Masinagudi is one of the important birding locations in South India. Located in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, the regions around Masinagudi are a part of Mudumalai National Park. Mudumalai is also a Tiger Reserve.
Watch the below video from my trip to Masinagudi in January. It was a part of a 4-day trip to Ooty and Masinagudi, but more birds and wildlife were found in Masinagudi and Mudumalai region.
See Also: The Nilgiris – Photo Album
How to reach Masinagudi
Despite being narrow, the well maintained roads make Masinagudi and Mudumalai easily accessible from Ooty, Mysore and Gudalur sides. Ooty is just 29.5 kilometers from here. While coming from Ooty, after about 6.5 km, take the road towards the right. This road is a steep descent and has plenty of hairpin bends. There are sign boards remembering the drivers to use first or second gears only. As we approach Masinagudi, the road passes through protected areas, where we should not park our vehicles.
Places of Stay
There are quite a number of resorts and home stays available. Many of them are near Masinagudi town itself. Our trip during January 2017 was organized by our birding guide Mr. Vinod Thattekad, and our place of stay was at WildWays. It is by the side of Achakarai road, about 1 km from the town. The home stay is run by Mr. Abid. He is a naturalist and also conducts activities like jeep safari for his visitors.
Activities at Masinagudi and Mudumalai
Wildlife Safari is the main activity at Mudumalai. Mainly the forest department conduct the safaris, both on vehicles and on elephant tops. Details about these are given at Mudumalai Tiger Conservation Foundation website. There is an interpretation center and reception center at Theppakadu. An elephant camp is also working here. Private parties (locals with permission) also arrange safaris, mainly outside the core areas.
We also took a couple of safaris around Masinagudi, arranged by Abid. Because of the high elephant population along with other wildlife, trekking seems impractical or dangerous here. Tourists should not step out of the safari vehicle in protected areas. Most of the photos you see in the album are from the jeep itself. Even then, it was a great experience. There were also some places outside the protected area where we could walk and do some bird photography.
Apart from birds including rare ones, we could see elephants and spotted deers multiple times. But no tiger or leopard, although there was a high chance.
More about Mudumalai
Masinagudi is one of the ranges of Mudumalai National Park. The town and surroundings are out of the protected area. The place is at an average altitude of 1000 meters from the sea level.
Mudumalai receives less rainfall compared to places like Munnar in the south. Especially in 2016, monsoon was scarce. The type of vegetation includes moist and dry deciduous forests, and thorny scrubs.
Mudumalai is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and has more than 220 species of birds. Mammals include Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, Indian Elephants, to name a few. Bandipur National Park in Karnataka and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala are adjacent to Mudumalai. One can even see the forests of Bandipur from some of the hills in Masinagudi.
Photos from Masinagudi
This lone tusker was standing by the side of the road during a morning safari.
Chital or Spotted Deers in the evening.
Crested Hawk Eagle – close enough to almost fill the frame.
For every nature or wildlife lover, Masinagudi is a great place to visit.