We had started our journey from Bangalore at nearly 3 AM and had driven for nearly 10 hours. That and the trekking we had done in the rain had given me that sweet kind of pain all over my body. We had had a beer each after dinner. I was now sleeping under a night sky that seemed impossible to render without the use of Photoshop. For instance, the far rim of the milky way was clearly visible. The forest guards had all left the premises and we were the masters of everything we surveyed. Cicadas and tree frogs were announcing themselves to the world. And then there was the sound of the river flowing. That's about as much intoxication as I can take on a Saturday night. I had nearly slipped into coma when I was awoken by my friends. They insisted that I come and see something truly strange. The I've-seen-a-ghost look on their faces told me that this wasn't some poorly planned practical joke. Curiosity prevailed over stupor and so I gathered my torch and ambled along. After walking some distance they asked me to switch off the light and look at a particular tree. I saw why it had been so important to wake me up.
Here's how the tree looked under the torchlight.
...and here's how it looked in almost complete darkness.
It was one of the most bizarre things I've witnessed. J told us that he had heard about varieties of bioluminescent fungi. I later learnt that this phenomenon is called foxfire. We found patches of the forest floor that were carpets of luminescent lighting. Apart from the foxfire, there were glowworms and fireflies too. Truly bizarre! Kudos to M for spotting this without her specs.
Some other highlights from the trip
The Guesthouse: The foliage is so dense that it is almost perpetually dark here. Just outside the door of the guest house is the Souparnika river doing a right angle turn.
The leeches: One of the highlights of the trip was my northie friends' initiation to leeches of the ghats. I have pictures of blood-covered feet but decide against putting them here, but S-man sure is proud of them.
The drive: Shimoga to Anejhari is one awesome drive.
Wildlife: This really bold Malabar squirrel and some exquisite bird-sightings.
Shivappanayakana Kote (Fort): This fort is in a town called Nagara on the way to Kollur. Not only is the fort pretty but offers from its top a great view of the surrounding landscapes.