Trip to Kyalancha

This time no walk backs, but  planning for an exploration to a lesser known KA place. We, KA fans  seriously should start explorations,as some of my friends asked and longing for. This time we will  make a  small start.
A Leopard in Kabini.  Photo by Abhiroop G Dastidar
After reading the story of a lone leopard once roamed in outskirts of Ramanagara and Kanakapura in Karnataka,I have been dreamed to explore the area. Time and opportunity at hand now, so this can be consider  as a first call for our venture. I have travelled a lot of t in Bangalore- Mysore highway but never deviated my route  from Ramanagara  to Kanakapura. this  time we will make it.
We can  plan  the visit as a group, consists of KA fans at least 5 to a maximum 10, mostly from Bangalore, but anybody can join if you can travel and arrive at the fixed time.  At least one car  and some bikes are preferred. Car can be used as a locker of our valuable goods/ food, during the trekking and bikes can be used to travel inaccessible village/forest paths, if needed.

This area have not been explored,despite closeness to Bangalore. Partly due to unclear directions and names of the places.  For example KA described  as Kyalanche is located at  6 km east to Closepet(Ramanagara), But as per my google earth search a similar place is  found about s 10 km south to Ramanagara closely associated to Kanakapura road,  which run parallel to the main tributary of Akravathy river. location given by Google map is  wrong too. 
It will be a one day trip,starting early morning from Bangalore.  Meeting point will be at Ramanagara on Mysore road at 6 am.   We will make a short get together and 15 minutes more drive will bring us to  the village  named Kyalncha on Kanakapura road. 

Bangalore to Ramanagara  70 kms.  Can be travel in one hour if we start at 4.30-5 am. 

If you  ready to come please Read the story  of The lonely panther of Kuppa Gudda hill. Open google earth or wikimapia in your computer and explore the area. Sadly Kuppa Gudda hill cannot be traced.  I am sure that some of you know the locality very well and the places mentioned in the book.  I assume our target places are now located either  Banathimathi Reserve forest or  Handigundi Reserve forest. A locally available village  guide should be well arranged. Permission from forest department also can be arranged prior to the exploration. 
Handigundi forest  is abode for some wild creatures, including leopards and sloth bear. Conservationaliists demand this area to be declare as a park to protect Vultures and sloth bear. 
Officials of the Karnataka Forest Department have submitted reports recommending that the 4000 hectares Handigundi Reserve Forest area to  be declared a ‘Sloth-Bear Sanctuary’. The surveys conducted recently have revealed the presence of about 60 sloth bear in the forests here. This follows the controversy surrounding the proposal of the Sanghamitra Foundation to create a Buddha memorial in these forests. The project involves the carving of a 715-feet high statue on a 1050-monolith for a spiritual center.This  huge sized statue  to be carved in a hill sized rock  which faces to Mysore Bangalore road. The project has been opposed on grounds that it will disturb the flora and fauna here as also the fact that the rocks are said to be nearly 2.5 billion years old. and as far as my knowledge is true these forest and rocks was the shooting location of Bollywood hit like  Shoaly. 

As we are unaware of the exact place and how many kilometers to trek, we should be prepare for a long walk including climbing the hill. If we are lucky we will get a chance to enter the same caves and underground channels as explain by KA. I think it will make an exciting adventurous  as well as risky trip. Water, snacks, biscuits/ chocolates,  medicines should be carried in your backpack and trekking gear should wear. 

Closepet and Kanakpura

For a start  to locate the place,I  searched for Kyalanche  around 6 miles radius from Ramanagara and found a similar name of a village which lies in an another direction, which is different from book.

According to the book, the place should be 6 miles far from Ramanagara which is represented by yellow line.

So the search down to Kanakapura road 

Google Map  will show like this, but its little far from the actual village.

Kylancha is marked in red and   Kuppa gudda hill must lie closely   inside this Handigundi Reserve forest area.

6 miles from Ramanagara is confirmed.  The location  of dead calf was  not accessible by  his car. Assuming  1-3 km radius and  he had to  cross the river .

Kyalanche village is marked in Red. Akravathi river flows in between two roads which leads to Kanakapura. 

Somewhere here Don made a hide inside the Lanthana bush. Distance around 2 miles from village.

There is a hill at this spot . But I  am not sure of its it Kuppa  Gudda hill ?. According to the book the hill lies east to the village at 1  to 2  miles distance.

