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Jogimathi Forest – Solitude & Serenity !

Two-hundred-and-odd kilometres from Bengaluru lies a forest hill, which is like Ooty of Tamilnadu – a perfect hillstation! As usual, this place has a beautiful bungalow built by the colonial British in 1905, as part of the Mysore Forest Department. Unfortunately this forest is a reserve forest today. This once a tiger habitat of a forest today cries for development and further hope. Today it falls in the drought zone. Encroaching, expansion of windmills in this windy zone have eaten into the forest environment.
Jogimathi is so named after a 12th Century saint who roamed this rich area of medicinal plant vegetation area. He treated the sick with these plants and fed and nursed them with the alms he got from the local population. He took samadhi on the local hill and today this spot is reverend. There’s a tall metal watch tower built to enjoy the scenic landscape view. Climbing up the hill is a 150 step climb. Moderate fitness level is good to enjoy the view. Worth the climb. Sunsets and Sunrises are spectacular here! Unfortunately my visit was on a misty, windy, rainy day. I plan to go back on an another beautiful weather day in October.
Jogimathi is the highest peak area in this region of Holake, Hiruyur and Chitradurga Taluks. It’s highest part is 3,803 feet (1,159 mtrs.). It covers a region of 40 sq miles or 10,000 hectares. It’s not a uniform terrain region of dry deciduous forest. It was once a habitat of tigers, today it is reduced to leopard, black bucks, bears, rabbits and peacocks. This place is a haven for bird watchers and bird photographers. This region has some amazing natural grown medicinal plants. Today the Karnataka Forest Department has cultivated a medicinal nursery along with a small zoo ( more detailed write up in my future article). There’s a small seasonal waterfall known in this region.
From Bangalore one can go to this 215 Kms place by road, having your own vehicle is a good idea. Reaching Chitradurga, ask around for Jogimathi and the local population will guide you. It’s an hour from here on bad roads. Jogimathi Reserve Forest has just two cottages for public and it’s at the discretion of the DFO of the region. He also decides entry into the zone. This place has nothing, but peace and solitude. General public are not allowed, no picnickers, no trekkers. But, having a few friends in the Karnataka Forest Department in higher places helps. This is not a picnic spot or holiday vacation zone but another biodiversity zone which needs it’s place. General public are allowed upto the foothills of Jogimathi hills which houses a beautiful zoo.
Guess you can get only this close to wildlife here!
-Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
aka Jugie Singh
Text & Photography

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