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Karnataka Bandipur Tiger Reserve
|Location||Chamarajanagar district, Karnataka, India|
|Area||880 sq. km|
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment and Forests, Maharashtra State|
|Weather||Hot in summers and cool in winters|
Home to the maharaja of Mysore were the Bandipur forests. They have been around since centuries famous for being a part of only a few reserves that have still managed to be up and functioning. It is all because of the thinking and planning that was done by the forefathers so that such a huge reserve could be maintained. The reserve has quite a few other sanctuaries like the Wynaad and Mudumalai yet it has managed to stay exclusive so far. The sanctuary has faced all sought of adverse conditions like the Kabini valley project and other local threats. It has remained unaffected to construction of dams, buildings and other projects. The reserve also comes under the famous ‘Project Tiger’ and was included in the vast lists of reserves under it in the year 1973. The reserve apart from being famous for tigers is famous for the vast herds of elephants that are found here in the premises of the sanctuary. The sanctuary has managed to survive against all odds and is up and running. It has great flora and fauna present here in the park.
The entire sanctuary is sprawled out on about 880 sq km area roughly. It is quite a huge space. The reserve was once home to the maharaja of Mysore personal hunting grounds. According to the Forest Preservation Regulation in the year 1931 a small part of the reserve came to be known as the Game sanctuary which later on went on to become a part of a much larger park called the “Venugopal Wildlife park”.
The park included a few neighboring reserves like Nagarholes as well. The park was also included in the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Bandipur National Park is one of the 15 national parks that have taken the initiative to save the tiger from extinction and thus comes under the Project Tiger.
Weather And Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the park would be in the months of January to march, since the weather is pleasant. The place is warm all year round and especially during the month of May and June. The sanctuary receives very little rainfall in June right up to September. The place has a short span of winter where temperatures fall up to 19 degrees in the months of October to January.
Place To Visit
The park has a great number of spectacular sights to visit, like the Mysore ditch; it is around 260 m deep. Then there is the Moyar Gorge which has been eroded by the Moyar River, the rolling rocks are another great site to visit. On the southern side the view of the ditch is spectacular and breathe taking. Make sure to visit it once when you are here. Gopalaswamy Betta is one of the highest peaks here at about 1454 m high. It lies about 20 km from Bandipur. The drive to this peak is about 60 minutes away from the park. A temple dedicated to lord Venugopala is also here. It attracts thousands of pilgrims to it every year. Famous for its Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary or better known as the RBS it is one of the greatest places to spot different species of birds and crocodiles. Balle is another place which is definitely worth a visit; it is an elephant resting camp. One can come across huge numbers of elephants here and its pleasure seeing this sight. Visit the beautiful historical city of Srirangapattana which is about 85 km away from the Bandipur Park. You can see elephants and wild pigs drinking and bathing at water bodies and rivers in the park. During the evenings it is easier to spot a few Spot bills and Teals. An elephant ride at the lodge is an absolute must. It gives you the chance to explore the beauty of the entire place and gives you the chance to spot one or two Chintal deers nearby.
How To Reach
The nearest airport is at Mysore, which is about 80 km away. Bangalore is somewhat far as it is 190 km away. The place is well connected to major towns and cities.
The closest railway station is at Nanjangud which is about 55 km away from the reserve. Mysore is much better connected with railway services to major cities.
The closest town to the reserve is of Gundulpet which is about 20 km away. Bandipur lies on the highway. It is between Mysore and Ooty. There are buses which are run by the government plying between the two destinations. If one takes these buses you are dropped off at the park’s entrance. There are around 12 different buses running at specific times from here. The time taken to reach the park is roughly two and half to three hours at the most. Since Mysore is closer it is the best option. As Bangalore and Ooty become a little far away they both are about 220 km and 168 km away.
Within the reserve: the entry fee here is Rs 150 for foreigners and usually cost a little less than the normal rates for the local people. Personal cars and vehicles are not allowed within the park remises. The park has buses plying between the park from 6 am to 9 am and then in the afternoon from 4pm till 6pm. The cost of an entire tour is a mere 15 rupees. One can book tours prior in time to avoid any rush.
