PART - 1
Gangaswamy is an enigma. Love him or hate him he has this habit of permeating the environment he is in. He comes out either as an obnoxious personality or someone down-to-earth. I first encountered him in 2001 as a part of my New Year celebration. He was the Resort-in-charge at BRT Camp of JLR then. This resort was the not very well known and was a perfect getaway. I believe Gangaswamy has had a large role to play in its development. More of that later but may his tribe increase.
Christmas of 2005 saw us on our second visit to BRT camp (Biligiri Ranganbetta, for the uninitiated). A little known hilltop jungle till recently, it has some of the richest density of wildlife mainly gaur and elephants. We were on our second visit and were looking forward to another amusing adventure with Gangaswamy. However, when we got there, no Gangaswamy. Poor man was shunted some 400 kms north to ‘develop’ JLR’s new resort at Bhadra.
BRT, to me ranks third after Nagarhole and Bandipur for wildlife. If you are not obsessed with the tiger and will manage with an occasional bear or leopard, this is the place to be in. They have some excellent tented accommodation and log huts. No electricity, No TV, and 100% peace of mind. The present incumbent Sourav unlike Gangaswamy is an introvert and prefers to spend time listening to music. He takes time to warm up and speaks only when spoken to. You almost never realize he is around.
Forty eight hours saw us sighting sloth bears, barking deer, gaur, elephants and countless deer. No tiger, no leopard. We are getting used to that. In any case we were there to soak the atmosphere and make new friends. When it was time to go I thought the trip was incomplete without Gangaswamy.
BRT seemed less lively without him and therein lies the reason for a trip 400 km northward......................