Man eater of Jowlagiri -A walk back

Man eater of Jowlagiri -A walk back

Please read the Story – Man eater of Jowlagiri by Kenneth Anderson. Anderson had many adventures around Anchetty/Cauvery Sanctuary,killing Man eating leopards, killer elephants, man eating tigers etc.  I liked his stories too much and began to follow the places both virtually and physically. Virtually means by seeing the photos and Google earth images, which gives tremendous joy along  with reading. This is  a story of a man eating tigress in this villages of Anchetty Basin,epicenter for many of Kenneth’s stories.
 I tried to put some pages from the book in articles to rise  your urge,but nothing will be equal to the real pleasure of reading it.
Click any picture to  see in full view
A sole bike trip
It was on my Second and Third day of a sole bike trip, I visited Jawalagiri and Anchetty , through KA’s places of main activity. Month was June, Monsoon already started and  made her first magics on the earth  and so greenery is everywhere. Luckily or unluckily in my entire trip, I  had never faced any strong rain as in Kerala. I reached Jawalagiri from Sangama through a shortcut and rode slowly through Jawalagiri  Reserve forest. The roads are clean and traffic less. Warning boards for wild animals from forest department is seen along the roads.
Road bisecting Jawalagiri  Reserve forest
A waterhole  for wild animals in Jawalagiri  Reserve forest
A  Warning boards for wild animals from forest department
Jawalagiri Forest Bungalow,Which mentioned in story Man eater of Jawalagiri and where KA stayed.

Here I went straight to forest  office, and ranger or forester were not present in office.  Lots of confusion over allotting FB  to me, because of forest department was vigilant on strangers due to some operations of “junior Veerappan” ( he was arrested just days before my trip,, I was unaware about this story.) and suspected maoists. Moreover, I was alone and from another state.
The forest guards were so courteous, and  helped me a lot. I got lot of  new information from them and from some villagers. Wild animals are now rare here, and some poachers are active in the entire area.sometimes they are armed with mathlocks  brave to threaten the officials on duty.  Later I walked the little town of Jawalagiri and met some people.

Next day morning, stared to ride to Sulagunta and Anchetty. the road is newly  paved nicely, all along the way.

 My intention to have a look at the famous Jallamari amman  Kovil at Salakunta forest, but within 4 km from Jawalagiri I reached the temple. So the actual place is far away from Soolakunta. I remembered KA wrote this path is too much difficult to pass and curved,but my road is very smooth. I assumed, may be  he had a diverted  forest path,up near to the temple.

A tree near the temple.
Road from Temple to Salukunta
The location
Jawalagiri is a Village in Thally Taluk in Krishnagiri District of Tamil Nadu State, India
It is located 73 KM towards west from District head quarters Krishnagiri
7 KM from Thally
337 KM from State capital Chennai Sarandapalli ( 6 KM ) , Ballapalli ( 8 KM ) , Nallasandram ( 9 KM ) , Devarulimangalam ( 9 KM ) , Kakkadasam ( 10 KM ) are the nearby Villages to Jawalagiri
Jawalagiri is surrounded by Kelamangalam Taluk towards East , Kanakapura Taluk towards west , Hosur Taluk towards North , Shoolagiri Taluk towards East
Bangalore , Ramanagaram , Malur , Malavalli are the nearby Cities to Jawalagiri
Demographics of Jawalagiri Tamil is the Local Language here.
Jawalagiri town.

village   Jawlagiri
The tigress

The tigress first made her presence known by calling in the vicinity of a village in the Jowlagiri Forest Range, after a poacher killed her mate. After a week, a young hunter named Jack Leonard arrived at the village and concealed himself behind an anthill near to sole path to the  Forest Bungalow  at 5 in the afternoon. At 6:15, Leonard spotted the animal and fired at her, wounding her shoulder. The tigress bounded off into the impenetrable jungle, where the terrain proved too harsh for Leonard to pursue her.

A board,near to the path  ti the  Forest Bungalow.
A few months later, at the village of Sulekunta seven miles from Jowlagiri, the tigress claimed her first human victim; a boy aged sixteen, whilst picking acid fruits.

 

The Diversion towards Sulakunta,Anchetty from Jawalagiri.

Other attacks

Kenneth Anderson was informed of the subsequent attacks by the Sub-Collector of Hosur. By this time, 15 people, including three girls, one just married, had been killed by the tigress. Anderson journeyed from Jowlagiri to Sulekunta, hoping to find fresh tracks, but was unsuccessful. . Anderson received three domestic buffalo baits from the Sub-Collector; the first of which he tied near a river in Gundalam, the second he tied to a path leading to the nearby village of Anchetty four miles away, the third he tied near a watershed. Anderson explored the forest with his .405 Winchester, finding fresh tracks two days later on the sand of the Gundalam river. The buffalo was alive and untouched. The next day, a group of men from a hamlet a mile south of Anchetty, saying that a man had been killed by the tigress in his cattle pen. Upon arriving at Anchetty, Anderson followed the tigress’ trail, where he found the victim’s body dragged deep into the surrounding jungle. Positioning himself above the corpse on a high ledge, Anderson hoped to catch the tigress when she returned to finish her meal. After waiting several hours in the dark, Anderson sensed the tigress’ presence, and upon turning around, saw the tigress above him, ready to pounce. Anderson missed, blowing one of the tigress’ ears off, causing her to retreat from the site.

Click images for a bigger view.

