“And into the forest I go, to loose my mind and find my soul”
– Charles Baudelaire
Said so beautifully and rightfully by Charles Baudelaire. Forest makes you feel viable, forest let you listen to your heartbeat, forest let you comprehend your existence, forest lets you find your soul. To find my soul a little more, I headed towards this amazing forest resort situated in a small place called Ganeshgudi in Karnataka State of India. As I am bird-o-holic in nature, I cant stay away from forest, desert, wetland for longer. So to make the new year most special, I chose to visit and stay in Old Magazine House in the month of January itself. Being around a handful of bird lovers, I have heard enough about this paradise that fall in Ganeshgudi. Dandeli is another place in Karnataka around 20km away from Ganeshgudi. You may hear people saying that they visited Old magazine house in Dandeli or they have visited dandeli for birding when they have actually just stayed in OMH.But that is geographically incorrect. OMH (Old Magazine House) is in Ganeshgudi and not in Dandeli and is one of the BEST places to be.
I have not been to too many places to be honest, but this surely was the best experience till date. It made a little place in my heart that is going to be like that for long, if not ever….
If I go on and on about this place, this blog will never end and you will feel exaggerated when it is actually not. So not stretching it too much, I will come straight to the point.
We started our journey from North Goa to ganeshgudi via chorla ghat road. It was an amazing journey till we entered karnataka. We had witnessed that the karnataka government is doing a mass deforestation on the connecting highway to make the lane much bigger., which is obviously against our eco system. Lots of wild animals and birds are loosing their habitat. And by seeing at it helplessly, my heart ached. Crossing too many road blocks, we reached our destination, OMH, Ganeshgudi on the londa-dandeli road. Old Magazine house is a property owned by Jungle lodges and resorts ltd, govt of karnataka.
Not a very large area, but this resort is a simple paradise of avian-lovers. They offer one
forest-wodden hut, a few rooms and a dormitory as stay options. We took one of the rooms as the wooden house was not-available, which by-the-way was our first preference. The rooms are real big, clean and well maintained by a superbly friendly and helpful staff.
Manager- Mohan sir
Bird guide- Vinay (bhaiya)
coracle ride bird guide- Pundalik (bhaiya)
Jeep driver- Gururaj
These are the people we conversed with, in our 2 day stay and can’t thank them enough for their cordial and homely service. The whole team of OMH is just awe-inspiring. As I said the rooms are spacious with double beds, sofa with center table, one work table, electric jugs and tea/coffee essentials. A television in the common hall room is also available. They provide buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dinner hall along with morning tea and evening snacks, all included in the room rent that you have already paid. Dormitory is just below the dining hall with bunk beds (mostly preferred by single guys who travel just for birding and photographing).
There is no wi-fi connection and you will hardly be getting network on your phone too and moreover you are there to connect with forest, so you don’t need one. In simple words, forget about your phone and wallet and enjoy your time in peace and bird chirps. I being a talkative person besides an avid birder, I made quite a few friends from different parts of the world. Some were there to bird like me, and some were just having
a day away from city chaos.
Once upon a time, someone put a tub of water for the birds to quest their thirst in hot and humid weather. He never knew it would grow into OMH one day. There is this mind blowing hide organized by the property for the birders to set up their tripods and take photographs of birds taking bath and drying up in little branches, just beside the dormitory building where they would organize a bonfire every evening with snacks and soup bowls.
7-7.30 Am- tea biscuit
1.30pm onwards- lunch
6.30pm- snacks/soup with bonfire
8.30pm onwards- dinner
The food team are cordial enough to call you from your room each time when the food is
ready to be served. The other services that they provide are:
1) Nature walk: After having your morning tea, You can accompany Mr. Vinay, the bird guide for a nature walk just outside the resort, where he would spot birds for you.
2) Coracle ride: After having your breakfast, you can go for a coracle ride on the kali river, where Mr. pundalik, the bird guide will join you for riding the coracle as well as spotting birds and the Muger.. Coracle is a small, rounded, lightweight boat that floats on water and quite difficult to ride comparing a regular boat.
3) An evening trek for a sunset view form some point up hill which non of us were interested in as we were all busy birding till late evening until it was completely dark.
Overall the stay is just amazing with delicious home cooked recipes by Mr. Manju.
Overall Highly recommended!! I loved it.
Make your bookings before hand and be ready to loose yourself in nature in order to getting closer to your soul..The only thing that will keep you up is the bird chips-day and night.
Don’t forget to pack your warm clothes along with photography gears and binoculars 🙂
You can book your rooms in http://www.junglelodges.com
Stay put for my incoming blogs where you will get to see the amazing photograph of the lifers (birds) that I got there in my two-day stay in the Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi.
Till then, hog on to my other birding blogs:
Until next time