View from the Temple
Winter in Bangalore is a most beautiful time, of clear skies and sunny weather with a chilly breeze. Its the perfect weather to roam outside the city limits away from the maddening traffic, noise and pollution. If you have the same idea as we did, Dev Narayan durga is the place to go.
We set off as usual around 5:30am from home, going towards Yeshwantpur and taking the Tumkur highway. 45-50 km on this highway, theres a flyover that bypasses a village. We took the flyover and then took the first possible U - turn. We continued on the kaccha road that runs parallel to tumkur high way.
Continuing for 17 kms (road is pathetic); there after direction boards are available.
Once the bad road starts, the birding begins, we kept our eyes peeled, spotting several swallows sitting on the electric wires, Indian Rollers, Kingfishers and a Spotted Owlet; all up and looking for breakfast as the sun rose. Bee eaters are plentiful all around.
Our first real halt was at the Lake at the foot of the hills. The arched gateway leading to the lake was under repair, we look a parallel road just a few feet after it. The lake was deserted, save for a few washer women.
Pied BushChat - Female
Small Green Bee Eater
A Pied Bushchat couple lead us on a merry chase, till finally the female relented and stopped to pose. The male was a lot more restless and would not sit still. The bee-eaters were more patient.
On the opposite side of the bank, we saw a pair of Red Wattled lapwings, and a lone grebe bobbed in the water. A pair of energetic White browed (large pied) wagtails flew about. We walked about for a while, and sat down on some rocks on the edge of the lake. It is a perfect spot for a picnic, but please be careful not to litter or disturb the peace.
Going up the winding road, through some dense vegetation, we paused to see some little active birds, sadly they flew away as soon as the car stopped! We made our way up the hair pin bends to the temple at the top. There is ample space to park and a couple sell refreshments there.
We munched on fresh cucumber and watched red vented bulbuls and prinias darting about. Also seen were purple sunbirds and red whiskered bulbuls. The rocky area is perfect to see rock agamas and other little reptiles. We saw a beautiful little skink under a rock and waited for around 10 minutes for it to come out for a photo. But it was shy and we were baking in the sun, so we left it in peace.
Rock Agama - Non Breeding colours
We went further up the hill till we reached the highest point, and then made our way back home following the same route back. We stopped for lunch at Kamath Upchar. The other option was Coffee Day.
Wear full sleeved clothing - I returned several shades darker. Sun screen and water is a must. Water is available at the temple, but no where else along the way.
Carry food - we carried biscuits and chocolate. ( I still remember the taste of Ghirardelli - Twilight Delight and Lindt - Intense Orange )
Keep some chocolate in reserve for the drive back to the city, it will be very much needed. [ :-) ]
Driving directions were provided by Keshav, his photos can be seen here