A morning scene from Soolagunta

Village Soolagunta described as Sulekunta

A village road to Soolagunta from Jawalagiri. courtesy: The Psychelist
Anchetty basin ans its Relation in Google and  KA map  of  Jowalagiri, spot of tiger killed, sulekunta and Anchetty.
Anderson’s preparations and long treks.
Anderson moved camp to Gundalam 23 miles away at the southern limit of the affected area, where the majority of attacks had been reported. Seven herdsman had been taken in this area in the previous four months
A village road to Anchetty coutesy: The Psychlist 2009
Newly tarred road to Sulakunta, Anderson journeyed from Jowlagiri to Sulekunta, hoping to find fresh tracks,but in vein.
Road to Anchetty from Sulakunta. Anchetty  area can be seen on left side .

THE THREE BUFFELOES AND ITS POSITIONS

 Anderson received three domestic buffalo baits from the Sub-Collector; the first of which he tied near a river in Gundalam, the second he tied to a path leading to the nearby village of Anchetty four miles away, the third he tied near a watershed. Anderson explored the forest with his .405 Winchester, finding fresh tracks two days later on the sand of the Gundalam river. The buffalo was alive and untouched.
Position OF FIRST BUFFELLO
The waterhole which used by both villagers and wild animals(KA),now dried up
Position OF SECOND AND THIRD BUFFELLOES
But later KA realized that this tiger is no  passion to buffaloes and all  his efforts were futile.
THE WAY TO GUNDALAM
A village road to Anchetty coutesy: The Psychlist
Anderson Met the Man Eater
The next day, a group of men from a hamlet a mile south of Anchetty, saying that a man had been killed by the tigress in his cattle pen. Upon arriving at Anchetty, Anderson followed the tigress’ trail, where he found the victim’s body dragged deep into the surrounding jungle. Positioning himself above the corpse on a high ledga narrow horizontal surface projecting from rock), Anderson hoped to catch the tigress when she returned to finish her meal. After waiting several hours in the dark, Anderson sensed the tigress’ presence, and upon turning around, saw the tigress above him, ready to pounce. Anderson missed, blowing one of the tigress’ ears off, causing her to retreat from the site.
Anchetty Town. photo taken in front of Forest office.
Gundalam
Never depend on your  GPS
I went and asked for a permission from Anchetty forest office to go the areas of my interest. I wanted to cover the areas of Gundalum ,the river bed, and the  rock  where KA waited for the tiger, over a dead body. My application was readily rejected as all the senior officers are at Hogenakkal for an official purpose. (Later I realised they bagged some poachers in that area). So even disappointed, I decided to check upto the  the  waterhole and   Guntalum  village to the south of Anchetty,near to the forest border.  My GPS and google map shows the places exactly  and I dared to  continue,by crossed the river. Knee deep water and big rocks on river made some difficulty in crossing. Villagers told the the pond is at a distance of one and half kilometers,after a small village. It seemed quite long and reached the pond  which mentioned by KA where he tied the second buffalo. I have a strong urge to visit the place deeper in forest, but stayed about 10 minutes on the border, as I have no permission. The villagers on the ford, had told me there is no wild elephants in this forest nowadays. I saw there are herds  cattles coming  from  the forest by the small paths. I was searching some  boys  or villagers to assist me as guides in my attempt. Not a single man around.Google map shows some tracks leading to the shrub forest, and I calculated I can reach the places by the help of GPS.  So lastly I made a very foolish decision to go forward.I started my bike and followed the tracks made by cattle. Within 10 minutes I realised that its not easy to cross the jungle. After the monsoon rains,shrubs have new branches and grown tremendously. It obstructs the tracks and  I found a dozen of  tracks looks similar with same width.  I traveled in a direction to the river by taking a right turn. After about one km inside,  reached  a  point where i cant ride my bike further. I parked bike nearby a small hillock and  made the second mistake by walking alone. I done this because my My Galaxy s5  shows almost correct position and I could hear some sound of water flowing nearby. I thought the river may be within 50 meter distance.

I walked with caution,and tried to made some indicators when there is a junction of tracks. But within minutes I realised again its not practical as there  are dozens of tracks crisscrossing the forest. Now, at this critical point my phone got some kind of hanging, and GPS shows the same position. Sun is blazing and with my backpack, I soaked in perspiration. I went forward with some tracks,but felt some uneasiness and slowly I realised that I  cannot go further without GPS. When I  abandoned the idea to visit the rock, I looked around.  It seems everywhere looked  the same. I lost my way and directions. I Suddenly retreated my steps back to the bike. . My own foot print helped me to find  the way  upto about 25 meters ony, then I lost it too. I am in a confused state, in the middle of jungle, without knowing anybody else,and  with a dead GPS!. I walked about half an hour in and around  this area, thinking everytime to the Parked bike’s direction in mind,in each directions. Every path looked same to me. I felt too much fear,and angry to myself as I lost the position of the bike. After resting sometime in a shadow of a tree  I walked in one direction about 20 minutes. All my confidence gone at  a particular point and I stopped walking. What if i am going to the wrong and opposite  direction? The thought startled me and in that terrible condition, too desperate, I took 2 minute rest to calm down under a tree.  Suddenly on my right, a flash of a metal glittered in my eyes within 10 meters. Oh,Its my bike. Luckily I were  walking on right direction without knowing it. I  jumped and started the bike and rode back to the path leading to Guntalum. I felt too much guilty, as well happiness, and consoled myself as  mother Nature has been punishing me instantly.

Every where looked  same .

