A part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve along with the surrounding Nagarhole National Park, Mudumalai National Park and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, the Bandipur National Park makes its own well defined place and is known for its diverse wildlife and dense vegetation. Spread over an area of 874 sq km the Park is situated at the meeting point of the Deccan plateau and the Western Ghats. The difference in altitude along with the Nugu river which flows through the reserve, the Kabini and Moyar rivers that flow along the north and south periphery of the Park, propagate a diverse mix of vegetation and wildlife.
WHAT TO SEE
The Maharaja of Mysore created the Venugopal Wildlife Park in 1931 in this area, and the Bandipur Tiger Reserve was formed after adding an additional 800 sq km to it in 1973.
How to reach
Located in the Chamaranganagar district of Karnataka, the Bandipur National Park is accessible from almost all major southern cities and towns of India.
Rail – Nanajangud is the nearest railway station at a distance of 55km. However, arriving at Mysore junction makes it easier to reach the Park.
Air – Mysore (80km) is the nearest airport. Bangalore too is not too far away at a distance of 190 km.
Road – Bandipur National Park is located on the highway that connects Mysore to Ooty and many state and private run buses stop here. Cars and taxis are also easily available from Mysore. Due to heavy traffic on the highway the area was prone to many animal accidents. This has led the authorities to streamline the bus services at designated hours.
What to see
The Park supports a wide range of biomes, the shrublands and deciduous forest is home to a number of endangered species, both threatened and vulnerable in the fauna and flora categories.
The mammals of the Park include the tiger, sloth bear, Indian elephant, gaur, dholes and four horned antelope.
The bird varieties found here are the red headed vulture, honey buzzards, grey junglefow,, hoopes, flowerpeckers, crested serpent eagles, fish owls and the Indian vulture.
Reptiles such as the muggers, vipers, Indian chameleon, flying lizards and the Indian rock python are also found in the Park.
A variety of butterflies, ants, beetles and other insects also flourish in this Park region.
Since the Park is easily accessible via road, many animals are also spotted on the roadside such as, gray langurs, Indian giant squirrels and chital.
Also, as the Park is a part of the entire Nilgiri Biosphere area, there is also some amount of animal transition across the forested areas and sanctuaries. The elephants, for example, usually migrate from the Mudumalai Sanctuary in the east and Satyamangalam forests in south east to the Nagarhole National Park in the west and Wynad Sanctuary in north west crossing the Park area.
Things to do
The best time to visit the Park is between October and June. As in any national park, safaris are the primary motive of visit. The jungle safaris are the best way to explore the forest and all its habitats.
The Himavad gopalaswamy Betta is the highest point of the park (1450m) and a temple is situated on its peak. The hill is popular for the elephant safaris and is a well wooded forested area, haloed and encircled by fog for most part of the year. It is an ideal place to glimpse the scenic landscapes below and offers splendid sunrise and sunset views.
The Bandipur National Park is surrounded by adjoining sanctuaries and reserves all of which are part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012 this Biosphere is spread across a massive 5500 sq km. Visiting Bandipur, is a good way to also spend time in the surrounding forested areas which are Tiger as well Elephant reserves. Besides the spotting of animals such as, leopards, langur and Nilgiri tahr, the biosphere is also home to variety of flora such as orchids.
Day 1 – Arrive at the Park by noon and check into the resort. Enjoy your lunch and meet with the team to chalk out the plan for the following days.
Day 2 – We head off early into the jungle and spend a good many hours in the safari, sighting and photographing the animals and topography. Post lunch we journey into the jungle again for the afternoon safari. Return to the resort in the evening to share and discuss experiences and photographs accumulated during the day. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner and rest well.
Day 3 – As per norm we start off early again this morning for the final ride into the jungle. After the safari ends and a hot lunch, you may choose to visit the adjoining Mudumalai, Wayanad and Nagarhole National Park.