South India > Bandipur NP

Introduction

Read about Bandipur national park, it wildlife, location and other tourism details. This forest is part of Nilgiri biosphere reserve. As we know that Nilgiri biosphere reserve is forest area at confluence of Deccan Plateau and Western ghats of south India thus it is a vast forest area in which many national park are contigous to each other like Nagarhole national park etc. It is in southern corner at Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka on foothills of Nilgiri mountain range which are popularly known as Blue mountains. This forest is on conjuction of three states i.e. Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This forest was one time hunting reserve of Maharaha of Mysuru who made it a wildlife sanctuary to preserve wildlife and later it became Venugopala wildilfesanctuary. This forest is spread on both sides of famous Mysuru - Ooty highway. This forest is popular for some rare species of butterflies, reptiles which can be seen in Nilgiri biosphere reserve only. It is home of more than 25 mammal species, 360 bird species, 27 species of ants, 41 species of dung beetles and 85 species of butterflies. Here safari slots duration are small in compare to other popular national parks of India. This allows more visitors to get safari opportunity but inconvenient for wildlife photographers or deep wildlife enthusiasts. 

History

Bandipur forest have glorious history. This forest was part of Mysuru kingdom. King and their guests use to visit this forest area for hunting expeditions. This in order to maintain it wildlife, Mysuru king declared it as reserve forest in 1901 along with rules for hunting expeditions. Mysore kingdom laid "Mysore Game Law 1901" in which they clearly defined which animals can be hunted, which can't be hunted, hunting period, hunting license system etc. This shows that how sensitive they are towards wildlife. Kingdom clearly mentioned about the animals, their age-group, gender based instructions for "Game category". British India officers also visited this forest for game-trips. It was formally declared as wildlife sanctuary in 1931 with area of 90 sq. kms. With this declaration, now better steps were taken for wildlife conservation. Considering it insufficient steps, Mysuru kingdome further reconstituted it with addition of more area and named it as "Venugopapa wildlife sanctuary". This name is derived from a shrine, located at hill top in forest area, worshipped and respected by Maharaja of Mysuru. In 1973, with the launch of Project tiger, Bandhipur national park was selected among 9 tiger reserves of India. This forest is also the part of Project Elephant in which work is done for conservation of elephants. If we go by the history of Mysore, we will find that in 1868, Colonel Elliot, C B Commissioner of Asthagram, announced that Elehpant killing is an illegal activity unless it is proven that they are threat for crops and proper liscense was made mandatory before killing any elephant. Similarly separate department was made for taming elephants.

Specialty

Speciality of Bandipur national park is its bio-diversity. It can not be compared with any other national park. This forest is spread over the meeting point of Deccan Plateau meets Western Ghats. Here we can find variety of biomes which can be understood by visiting the national park. During safaris, we will notice the difference forest types. Bandipur national park have both dry deciduous forest at one part and moist deciduous forest in other part. In addition to this, we will also find shrublands. Due to variation in forest type, variety of wildlife species like mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles is much more than other national parks with similar forest types. Being part of Nilgiri Biosphere, here we can find healthy population of wild elephants.

Safari Timing

Para

Jungle Safari

Bandipur national park jungle safari is open for visitors in whole year, except some emergency situation, due to which park management decides to close it for tourism. Here jungle safaris are done mainly by bus and jeep. Unlike Ranthambore canters, here bus remains closed with windows. Thus bus safaris are cheap but challenging also as closed bus deprive us from good birding and butterfly sighting. In addition to this, Another important point to note is the safari duration. Usually one morning & one afternoon round of safari is offered to tourists with morning safari duration as 4:30hrs and afternoon safari duration as 3:30hrs.Here in Bandhipur, two round safaris are offered in morning time and two rounds safari are offered in afternoon safari time. Duration of each safari round is approx. 2:00hrs which means contigous long duration jungle safari is not possible here. Although online safari booking system is available but not works properly thus better to go through hotel or travel agent. Here elephant safaris are not offered to tourists.

Flora & Fauna

Bandipur national park is very rich in flora and fauna. Presence of varying biomes, makes it ideal forest to witness more wildlife species at same national park area.

Trees Mammals Birds Butterflies
Teak Tiger Crested Serpend Eagle Common Jezebel
Pterocarpus marsupium Indian Leopard Blue-faced Malkoha Blue Mormon
Rosewood Wild Dog (Dhole) Common Hawk Cuckoo Danaid Eggfly
Lagerstroemia lanceolata Indian Gaur Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Sriped Tiger
Terminalia belerica Spotted Deer Common Tailorbird Southern Birdwing
Ficus mysorensis Leopard Cat Red headed Vulture Tip Crimson
Ficus bengalensis Sambar Deer Brown Fish Owl Common Indian Crow
Flame of forest Sloth Bear Black-headed Cuckooshrike Crimson Rose
Giant Bamboo Wild Boar Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Common Sailer
Indian Coral Tree Indian Elephants Malabar Parakeet Paris Peacock

How to reach

Let's check how to reach Bandipur national park. It can easily be reached by flight, train and cab option. In below given table, we have shared the distance chart information of Bandipur safari entrance gate and nearby airports, railway stations, tourism destinations so that tourists can plan their trip in better way.
 

Destinations Bandipur Safari Gate
Mysuru 70
Bengaluru 230
Coimbatore 130
Nagarhole National Park 110
Ooty 90

Best time to visit

Bandipur national park is open for visitors, throughout the year except closure declared by park management. Here best time to visit varies as per interest of visitors. If somebody is interested in wildlife photography then period of November to March is best time to visit for wildlife photography. For birding, period of November to February is good. As this national park is popular for butterflies also thus period of August to November is considered best time for butterflies sighting and photography. For Elephants, period of January to April is good. During this period, their water activity and movements can be well captured on camera.

How to Plan

Bandipur national park is not very popular thus late planning may also work for trip to this national park. In Karnataka, jungle safaris are managed by Karnataka Government's organization "Jungle Lodges and Resorts" thus they have monopoly on safari permits. It means if we stay at their lodges, it will be easy to get better safari options. So do their hotel bookings in advance to enjoy better safari options.

Accommodation

Here accommodation options are limited. Best option is to use Bandipur Safari Lodge, owned by Karnataka Government. It is a standard category of resort with good services and no tension for jungle safari permits.

Nearby

After visiting Bandipur national park, tourists have many options like Nagarhole national park, Mysuru city, Bengaluru city, Coimbatore city, Ooty hill station, Mudumalai national park etc. Addition these destinations for tour will be very suitable for nature photography and wildlife photography. Those who want to visit Kerala tourist places can easily move forward from Bandipur thus they can use Bengaluru airport for arrival and Kochi airport for departure purpose.

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