Well, we will return to the story:

This part of the story is interesting, Let us hear from KA’S language:
The afternoon wore slowly on, the heat from the blazing sun beating directly on the exposed rock and bathing Anderson in sweat. Looking down the nullah in both directions, all was still and nothing disturbed the rays of shimmering heat that arose from the baked earth. Absence of vultures could be accounted for by the fact that, in the position the tigress had left it beneath the sharply-sloping rock, the body was hidden from the sky.
Night-watchmen
 The cheering calls of the jungle-cocks  and the strident ‘ma-ow’ of a peacock sounded from down the dry bed of the stream.
 Anderson welcomed the sound, for he knew that in the whole foresrt no more alert watchman than a peacock could be found and that he would warn me immediately of the tigress approach, should he see her. Now was the expected time,and with every sense intently alert he awaited the return of the man-killer. But nothing happened, the peacock flapped heavily away and dusk rapidly followed the vanquished day.
Waiting &Waiting; tigress was approaching
All at once the strident belling of an alarmed sambar broke the silence and was persistently followed by a succession of similar calls from a spot about half a mile away. These were followed by the sharp cry of spotted-deer, and echoed up the nullah by a restless brainfever bird,  His nerves and muscles for final action.K A’S friends,the night-watchmen of the jungle, had faithfully accomplished their task and  he knew the tigress was approaching and had been seen.
The calls then gradually died away. This meant that the tigress had passed out of the range of the callers and was now close by. He strained his  eyes on the the nullah, in  which, at any moment, he expected the man-eater to appear. But nothing happened. Thirty minutes passed, then forty-five, by the hands of his wrist-watch, clearly visible in the moonlight.
Sixth sense
He  thought; the tigress should have appeared long ago. She would not take forty-five minutes to cover half a mile.  And then a horrible feeling of imminent danger came over. Many times before he had that obscure sixth sense.The tigress discovered him and ready to sprung. KA prepared for  shoot.
The heavy blast of the rifle, level with and only a few inches from his ears, mingled with that roar  causes him to awaken, shivering with fear.

The tigress had not anticipated the presence of the ledge, while the blast and blinding flash of the rifle full in her face evidently  deflecting her aim and deviating her purpose from slaughter to escape. She leapt right over his head, and in passing her hind foot caught the muzzle of the rifle so that it was torn fall dully on the soft sand below, where it lay beside the half-eaten corpse. Quicker than the rifle, the tigress herself reached the nullah-bed, and in two bounds and another coughing roar was lost to view in the thickets of the opposite bank. Shocked and hardly aware of what had happened, KA realised and  descend after the rifle. He had a fear,that tigress would attack, if the animal were lying wounded in the bushes.

Second  hunt for the tigress


The temple as a camp
There was no time to make a proper camp, so KA and his men decided to sleep in the deserted front portion of the temple itself.

The proximity of a man-eater are apt to overcome all scruples and principles. Anderson stood guard with the loaded rifle, while his three men blazed wood and rotting logs that lay in plenty nearby, to build a fire for their warmth and protection, for on this occasion there was no friendly moon and it would soon be dark. Under such circumstances, attempting to sit-up for the man-eater, in the hope of its passing near the temple,were both highly dangerous and futile.

The Jallamariamman Temple in Forest. Forest station also be seen. The deity is believed too strong and animal sacrifice  is a normal ritual here. Pilgrims gather  in front of this temple  to scarify goats and cocks and distribute its flesh to everybody on Tuesdays.

Soon they had a bright fire blazing, on the inner side of which they sat, away from the pitch-black jungle night, which could easily have sheltered the murderer, all unknown to them, within a distance of two feet. Listening intently, they occasionally heard the deep belling boom of sambar, and Anderson could hear  harsher note of a stag, but  not follow in persistent repetition, showing that the animals had not been unduly alarmed by any such king of the Indian jungle.

The boulders around the temple,lies exactly as KA mentioned.

Third hunt for the tigress

Dry bed of Gundalum River, It was really difficult to cross in a bike. I fell down on both occationes but some friendly villagers helped me in rescuing myself.

Anderson remained in the locality of Gundalam for a further 10 days with no success in tracking the tigress. On the eleventh day, he left Gundalam for his home in Bangalore, promising the Sub-Collector that he would return should another attack be reported.
Three months later, Anderson received a verified account of a tiger in Gundalam involving an old priest being killed at the door of a temple in Sulekunta. Anderson went to Gundalam to learn more of the attack. All eyewitnesses to the attack and others confirmed that the animal was missing an ear. Three days later, Anderson received news from Jowlagiri stating that the night-watchman of Jowlagiri Forest Reserve had also been killed. Knowing that the tigress would not strike at the same place twice in a row, Anderson returned to the temple at Sulekunta with 12 men. where the tigress was heard calling. Anderson imitated the calls, attracting the tigress to his location. When the tigress approached, Anderson recognised her by her missing ear. Before the tigress could realise the deception, Anderson fired his .405 into her forehead and finished the animal with a shot to the back of the neck.

Temple Premises where goats and cocks are sacrificed.
This time, however, they were not to spend a peaceful night. The sambar and kakur were restless from night-fall,and at 8.30 p.m.they heard a tiger calling from a spot to be half a mile away. This was repeated an hour later from quite close, and Anderson  could then easily distinguish the intonations of a tigress calling for a mate. The tigress had also seen the camp-fire and become aware of the proximity of humans and, obviously hoping for a meal, she twice circled the temple, her repeated mating calls being interspersed by distinctly audible grunts of anticipation.

Last walking way of a man eating Tigeress
I like to assume this lone tree, exactly quarter mile from the temple,and along the way is matching to the  shooting spot of the tigress.