For those who are not familiar with Lanthana Bushes. Its a common sight in South India

Lanthana bush can grow more than 6 feet.

"Miniature bouquets of flowers"I could d see a visitor too,  can you?

Where is Kuppa Gudda hill?

I have zero knowledge and starting from zero. I could not find any similar name in that region.So just going my imagination to find out the possibilities.

From Ramanagara an old road to Kanakapura originates and known as Muduwadi Road. on its left side a big hillock situated named Anna Thanna Betta at Siddakallu. As it is very near to Ramanagara so we can eliminates this hill

Vaddarahalli is a village located in this road. near to the hill and the Name Kylancha is applicable here too.

KP doddi or Krishnapura doddi is a small village on Kanakapura road, situated before village Kyalancha. Does it have some connections?
Gunnur is the nearest village located near to Kyalancha and surrounded by some hills and most probable place to have a base camp,

Within half a kilometer, there lies a small hill, which is most probably in my opinion, , the Kuppa gudda/gowda hill. A twin big hills located west to this spot within 2 kilometer distance,  which have lot of caves and underground passages lies north to south  which has descriptions similar to the book, but in a larger dimensions. So the confusion soars.

KA said the road to Kanakapura from Ramanagara lies at south of the hill, but this road passes parallel to Akravathi river and just west to the hills mentioned above. But KA never mentioned about the river which is an important geographical mark, and its strange.

So we will have a tough task. Be ready for the adventure. we are supposed to stay about half a day by exploring every possibilities. a good planning will be made after collecting details from locals and from the  group members. 

While hiding in the lanthana bush, Don ( KA) described about some creatures of the jungle and it seems interesting.

KA mentioned about  the bird Seven sisters. Have a look at them.It must be the Jungle babbler lives in flocks of seven to ten or more. It is a noisy bird, and the presence of a flock may generally be known at some distance by the harsh  calls, squeaking and chirping produced by its members.They feed mainly on insects, but also eats grains, nectar and berries.
Jungle Babbler  (பூணில் pūṇnil) photo J.M Garg.

7 sisters bird. Jungle Babbler.... well known for their habit of moving in groups giving them the local name of "Sath Bhai" which means seven brethren but translated by the English in India to "Seven sisters". photo  Dr.C.S.Nagaraj

It is a largely sedentary resident, generally associated with boulder-strewn hillsides or rocky outcrops with dense undergrowth, usually under either thorn-scrub, scrub jungle, mixed dry or moist deciduous forest at 300-1,800 m. It is quite tolerant of denuded habitat, although not found on completely bare hills.  It is encountered in pairs or small groups of six or more. Berry-bearing shrubs, This bird is usually shy and hidden within scrub and is usually detected by its sudden cackling outbursts of calls.  Lantana, is  an important food source  It also feeds on insects.

Yellow-throated bulbul photo by Sudhir Shivaram location near Bangalore
White Browed Bulbul photo by Anukash location near Bangalore

KA mentioned about the blue Jay. Blue jays not found in India. The original The Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is a large, crested songbird native to North America with bright blue coloration. Blue jays are known to be beautiful, intelligent, and highly aggressive birds.

Indian roller by Arshad KA. The Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis), sometimes referred as Indian Blue Jay. So we can confirm this bird was mentioned by KA.They are  best known for the aerobatic displays of the male during the breeding season.The Indian roller is very common in the populated plains of India and associated with legends. It is said to be sacred to Vishnu, and used to be caught and released during festivals such as Dussera and Durga Puja.A local Hindi name is neelkanth, meaning "blue throat", a name associated with the deity Shiva (who drank poison resulting in the blue throat).

Another local name in Telugu is 'pala pitta', and in Kannada it is 'neelakanthi'. Adding its chopped feathers to grass and feeding them to cows was believed to increase their milk yield.The Indian roller has been chosen as the state bird by the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka and Telangana

There is a very popular superstition that sighting a Neelkanth is considered auspicious during Dussehra. It is also believed that if a person sees this bird and makes a wish,it will take the wish to the similarly blue-throated Lord Shiva on Mount Kailash who will fulfil the wish. This is why many charmers capture them to make money.The birds are caged, their legs tied, their wings trimmed and even glued, so that they cannot fly (because many people like to hold the birds on Dussehra day). Once the festival is over, the unfortunate bird usually dies, as it would have been starved for almost a month (Indian Rollers are hard to feed in captivity).Photo and info by Shreya Paropkari

A leopard  standing near to  a lanthana bush.  Photo by Abhiroop G Dastidar

There are several boulders and dops in the fields surrounded by Kyalanche making  difficult to guess.