Flora And Fauna
The vegetation here is mostly evergreen and scrubland type. You could see acacia catechu, schlep cassia fistula, randia uliginosa, dalbergia latifolia, terminalia tomentosa, grewia tiliaefolia, odina wodiar, butea monosperma, lagerstroemia lanceolata and bambusa arundinacea there is a lot of vegetation that will mesmerize nature lovers here.
Leopards, tigers, mongoose, sloth bears, different varieties of squirrels, porcupines and deer are some of the mammals that are commonly seen here in the reserve park.
Indian monitor, rat snake marsh crocodiles and the bronze back tree snake are some of the reptiles that one can spot here in the reserve.
White bellied Woodpecker, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Woolly neck Stork, Hawk Eagle, Hill Myna and the Crested serpent Eagle are found here.
The park is famous for different species of elephants and tigers. The park comes under the Project Tiger. If lucky one could even spot a few wild pigs near the rivers and lakes quenching their thirst. You can find a great variety of monkeys like the langur and the bonnet macaque. Wild dogs are a very common sight here in the reserve. The deer that you find here are spectacular. So many species like the Sāmbhar and the Chintal. They look beautiful and can be seen scampering around the reserve area mostly near the rivers. If one is very lucky then you may spot a leopard or a tiger. Other animals that have made the reserve a home are squirrels, bears, snakes like the python and the king cobra. For entomologists a trip here is like a treat since they can learn about so many species of reptiles and insects.
Bandipur is synonymous to birds. One can find millions of beautiful birds flocking the trees here. You could see the Little Egret, the Spot bill, the White breasted Water hen. The cuckoo is also found here. Doves and parakeets are a common sight here. The list is endless birds like the Indian Pita, common Kingfisher, Green Imperial Pigeon and the White Spotted Fantail is found here.
7.00a.m to 9.00 am and then from3.00 pm to 6:30 pm.
Where To Stay
The Forest Department's Deluxe Bungalows-
The accommodation available here is great, large bungalows that one could take on rent. Meals available here are delicious. You could make reservation a little in advance with the offices at Bangalore or Mysore.
Tariff Bungalow: Rs.75 to Rs.150/-Dormitory beds: Rs.20/-
Gajendra Cottages- beautiful rooms that come with attached bathrooms and a verandah is what one can choose from. They make it a lovely place to stay.
For bookings Contact: Aranya Bhavan,
18th Cross Road,
Tel.: 080-334 1993 .
The premises are also home to large dormitories where one could stay. They are fairly comfortable.
Hotel Mayura Prakruti [KSTDC] –
Beautiful looking cottages are available, not very far just about 3 km on the Mysore road. One could book rooms over the internet or call them in advance.
Tel.: 08229-7301 .
A private resort which is situated about 4km from d reserve. This is the main point from where one could get transportation. The stay here is inclusive of meals as well a jungle safari.
Advance Bookings Are Necessary And Can Be Made At
Tel.: 080-551 2631
Fax : 080-559 3451.
Tusker Trails- close to the Mangala village lays this small accommodation, with six cottages. You have the facility of a huge swimming pool as well. One can get a taste of royalty as the place is being run by the maharaja’s daughter.
Bookings Can Be Made At
Tel: 080-334 2862.
The weather here is pleasant, during summers it will be advisable to wear light cotton clothes while in winter one could do with a light sweater. During the monsoon be sure to carry umbrellas and raincoats. Those who are fond of photography carry the 300 mm telephoto lens which is perfect to use to click pictures here. You could get some amazing shots here in the monsoon time. The flora and fauna make it the perfect setting for a photo shoot.
The park premises have all the facilities that one would require like pumps, markets as well hospitals and banks. You may not get telephone networks here. Your personal cars and vehicles are not allowed within the sanctuary and do not attempt to get close to an elephant all by yourself. It could be dangerous.