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Aanejari Butterfly Camp: Live in a Forest !

Living in the wild, close to nature deep in the forest has been every adventure seeking person’s dream wish. If you are one of those who belongs to this tribe, head to ‘Aanejari Butterfly Camp’ 300 Kms and a 6 hour drive from Bangalore. Head on the Bangalore – Mangalore Highway cross Hassan and the elusiveSakleshpura – the hillstation of Karnataka… climb down the picturesque Charmudi Ghats, take a right turn traversing the road going to the famous Dharmastala Temple, cross a few kilometres and lo… The Aanejari Butterfly Camp welcomes you on the left! A narrow dirt road takes you deep into the western ghats forest.
This camp is managed by Jungle Lodges and Resorts, please book ahead on their website – – walk-ins are not entertained. The manager’s cellphone no is +91 9480887187. The deep wooded nature camp of olive army green fatigue welcomes you, stay accomodation nos are limited. It’s a camp of minimum comforts. You are charged per head on a twin-sharing basis. Tent or Cottage. Single occupancy costs 30% more. The charges include, stay – food – forest entry charges – taxes – et all… INR 1298 to 1534. Breakfast, Tea, Lunch and Dinner are served at the common dining area. No TVs, Cellphones – no signal, occasionally… except for BSNL connectivity. The Camp is powered by a generator, sparingly used. Lights are Solar powered, no fans or other such simple luxuries. The music are the hoots and shouts and screeches of animals, birds and wind gushing through the woods. After sundown the place gets a little erie! The Camp has dorms and tents to live. The only thing one can do is go for treks… One is a butterfly trail and other a bird trail. The Surpanaki river snakes through the camp joining the Netravati River and dislodges into the Arabian Sea. The roads are rough mud roads which take you to the camp site from the main road.
Aanejari Butterfly Camp is in the Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary consisting of 247 sq kms. This sanctuary borders with Sharavati Wildlife Sanctuary and is all a proud part of the 38,720 sq kms of Karnataka Forests. Our State is proud to have lots of eco-adventure, eco-tourism activities. The general public are made aware of their responsibilities to nature and animals. This Camp is a ‘no litter’ and ‘no plastic’ zone, so are all forest areas! One is allowed to stay a maximum of 3 days out here. It’s good for small groups, there are no plans to expand the staying facilities out here, there is a cap on development. There’s a small children’s play area and exclusive parking area. The zones are divided and discipline is maintained. Silence is much appreciated. This is not a picnic zone.
Big game animals are not sighted here. Birds and Butterflies are sighted and one has to adhere to trekking and sighting rules. The staff are knowledgeable and guide you. It’s a good weekend retreat bonding with nature. Closeby are temples, beaches, camping and trekking zones. One can spend a extra long weekend out here. The nearest railway station is Mookambika Road, airport is Mangalore 60 Kms away. Public transport like buses, jeeps and cabs are plenty. You mark Dharmastala as your destination and get off at the Camp Site, few kilometres before. Like l always say, better and good time with your own transport. Don’t forget to pack your cameras, binoculars, good shoes, warm clothes, mosquito repellent, rain wear, battery packs, flash light etc. and carry cash – Digital India is yet to make indoors here. People around here are simpletons. Your Rupee has a lot of value. The cuisine is local coastal south Indian – Mangalorean and Udupi its predominantly vegetarian. Selected places have good sea food cuisine. Enjoy the village and forest experience of western ghats and coastal Karnataka.
Our forests were earlier game and hunting zones of royalty and the colonial British, royals from as far as Russia would come to hunt, later this moved to people in power, the politicians. Now the game is Photography and Eco-Adventure Tourism, Camping, Trekking, Rafting etc. All peaceful. We have come to live with nature and peace after losing quite a bit of natural fortune.
Do make a list of forests you need to visit, tick one of your bucket list each year. Indian forest tourism has a lot to offer. Journey into a different experience each time, your experience will not be the same as others. Each one will have a different story to tell. Capture your memories on your camera for posterity. Join an adventure or a eco group, may your tribe increase – to make this planet a better place to live in. Take what you need, let not greed engulf you.
-Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
aka Jugie Singh
Text & Photography

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