Call of a Tiger

Anderson succeeded in keeping the Man eater in the vicinity till daylight. Twice he gave the answering call of a male tiger, and received at once the urgent summons of this imperious female. Indeed, she came to the edge of the clearing and called so loudly as almost to paralyze them all. He was careful, however, not to call while she was in the immediate vicinity, which might have aroused her suspicions. At the same time  Anderson instructed the men to talk rather loudly, and not over-stoke the already blazing fire, instructions which were most unwelcome. He hoped by these means, between mating urge and appetite, to keep the tigress in the vicinity till morning.
 The Shoot
 Anderson imitated the calls,and tigress was heard.  When the tigress approached, Anderson recognised her by her missing ear. Before the tigress could realise the deception, Anderson fired his .405 into her forehead and finished the animal with a shot to the back of the neck.
  Regret
Anderson allowed the people a short hour in which to feast their eyes. Then he returned to the village,where willing hands helped  to lash the tigress across the rear seat of his two-seater Studebaker, to begin  homeward journey with the comforting thought that he had lived down my error and avenged the deaths of many humans.
Anchetty Forest Bungalow,   dates befor 1950s,where KA stayed  in his visits to Anchetty. Probably same place  depicted in above pic of trophy of the Tiger with KA and  his car.

Anderson expressed regret at his strategy, having later written;

“The dreaded killer of Jowlagiri had come to a tame and ignominious end, unworthy of her career, and although she had been a murderer, silent, savage and cruel, a pang of conscience troubled me as to my unsporting ruse in encompassing her end.”

Ref: —“The Man-Eater of Jowlagiri”, from Nine Man-Eaters and One Rogue, Kenneth Anderson, Allen & Unwin, 1954

 

“The Black Panther of Sivanipalli”-Tracing the steps

“The Black Panther of Sivanipalli”-Tracing the steps

 

“The Black Panther of Sivanipalli”-Tracing the steps

It is a story written by Kenneth Anderson, believed to be happened in between 1934 and 1935 at a village named Sivanapalli (சிவனப்பள்ளி  ಸಿವನಪಲ್ಲಿ सीवनपल्ली സിവനപള്ളി) (Sivanipalli/Shivanahalli), near Denkanikotta, in Krishnagiri district, Tamilnadu. A black panther is very rarely seen in the jungles and therefore there are number of myths, mysteries and legends related to it,Hence this story is very significant.

 Click any pictures to enlarged view.

Here I Just trying to track his steps through that epic journey, and try to relate the positions mentioned in the story with available maps. All the spots mentioned here are only indicative and may not be accurate,as I have some pre-sumptions and not been verified personally. I am still waiting to get photos of the pots in my next visit, and I will add them here when it ready. I think, this article may be helpful to who dares to follow the story,only as a road map.


Essence of the story 

 Kenneth Anderson was attracted to Sivanipalli on his very first visit. Sivanipalli  was Anderson’s favorite place for a weekend excursion. He presents its topography in details and describes the jungle stretches to the east of Sivanipalli. He describes the jungle as,  in type from the heavy bamboo that grows in the vicinity of the waterhole to the thick forest on the southern and western sides, with much thinner jungle and scrub, interspersed with sandalwood trees, to the east and north.

A black panther- file photo

 The jungles around little Sivanipalli sprang a surprise in 1934 when a black panther had been seen drinking at the waterhole by a herdsman. This was very unusual incident for the villagers. Anderson provides all type of information about the black panther. He comments on the appearance and origin of the black panther as black panther is not a separate or special species. It is simply an instance of melanism. A black cub sometimes, but very rarely, appears in a litter, the other cubs being of normal size and color.

He states s that the mystery of this black panther has never been satisfactorily solved.

The villagers of Sivanipali refused to believe in the headsman’s report of sighting the black panther. They were superstitious and related his experience with Satan. But after a few months the black panther reappeared and attacked on a cow. The herdsmen instead of driving off the attacker, ran away from the place. This was only because they saw the black panther and not normal one.

The existence of this strange beast unnerved the villagers and they became more and more careful and stopped grazing of the cattle beyond far distance from the village. Finding that his food supply was being cut off, the black panther started to extend his field of advent, the activities of the black panther greatly interested Anderson. He decided to shoot the panther.

 A man named Rangaswami in Sivanipalli who assisted him in his few shikar expeditions sent the telegram to report the fresh kill by the black panther. Anderson rushed immediately to Sivanipalli to pursue his operation in the darkness of night. After great efforts he reached the place near the stream at which the panther had killed the cow. It was too dark and he was dependent only on sense of hearing movement of the black panther. Then suddenly he heard the sound, the panther was on his kill. But then suddenly sound stopped and he became restless as many thoughts came to his mind. Here, he, explores his own mind perfectly and analyzes his confused state of mind to take proper decision, at the critical moment. When he switched on the torch he saw two reddish-white eyes staring at him. He took careful aim and then fired. The panther vanished and again he was confused that if he had missed his target.

He went back to Sivanipalli, and started his search of the black panther with Rangaswami, the herdsman and the bitch named ‘Kush’. They found the blood-trail of the black panther, with the help of ‘Kush’ who by her instinct discovered it. The trail led them far away through the big gorge, the narrow bed of stream to a large hill, half a mile behind a hamlet named Kundukottai. There were many caves on the top of the hill. ‘Kush’ took them to the cave and they saw many beehives hanging from the roof of the cave. Anderson gives account of the life-cycle of the little creatures known as ‘rock-bees.’ He mentions that these rock–bees, when disturbed, can be most formidable opponents. Anderson narrates the thrilling encounter between him and the black panther in the cave. After detecting his presence he fired two bullets at the black panther but at the same time disturbed the bees who subsequently attacked on him. He describes the attack of bees as, the bees fell upon me as an avalanche. He describes painful experience at the cave of the black panther who was lying dead inside.

He removed the  skin at the Denkanikotta forest bungalow. Thus he narrates one of the most memorable hunts of his life.

Now look the  pictures and map,I used same original words by KA  to describe the  images.

