The train chugged through the countryside of Uttar Karnataka. The monsoons had kicked in and the ponds, lakes and reservoirs had started to fill. Life had sprung in every nook and corner and the earth was garbed in green. The terraced paddy fields swayed as the North West monsoon winds blew across the land. I was headed to Dandeli in the Western Ghats, home to the Dandeli-Anshi Wildlife Reserve and a natural habitat for black panthers, tigers, leopards, deer, sloth bears, bison and a multitude of birds.