Daroji Sloth Bear Wildlife Sanctuary is less known gem of wild Karnataka even though it is near to much visited and world popular Hampi ruins. The sanctuary is part of Bilikal Reserve Forest which is abundant in birdlife. A major water canal passes through this area habitating large number of aquatic birds. Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is 15KM from Hampi.
I stayed in the Sloth Bear Resort run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited for a night with a package that includes a visit to Wildlife Sanctuary and a visit to Vijaya Vithala Temple in Hampi, and also includes lunch, dinner and breakfast. JLR was set up in 1980 to promote wildlife tourism in Karnataka and has won several eco-tourism awards. The accommodation is based on twin sharing basis. The service is great. Well, I didn't have to worry much about the price per person because my most generous sister and brother-in-law were paying all the expenses :)
In the late afternoon we went on wildlife safari. We were taken to a hilltop from where we could see the bears. The wildlife sanctuary and the surrounding reserve forest has a very rugged terrain with shrub vegetation and boulders. The bears wander around in free range. There are about 100 bears in the area it seems. What are the chances of bear sighting? Well, you WILL see a bear!
From the viewpoint one can see an open area with huge boulders. Forest guards apply a jaggery-preparation (sweet) to these rocks and around 10-12 bears visit these rocks to lick the sweet jaggery! And so no tourist goes disappointed. At times, the bears wander right below the viewpoint. Wonder what jaggery is? Jaggery is solidified molasses.
The whole Bilikal Reserve Forest is bustling with birdlife. The shrubby forest is home for many birds. A walk along the huge irrigation canal will reward you with sightings of many species of birds. I happened to see Rose-ringed Parakeet (Indian ring-necked parakeet), several species of heron and waterfowl, several grouse and quails, hoopoe, house sparrows, Indian silver bills and so on. I didn't happen to spend much time here, soon want to visit again just for birding!
Even just walking in the resort campus is enough to see many birds and butterflies. The resort is spread over large area with shrubs and flowering plants all around. Resort arranges if you wish to go birding with a guide. We don't really have to do much, just walk looking around. The peafowl is one bird you can see everywhere in this forest. We had a great time at resort having lots food and watching birdlife!
As I said earlier, from the hill top we had great views of the boulder strewn forest around and a bunch of cute and happy bears running around for jaggery. Sweet gets anybody crazy huh? Me too! :) From far way viewpoint they looked like black furry-balls! The guide and driver let us stay longer on hill top so we could watch this beautiful sunset over the boulders. Sun looks unusually white like moon!
Next morning, we went for Vijaya Vithala Temple and Lotus Mahal in Hampi with a guide arranged by the resort. But, Hampi needs more time than just half a day if you are really a history freak. Yes! I did a short trip with resort arrangement and then moved to another hotel run by KSTDC in Kamalapura for another three nights to visit every ruin of Hampi. You can read a detailed report on Hampi which will be posted soon.
Kamalapura, the nearest village, is around 360KM from Bangalore. Apart from Sloth Bear Resort other accommodation is available in Kamalapura. For budget hotels of all ranges one could look in Hospet, nearest city 12KM away. Hospet is connected by rail and has good network of roads. There is regular bus service from Hospet to Hampi.
Hampi is one of my favorite places to visit and the wildlife in Daroji Sanctuary is an added bonus! A trip to Sloth Bear Wildlife Sanctuary was an unforgettable experience!---
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.