A prominent National Park in India that is known for its healthy population of the Royal Bengal Tigers and the Asian Elephants is the Bandipur National Park located in the South Indian State of Karnataka that also is home to the Silicon Valley of India – Bangalore. Bandipur National Park is located around 80 km away from the city of Mysore and it is along the Mysore – Ooty Highway. Ooty is located in Tamil Nadu and is a very popular hill station among the tourists. Bandipur National Park is regarded as a very beautiful National Park that is home to a wide variety of flora like Teak, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Indian Wino Tree, Clumping bamboo, etc. It can be said that Bandipur National Park forest reserves helps to protect the various endangered wildlife of India and also provides refuge to various threatened and vulnerable species of flora and avifauna as well. One problem has been the presence of the stretch of National Highway that connects Mysore and Ooty and it passes along the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park and the movement of heavy traffic causes a lot of disturbance to the animal species at Bandipur National Park. Often there were reports of speeding vehicles causing fatalities to the animals of Bandipur National Park located in the Chamrajanagar district of Karnataka and hence to avoid this night movement of traffic from 9 PM to 6 AM has been banned and this has helped considerable to bring down the fatality rates inside Bandipur National Park.
Owing to this, Bandipur National Park is said to be one of the very better managed National Parks in India. The Bandipur National Park stretches over an area of around 874 sq. km. and this place is located in the picturesque Western Ghats and coupled with the adjoining wildlife sanctuaries of Madhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu), Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerela) and the Nagarhole National Park (Karnataka), Bandipur National Park creates the biggest Biosphere reserve in India called as the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve that covers a total area of around 2,183 sq. km. and this makes Bandipur National Park a part of the largest protected area in South India and the largest habitat of Wild Elephants in South Asia. Bandipur National Park is located at a place where the Western Ghats meets the Deccan plateau and this allows Bandipur National Park to harbour rich vegetation in terms of the varieties of species especially the dry-deciduous, moist-deciduous and shrublands.
The forest reserves of Bandipur National Park not only is home to the Royal Bengal Tigers and the Indian Elephants but also harbours various other animals species like Gaurs, Chitals, Sambhar Deers, Four headed antelopes, Jackals, Wild Boars, Panthers, Wild Dogs, Porcupines, Malabar Squirrel, etc. Bandipur National Park is also a paradise for bird watchers as the Bandipur National Park is home to over 200 species of birds that include the likes of Red Headed Vultures, Drongos, Crows, Grey Jungle fowls, Vultures, Indian Rollers, Hawk Eagles, Serpent Eagles, Ospreys, Kingfishers, etc. Bandipur National Park is also home to many butterfly species, Ant species and Dung Beetle species as well. A paradise for reptiles, few of the reptile species to be found inside the reserves of Bandipur National Park are flying lizards, Indian Rock Pythons, Spectacled Cobras, Vipers, rat Snakes, Indian Chameleons, Monitor Lizards, Pond Terrapin, etc. Before being declared as a National Park, Bandipur National Park was established as a Project Tiger in 1974. Being located in Karnataka, the state that is home to the second highest Tiger Population in India, Bandipur National Park along with Nagarhole National Park serves as the premier Tiger Reserves in India that were once used by the Maharajas of Mysore as their private hunting grounds and it was actually the Maharaja of Mysore who initially sanctioned a sanctuary of 90 sq. km. in 1931 and later this became a Project Tiger and National Park of India.
Location and How to reach Bandipur National Park
Bandipur National Park is located in the landscape that covers two districts of Karnataka namely Mysore and Chamrajanagar. It is located around 80 km from Mysore along the Mysore-Ooty highway. NH67 connects these two cities and it passes across Bandipur National Park but as mentioned earlier, the movement of traffic across this stretch of the road is restricted from 9 PM to 6 AM. The best way to arrive at Bandipur National Park is to come to the Kempegowda International airport at Bangalore (Bengaluru) and after exploring the silicon valley of India you come to visit the heritage city of Mysore where you can explore the Mysore Palace, the Chamundi hills and Chamundi temple that is one among the 51 Shakti Peethas and one among the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas, explore the backwaters of KRS and later you continue on your drive to Bandipur National Park and later you can head on to explore the grand hill station of Ooty in Tamil Nadu. And once you reach Bandipur National Park you can check into one of the accommodations that is either run by the Tourism Dept. (Govt. of Karnataka) or you can also check into any of the private resorts and hotels that are located at the vicinity of the Bandipur National Park and you can go for your safari rides inside the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park that are conducted on either safari busses or open Gypsy vehicles that need to be booked prior to your arrival at Bandipur National Park so that there are no last minute hassles on your jungle safari experience here at Bandipur National Park.
