Deriving its name from the Bhadra River, the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary has once declared a protected tiger reserve. Tucked away amidst the lofty peaks of the Western Ghats the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is home to many hidden treasures of the Western Ghats. In summers, the backwaters of Bhadra witness one of the largest congregations of River Terns. The presence of mighty hills of the Western Ghats all around pacifies its beauty ten-folds.
My journey started from Bengaluru around 7AM on a April Weekday. We hired TT and took NH75 which passes through Bengaluru – Tumkur -Sira- Hiriyuru – Hosdurga- Tarikere- Lakkavalli – Bhadra River tern. Its ~245kms from Bengaluru. JLR River terns lodge is in the outskirts of village. One needs to take right turn from old Ranganatha swamy temple and drive another 10 kms to reach JLR River Tern. It took around 6+ hours for us to reach JLR Bhadra.
The first glimpse of back waters Bhadra river was so mesmerizing. Canals passing over enroute amidst green trees is a beauty to behold. Check-in involves just making an entry of your name and details and we were guided towards Golghar as it was lunch time. Lunch was delicious with several variety of food and it covered a nutrient necessary for a healthy diet along with some luscious desserts.
Stay in River tern lodge is divided into two parts. The main section, which consists of parking, office, reception, Golghar (dining room) and few logged hut rooms (Not exactly huts) with all rooms having a river front balcony. The second portion is what JLR calls cottages. These are located on a small island connected to land by a hanging bridge. These cottages are 300 -400 mts far from main Reception.
The walk from the reception lounge to our cottage was unimaginably fun for all of us. The ups and down’s along with walk on the bridge was awesome. The room was stunning, with a beautiful view from our balcony. The room was undoubtedly perfect with king size bed along with a nice and clean bathroom.
Walkway to cottages.
Rope way which connects to island
View from Cottage balcony
Your schedule will be full as per below. If you get some free time, exploring the JLR property will consume that.
12:00 –Check in
1.30 -2.30PM -Lunch
3.15- 3.30PM -Coffee/Tea & biscuits. Gear up for ride.
3.30- 6.00PM -Safari (Boat/Jeep)
6.30 -7.00 PM -Snacks/Tea/Coffee
7:30 – 8:00 -Watch a wildlife movie at the Gol Ghar
8.30 -9.30PM -Dinner
5.45AM -Wakeup call
6.30 -8.30 AM -Safari (Boat/Jeep)
8.30- 9.30AM -Breakfast
9.30-10.30 AM -Water sports
11.00 AM -Checkout
The resort gives an option of taking boat or jeep safari. We decide to opt for jeep safari in evening hoping to see some animals. It rained heavily at around 3.30 when we were all set for safari. I was unsure of spotting animals due to rain. Bhadra is a birders paradise, we started our safari hoping to see some beautiful birds.
Our kids enjoyed watching and spotting several peacocks. Post this, during our safari time we found Jungle fowl, pigeon, languor, Darter, kingfishers, woodpeckers, Gaurs and a beautiful walk of sloth bear. I’m not a macrofauna expert but I loved those bundles of butterflies flying all around us.
Forest here is of mixed type with very huge variety of Flora and Fauna. While the chances of seeing a tiger in the Bhadra wild might be just as slim, this forest shows us so much more of itself to intruders such as us.
After enticing safari, we had some snacks spent time roaming around the JLR perimeter. The day ended with dinner and we were ready for the next day morning safari.
We opted again for jeep safari hoping to see some wild cats. Early morning view was amazing. We could spot lot of birds. Hill Myna, Pigeons, Drango’s, woodpecker and some peacock proposal. I was more fascinated by this old forest guest house. Our Driver made a small stop for us. We got down and I had my fill of nature during that time.
Our time there was almost up. However, there was one more thing left to do. Water sports for our kiddo. Bharath, Sindhu and Dhyan are excellent swimmers. They couldn’t wait to jump in water. They refused to wear safety jacket initially as they were that confidant. With some amount of coercing, they wore safety jackets and jumped in.
We kayaked for a while and played in water. From the water sports area, the island where we stayed was clearly visible. From this distance, all we could see were the trees.
It was time to leave and I couldn’t get enough of our room. With a heavy heart we checked out at 11 noon from the hotel. As the route was now known, the drive was comfortable. We stopped in between for a quick lunch.
Safari Morning– 6.30 AM to 9.00 AM
Afternoon – 3.30 PM to 6.00 PM
Tariff – 7021+ Tax per person for twin sharing accommodation as of 2022 April. (This includes 1-night stay, All meals for 1 day and 2 safari cost). Camera entry extra (500 Per SLR/ Per safari). It costed me close to 10000 per person including TT charges and other smaller expenses.
Best season to visit – The River Tern Lodge is a pleasant place to visit throughout the year. June to September finds the entire sanctuary lush and green from the monsoons. Summer months (March – May) might be a little warm. (As per website)
Rooms: You have room with Log huts and deluxe package. Check tariff and availability in JLR Website.
- Dress for comfort. Do avoid bright colours and stick to muted shades of green, black, grey and brown. The more you meld with the background, the better.
- Keep your voice low during safari and avoid scaring wild life
- Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Avoid smoking – anything can start a forest fire.
- Don’t wear Deodorant/Perfume. Odour will unease wildlife and spotting chances become less.
- I strongly recommend you going on weekdays for a quiet and less hurried experience.
A nature centric lodge overlooking the Bhadra Reservoir is one of the excellent locations for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. It’s a beautiful place to visit and have the pleasure of relaxing amidst nature.
Have you ever been here? This place has been in your bucket list for a long while? Then, it’s time to visit.
What are your thoughts? Let me know.