Sakrebailu Elephant Base Camp: Shimoga

Ranga, Geeta, Ali, Manjuri..... every morning all of them used to come here, in the Tunga river to bathe. Actually they are the giant mammals, some of them are wild too, come to take their daily bath in the river and to have food. 


The Elephants with their mahauts are going to the river to have the bath.




Sarda and Moti are too busy to play in the Tunga river. Moti propels Sarda and Sarda started to roll himself in the river. He just loves to take dive using his tusk in water and the throwing the back legs upwards. This is their favourite game, after that they will start to roam the camp area. But Manjuri pushed both of them towards the bank, with a bit anger gesture.


The place is Sakrebailu Elephant Base Camp beside NH-169 and 10 km far from the city Shimoga or Shivamogga. Shimoga is a large city lies on the banks of the Tunga River at the central part of the Indian state Karnataka.



Legend says that Lord Shiva drank water from Tunga River using a Mogge so the name Shivamogga derives. 



It is also the gateway for the hilly region of the Western Ghat and surrounded by lush green paddy fields, areca nut and coconut groves. 


Sarda, the youngest one of the camp

I fall in love with the city for when next morning I went to the Sakrebyle Elephant Camp. The smooth refreshing wind of the river, the bright morning, the wild smells of jungle and the elephants took me away from this so called 'socialised' world. I was overwhelmed to see the group of large mammals, helping them to wash their tough skin with the brush of Tunga’s river water. 


Ali, new member of this camp, he was a wild elephant.

In my childhood I had seen an elephant from local circus very closely as it was chained at our garden for approximately 45 days. But these elephants are free to move, bath, play... though they are also in captive but at least they are getting their food regularly here. These captive elephants live 8 to 10 years more than the wilds. Every morning thought the year the wild and captive elephants are used to come at this place to have their bath.



I met with Jabidullha a proud mahout by profession, who lives in Shimoga and is taking care of an elephant namely Ranga. Every morning around 4 am he came out from his home and goes to the jungle where he meets with Ranga mostly at the place of the jungle, who supposed to come to Tunga’s bank. He is carrying only a thin bamboo stick to guide Ranga. Both of them going to Jabidulha’s home and after having their breakfast they come to camp around 7.30 am. Completing bath and having food the mature elephants started to carry people on their back in the camp. This is called as 'safari' and it takes one round inside the camp which might be approximately 600 m of length. 



don't like any kind of animal's ride for amuse purpose, but who cares? Because the ticket value for the ride is 75 INR per person and 5 - 6 peoples at a single ride can sit on their back. Each elephant completes at least 7-8 rides, so you can calculate the amount they are earning for each ride. It's very tough and agony for the giants' to learn and being trained such kind of carrying on the back for fun, recreation and helping to earn money. 😔 
It's a humble request to all of you please don't ride on animal's back, they can't speak.



The camp remains open from 8 am to 11.30 am of each calendar day. Entry fee is 30 INR, fee for elephant bath is 100 INR and the safari ride is 75 INR.





There are several captive elephants in the camp. For each of the elephant’s one experienced mahout are allocated to take care of them. 



Many wild elephants living in the jungle also visit the camp to enjoy snacks and to play/bath in the backwaters. These wild elephants return to their forests and do not stay in the camp. 
The State Government of Karnataka has taken an initiative to protect the elephants and let them live in the wilderness. Due to lack of sufficient food they enter into the village and eat the corps and so villagers attack them in turn. So government took these steps of captivity of elephants in this camp. The mahout are paid and the elephants are getting food everyday: coconut, sugarcane, grass, salt and custard oil. Custard oil used yo apply on the forehead of the elephants to regulate the heat during summer.

Sometimes with the help of kumki elephants experience mahout went to trap the wild one to bring them in camp and trained properly so that they can be saved from villagers and other diseases. Some of the wild elephants were become sick due to affected by disease or having improper meal. 
Some elephant travels in different states for breeding purpose.
Some intersresting name of the elepphants with their habits:
  1. Geeta, most aged and disciplined elephant. Her age is 85 years and she has 7 children.
  2. Ranga, son of Geeta and largest elephant. He loves food.
  3. Sarda and Moti, the two baby elephants of this camp  youngest one of 16 months.


The market of city Shimoga, the long mosquito nets in the above photo were selling in the market, this kind of net is new to me, so captured this.


 The Tungabhadra dam at the morning glowing morning of March end on 2019.


The field of Areca nuts, once entering the Shimoga zone you will find the these long trees in huge number besides the high way.


How to reach: There is rail station in Shimoga. From Bangalore you can take a trains which frequent in number. Bangalore is around 212 km far from Shimoga.

By Road: I was travelling from Agumbe, KSRTC and some private buses coming from Udupi going to Shimoga via Agumbe. Agumbe is 95 km far from Shimoga. 


I was travelling the Shimoga with Sathish aka, he lives in Shimoga city with his family. He is an amazing person. His elder daughter recently got job in a firm and younger daughter studying in college.  You can contact with him in the above card. 

What else you can see in Shimoga? 
Other than this Elephant camp there are some interesting places in Shimoga:

Shivappa Nayaka Palace




Tunga River Dam


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