Accommodation Options at Bandipur National Park
There are various decent lodges and dormitories that offer accommodation in Bandipur National Park under the Government like VIP guest house of Gajendra and cottages like Vanshree, Chital, Harini, Nagarjuna, etc. or you can choose to enjoy a luxurious stay at any of the following resorts at Bandipur National Park:
- Dholes’ Den
- Windflower Jungle Retreat
- Bandipur Safari Lodge
- The Bandipur Cottage
- Country Club Wildlife Resort
- The Serai Bandipur
- MC resort
The above are the various luxurious accommodations at Bandipur National Park vicinity and tariffs at these resorts around Bandipur National Park start at INR 7,000 per night stretching upwards to INR 30,000 per night. In case you are interested to explore Bandipur National Park on a budget then it is recommended that you make prior bookings at the Government run accommodations where the tariffs are moderately priced.
But if you stay in the above resorts across Bandipur National Park, you can not only get to experience a wildlife experience here at Bandipur National Park on your safari rides where you enter the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park in the early mornings or the early afternoon and you go for an hour and half long safari ride on open end Gypsy vehicles accompanied by very knowledgeable local guides who are well versed in English and you can get to see the herd of wild elephants spending time by the water bodies inside Bandipur National Park, the tigers of Bandipur National Park attempting to catch their prey, a herd of spotted deers or Indian Bisons, the various birds of Bandipur National Park like the National Bird of Peacock, the birds of prey like the Crested Serpent Eagle, the paradise flycatcher and many of the reptiles crawling ahead on your safari ride inside the forest reserves. In addition to the safari trails inside the Bandipur National Park visitors can also get the opportunity to go for nature walks or a bicycle trail across the various resorts that are surrounded by beautiful tall trees and abundant flora. These options are very good for bird watching here at Bandipur National Park as you can get an opportunity to sight few of the many 300 species of birds here.
Climate and Best time to visit Bandipur National Park –
Bandipur National Park is one of the favourite places for wildlife sighting in Karnataka and this is opened all around the year for tourists. However the best time to visit Bandipur National Park is during the summer season from March to May as this being a dry season with less rainfall, the animals come out from their places of hiding inside the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park and they can be spotted near the watering holes inside the Bandipur National Park. Also, in case you are interested in bird watching, the best time to visit Bandipur National Park is during the winter months as the various species of migratory birds fly to the country during the winter season. Generally, the landscapes and atmosphere of Bandipur National Park is marked and characterized by three distinct weather conditions namely dry, wet and cold. The cold climate and season starts during the month of November and extends up to the month of February and the hot season commences from March and continues to June. In general it can be said that Bandipur National Park witnesses the coldest season in December and January and the hottest in the months of March and April while the rainfall starts in June and the season of rainfall extends through September but with not too much rainfall like certain other National Parks of India especially as in Eastern India like Kaziranga National Park that Is drowned during the monsoon and closed for public viewing during the monsoon season.
Bandipur National Park even though receives adequate rainfall; it remains open for public viewing around the year. In general it can be said that the climate at Bandipur National Park is generally dry and hot in summers with the occasional showers and the North East Monsoon starts at Bandipur National Park in mid-October lasting up to mid-November and overall the climate is often reported as healthy except in the South Western portions of Bandipur National Park at Begur, Beerambali and Ainurmarigudi areas of Bandipur National Park.
