About Bandipur National Park
The Bandipur National Park is one of the most intriguing wild-life locales. Established in 1931 by the Mysore Maharajahs, this park is nestled in the foothills of the Nilgiris. Stretching along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, the park lies on the Mysore-Ooty highway. It has an excellent internal network of roads through its hilly, forested landscape, and the many water holes and salt licks that provide wonderful opportunities for wildlife viewing.
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.
It is one of the largest habitats in south India for the elephant which may be encountered regularly. The elephant rides are a wonderful way to get a feel of the jungle and view the avian wildlife. The flora and fauna here exist in perfect harmony, one of the major reasons why the site was chosen as the centre for Project Tiger, a step which has shown a positive impact on the Tiger population in the area.
Wildlife Attractions in Bandipur National Park
The landscape of the park is generally even with the exception of the north-eastern part where it is mostly rocky and barren with thorny vegetation. The Kabini, Nagu, Mule-hole and Moyar rivers criss-cross the entire park providing irrigation for the thick vegetation that include trees like Teak, Honne, Tadasalu, Mathi, Nandi, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Bamboo, Nelli, Kooli, Kadu Tega, Dindalu, Bende and Randia.
The park houses a large variety of animals which make your chances of animal sighting brighter, while at the same time the thick forest cover may prevent you from having a dekko at the king of beasts, the Tiger. Some prominent denizens of the park include Leopards, Elephants, Gaurs, Sambar, Chital, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Black Napped Hare, Sloth Beer, Wild dog, Langur, Bonnet Macaque, Indian Giant Red Squirrel, 4 Horned Antelope, Porcupines, Slender Loris, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Rusty Spotted Cat, Small Indian Civet, Palm Civet, Common Otter, Wild Boar, Jackal, Mongoose, Flying Squirrels, Pangolin, Giant Fruit Bats and Striped Hyenas. Commonly sighted reptiles include Marsh Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards, Rock Pythons, Russel's Vipers, Cobras, Rat Snakes, Wolf Snakes, Vine Snakes, Common Kraits, Green Keelbacks, Bamboo Pit Vipers, Turtles and Flying Lizards.
Besides a large variety of animals, the park also has a thriving bird population, prominent among those are Serpent Eagles, Shaheen Falcons, Crested Hawk Eagles, Ospreys, Gray Headed Firhings, Honey Buzzards, Malabar Pied Hornbills, Hill Mynas, King Vultures, Malabar Trogon, Gray Partridges, Black Woodpeckers, Indian Pittas, Paradise Flycatchers, Pea Fowl, Cormorants, Teals, Ducks, Herons, Waders, Gray Jungle Fowl, Red Spur Fowl, Blue Bearded Bee-Eaters, Parakeets, Lesser Coucals, Scarlet Minivets, Fairy Blue Birds, Scimitar Babblers, Malabar Whistling Thrushes, Green Imperial Pigeons, Nightjars and Owls.
Jeep and elephant safaris are two major means of moving around inside the park. A jeep safari lets you experience the thrill of watching the wild animals at close quarters but it may sometimes be a deterrent as the noise it creates may scare away the animals or still worst may make them aggressive. Elephant safari is the best and most exciting option to get at close proximity to animals. It is the best option for bird watchers as there is no noise that would scare away the avians of the park. Rides into the park on especially laid out roads, called the 'game roads' that offer excellent views of wildlife. The visitors can enjoy safaris twice a day, once in the morning and then during the evening.
Bandipur National Park is suitably located for wildlife enthusiasts as it is close to three other wildlife reserves of Mudumalai, Nagarhole and Wayanad. The important tourist destinations of Bangalore, Mysore and Coimbatore are also located nearby. The Vrindavan Gardens, located en route to Mysore is also a good option with its dancing fountains and multi colored lights. The enchanting hill towns of Ooty and Wellington are a good getaway option during the hot summer months. A visit to the fort of Tipu Sultan at Shrirangapatna provides useful insight into the history of the area.
How to get there
By Air :
The nearest airport is situated at Bangalore. Indian Airlines flies to Bangalore from Delhi and Mumbai seven days a week. The departure timings from Delhi are 6:15, 16:30 and 19:55 and from Mumbai 6:15, 9:30, 13:30, 17:30 and 20:45. From Bangalore one can drive down to Mysore and take one of the frequently operating buses or a private taxi to reach Bandipur. The taxi charges range between Rs. 1200 to 2000.
By Rail :
The nearest railhead is Nanjangud town (55 km/ 1.5 hrs) but it is advisable to travel to Mysore which is the most convenient airport. The Swarna Jayanthi Exp. (Dep. 6:00, Mon) connects Delhi with Mysore.
Mumbai is connected through the Sharavathi Exp. (21:30, Tue), while Chennai is connected through the Mysore Exp. (21:45, Daily). Another option would be to travel to Bangalore which is conveniently connected to most of the Indian cities through regular trains.
Buses and private taxis can be easily hired from Bangalore or Mysore to reach Bandipur. Taxi charges from Mysore range around Rs. 400.
By Road :
Bandipur National Park is located on the main Mysore-Ooty highway. The most convenient way to reach Bandipur from Bangalore is to drive to Mysore and take the Ooty road from there and drive via Nanjangud and Gundlupet from where the park is just a 30 min drive.
A place worth visiting at Nanjangud is the Nanjundeshwara temple. Regular KSRTC buses and taxis are easily available from Bangalore. Taking an early morning bus to Mysore and changing to an Ooty bus there is the best option. The average time taken to reach Bandipur by road from Bangalore is around 5-6 hours.
Distances from Major Cities
80 km (S)/ 2 hrs.
76 km (N)
164 km (NW)
11 km (S)
230 km (SW)/ 5 hrs.
Travel Tips/Important Information
- The forest department maintains lodges, rest houses and cottages, which provide good accommodation at reasonable prices.
- Various park charges include Entry Fee : Rs. 25 (Indians) & 150 (foreigners), Camera : Still free, Rs. 200 (Video), Elephant ride (10-11 AM) : Rs. 50/head
- Park timings are 6:30 to 9 & 15:30 to 17:30. Do not worry about park timings and charges, just pack your stuff and get into your flight to experience the finest holiday of your life. Click Here!
- Rather than taking the van safari (Rs. 75/head, 45 min) offered by the Karnataka forest dept, choose the open jeep safari (Rs. 1750) which is really worth the bucks.
- Some of the distances within the park from the Bandipur base camp are Bolgudda (2.75 km), Dhanahatti (5.75 km), Mastimuki Circle (7 km) and Kullanbetta Antipoaching Camp (8.5 km).
- The entrance fee depends on what you are carrying along and how do you intend to travel around inside the park.
- Do not wear strong perfumes or bright colored clothing.
- Trekking inside the park is a difficult task and not recommended for first time visitors.