A sign board  to Sivanapalli:SiVANIPALLI has always been a favourite haunt of mine because of its proximity to Bangalore and the fact that it lends itself so conveniently to a week-end excursion or even a visit of a few hours on a moonlit night.
Position of the area marked as X.:All you have to do is to motor from Bangalore to Denkanikotta, a distance of forty-one miles, proceed another four miles by car, and then leave the car and walk along a foot-path for five miles, which brings you to Sivanipalli. The hamlet itself stands at the edge of the Reserved Forest.
Denkanikotta and Anchetty  with relation to Sivanapalli(RED)

Distance from Denkanikottai to Andavanpalli is 4 miles. KA left his car there :proceed another four miles by car, and then leave the car and walk along a foot-path. 

Andavanapalli and the probable foot path, used by KA on left of the road 

and walk along a foot-path for five miles..The foot path start from just out side of Reserve forest and runs through cultivated areas to Salaivaram. Even though there is a shortcut rad to Saliavaram from Kundukotta now, i think the presence of stream Anekkal Vanka, made this long distance walk to reach the village.

Stream Anekkal Vanka in green and the other one in blue, both forms the river Doddahalla :Nearly three miles to the west of this small hamlet the land drops for about three hundred feet, down to a stream running along the decline. To the south of the hamlet another stream flows from east to west, descending rapidly in a number of cascades to converge with the first stream that runs along the foot of the western valley.

Description of the area by KA is accurate: To the east of Sivanipalli hamlet the jungle stretches to a forest lodge, Gulhatti Bungalow, situated nearly five hundred feet up on a hillside. East of Gulhatti itself, and about four and a half miles away as the crow flies, is another forest bungalow at a place called Aiyur. Four miles north-east again is a forestry Department shed located near a rocky hill named Kuchuvadi. 

The foot path(White) in relation to the present road (yellow). Reserved forest is marked in red:Northwards of Sivanipalli thick scrub jungle extends right up to and beyond the road, five miles away, where you had to leave the car before setting out for the hamlet on foot.

Andavanapalli  reserved forest  in Anchetty road

Position of Water hole (Green) and  firelines (Red Arrowheads). Fire-lines of the Forestry Department surround Sivanipalli on all four sides, demarcating the commencement of the surrounding reserved forest at distances varying from half a mile to a mile from the hamlet. There is a water-hole almost at the point where two of these fire-lines converge at the south- eastern corner. Here is another small waterhole inside the jungle marked in blue.

Two sterams and waterhole make the area fertile and panthers presence :The two streams that meet west of the village at the foot of the three hundred-foot drop wind on through heavy jungle in the direction of another larger village named Anchetty, about eight miles south-westward of Sivanipalli itself. 

Kochuvadi was famous on Sandal wood.This is a sandalwood area and the shed houses an ancient and huge pair of scales which are used for weighing the cut pieces of sandalwood as they are brought in from the jungle, before being despatched to the Forestry Department’s godowns at the block headquarters at Denkanikotta.

Relation to Anchetty, the capital of KAs Activity.The countryside itself is extremely beautiful, with a lovely view of hills stretching away to a hazy and serrated blue line on the western horizon.

Secret river starting from this same area.

Water holes in monsoon:It is an ideal locality for a panther’s activities, with small rocky hills in all directions, scrub-jungle, heavy forest and two streams — apart from the water-hole — to ensure a steady water supply not only for the panthers themselves, but for the game on which they prey. Because of this regular supply of water a fairly large herd of cattle is quartered at Sivanipalli, which is an added attraction, of course, so far as these felines are concerned ! 

A file photo of a black panther..it was only a little after five and still quite light when the herdsman saw this black panther standing beside a bush that grew close to the water’s edge, calmly lapping from the pool.
KAs Account of Black panthers:black panther is not a separate or special species. It is simply an instance of melanism. A black cub sometimes, but very rarely, appears in a litter, the other cubs being of normal size and colour. Black panthers are said to occur more in the thick evergreen forests of Malaya, Burma, Assam and similar localities than around this district. They have also been seen and shot very occasionally in the Western Ghats of India. I have every reason to believe in the view that they prevail in these heavy evergreen forests, for then their dark colour would afford considerably better concealment. At the same time, as they are simple instances of melanism, they should occur any- where and everywhere that panthers exist, regardless of the type of jungle prevailing.

Hosur, Denkanikotta and Bangalore, it seems the communication was terribly slow to us. but at his time , it was the fastest. Rangaswamy living at Sivanipalli, who had assisted me as shikari on two or three previous occasions, and it was this man who had sent the telegram from Hosur Cattle Farm to say that the panther had made a kill at ten that very morning, shortly after the cattle had left the village for grazing. The herdsman in charge, who like the rest had been told of my offer to pay for the animal that had been killed, with a cash bonus as well, had very wisely not touched the carcass but had run back to Sivanipalli with the news which he had given to Rangaswamy, who in turn had made a great effort to reach Denkanikotta in time to catch the twelve-fifteen bus. This he had just managed to do, reaching the Hosur Cattle Farm telegraph office by one o’clock

The kill was  at close distance of a quarter of miles from stream: I enquired where the kill had taken place and was informed that it was hardly half a mile to the west of the village, where the land began its steep descent to the bed of the stream about three miles away. It seemed too temptingly close and this decided me to tell Rangaswamy and the herdsman that I would endeavour to bag the panther that very night while he was eating the kill, if they would lead me to a quarter of a mile from the spot and indicate the direction in which the kill lay. I felt I could trust my own sense of hearing and judgment to guide me from there on. 

