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Ganeshgudi: A Birding Paradise destination
Ganeshgudi - A Birding Haven
Ganeshgudi is a small village where the waterworks of a masonry dam over river Kali - Supa Dam and colony is located. Famous for it's bird diversity, evergreen forest and biodiverse ecosystem, Ganeshgudi has become a place where bird and nature lover throng to spot species that are exclusively found in abundance in the region.
Ganeshgudi is a small hamlet in the Western Ghat region on the banks of Kali river, in Uttar Kannada district of Karnataka state in India. It is surrounded by Goa in West, Belgaum in North and Hubli in South East and Karwar in South. Dandeli is the major town which is just few km distance from Ganeshgudi. Ganeshgudi and Dandeli are situated at the edge of the Dandeli Anshi Tiger Reserve, which is one of the 48 tiger reserves of India. Dandeli Anshi Tiger Reserve is actually famous for it's highest density of Black Panthers.
If Dandeli is famous for it's Black Panthers, then Ganeshgudi is for it's bird diversity. Ganeshgudi and surrounding region has a healthy population of Malabar Pied Hornbill and Great Hornbill. Also rare bird species such as Malabar Trogon, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Verditer Flycatcher, Tickell's blue flycatcher, and many more are easily seen and observed here.
Apart from bird species, varied animal life can be seen and observed here at Ganeshgudi. Malabar Giant Squirrel, which is the largest arboreal squirrel in asia is commonly spotted here. Also a lot of insect bio-diversity is observed here as the forest around is evergreen and healthy.
Birding - Introduction
Birding or Bird Watching are the same thing - observing birds in their natural habitat, in Wild. It is part of Ornithology - Study of birds, where in, one observes a wild bird, tries to identify the bird, observes and records it's behavior and habitat.
Bird wacthing can be done any where where birds are residing in their natural habitat. This could be one's own backyard, local park/garden, or species specific habitat such as wetlands, forested land, hills and mountain regions etc.
Checklist for Birding.
1. Weather resistant and nature friendly clothing: avoid bright color clothes. Consider taking a jacket/raincoat
2. A good pair of binocular/spotting scope (Olympus/Swarowski - see the amazon link below)
3. A bird identification guide book - Birds of Indian Subcontinent by Grimmet, Inskipp and Inskipp (see the amazon link below)
4. If you are hiking or on a birding trail - good pair of shoes
5. Local knowledge is very helpful, so if you have an opportunitiy to accompany a friend with local area knowledge or local guide, please take them along with you for birding.
6. Camera with good zoom capability. Also keep your camera always ready to shoot. You do not wish to miss any moment.
7. A bottle or two of drinking water to keep yourseld hydrated during the trail.
Bird Identification Book for Indian Subcontinent
Spotting Scope for Birding spotting
How to reach Ganeshgudi?
Ganeshgudi is landlocked by Goa in West, Belgaum in North, Hubli-Dharwad in East and Karwar in South. The best way to travel to Ganeshgudi is by Railways. As we were travelling from Mumbai, we took a Mysore bound train till Londa Jn. which is the nearest railhead to Ganeshgudi on Mumbai Bangalore Railway route. Nearest International Airport is Goa International Airport which is 121 km from Ganeshgudi. One can fly to Goa and take a road trip direct to Ganeshgudi or a Railway tour till beautiful Castle Rock railway station and from there by road to Ganeshgudi.
Londa Jn to Ganeshgudi: 30 km
Castle Rock to Ganeshgudi: 34 km
Goa to Ganeshgudi: 122 km
Dandeli to Ganeshgudi:21 km
Ganeshgudi - Distances
A nice and quiet place to stay and do birding.
Nearest Railhead to Ganeshgudi
Nearest railhead to Ganeshgudi on Goa-Hubli Railway route. Beautiful place to visit.
Nearest town. gateway to the Dandeli-Anshi Tiger reserve, which has highest density of Black Panthers.
Where to stay at Ganeshgudi?
As mentioned earlier, we stayed at the Old Magazine House resort managed by Jungle Lodges and Resorts, A Karnataka State Govt initiative. The resort is spread across 2 acres and has well spaced out stilted cottages. There are total 5 stilted cottages and a common dormitory. The cottages are equipped with basic amenities and attached bathroom. A wood fired boiler provides hot water 24/7.
Mobile connectivity is minimal or not present. So it's better to keep your mobile phones switched off safe in your briefcase/bag.
Those who has a problem of sleeping, are insomniac, I bet they will have the most peacefull and undisturbed sleep ever at this location. Also the morning is beautiful as you are woken up by different sounds of chirping and tweeting of different birds.
The most remarkable sound we heard was the whistling sound of Malabar Whistling Thrush.
Ambience - 5stars
Cottages - 4 stars
Food - 5 stars
Sleep Quality - 5+ stars
Check in - Check out experience: 4 Stars
Activities by resort mgmt: 3 stars
Activities on your own: 5 stars
Activities at Ganeshgudi
Ganeshgudi is a place for die hard bird lovers who can wait patiently to have a glimpse of an exclusive bird species.
On can indulge in bird watching and photographing birds at the birding set-up created inside the resort premises - where bird bath and feeders are placed to lure bird species to come and sit for a brief time. Photographers patiently wait at a safe distance so that the birds are not distracted by their movement and photography activities.
The resort management also provides opportunitiy for a birding trail in the nearby areas where particular species of exlusive birds are known to spoon and roost.
They also arrange for a Coracle ride in the river. For river rafting activity, the resort managment is to be informed in advance and they will make all the arrangements for your adventurours river rafting in the Kali River.
If you come by your own vehicle, you can drive to nearby places of attractions such as,
Syntheri rocks - which is inside the Dandeli Anshi tiger reserve and visitors are allowed by payment of nominal visiting charges.
Best season to visit Ganeshgudi
Climate in Ganeshgudi is pleasant throughout the year, with very heavy rains during the monsoon months of July to October.
It is recommended to visit Ganeshgudi any time of the year, but still the best time to visit would be during the winter months of Nov-Feb. During this months, weather is cold and pleasant and the forest is inundated with yearly migratory species of bird fauna along with the resident species that are found round the year.
Hence, best time to visit Ganeshgudi is during the months of Nov to March.