Friday, 15 February 2013

A hill which Dr. Salim Ali once visited

Trekking and Weekend Getaways

It was December 15, 1939 and renowned ornithologist, Dr. Salim Ali had come here to check up on the flora and more particularly, the fauna of the place. He has recorded what all he found here in his famous diaries.
The ornithologist spotted the blue-winged parakeet. This beautiful bird is also known as the Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides). They are found in small flocks and the males can the told from the females by the colour of the beak.
Dr. Salim Ali had come here as part of his survey on Birds of  Mysore. However, at that point of time, this place was not only known for its bird s but also herds of wild elephants.
Today, there are no elephants to be seen here and the blue-winged parakeet has become a rare sighting as it became a favourite of pet traders. Known as Babbudan parrot, it acquired a misleading reputation of being a superior talker.
The pet trade almost made the bird extinct in the wild. Today, it is found in the Western Ghats and parts of south India. This place which Dr, Ali visited more than 75 years ago has a hill called Deverebetta where you can still discover this species.
Devarabetta is near Hosur and just across the border of Karnataka. The forests here are a continuation of the Bannerghatta ranges and it was once the favourite of elephant herds.
The elephants have long gone and today they can be seen at Hogenkal, which is nearby.   
On its part, Devarabetta has reinvented itself as a trekker’s paradise. It is just after Anekal in Karnataka and lies south of Bangalore which is just 50 kilometres away.
One can reach Devarabetta either through Anekal or via Harohalli on Kanakapura road. From Harohalli take a left to Maralavadi from where one should take the road to Tali. The shorter route is from silk board junction on Hosur road. Drive down Hosur Road and then take a right to Anekal. After driving through Anekal town and crossing the Tamil Nadu border, Devarabetta is only a few kilometers away.
The Hill is approximately 45 kms from Central Silk Board junction.
Devarabetta has a lot to offer to a trekker, including a few species of orchids such as Habenaria and Vanda. Devarabetta comprises of two peaks and one of them has a much easier route to reach the top. There us a temple on the hilltop.  
The forests of Devarbetta closely resemble that of Bannerghatta.
The hills are interspread with valleys having fairly thick vegetation. These forests continues till the Rangaswami hills in the west to Bannerghatta reserve in the north.
When you are driving towards Devarabetta, you will find a signboard saying Gummalapuram. This is the very place or rather village where Kenneth Anderson, the adventure writer, shot dead the dreaded “Man-Eating Leopard of Gummalapuram” which had killed 42 people You can read about this in “The Spotted Devil of Gummalapur” and “Nine Man Eaters and a Rogue” by Anderson himself.
Hosur is nearby and there is plenty of options for food and accommodation available. Since, Karnataka is just across, there should not be any problem. Care to try it. Do so as this is one of the few hills where you can find orchids, birds, small animals, hills and water.

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