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Learning by Traveling: A Tryst with Elephants in the Wild

by Rashmie Jaaju on February 10, 2011 · 14 comments

in Creative Kids,My Travelogue,Nurture & Culture

Friends, it's been a while that I shared our art and craft adventures with you all here. Actually, we were traveling and returned only a couple of days back. 

And, what a vacation it was! 

Family bonding, tryst with nature, rendezvous with history, art and architecture.

We had gone down south to Avie's (hubby) native place – Sagar - in Karnataka, where my in-laws live.

Among the many places that we visited in and around Sagar… 

I would like to share notes and photos from this one specific place – called Sakkarebailu (near Shimoga, Karnataka) – which offers an experience with nature and wildlife (elephants) from such close quarters that it can mesmerize kids like nothing else can. And, it can be as enchanting for us – adults, too. 

Afterall, interacting with creatures as majestic as the elephants and that too – in its natural habitat, is unbeatable and unmatchable. We have had similar experiences with Elephants, in Kerala last year, but this one ranks the best, in my view.

If you are in Karnataka or get a chance to visit, you must mark this place as a "must-visit" with your kids. Besides, there are a number of places of interest around this part of Karnataka, including the Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary, Ikkeri Heritage Temple, Keladi, the world famous Jog Falls, Gudavi Bird Sanctuary and many morethat are fascinating, to say the least.

It amazes me time and again… 

…to see how much and how fast kids can learn from such real-life experiences. Any number of books or DVDs cannot be a substitute for what the little ones learn by seeing, touching and feeling – and traveling - as often as we can  and as far as we can.

So, we set off… 

…for Sakkarebailu (meaning Sugar Cane Field), at 6 AM from Sagara, by car. Had to make sure that we reached there before 8:30 am, for that's when the mahots bring the elephants back from the forests to give them a bath on the banks of the Tunga resevoir. 

Our journey from Sagara was blissful – with serene views of the greens, the ponds and the dense Arecanut/Beetlenute forests kissing the skies. In Shimoga, we halted for a quick breakfast of Idli Sambhar, Bread Dosa (it's named bread dosa for its thickness and fluffy texture!) and hot coffee.

We arrived at the Elephant camp dot on time. Built on the banks of the Tunga reservoir, this camp is an extremely well maintained haven for elephants.

The Sakkarebailu elephant camp is a natural habitat for more than 100 elephants incuding baby elephants!  

A lot of these elepahts were rescued from poachers and they have been rehabilitated thoughtfully and with great care.

Some of these elephants were not just physically harmed by poachers, but they were also left mentally scarred due to the horror of being hunted. In this camp, these loving and peaceful animals are provided physical and mental healing and have come so far as to give birth to their young ones. 

The baby elephants! Boy, are they adorable and cute to the core! And playful. And naughty! It was an encounter that can only be  seen to be believed. So, I leave you with these pictures for you to feel the beauty of the wild and the wilderness.

Enjoy the gallery walk!


If you have any questions about this place, do not hesitate to ask me in the comments section below. 

And, I have to share this beautiful quote, that echoes my thoughts so beautifully:

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.”

- John Hope Franklin


Which place did you travel to recently?

I would love to get ideas from you about any interesting place/s that we all can take our kids to.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kiran February 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Dear Rashmie,
Thanks for sharing experience about your adventurous trip.
Lovely pics and beautifully captured. Enjoyed the gallery walk too.
I am surprised to see Pari putting her hand in elephant’s mouth and also touching the tusks !
Wasn’t she scared ?


Rashmie Jaaju February 10, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Kiran, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and the pictures. Pari overcame her fear to touch elephants during our Kerala visit last year. During the Kerala trip, she came across so many opportunities to get close with elephants, sit on their backs and even bathe them, that her fear was replaced by curiosity to get to see them from close quarters.
But, it’s funny that where she’s not inhibited one bit by elephants, she’s scared of dogs beyond explanation! LOL!
Thanks for your visit and comment. :)


Manish February 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Hey Sis,
So glad you guys had such a good time in “Sagara” :) Can’t wait to talk to you but seems our schedules are way too screwed up at the moment! This experience of yours – narrated beautifully through the pictures here – reiterates the fact that small towns can offer us experiences and memories that can last for a lifetime; we so much miss these in our metro cities. Also, it’s so touching to know that this particular camp is doing such a noble cause by rehabilitating the elephants. Personally, I am so fascinated by these creatures – particularly the little ones; they look so innocent and harmless, even when they can weigh 600 kgs, as you mentioned the other day! I can see Pari has gotten so comfortable and friendly with them :) she must have enjoyed to the hilt! Talk to you more later..


