16th May we reached coorg and went around Coorg and Talakaveri, more about it here.
17th May morning we started early for Dubare elephant camp. It is 30 kms from Coorg. We started around 7:30 am in the morning, so that we can be in the elephant camp by 8:30 am. We reached the camp by 8:15 am and rushed for breakfast to the hotel in the camp. Hotel was crowded and fast food like upma / idli was out of stock. So we had to wait for a dosas. There were some thirty odd people waiting ahead of us for the dosas. I was loosing my patience. Finally, we had breakfast and were at the edge of the river by 9:10 am, we saw a herd of elephants retreating. My face immediately dropped that we had missed the elephants. But then saw another herd of elephants coming by. I hurried Raj to take the earliest motor boat. It was 20 Rs per round trip, so we made sure we kept our tickets safe.
Elephants in water
As soon as we reached the spot we were told to go and get tickets for watching the elephants. It was 100 per head to wash the elephants and 100 per head for a ride. We decided to take the tickets for elephant ride later and hurried to wash the elephants. But once at the elephants no one checked for the tickets.
It was so much fun playing with the elephants. The Mahout would make the elephants lie down in water and then start scrubbing them with stone!! The visitors would then join the scrubbing the process. The elephants would just lie and enjoy the attention and the scrubbing.
Washing the Elephants
I removed my shoes and rolled up my jeans and got into the water without any hesitation, started looking for elephants which were less crowded. The mahout was scrubbing the elephants with a stone. But I resorted to just wash them with my hands. The skin felt very rough and thick. Once I felt I had enough of it, I got out of water and put my shoes on. The elephants too started coming out of water, we took few photos with them. Then another of elephants came to have bath. There was a little elephant with them. It went around jumping and spraying water on people. But, I didn't have the energy to go down and remove my shoes and play with the little elephant.
Washing the Elephants
We sat watching the nature. It looked beautiful with all the greenery, water and the reflections.
Nature at Dubare
People started piling for the elephant ride. By the time we decided to go for a ride there were some 70 people in the queue. We ducked the idea of elephant ride and decided to cross the stream on foot instead of a boat. The river and greenery looked beautiful. In secluded areas we could see people playing with water and swimming. We regretted for having not brought another pair of clothes. As we started to cross the river, we realized it was full of loose stones and I did slip and fall. Then it just got harder, so we retreated to take a boat.
Things to remember:
Be there by 8:30 am to beat the crowd.
Take a pair of rubber slippers, a towel and an extra pair of clothes.
Better to be in half pants to enjoy the water and bathing the elephants.
Avoid a rainy day because elephants are not brought out to be washed.
From Dubare elephant camp we headed towards Kushalnagar to see the Tibetan monastery. On the way there is a small board which says “Chikalli Dam 2kms”. Our taxi driver suggested we visit the dam, we were a little skeptical but we decided to take the chance. When we reached the dam we were awestruck at the beauty of the place.
Beautiful Chikalli dam