Rangaswamy and the herdsman came along with me up to a dry rivulet (BLUE). Then the latter told me that this rivulet ran almost directly westwards with just two bends(RED and GREEN) in its course to the spot where the panther had killed. He said the dead cow had later been dragged about two hundred yards inside the jungle roughly northwards of the place where the rivulet completed the second bend(Probably at  a spot marked in BLACK)

His planing on the location:They were both against this plan and very strongly advocated waiting till the following evening, but I said that I would like to try it anyhow. 

The curves and  KA in Darkness,200 yards fom the spot of killing(RED Circle) :Their instructions were clear enough and I was grateful for the two bends in the* stream which enabled them to be so specific. Telling the men to go back, as I would eventually be able to find my own way to Sivanipalli, I started out on my attempt.

The progress: I considered the wisest and most silent approach would be along the bed of this dry stream rather than along the top of either of its banks. Any slight sounds I might inadvertently make would then be muffled and less audible to the panther. Secondly, by walking along the bed of the stream I could easily follow its course without having to shine my torch to see where I was going, which I might have to do if I were to walk along the bank where the vegetation would impede me, the more so because it was very dark indeed and the sky very overcast, the clouds completely hiding the stars and whatever pale light they might have cast.Accordingly I moved forward very carefully and soon felt the stream making its first curve, which was in a south- westerly direction. After a while the stream started to turn northwards again, and then straightened out to resume its westerly course. I had passed the first of the two bends the herdsman had mentioned. 

Not long afterwards it curved into its second bend, but this time in a northerly direction. I moved as carefully as possible to avoid tripping upon any loose stone or boulder that might  I knew the kill was still about three hundred yards away, make a noise. Although, from the information I had been given, panthers have very acute hearing, and if my quarry were any kill, he would hear me and, as like as not, make off again. 
Fortunately the rivulet was more or less clear of boulders and bushes along this part of its course and this helped me to edge along silently. A little later it had completed its north- ward turn and it began to curve southwards. After a few yards it straightened out once more and resumed its main westerly I halted. I had reached the place at which the panther had killed the cow and from where he had dragged the kill into the jungle for about two hundred yards to the north. I knew that I must now leave the rivulet and strike off into the undergrowth to try and locate the carcass and the killer, whom I hoped to surprise in the act of eating. In the deep gloom I had only my sense of hearing to guide me.

KA Walked in darkness to a slightly different direction  to move more than 200 yards.Five minutes passed, but there was no sound of any kind to disturb the silence. Perhaps the kill was too far away to allow me to hear the panther eating; that is, if he was on the kill and if he was eating. Putting my weight on my hands, I gently drew myself up to the top of the bank, making no sound as I did so. I then picked up the rifle and started to move forward very, very slowly. The darkness was intense. Inching forward, I stopped every few yards to listen for sounds that would indicate that the panther was busy eating. Only they could guide me, as it was hopeless to expect to see anything without the aid of my torch. 

Probabale spots as per my assumption, KA’s Pregress (YELLOW), after hearing the noice (RED) Panthers movement (BLUE) qand meeting spot (BLACK). This is a wonder full reading ,which has a  thrilling feeling in darkness with KA:: I went along in this fashion, taking what seemed an interminable time. Perhaps I had progressed seventy-five yards or more when, during one of the many stops I made to listen, I thought I heard a faint sound coming from in front and a little to the right. I listened again for some time, but it was not repeated. Bushes and trees were now growing thickly around me, and my body, in pushing through the undergrowth, was making some noise in spite of the utmost care I was taking to prevent this. So were my feet as I put them down at each tread. I tried pushing them forward by just raising them off the ground and sliding them along, but I was still not altogether silent. I did this not only to try and eliminate noise, but to disguise my human footfalls should the panther hear me. He would certainly not associate any sliding and slithering sounds with a human being, but ascribe them to some small nocturnal creature moving about in the grass and bushes; whereas the sound of an ordinary footfall would immediately convey the fact that there was a man in the vicinity. An uncomfortable thought came into my mind that I might tread on a poisonous snake in the dark, and the rubber shoes I was wearing did not protect my ankles. I dispelled that thought and tried walking around the bushes and shrubs that arose before me. This caused me to deviate to some extent from the northerly course to- wards the dead cow I had been instructed to follow. I stopped every now and then to listen, but the sound I had last heard was not repeated. It was some time later that I concluded that I had far exceeded the distance of two hundred  yards from the rivulet at which the kill was said to be lying, and also that I had hopelessly lost all sense of direction, enveloped as I was amongst the trees and scrub, under an over- cast sky. Then suddenly I heard the sound I had so long been hoping to hear— the unmistakable sound of tearing flesh and crunching bones. 
In day light the area looks so calm: the sounds did not come from the direction in which I was moving, but to my left and some distance be- hind me, indicating that I had not steered a straight course in the darkness. I had veered to the right, by-passing the kill. Perhaps the reason I had not heard the sound of feeding earlier was because the panther had only just returned. Or — and it was a most discomforting thought that came into my mind — maybe he had heard me in the darkness as I passed and deliberately stayed quiet. I paused for a few moments and listened so as to make quite sure of the direction from which the sounds were coming. In the darkness I guessed the panther to be anything from fifty to a hundred yards away.
Black Panther’s eyes stared back at the light of Anderson’s torch without wavering.Check the details of writing of the encounter: Next came the well-known hissing sound, comparable with that made by an angry cobra when it exhales the air from its body in a sudden puff. The panther was beginning to snarl. Very shortly he would snarl audibly, probably growl, and then would come the charge. I had heard the same sequence of noises often enough before and knew what to expect. Quickly raising the rifle to my shoulder, I pressed the switch of the torch.
Two baleful reddish-white eyes stared back at me, but I could make out nothing of the animal itself till I remembered I was dealing with a black panther, which would be practically invisible at night. Perhaps it had at first no vicious intentions in approaching me, but had just sneaked forward to investigate what it had heard moving about in the vicinity of its kill. But having identified the source as a hated human being, that hissing start to the snarl showed that the black panther had definitely decided to be aggressive. His eyes stared back at the light of my torch without wavering. I had plenty of time in which to take careful aim. Then I fired.
KA lost all of his sense directions and failed to reach the River, and  to the village (GREEN), Probably he gone wrong up to  the road to Salivaram(YELLOW) :   This time, of course, I was free to use my torch, and with its aid I walked back roughly in the direction I had come. I had thought wrong, however, and floundered about for half an hour without being able to regain the rivulet up which I had approached. I looked at the sky. It was still cloudy and I could not pick out a single star that would help set me, even roughly, in the right direction to Sivanapalli village. Then I remembered that  the land sloped gently westwards from the hamlet towards the ravine formed by the two rivers to the west. Therefore, if I walked in a direction that led slightly uphill I could not go wrong and would surely come out somewhere near the village. I started walking uphill. But I did not reach Sivanipalli or anywhere near it. To cut a long story short, it was past eleven-thirty that night when I landed, not at Sivanipalli or its precincts as I had expected, but more than half-way up the track leading northwards to Salivaram. After that, of course, I knew where I was and within half-an-hour had reached the village.

