Narasimhaghada Trek, Belthangadi

         'Narasimha Ghada' or 'Narasimhanagadi' or 'Jamalabad' (current name) is a hill top fort nested in Kudremukh National Park . This place is about 8 kms from Belthangadi (DK). We came to know about this place when were travelling from Belthangadi to Venuru . We decided to explore this place when we were returning from Venuru . We reached the base of the hill around 2:00 pm. There is a forest check post at the hill base where we can  get a permit for entry (Rs.40/- per head) . The man there put a word  that it will be difficult to reach the top during that time since we  were already late and were asked to return by 6:00 pm. We decided to climb up to 5:00 pm and return from that point . However, we managed reached the top much earlier than expected .
         This fort was built by Tipu Sultan after capturing the local ruler and destroying the old structure. Later, this fort was captured by  British from Tipu during  the 4th Mysore war . Tipu named this fort after his mother Jamalbi .Nothing much remains expect  a few ruins here and there . Most impressive part was the trek .Though steps were laid up to the top , rain water had made them very slippery and difficult to climb.
Initial Climb
Rock Cut Steps
Slippery Pathway

   The hill top was a flat surface having ruins of fort, micro ave station and a water pond . We got a birds's eye view of the entire range of Kudremukh National Park . We were also able to spot a water falls far away on another hill.
View Mid Way
Bird's Eye View
View from the Top
Another View
   On our way to the hill top, we spotted various forms of life.
Blue Dragon
Green Dragon
Dragon Fly
Common Sailor
Camouflaged  Lizard
Spiny Lizard
Stag Beetle
Cup  Mushroom
Wild Grass Flower
This is a wonderful place to explore and popular among trekkers.

Trip Date :  27 Sept' 2009.

The Jewels of KWLS

    KWLS is home to a variety of insects, mushrooms and other small creatures. It is an ideal environment for the creatures to thrive. There were many such, which we were able to see  though most were beyond our  identification skills (i.e., exact names ) .
Green Dragon
Blue Dragon
Long Legged Spider
Checkered Beetle
Leaf Beetle
Blow Fly
Grass Hopper
Stink Bugs
Praying Mantis
Wild Flower
Wild Grass Flower
Orange mushroom
    Altogether, a wonderful place to spend exploring the vast areas of  the forests on foot .We would like to thank the D.F.O  for providing us an opportunity to explore this place and  giving us assistance during our stay.This place attracts very few tourists since there are no organized tours/safaris. Special thanks to our guides (elephant trackers/guards) who were very cooperative all along.

The Winged Jewels of KWLS

        KWLS is home to a variety of insects. It is an ideal environment since insects thrive under moist conditions and the flora here is in abundance.
        Among the insect groups, moths and butterflies come under a large group called Lepidoptera ( scaly wing). Though moths and butterflies are similar, they differ externally. The antennae of butterflies are slender with  clubbed tip while those of a moth can range from feathery or hairlike to even club shaped. India is home to about 1500 species of butterflies. Butterflies can vary in shape , color and size.
       Presently, butterflies are classified into two super-families, of which  hesperioidea has all the skippers, while papilionoidea includes the rest, the true butterflies. 
     Hesperioidea (Skippers) : The rapid bounding flight of these butterflies has given them their name . These are intermediate for true butterflies and true moths . Skippers of two types -one type hold their wings open flat when settled  and others usually alight with their wings completely closed. This consist of a single family of Hesperiidae
Small Branded Swift Skipper
      Papilionoidea: This consist of 4 families , Papilionidea, Pieridae, Nymphalidae and Lycaenidae.
      Papilionidea(Swallow tails): Truly the most spectacular group of Butterflies. This group not only has the largest butterfly, the southern birdwing, but also handsome species, the Paris peacock. Most among this group have tailed hind wings, hence the popular name Swallow tails . 
Lime Butterfly  Open
Lime butterfly closed
       Pieridae(White and Yellows): These are commonly called white and yellows because of their wing are mainly white or yellow . The undersides of the wings of some these butterflies have cryptic marking, with only tip or apex of the fore wing visible .
Common Gull
Common Jezebel
      Lycaenidae(Blues): The largest family of butterflies, having some of the prettiest and smallest butterflies. A majority of these butterflies have blue upper sides, though there are species with other colors too . A good lot of them have thread like tails at their hind wings ranging from small tufts to long fluffy hairs . 
Stale Flash Butterfly
      Nymphalidae (Brush footed Butterflies): The first pair of legs is much reduced in size. These legs are covered with long hairs, appear like brushes . Being so small , the fore legs are useless and Nymphalids use only four legs to perch and to walk .
Blue Pansy Butterfly
Common Bush Brown
Common Evening Brown
Male Danaid Egg Fly Butterfly open
Male Danaid Egg fly Butterfly closed
Long Brand Bush Brown
Small Long Brand Bush brown
Plain Tiger
Scientific Names of the Butterflies in the photos :
1 Small branded swift skipper  : Pelopidas mathias
2 Lime butterfly : Papilio demoleus .
3 Common gull: Cepora nerissa .
4 Common Jezebel: Delias eucharis .
5 Stale flash blue butterfly : Rapala manea .
6 Blue pansy butterfly : Jumonia orithiya .
7 Common bush brown : Mycalesis perseus .
8.Common evening brown : Melanitis leda  .
9.Danaid egg fly : Hypolimnas misippus .
10. Long brand bush brown : Mycalesis visala . 
11. Small long brand bush brown : Mycalesis igilia .
12.Plain tiger : Danaus chrysippus.

All these were photographed at Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary .

Reference used :
1. The book of Indian Butterflies ,written by  Issac Kehimkar and  Published by Bombay Natural History Society .

To be continued with more photos .............


        Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS), is a lesser known sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh . This wildlife sanctuary comes under the D.F.O of Kuppam, Chittor District. We had to seek permission from the D.F.O to enter the sanctuary. He was more than kind for having given us the permission and accommodation. We reached Kuppam forest office on  Saturday night around 9:00pm. Our accommodation was arranged in the forest guest house which had all the facilities.
       Next morning, we met the D.F.O who turned out to be a  very simple man with great knowledge of nature. He shared a lot of his views and the efforts made towards improving the wildlife sanctuary, especially on saving the elephants , since this is the only forest range in Andhra that have elephants . The number of elephants would be around 60. The forest shares its boundary with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. There are two domesticated elephants here , which  have been shifted to Vizag Zoo on temporary basis and will return back.  A guide was arranged for us to reach the forest which is about 45 kms from the office. He informed us that the chances of sighting of  elephants were few, since at that time the elephants had traveled towards Tamil Nadu. We were not really disappointed on hearing this because forests also have other animals, insects, birds, mushrooms, greenery which are found in plenty. At the entrance of the Sanctuary,  there is an education center which has a lot of information about elephants and the flora and fauna of the forests, which is worth a visit.

Misty Morning
Dew Drops
Spider Web
Forest Tracks
Go Green
Eastern Ghats
Road inside the Sanctuary
      Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 4 - Kolar - Bangarapet - K.G.F - Kuppam. It is advisable to reach Kuppam and then visit the Sanctuary .
      Distance from Bangalore :  About 130 Kms ,  hereon 45 kms to the Sanctuary .
      Trip Dates : 14,15 Nov 2009 .
      Places to visit nearby : K.G.F , Peacock Breeding Centre , Kaigal falls and many more .

To be continued with more photos ..........