politics, personal experiences and so on. At one point someone sang a popular 70s Kannada movie number which lead to Daniel treating us with his singing. Then DM surprised us by singing a Hindi number. They took turns one after the other.. solo vocals concert in progress.

In this group, most of them have known each other since 1977. Daniel joined in '80. I joined the school in '79 as a junior to this gang. In '81 at the start of the term, I was given extra promotion and my seniors became my batch-mates. I was their classmate for just 9 months but the remained friends for decades. Long live this relationship.

The session ended with dinner around 11. Most of us were tired, ready to hit the sack. We said goodnight. Here's one special shot for the evening by Sri.

Being habituated to sleeping on hard surface I barely slept because the mattress and pillow were too soft. My eyes remained closed but the scenes and conversations of the day kept playing in my head. I got out of bed, freshened up and went for a walk. After a while I saw Satya and Nitya walking. We grouped, entered the cricket court, practiced throws and catches for a while. The plan for the morning was kayaking in a nearby stream. We had tea with DV team and prepared to leave for the stream.

This octagon wheel welcomes visitors to Discover Village. Yin-Yan and elements of the world we live in.

Eight of us ready for an adventure. Daniel and DM decided to catch up with sleep.

The stream was about 4.5 kms from the resort, on the other side of Bengaluru-Kanakapura road. Of course, the stream runs dry in this season but a check dam had formed a water-body approximately a kilometer long and 200 meters wide. This isn't flowing water, good for first-timers. There were 3 two-seat boats. DV team helped us wear life-jackets. Prashanth and Bhaskar decided to go with experienced DV guys while Satya and I wanted to go on our own. DV guides instructed how to use the paddle and what to do in case we went overboard. The life jackets could keep a man afloat for 8 hours. I felt safe since the team was knowledgeable and also there were two fishermen in a coracle within earshot.

That's Subbu and Nayak.

Satya and I took some time figuring out the technique to maintain direction. Initially we kept going in circles, no matter how well we synced our paddling. We would set some target and try to reach it. We did succeed after some 20 minutes of practice. That's me pointing at a fishnet buoy. Moments before earlier, we almost hit the shore, we managed to turn the boat around.

Sun was up and our energy levels dipped, we ended our boating session. Back on the shore, we got to know that Subbu fell into the water while trying to board the boat. He was rescued quickly. Good the incident did not dampen his spirit.

Back at the resort, we bathed and changed, had breakfast. DV team asked if we wanted to get into any other activity. No, we just wanted to chat around sipping coffee or water. After a while, we packed up and were ready for checkout. So, here's the DV team who made our stay pleasant and memorable. Thanks to them and also to the folks who are not seen here.

Pratima, Durga, Nayak, Kiran and Manju
The ten young dashing men who know each other since late 1970s to 1981.

Of the few resorts I've been to, DV has been the best, unique too. What made it special is its sensitivity to Nature and a touch of spirituality. DV gifted us all with a copy of Bhagavadgeeta each, could choose between Kannada and English versions.

Two most photogenic boys of this gang. These two mustache guys are Dwarapalakas, cool dudes.  Check out their stance.

Lot of sweet memories from this place.