India’s one of the best known tiger sanctuaries is Bandipur National Park.
The park includes rocky hills and valleys drained by rivers Kabini, Nugu, Moyar and numerous small streams. The enchanting Nilgiri Mountains and their cloud-covered peaks form a picturesque backdrop for the park. Bandipur National Park’s altitude is between 680-1454 metres and is situated south of the Kabini river at the foothills of the Western Ghats. Monsoon is from June to September and is the best time to visit. It is open throughout the year, but visit preferably in monsoon when wildlife is plenty and the forest is green.
History : Bandipur National Park lies at the heart of an extensive forest at the confluence of the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills. It was created at an 800 kms site in the Bandipur Reserve Forest in 1931. Bandipur Tiger Reserve, constituted in 1973 by carving out 880 kms from the Wildlife Park, has boasted constant rise in Tiger population. It is also famous for Sandal wood trees and rare species of Flora. The Maharajas of Mysore used the Bandipur forests as a private game reserve. The late Maharaja Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar, the founding Chairman of the Indian Board of Wildlife was a keen wildlife enthusiast. With its location under the shadow of the Western Ghats, Bandipur is easily one of the finest habitats of the Asian Elephant and Gaurs in their natural surroundings.
Safaris : A must do when in Bandipur. Entry fee: Rs75, Foreigners Rs.175. Still Camera’s: Free. Videos: Rs.100. Elephant Ride: Rs.100/person for 20 mins.
Time for Elephant Rides : 6.30am, 8:30am, 3.30pm and 5.30pm. Interpretation centre: 9am to 5.30pm.
Where to Stay : The government of Karnataka provides spacious and comfortable accommodation at Bandipur National Park. The rates charged are quite reasonable, but frequently all rooms are booked well in advance.
Resorts at Bandipur :
- Country Club
- Tusker Trails
- Jungle Lodges etc
- Mudumalai Forest Resort (20 km from Bandipur)
Resorts at Mudumalai :
- Jungle Hut
- Green Park
- Jungle Retreat
- Bear Mountain
- Casa Deepwoods
Flora : The scrub jungles towards the eastern limits of the park consist of stunted trees, interspersed with bushes and open grassy patches. Towards its north-western fringes, there is a gradual shift in the vegetation from open dry deciduous forests to tropical mixed deciduous forests. These diverse habitats support an enormous diversity of animal life.
Fauna : Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Gaur, Sambar (deer), Chital, Sloth bear, Mouse deer, Wild dog, Wild boar, Barking deer, Four horned Antelope, Hyena, Gaur, Panther, Crocodiles, Python, Osprey are some of the animals. Grey Jungle fowl, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Honey Buzzard, Red-headed Vulture, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Brown Hawk Owl, Bay Owl, Malabar Trogon, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Little Spider hunter, Plain Flower pecker are some of the birds. Reptiles like King Cobra, Common Cobra, Python, Adder, Viper, Rat Snake, Water Snake, Marsh Crocodile, Lizard, Chameleon, Monitor Lizard, Frog, Tree frog, Toad and Tortoise are seen in this reserve.