Rashmie Jaaju February 11, 2011 at 4:20 am

Mannu dear, yeah – had a wonderful time in “Sagara”! This time I figured that the locals call it Sagara and not ‘Sagar’ as I used to call. You are so right – small towns offer such rich natural experiences and the everyday lives there are so organic in nature that our city lives pale and stale in comparison. As we grow more and more tired of our crazy schedules, we realise the worth of simple living at leisurely pace and in touch with our environment.
And yes, like I had mentioned to you over phone, this 2 month old baby elephant that weighed 250 kgs was a sheer delight. We spent a good 1 hour just playing with him. And he too had copious amount of fun chasing the tourists, butting them, kicking them. And he was having a fabulous time teasing and provoking his elder brother (the one in the pics above).
I must have been somewhat absentminded while writing this post, for, I missed mentioning these fun facts. Let me go back and update the post.
And, let’s catch up soon in real life! :)
Rashmie Jaaju’s recent fabulous post..I Dare- Bare and Share – My Most Critical Life Lessons!


vitoria antar February 10, 2011 at 9:17 pm

You always bring and give us beauty, nature, knowledge, adventures, I envy you. Lately I only travel thru your eyes. I read the above comments and was happy that Pari touched these beautiful creatures. I am so happy that they are in this Sanctuary and that they are cared for. I am very fond of Elephants and I wish I had this kind experience. I do thank you for sharing it. Glad that you are back. Hugs to all with love, Vitoria


Rashmie Jaaju February 11, 2011 at 4:24 am

Vitoria, I feel inspired to share my experiences with you all – my wonderful readers. And, the fact that you encourage and appreciate every effort of mine, makes it all totally worth it. I am so glad you are able to see through these pics, what you may probably not be able to see because of travel constraints. But, I know that you traveled aplenty in your yester-years and infact – are full of life even now. A vibrant and positive spirit is all that matters…..
Thanks for your constant support! :)


Pritam February 11, 2011 at 3:49 am

Hi Rashmie,
Lovely pics…you captured so well…..loved the one most with baby elephant and mother…
Thanks for sharing with us!!
Feel like going there…The way you put it with pics, the nature, information and all together very nice.
Pari looks very friendly with elephants…

Hope you don’t mind me sharing it with my other friends, they are fond of elephants


Rashmie Jaaju February 11, 2011 at 4:28 am

Pritam, so happy that you liked the pictures and are inspired to visit the place. Infact, from where you live (I think in Bangalore?), Sakkarebailu is just an overnight train or bus journey. So, you could plan to go even on a weekend.

Ofcourse, you can share with your friends, dear. I feel great that you want to share with other elephant lovers.
And, if they too are inspired to visit the place with their kids, the purpose of this post is achieved!


Ashu February 11, 2011 at 4:30 am

Hi Rashmie…great to see ur blog.Like this unique idea of bonding with nature…definitely will visit this place and if u can give little more detail about same.All the images captured are superb specially one with mother and baby elephants bonding , elephant sprinklling water….Loved ur blog.
Have got lot of inspiation from ur blog.



Rashmie Jaaju February 13, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Hi Ashu,
Thanks for your comment. Yeah, watching the elephants spraying water on the onlookers was very amusing. And, when photographing, I had to hurry as the water drops were reaching upto my camera lens!
About this place – it is about 13 kms from Shimoga town. So, you can take an overnight train or bus from Bangalore and reach Shimoga early morning. From the bus stand or railway station, you can hire a cab. Since you will reach early morning, there will be time for you to grab a quick breakfast and move on to reach Sakkarebailu latest by 8:30 AM.

I am so glad you like this blog. :)
Rashmie Jaaju’s recent fabulous post..I Dare- Bare and Share – My Most Critical Life Lessons!


Sahiba February 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Oye you were out traveling and here i was wondering, where r u?? This place looks quiet interesting. Maybe in my next visit to goa, i’ll take my kids there..Pari seemed to have enjoyed her trip. great going gal..keep exploring and enjoying these moments of life..must quote this here“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine:-)


Rashmie Jaaju February 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Yes, Sahiba Kudi :) – the travel happened one whimsical moment and we just booked the tickets and went off! There was no prior plan, hence, I could not let you know. I thought, will write to you from Sagara. But once there, I had little motivation to get on the laptop. The nature and the rustic life really draws one towards itself… :)
Yeah, this place is a must-visit with kids. Hope you are able to go on-route Goa. Shimoga is not far off from Karwar – the route you must be taking to go to Goa from Mumbai.

And that quote – I love it! And, I do hope my life turns out like that!
Rashmie Jaaju’s recent fabulous post..I Dare- Bare and Share – My Most Critical Life Lessons!


Manju February 12, 2011 at 1:45 am

Wonderful place Rashmie. Natures’ beauty well captured in the photos. I loved those little baby elephants. We had a chance to see the baby elephants at Kodanad Elephant Training Centre near Kochi in Kerala.

Great Blog.. Loved it..

I would like to know how to reach this place from Bangalore? Is this near Shimoga?


Rashmie Jaaju February 14, 2011 at 4:22 am

Manju – thanks for visiting and leaving your comment.
The Kodanad Elephant Training center in Kochi – is wonderful too. We went there last year, however, there were no baby elephants there, then.

You can take an overnight train or bus ( from Bangalore to Shimoga. From Shimoga, take a taxi or a three wheeler. It’s just a few kms (about 13) away from Shimoga town.


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