One of the most beautiful places I have ever visited is the Bheemeshwari fishing camp in southern Karnataka. It is about 120 km from Bangalore, off Kanakapura Road (NH 209). The camp is bang on the banks of the Cauvery river.
As the name suggests, fishing is the main draw. Enthusiasts relish matching wits with the Masheer, which is supposed to be a tough one to catch. I saw photographs of some people posing with the fish. In most, the fish is at least three feet long and, with each photograph, I got the feeling that all the guys were posing with the same creature. Maybe, a plastic one for guests to pose with as a keepsake.
I was tempted. So, I turned on my charm and questioned one of the staff. He gave me a deathly stare for a few nano-seconds before reverting to his friendly self. He insisted that all the fish in the photographs were different and had been actually caught by the men posing proudly with their catch.
The next morning, I saw two dudes, freshly showered and nattily dressed, walking towards the river around 6.30 am. Armed with hook, line and sinker. Maan, they looked so serious, I thought they were going to war.
The drill is you begin at sunrise and shut shop at noon. Take a four-hour break and get back to your spot at 4 pm. Stay there till failing light tells you to call it a day. In-between, you better catch some fish. I wouldn't like to be called a loser by fish!
Thankfully, the camp offers alternatives to those who prefer to leave the fish alone. Try crossing a river on a rope bridge 40 feet above, or slide down from point A to B on a rope suspended 40 feet above the ground (zip line), or cross a river on a rope suspended 40 feet above the ground hanging on to dear life and a rope suspended over you. I know, everything I do, I do 40 feet above the ground.
But, if you want to stay closer to Mother Earth, try river rafting or mountain biking. Most activities cost Rs 200 per person per activity. Money well spent.
If you are the type who just wants to laze around, the camp has several hammocks. Or, you can simply sit by the riverside, as many did.
I am sure many, if not all, will be tempted to dive into the river. Resist. RESIST!
Still can't? Oh, alright. There's a secret way to control yourself. The secret is written on a signboard. It says: Beware of crocodiles.
I will understand perfectly if you say that you suddenly forgot how to swim. I know the feeling.
I too was disappointed, but the staff are ever ready to comfort you with some delicious food if you care to step inside the dining area. The spread is simple, but very tasty.
In the evening, the staff organise a barbeque. For those who like a drink, and considering the ambience who won't, they offer beer. But, sorry to say, that's as far they will go.
Many guests don't mind because they don't want to indulge in their favourite poison and get drunk. You don't want to come to your senses inside a croc's jaws!
And, no roaming outside the camp at night! The staff courteously inform that you are in the middle of a forest. There are certain rules inside wildlife sanctuaries. What is left unsaid is that they wouldn't want you to be the dinner for some wild animal.
So, stay put inside the camp quietly. It has attractive air-conditioned log huts right in front of the river. [Air-conditioned log huts! What next?] The huts have a small patio where you can rest your feet and watch the world go by.
The camp is packed during weekends. On other days, you can just drop by. But, the staff recommend that you call first, just in case some corporate has booked the camp for a motivational exercise, or the like. The camp is popular with the corporate types.
The deal for the aam junta comprises a 24-hour package that includes stay, food and some activities, including a coracle ride in the crocodile infested river. It costs over Rs 7k, but is worth every paise.
You can visit Bheemeshwari at any time of the year. In fact, it is packed even during the monsoon. Just imagine being locked inside a cosy log hut in the rains... Well, if you don't book in advance, you are quite likely to be standing outside, getting wet in the rain staring at the lock!