Shivanapalli Village(SIVANIPALLI):There I awoke Rangaswamy and related what had happened. There was nothing more to do then than bed down for the night. I have told you already that Sivanipalli was a small place boasting scarcely half-a-dozen huts. Rangaswamy himself was a much-married man with a large household of women and children and I could not expect him to invite me into his hut. So I lay down in a hayrick that stood a little off the main path and pulled the straw, already damp with dew, over me to try and keep warm. 

Calculating distance in next day,depicting KA’s Measurements (in Yards).: Deciding approximately on the distance where I might have been standing, I paced off  fifteen yards and got one of the men to mark the spot by bending down a small branch. Then I paced another thirty-five yards to attain the maximum distance of fifty yards, which I judged would be about the greatest that could have separated me from the feeding panther I had heard the night before. Here we bent another branch. Somewhere in between these two markers, and very approximately in the same direction as I was walking, I knew I should find some sign of whether my bullet had struck the panther. If I did not find anything then I would have to conclude that I had completely missed him.
The Village dog,Kush guided them  to the  panthers’s fleeing route(RED), which is going west ans to the stream. The stream anekkal venka boast about  of a fall which can be seen from Anchetty road(YELLO). there is another waterfall on the same rivulet which is locally known as Metro falls:  We followed and found more blood-smears on leaves and blades of grass where the panther had passed. Between the bushes and clumps of high grass there were spots of blood on the ground too. This was an encouraging find, as it showed that the animal had been bleeding freely, clear evidence that the wound was not just a superficial graze. The blood itself had mostly dried, except in some very sheltered places. There it was moist enough to be rubbed off by the fingers. However, it was neither thick nor dark enough to suggest that my bullet had penetrated a vital organ, such as a lung. Kush set out very rapidly in a westerly direction, and it was quite obvious she was following a trail that would eventually bring us to the sharp decline in the land, down to the bed of the stream flowing from north to south before it joined the other stream lower down and turned westwards. This stream, before its confluence, is known as the Anekal Vanka
Kush set out very rapidly in a westerly direction(RED), and it was quite obvious she was following a trail that would eventually bring us to the sharp decline in the land, down to the bed of the stream flowing from north to south before it joined the other stream lower down and turned westwards. This stream, before its confluence,(BLACK CIRCLE) is known as the Anekal Vanka(GREEN) The combined streams are called Dodda Halla, which in the Kanarese language literally means the ‘Big Gorge’. It has this name because so many sections flow through ravines and gorges as they twist and twine a torturous path past the village of Anchetty
3D Vew of the area, Anchetty -Denkanikottai Road(YELLOW).The combined streams are called Dodda Halla,(WHITE) which in the Kanarese language literally means the ‘Big Gorge’. It has this name because so many sections flow through ravines and gorges as they twist and twine a torturous path past the village of Anchetty.
Course of  secret river from Anchetty(GREEN ARROW). There the river changes its course abruptly and turns south- wards, past Gundalam, to its eventual junction with the Cauvery River(RED). It is this same stream, the Dodda Halla, that was once the haunt of the man-eating tiger of Jowlagiri, but that is another story. I have explored every section of it, right up to the place where it joins the Cauvery, and have nick- named it the ‘Secret River’, partly because of the fact that, due to the many miles of rough walking entailed in following its course, few people come that way, and ‘it is delightfully lonely and far away from the sight and sound of human beings; also because I have discovered secrets of geological interest along its banks.
Probable area of the progress of trail:The undergrowth was very dense, but to the unerring instinct of Kush this appeared to offer no obstacle. In fact, the trouble lay in keeping up with her. Her small and lithe brown body dodged in and out between bushes and outcrops of ‘wait-a-bit’ thorn. Our legs, hands and arms were severely lacerated by these thorns because we were moving at a foolish speed in order to keep the bitch in sight, taking no precautions whatever against a sudden attack by the wounded panther if he happened to lie immediately ahead of us
Reaching the stream bed: we progressed until we eventually reached the edge of the plateau where the land began to fall away sharply to the bed of the Anekal Vanka stream, which we could see between breaks in the tree-tops below us, the sun glinting on the silvery surface of the water as it meandered from side to side of its sandy bed. The stream itself was three-fourths dry at that time of the year.
3D view of the riverside :As we descended the deep decline vegetation became sparser and the ground became bare and rocky.(RED) Boulders were scattered everywhere, interspersed with tufts of the tough long-bladed lemon-grass. Then we reached a stage where there were only boulders, big and small, and the descent had almost ended(BLUE). This was the high-level mark reached by the waters of the stream when in spate during the monsoon. 
Crossing the stream:with the end of the vegetation, tracking became easy. Drops of tell-tale rusty brown, where blood had fallen from the wounded animal and splashed on the rocks, revealed its passage- Judging from the distance we had come and the quantity of blood that the panther had lost, it appeared to be more severely hurt than I had at first imagined. The wound must have been a deep one and the bullet had probably struck an artery.  The solution was an even greater surprise. At one spot the panther had stepped into his own gore and had left a clear pug-mark on a rock just before he had waded across the stream. The mark had been made by one of the animal’s forefeet and its size suggested a panther of only average proportions that was probably male. The blood had been washed off the foot by the time the animal had reached the opposite bank(RED), but the dried drops on the stones and boulders continued. 
Anakkal Vanka Streambed  :We reached the narrow bed of the stream in which the water was still flowing. Here the panther had crouched down to drink, and there were two sets of blood-marks, one nearer to the water’s edge than the other. The marks further away indicated more bleeding than those closer. This was curious and it puzzled me greatly at the time, considering I had fired only one shot the night before.
The stream at a slightly lower location, Note the density of undergrowth
After crossing the stream the panther had changed his course and had walked parallel with the edge of the water and along- side it for nearly two hundred yards, then he had turned to the left and begun to climb the opposite incline.(RED) The stones and rocks once more gave way rapidly to vegetation, and again we negotiated thickets of long grass, thorny clumps, small scattered bamboos and trees. Up and up the panther had climbed, and so now did Kush on the trail conducting herself as if she had been specially trained for the job.
 Topography of the location and road  with the hairpin bends: Eventually we came to the road which leads from Denkanikotta to Anchetty(YELLOW) and which intersects the forest on its way downwards to the latter village. We had come out on this road exactly opposite the 9th milestone, which we now saw confronting us at the roadside.
Bing map of the road and  the gorge. Incidentally this was the road on which I had parked my car near the 5th milestone when I had left it .the evening before to walk to Sivanipalli

