An overnight train journey from Bangalore brought us to Hospet, and
within minutes of getting off the train, we were on the road to the
Sloth Bear Resort. This was my first visit to Hampi and as cliché as it
sounds, in many ways it was indeed “a dream coming true”. The 17kms to
the resort was along a road filled with trees, and fields on one side,
while there were rugged mountains on the other. Upon seeing the board
“Karadi Cafe” I knew we had reached the resort.


Our
cottage was tucked away behind the dining area, and the winding up had
quite a rustic feel to it. The room was fitted with all amenities we
could want, and had a balcony to sit and feast on the sunrise or sunset.
We ordered a cup of hot tea, and that was all it took to have us
refreshed and ready to explore the property.

We
also met the naturalist Virupaksha, who promised to take us birding
within an hour along the river Tungabhadra. This time eyes tuned to the
vast open space around us, and ears sharp waiting for a bird call. In
that one hour, we spotted quite a few birds- kingfishers, Sand piper,
quails, grey heron, parakeets, Purple heron, and Hoopoes wandering near
the canal.

With
just two days, we wanted to see as much of Hampi as possible. Next on
the agenda I was told was the visit to the Sloth Bear Sanctuary in
Daroji which is where the resort draws its name from.

I
had seen pictures of the bears lounging on the rocks, and to think I
was going to be seeing them in real had me excited. We drove into the
sanctuary, watching a wild boar cross ahead us, before driving ahead and
parking the jeep near the rocks where the bears would come. We didnt
have to wait more than a few minutes, and we saw a bear stroll along
towards us with two cubs in tow.

Soon,
there were quite a few and all they were focussed on were the sweet
licks on the rocks. Did not pay any attention to us, but went about
lapping up their treats. The bears soon made their way along the path
towards the exit of the enclosure and we drove along, capturing them. It
was wonderful to watch a mother bear protect her cub from a male that
came hovering about, two bears fight for the patch of rock and how at
ease they were around humans.

The
sun set as we drove out back to the resort, while the bears lingered on
my mind. I was already looking forward to many more treats in store at
Hampi.

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