Nov 20, 2008

Bhadra River Tern - water, water and water.

After a long time, I and Dee set out for another trip. This time it was Bhadra Reservoir, in Chickmagalur district. Chose this place as we were supposed to visit relatives in Chickmagalur town, Kadur and Bhadravathi. Well, we planned to finish off all these for the first two days and have the next three days all for ourselves! And this time, we were going to drive, first time on a long trip (other than a short visit to Mysore).
The route from Bhadravathi to Lakkavalli, where the BRP (Bhadra Reservoir Project) is situated was so refreshing – green fields on either side of the road, no traffic, no pollution..... I was just wishing I could stay there forever.
The JLR's River Tern resort, where we had booked for 2 days, is built on a small island (or rather a peninsula, as it is connected to land on one end!) on the backwaters of Bhadra reservoir. It is surrounded by dense Western Ghats forests, which happen to be Bhadra Tiger Reserve.
Bhadra reservoir happens to be a huge water reservoir in Karnataka, from which drinking water gets supplied to many places up to Davanagere. Sure it is a huuuuuuuuuuuge reservoir, with sweet, potable water everywhere! The reservoir was planned by Sir. M Visvesvaraya, but constructed later on by other engineers.
Like any other dam, even here, many little island villages have submerged under this great reservoir. One such little island is a dwelling of a species of birds by name “River Tern”, the resort thus gets its name. The island is submerged under water most part of the year, when water level is about 185feet; but in summer, when the water level goes down to about 140 feet the island gets exposed, and these birds come here in tens of thousands and occupy the entire island. They breed here, and a couple of months later, go back to where they came from. (They say it’s mostly from Himalayas, not sure of this). Strange part is that these birds come only to that island, and to no other neighboring islands!!! And the River Terns do not allow any other bird or animal to enter that particular island. Sadly, we went there in October, when there was plenty of water, but no sight of these birds. And there is this particular branch of a tree whose roots are on the land 40+ feet below water, but right now, only a small part of it pops out of the water!

Well, this resort built on a hilly island terrain is rather different from most of the other Jungle Lodges’ resorts including Devbagh. Most importantly, my belief that JLR resorts are not maintained well (after seeing Devbagh, where the place is exotic, but the cottages are poorly maintained) just vanished! The service, food and maintenance are all pretty good here, thanks to the Resort Manager. All the cottages/log-huts are placed apart from each other, but ensuring all of them get a good view of water below and mountains in front.

As part of activities, we had canoeing, kayaking, jungle safaris, trekking, mountain biking, bon-fire. The only sad part is that we cannot get into the water by ourselves, due to the depth. We did get in for a small swim with life jackets, so it was fun! Spending evenings watching sunset from a small wooden bridge connecting the neighboring island, is one memorable experience. Overall, it was a great trip, from where I didn’t have any mind to come back at all!!!!!

Link: River Tern Lodge, JLR ( )


  1. Hmm.. Cool Impressive..

    Good start!

    Hope you will have an account of all your travel stories :-)


  2. -> D
    Thank u D!
    "Hope you will have an account of all YOUR travel stories"
    Hmmmmmmm........... Now i'll have to travel without u, then?? :P

  3. JLR are the best managed wilderness lodges in Karnataka!! Exception ma be devbagh since it's "taken over" lodge. .. "i didn't have any M-I-N-D to come back" very true.. very true

  4. @Chandu
    Ohh... i didnt know it was a taken-over lodge in Devbagh! Well, a little better maintenance there would make the cottages good there too....

  5. Hmmn... I am waiting to go to this place... I wanted to go this place ever since you told me abt ur experience.... but now after reading abt it.. I am desperate...