An early start in the morning and a lengthy trip through traffic to the town of Bannerghatta – which seemed to consists of stalls and various temples – and the “Biological Gardens” there at the Bannerghatta National Park. Disappointed not to see a wild elephant on the way as has happened to other travellers. We did have to stop and wait for several cows however – they are regarded as gods in India, so people are very reverent concerning them. Our driver – from the convent – drove at a suitably religious (read ‘slow”) pace all the way.
Once arrived, our driver showed us through the ticket-buying process and in through the gates. Once inside there was……red sand and green hillocks….
Into the zoo section for a few minutes and a quick look at the monkeys that wander around live. I did see one that reminded me of my friend Sean. It looks as if it was smiling at me, however a minute or so earlier it had tripped over my foot and then turned towards me as if to attack. I backed away hurriedly (discretion being the better option!). I think in this photo it is actually warning me to stay away from its family rather than smiling. I did take a few shots of other monkeys scavenging the swinging rubbish bins which they would tip to eat whatever they could find and even put some back into the bin after. I hate to think how they were trained to do this. They seemed to wander freely around the park, but had disappeared later when there were a few thousand more people present.
So to the bus – which left only 28 minutes late – they had to wait for it to fill up I think. The safari we went on was a little like a return to Jurassic Park. We went through several “canal lock” gates as the tour progressed – one gate opens, go into the cage, the gate shuts behind you and the other gate in front opens and then you proceed through.
To continue on the film theme, the bus trip reminded me a little of those in the Indiana Jones films (no pun intended here). The bus seemed to roll precariously round corners despite having a speed governor, tree branches occasionally gave a percussive accompaniment to the roof and the road hardly seemed wide enough for our bus, let alone any vehicle unfortunate to come in the opposite direction! By the way I see that “Raiders of the Lost Ark” has been made an american icon film….yes I know…..what a non sequitur! Blame my peculiar brain neurons.
We saw an assortment of animals. Many of them are roaming (or sleeping!) freely in the terrain. We were also taken past some caged animals – presumably to ensure that you did see all the animals. The bus would stop to allow us to take photos of animals – leading to a few moments of jockeying for position – much more orderly than I had expected after the frantic rushing I have experienced here in India. I missed a good shot of black bears, because they were always sleeping quite far from the road and looked a little like a large elephant dropping rather than an animal. The one close to the road was too close to the bus to be able to photograph it through the barred windows. So there were spotted deer, bison, lions, tigers (Striped and white) and elephants. All these in an hour of holding onto the seat in front and not daring to stand in case there was a sudden swerve or pothole in the road. All in all a fine adventure and an experience to treasure – rather along the lines of the Singapore Night Safari Zoo – which is inevitably much more organised….Even better, considering that I was not able to manage the safari tours in South Africa a couple of years ago – apart from one memorable day in an elephant park.
After the tour we wandered around the zoo section. Here we were able to see many other animals including the ‘Indian Squirrel’, which looks remarkably a chipmunk to me…..
I found the zoo itself not as good. I felt the animals here did not have nearly enough space to be happy. Indeed many of them looked as if they were trying to find a way out of their cages, trudging endlessly up and down a track which they had marked inside their cage. Still it was good to see some animals more or less in their own environment. I felt so sorry for the hippopotami that I could not put photos of them here. No ‘glorious mud’ for them, merely a very cramped pool – too small for one let alone three!
There was a rare example of an ‘examinator trinitus’ to be seen by a waterfall in the zoo. I thought it looked a little like a possum caught in car headlights, but these overseas “aliens” are rare creatures indeed!
So back through the crowds and the stallholders (here is a man pressing fresh sugar cane) to our driver and the trip back to the centre of Bangalore. By now, the Indians had finished their church services and were thronging along the road. There were many family groups having picnics at the zoo and a lengthy queue to get in. We did spy one car that raced several hundred metres up the wrong side of the road to push into the queue just before the gate – probably saved themselves about 20 minutes…? Driving in India seems to have few rules. Mostly the vehicle that is turning goes ahead slowly, endures the horns and just keeps going as if they have the right of way and everybody waits…. the video here is a small example. Every time I took my camera out to video, the traffic seemed to behave itself. This example is relatively quiet. Outside the hotel the car horns are seemingly incessant as four lanes of traffic tries to fit into where two lanes can go…..
Maybe this is the primitive side of Bangalore….?