Indian Tourism: Bandipur National Park- Wildlife Sanctuary, A Tiger Reserve
My experience of visiting the Bandipur National Park:
About Bandipur National Park- A Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve:
Bandipur National Park was established in the year 1974 as a forest tiger reserve under the 'Project Tiger'. It was once the hunting forest of the Maharajas of the Kingdom Of Mysore. Bandipur is located in the state of Karnataka. It is well known for the varied wildlife species and different biomes covering an area of about 874 Sq. Kms. The dry deciduous forest is the dominant biome found. It is one of the best-managed wildlife parks of India.
The Bandipur National Park was established mainly with the objective of protecting the endangered species like tigers, elephants and also to protect the overuse of the sandalwood trees spread in this area.
The park is located at a distance of about 80 Kms from the city of Mysore on the way towards Ooty, one of the tourist hotspots of this area. As a result, Bandipur National Park attracts a huge number of tourists throughout the year. This park boasts a comfortable climate all through the year, with a normal temperature ranging from 24 degrees celsius to 28 degrees celsius which supports the tourists to enjoy the wildlife tour. Rains here are generally erratic and the major rainfall can be seen from June to September.
There are many lodges and resorts around the area. People enjoy camping and also go for wildlife safari tours in Bandipur. There are many wildlife fatalities caused by speeding vehicles reported each year. To avoid this, there is a ban on entry to this road from 9 p.m to 6 a.m of dusk to dawn.
Bandipur National Park is connected with the other neighboring parks, The Nagar hole National Park(643 Sq. Km), Madumalai National Park (320 Sq. Km), and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary(344 Sq. Km) together to form the major part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve making the largest wildlife protection zone.
Wildlife in Bandipur :
I visited Bandipur with my family in January 2017. During wildlife safari, we could spot many wildlife species. People in our group experienced seeing varied wildlife species like Nilgiri Langur, Dhole, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Jungle Cat, tiger, Wild Boar, Cheetah, Gaur, Wild Squirrel, Lion tail Macaque, Giant flying Squirrel, Sloth Bear, Grey Mongoose, Striped Hyaena, Sambar, Nilgiri Tahr(found in adjoining areas), Indian Porcupine, common Indian Monkeys, Bengal Fox, Wild Dog, Leopard, Indian Elephant, Four-horned Antelope, Indian Hare Red, and also, birds like King Fisher, Peacock, Vulture and many other rare bird species.
Bandipur National Park is situated in the region where the Deccan Plateau meets the Western Ghats. The altitude of the park ranges from 680 meters to 1454 meters. Due to this, there are various biomes and prominent dry deciduous forests, moist deciduous forests, and shrublands. A wide range of organisms is found here due to the vast habitats. The park is flanked by River Kabini and Moyer river in the south. The Nugu river flows through the park. All these water bodies support the thriving of the multiple animal and plant species in the area.
The highest peak in the park is on a hill called Himavad Gopala Swamy Betta that has an ancient Hindu temple at the summit. Bandipur has distinct hot and dry season, normally starts from March and lasts till the arrival of Monsoon in the month of June.
Flora and Fauna:
As Bandipur has both wet and dry climate, it supports wide varieties of timber trees, Sandalwood trees, Rosewood trees, Indian Kino trees, and Clumping bamboos. There are many species of the flowering and fruit bearing trees such as Kadam tree, Indian gooseberry, Axlewood, Flame of the forest, Golden shower tree, Satinwood tree, Black Clutch, and Indigoberry. Bandipur has a good population of wild animals which I have already listed above.
Many rare varieties of birds are also spotted in this forest. Peafowl is the commonly found bird along with Grey Jungle Fowl, crows, and Drongos. Over 200 species of birds including Red-headed vultures, Indian vultures, Flowerpeckers, Hoopoes, Indian Rollers, Brown -colored fish owls, Crested serpent eagles, Hawk-eagles, Bee-eaters, Kingfishers, and also many varieties of ant species, reptiles, butterflies, and dung species.
My visit to nearby destinations:
Tourist Attractions Near the Park:
Mysore: It is popularly known as the 'cultural capital' of Karnataka State. It has many beautiful palaces in and around the city. Mysore is a must see destination for the art and architecture lovers. The most attractive and breathtaking palace is the Mysore Palace which is best visited during the evening time when the palace is lit up with lights.
Ooty: Also called as Ootacamund is the capital of Nilgiri district. Ooty is the major tourist hotspots of the whole Nilgiri biosphere. It is rightly called as the queen of hill stations. It is one of the most picturesque picnic spots. People prefer this destination for the summer and weekend getaways. Ooty has very green blooming vegetation, lofty mountains, dense forest ranges, vast grasslands and miles of tea gardens.
Kabini: This area is alongside the river Kabini and is the perfect host for Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary. This area is popularly known as Kabini forest due to the lush green region which is a mix of tropical, moist, and dry deciduous types. It is a perfect destination for hanging around on the virgin, natural, and pristine areas for a refreshing experience.
Coorg: One more tourist attractions in the surrounding region is Coorg. It is a fascinating hill station with exotic scenic beauty and natural grandeur. People call it as the 'Scotland of India' due to the majestic beauty and cool climate of the hill station at an altitude in the range of 3500 Ft above the sea level.
Wayanad: It is the most outstanding destination near Bandipur that has vast paddy fields and is spread between the Western Ghat mountains. Wayanad is the most exquisite hill stations located in Kerala. It is also a trading place for forest products. Wildlife sanctuaries are the major attractions of this region.
Nagarhole: The area of Kabini highlights the region of Nagarhole National Park. The name 'Nagar hole' is derived from the winding course of the river like a snake that flows through the forests. It is a picture perfect tourist spots for the travelers.
Bangalore: It is the IT hub of India with many nicknames to its credit such as, 'Garden city', 'Silicon Valley of India', Pub city and so on. Bangalore is the prettiest city in India. It is known for comfortable cool climate blessed with tall green trees bordering the streets and many parks adding greenery to the city, making the reason to call it a 'Garden City'.
Thekkady: It is one of the most popular tourist destinations of India, located 160 miles from Trivandrum. It has abundant flora and fauna that includes a wide variety of birds.
Chennai: It is the capital of Tamilnadu having many attractive sandy beaches, parks, monuments, temples, sculptures, and historic landmarks.
Tourist Accommodations in Bandipur:
There are many good hotels and other good accommodation options near Bandipur National Park. Most of them have facilities to match the requirement of the tourists. The hotels and resorts in this area have lots of natural beauty as their surroundings.
Reaching Bandipur National Park:
By road: From Bangalore 220 Km
From Mysore 80 Km
From Ooty 80 Km
By Rail: Traveling from Mysore is the nearest railway point, at a distance of 80 Km from the Bandipur National Park.
By Air: Bangalore airport is the nearest, at a distance of 220 Km.