Flora, Fauna and Avifauna of Bandipur National Park –
Being a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere that happens to be one of the largest Biosphere reserves in India, Bandipur National Park has abundant varieties of flora, fauna and avifauna along with butterflies, reptiles and amphibian species that are based priorly across this region itself and hence Bandipur National Park is a very popular National Park in India that harbours a wide variety of animal life in the wild that can be sighted in the bus or jeep safari inside the forest reserves.
In general it can be classified that the flora of Bandipur National Park is diverse and can be classified as per the region inside the park like towards east, Bandipur National Park has the scrub forests of Moyer, the central portion of Bandipur National Park that happens to be the core tiger reserve has a dry deciduous vegetation, while the western area of the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park has a moist deciduous vegetation. Some of the trees to be found inside Bandipur National Park are Teak, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Clumping bamboo, Giant Clumping bamboo, Kadam tree, Indian Goose berry tree, Axle wood, Satin wood, Indigo Berry, flavor of the forest, etc. When it come to the fauna species of Bandipur National Park, the dominant animals to be found inside the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park are Royal Bengal tigers, Indian Leopards, Indian Elephants, Wild Dogs (Dhole), Sāmbhar Deers, Sloth Bears, Grey Langurs, Wild Boars, Four horned Antelopes, Indian Muntjar, Chital, Gaur, etc. Other animals found inside the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park are Jungle Cats, Civets, Jackals, Common Flying Squirrel, Porcupines, Barking Deer, Black Bucks, Bonet Macaques, Mongoose, etc. reptile species to be found inside Bandipur National Park are Tortoise, Turtles, Gecko, Chameleons, Monitor Lizard’s, Indian Pythons, Cobra, Rat Snake, etc.
The reason for Bandipur National Park for having such wide and varied distribution of flora, fauna and avifauna is because of Bandipur National Park being located at the foothills of the plains of the Niligiri Hills that comprise of Achaean metamorphic rocks that gives rise to a very unique soil that harbours wide variety of vegetation that helps to feed the herbivores of Bandipur National Park and the herbivores in turn feed the carnivores of Bandipur National Park so that there is a balance in the nature. The two prominent types of soil varieites found at Bandipur National Park are clay soil and grey soil. The soil present inside the park is shallow on the hill top and is deep across the valleys. However, one can say that at Bandipur National Park, the best vegetation and forest growth is on the deep and well drained loamy soil. In certain areas of Bandipur National Park, these are patches of slack that is mixed with pounded quartz that contains minerals and salt that form natural salt licks for the wild animals of Bandipur National Park and the examples of such soil is found in Chammanalla and Upneerhalla areas.
What powers the rich vegetation of Bandipur National Park is the presence of sufficient water bodies and sources that feed the soil and vegetation of the area. The National Park is located on the Wayanad plateau that has the presence of various swamps and other small water bodies and these acts as perfect watering holes for the Sāmbhar Deer, Four Horned Antelopes and also the Wild Boars that all in turn attract the Tigers and Leopards of Bandipur National Park to these watering holes. The Moyar River flows across the area of Bandipur National Park and this river acts as a major source of water supply for the wildlife and also the people inhabiting the area of Bandipur National Park.
The Moyar River flowing across Bandipur National Park is to be found across the central area of the park and this area is located on a hill of moderate height that allows the water to flow from upstream to downstream and the Moyar River originates near the Nilgiri mountains and flows for over 20 km across the Bandipur National Park. Across the western part of Bandipur National Park, there is another river called as Noolpuza that travels for an area of around 30 km and this river also powers the various small rivulets and streams that provide water source to the animal life of Bandipur National Park and the wildlife across the year. Not only does Bandipur National Park attracts tourists who come here for a wildlife safari experience to view the varied flora, fauna and avifauna, but this is also a favoured ecotourism destination as Bandipur National Park is one out of the nine Tiger reserves in the country that boasts of a healthy population of tigers in the country. The Ecotourism zone at Bandipur National Park is divided under two areas namely the Bandipur and the G S Betta areas. One side of the ecotourism zone there are the various administrative and certain halting facilities of Bandipur National Park while the private resorts and lodges are located at the Kundukara range of Bandipur National Park.
