REVIEW

Travel Review: Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp, Cauvery

January 21, 2010
Deepti Lamba

Last weekend we wanted to get away from the city for a short trip and living in Bangalore makes such sojourns possible. We went to Bheemeshwari, a fishing camp managed by Jungle Lodges Resorts, the Karnataka Government-funded company that runs fine camps in Karnataka sanctuaries. Bheemeshwari is about hundred kilometers from Bangalore, about 40 km from Kanakapura. We drove out of the city at eight in the morning and were there by ten, much to our surprise.

The roads were butter smooth except for a few patches where a small nondescript town, a few miles before of the camp, wore a war torn look. It was quite a disturbing and dusty drive through the dilapidated town but then the deciduous greenery and rolling hillocks re-appeared and the gentle Kaveri ran parallel to the road.

As usual, there were monkeys and plastic bags littering the landscape. It seems that the Nilgiri hills are the only hills devoid of ugly fluttering plastic bags. We drove on and reached Bheemeshwari. There are two other camps along the Cauvery operated by Jungle Lodges, Galibore and Doddamakali.

The Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp has tented huts, Cottages and Log Huts. We stayed in a cottage facing the river close to the reception. The dining hall was a quite a walk for us, but one we thoroughly enjoyed. The Fishing Camp is child friendly, the food is a little spicy but delicious and the people who work there are considerate, such as Mr. Anthony, the resident coordinator, who roams around with an unloaded rifle which he points at the monkeys when they get a little too noisy.
Mr. Anthony of the Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp

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The area is well lit and unlike B R Hills, where lights go off at ten in the night here the rooms not only has electricity through the night but each unit has an AC.

The cottages are reasonably priced -Rs 7000 for adults and 50% less for children under ten.

As usual there is no television and no cell phone connections. Its a place to relax, play with kids on the nets, play swings and of course go fishing.

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Mother and child monkeys

Squirrel in the forest

The resident monkeys are quite genial, not the rough and intrusive variety we've seen elsewhere. There are also large squirrels and other small wildlife.

Croc on a Rock

Swimming is not allowed, as there are whirlpools and the occasional crocodile. We spotted our first crocodile sunning itself on one of the river rocks within a few minutes into our arrival at the Camp and those around us were also excited to spot the croc without going on a 'river safari' (boat ride).

The Cauvery river is teeming with Mahaseer. These are gorgeous fish that can grow up to three feet and when caught they have to be released back in the waters. Fun fishing, as they call it, takes place early in the morning and late afternoon. We could not go for fishing since we were with kids but there were local kids at the camp who helped us fish with nothing more than a twine tied to wood. They made clumps of Ragi balls on the hooks and with a mean swing threw the line in the water.

Initially I shouted - 'Money making Scam' to Aaman as I waited holding the twine. But within five minutes there was a tug and I was screaming as I pulled the line in. I caught my first small Mahaseer, and it was gorgeous.
Catching a Mahseer
Mahseer we caught from the Cauvery

The slime that coats the fish made it slippery and as it flipped on the ground one of the boys caught it quickly, Aaman took a picture and we released it back in the waters.

Aaman too caught a Mahaseer, though a smaller one.
A Coracle Ride on the Cauvery
We also went on a boat ride on the Coracle. Since the boats are round we twirled around in the water and my heart thumped due to my fear of deep waters. The kids enjoyed the boat ride and were hungry pretty soon.

When we returned we had coffee, tea and sanwiches and I made Aayan read the sign that warned that swimming wasn't allowed in the waters since there were dangerous whirlpools and crocodiles in the river.

The fishing camp has a lot of photographs showing people holding the big Mahaseers and its a matter of luck whether one catches fish or one can get none. We managed to catch the baby ones without much effort and were tickled pink about it.

The food at the camp especially at night was drool-worthy. At 7:30 in the evening they had barbeque - there was tandoori chicken, pakoras and beer. People sat around and chatted and then at about 8:30 we had our dinner.

The way back to the cottage was well-lit and we didn't stumble around like we did back in BR Hills.
Strange Branch That Looks Like a Monkey
We saw this strange branch shaped like a monkey - it fooled many people.
We slept well at night and morning had a scrumptious breakfast before we headed back to the city.

Its best to have a heavy breakfast before heading to the camp. The rooms are available after 12 noon and food is available only from lunch time onwards.

Like us most people landed up early and on empty bellies. Also its important to carry munchies, books and other activity items like cards and board games. Remember, do not feed the monkeys nor swim in the waters no matter how calm and inviting the Cauvery may look.

dee.jpgDeepti Lamba is an author, besides editing at Desicritics
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