Several  rocky hills sorrounding the village in red

Probable rock.

A large hill between Kyalancha and Kottagallu makes a wild guess.

View from south  to north and probable caves at northern side

View from Northern side. May be the caves situated in this location

Southern view.

Matching geographical features.

Last words

We just given some ideas of the location and geography.As we are planning the trip, this article is considered incomplete. After fulfilling our venture,we will come back with real pictures and more accurate details. 

I am sure that this trip will yield so many things. Sometimes we may not find anything new, sometimes we will have bitter experience in the forest, or from locals. But still the trip will be an unforgettable one.

Things to bring

Wear trekking gear with shoes and cap
Sunglasses sun cream
water bottle. glucose powder ,chocolates
Packed Breakfast and lunch. take some   Biscuits too
First aid kit  and medicines
Identity card/ DL etc
GPS/Printed map of the area.
Read this book

Date:  Will be announced soon. Most probably On a Saturday. As of now the monsoon is started, I think it will be difficult for trekkers in rocky area. Wait for the rains to stop and  sunny but cooler climate.

*Editing mode

Mananathavady In history.

Mananathavady In history.

I came through this book and facilitating  history of our own land.   We had a war between natives and British  right out side of my back yard of house. Exactly at Thazheyangadi  and Pandikkadavu. Manaitody was a very important station at that time.. seems Interesting

In April I was nominated to the command of the Wynaudrangers, formed by droughts of the Serin* gapatam local battalion, on its being disembodied. They were a fine body of men, stanch and well disposed, and soon became intelligent and active, exhibiting always that self-confidence and perseverance so essential to make a good and efficient soldier, and which enable him to act with promptitude when left to his own resources. These qualities are greatly developed and strengthened by the occasional exercise of field sports, as the following circumstances, which I may relate without egotism, will shew.

The collector of Calicut found the police force of Kolcars insufficient to check the smuggling which was carried on to a considerable extent between Mysore and Malabar, by numerous gangs of Mapillas. These free traders set the irregulars at defiance, and introduced vast quantities of contraband tobacco from the Mysore country into Malabar, where they sold it at a great advantage, and a proportionate loss to the revenue. government, as is generally known, retains the sole monopoly of the sale of this article within their own territories. On its way to Malabar, the tobacco passed through the southern parts of Wynaud, where the country is most difficult to be kept under strict observation, on account of its hilly and woody nature.

Application being made to me by Mr. S., the collector, to afford him aid towards the suppression of the illicit trade, I accordingly made the necessary preparations, and selecting eighty men, proceeded in the direction indicated as the most likely to bring me in contact with the freebooters. After a very minute inspection of the localities, I found that the duty I had to perform was a little perplexing. Hills, forests, and thickets, intersected by labyrinths of by-paths and devious tracks, rendered it difficult to select posts of observation. I was forced to divide my party into ten detachments, and with such weak guards to occupy as many different posts. The centre and the two extremities were made the strongest, and were also fixed upon as rallying points according to circumstances. Signals were also preconcerted, that in case of a surprise the detachments would render each other mutual assistance. Some days after we had thus occupied the chain of posts, three parties of smugglers attempted to force their way on our extreme left; they were driven back, but joining together in one body, they renewed the attack. Habituated to watch game in the jungles, and to attend to the signals for uniting strength on a particular point, the rangers not only met but anticipated the attack; they charged the Mapillas, dispersed them after a slight resistance, killed eight, and took thirty-six prisoners. Sixty bales of tobacco were the prize of our success.

This mishap taught the smugglers caution; they made a fresh attempt to cross our lines, and it was only by exercising the stratagems used against a herd of deer, that they were baffled. The rangers hid themselves in the thickets, and gave no signs of their presence until the Mapillas and their goods were in the centre of the lines. At the moment the smugglers believed themselves most secure,. they beheld themselves so commanded by the rangers, that they could neither advance nor retreat; they were forced to surrender at discretion, and all their contraband goods were taken.