Bandipur National Park offers various ecotourism opportunities to its visitors across the year and it is not limited to only one class of visitors but everyone from tourists, wildlife lovers, student groups and photographers as well. But all of this have not come at very easy costs as being home to the population of the Royal Bengal Tigers, Bandipur National Park is always under threat of poachers who come here to try their luck and chance to poach these animals as tiger bones and skin have a wide demand across the black markets of Asia. To avoid cases of suspected poaching at Bandipur National Park, the forest authorities have put up various initiatives in association with the local governments and the various national Tiger agencies that not only prevent poachers from committing this heinous crime but also prevent eh human-animal conflicts inside the forest s of Bandipur National Park as well.
Don’t and Strict Nos at Bandipur National Park –
- Do not tease animals inside Bandipur National Park
- Do not smoke or consume alcohol inside the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park
- Do not feed the animals of Bandipur National Park
- Don’t honk and overtake inside Bandipur National Park
- Don’t litter and throw garbage inside Bandipur National Park
- Do not overtake or stop vehicles on the highway along the Bandipur National Park
Various measures like setup of solar power fences prevent animals from coming out of the territory of Bandipur National Park here have been setup to prevent the human-animal conflicts at Bandipur National Park. Various patrolling activities are carried out by the forest staff in grounds of two teams consisting of 10-15 members that help to keep a check on the movements of animals as well as movement of suspected personnel inside the Bandipur National Park as well. These efforts of the authorities of Bandipur National Park have helped a lot to protect the floral and faunal diversities of Bandipur National Park and allowed to restrict poaching inside the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park. A special tiger protection force has also been setup and the members of this force are well trained in handling of fire arms and they ensure to take adequate steps to prevent any poaching related activities inside the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park. However the problem of encroachment has always remained and so the authorities of Bandipur National Park continue to keep strict vigil round the clock to avoid any situation that might arise and cause human-animal conflicts. Some of the other patrolling activities continued by the forest authorities’ inside the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park are Monsoon patrolling, Night Patrolling and even Boat Patrolling.
Once you are here at Bandipur National Park and you have enjoyed your comfortable stay at one of the luxurious resorts at the vicinity of the park and after you day of wildlife safari inside the forest reserves of Bandipur National Park where you sight the varied flora, fauna and avifauna of Bandipur National Park now you can proceed and continue on the nearby holiday destinations that are present near Bandipur National Park and what better that visit the hill station of Ooty in Tamil Nadu. Ooty near Bandipur National Park is often referred to as the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’ and this place is the capital of the Nilgiri district and also called as Ootacamund. The lush tea gardens of Ooty produce some of the very fine quality tea and only the tea gardens of Kaziranga National Park are at par with the tea gardens of Ooty. Ooty has some of the very wonderful blooming vegetation, hovering mountains, pristine waterfalls, dense forests, sprawling grasslands, etc. and it is one of the very picturesque picnic destinations in South India shot to fame with the shooting of the Bollywood movie starring Amir Khan and Salman Khan viz. Andaaz Apna Apna that features as one of the best comedy movies ever made.
You can later chose to visit Wayanad that is one of the favoured tourist destinations in the Indian state of Kerela. Wayanad is located very close to Bandipur National Park and in fact Bandipur National Park is located on the Wayanad Plateau and this is the land of paddy fields and the other thing you see in Wayanad is the tall cover of mountains, the sprawling tea gardens and the lush green paddy fields reminding you of how God intended the World to be viz. completely filled with nature all around. Located in the pristine Western Ghats of South India, a trip to Wayanad after your visit to Bandipur National Park is a must as this is another of the very exquisite hill stations in in Kerela that is also a perfect place that sees a lot of trading of spices and tea from the colonial era and there are also the presence of very beautiful wildlife Sanctuaries nearby that is home to healthy population of the Indian Elephants. Another fascinating hill station in Karnataka that can be easily accessed from Bandipur National Park is the coffee town of Coorg and if the tea gardens of Ooty impress you that the coffee plantation of Coorg is bound to enthral you. Coorg is often referred to as the ‘Scotland of India’ and the area is home to an exotic environment that has majestic beauty and cold ambience of the hill station all around you.