If you have time please watch a 10 mts  video of the same  road, click here

The waterfall on Anekkal Vanka stream, can be seen from the main road where KA crossed the road. This photo shows how much thick was those bushes
They crossed the road and continued :Many carts had traversed the road during the night and in the earlier hours of that morning, and the scent was completely lost for a moment in the powdery brown dust. But Kush had no difficulty in picking it up on the other side, and we followed behind her. The grass and bamboos gradually gave way to more thorns and more lantana, which tore at our clothing and every part of our anatomy they touched. In places, where the panther had crept beneath the lantana and thorn-bushes, an almost im- penetrable barrier confronted us. There was no way through and there was no way around, leaving no alternative but to follow by creeping on our bellies beneath the bushes. 
Heading to Kundukotta :By this time it was also evident that the wounded animal was heading for a large hill that lay about half a mile behind a hamlet named Kundukottai. This village was situated be-  tween the 7th and 8th milestones on the Denkanikotta- Anchetty Yoad which we had just crossed.
Arial view of Kundukotta Hill 
Kundukotta village and  hill with respect to the road
I felt that my chances of bagging the black panther were becoming very dim indeed. Looking for him amongst those caves would be like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
The scent led up and across the sloping shelf of rock to one of the larger openings that loomed above us.
we plodded along and broke cover below the line of caves where the thorn bushes thinned out and became less numerous owing to shelves of sloping rock, worn glass-smooth by cen- turies of rain water as it ran down from above.
3D view of the hill :The top of the hill was known to hold many caves, both large and small, and what  was worse, the arched roofs of some of the larger caves had been chosen by the big jungle rock-bees as safe and ideal places in which to construct their hives.
KA’s description still matters:I had often seen these hives as I had motored along the road to Anchetty on previous occasions. Near its mouth the cave was comparatively large, some twenty feet across by about twenty feet high. Daylight filtered into the interior for some yards, beyond which all was darkness. I counted nine separate bee-hives, all of great size, suspended from the roof of the cave close to the entrance. 
From where we stood we could see the black masses of at least half-a-dozen bee-hives hanging from the roof of the cave, each about a yard long by about two feet wide. The remains of old abandoned hives were scattered here and there amongst them, the wax sticking out from the rock in flattish triangles of a dirty yellow- white colour, perhaps nine inches long.
what was worse, the arched roofs of some of the larger caves had been chosen by the big jungle rock-bees as safe and ideal places in which to construct their hives. The floor was of rock and appeared to be free of the usual dampness associated with such places. No doubt this accounted for the cave being inhabited by the panther— and the bees, too. For these animals and insects, particularly the former, dislike damp places. 
We reached the entrance to the cave where a subdued rust- ling sound was all-pervading. It came from the movements of millions of bees as they crawled in and about the hanging hives above us. There was also a continuous faint droning, that arose from the wings of the busy insects as they flew in from the jungle with honey from the wild flowers, which they would store in the hives, and from those departing on a trip for more.
We stood before the entrance of the cave, where the blood trail, very slight now, was still visible in the form of two tiny dried droplets. They showed that the wounded beast had gone inside.
The little creatures were absorbed in their duties and paid no attention to us, but we realized that if we happened to disturb them, these same little creatures, so unoffending and peaceful now, would pour on to us in a venomous attack like a torrent of black lava and sting us to death in a matter of a few minutes.  After detecting Black panther’s presence he fired two bullets at the black panther but at the same time disturbed the bees who subsequently attacked on him.KA describes the attack of bees as, the bees fell upon me as an avalanche.
Anderson’s final lap  to the car after shooting the black panther, and escaping from bees.

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