Halfway down the Mysore-Ooty highway, the Deccan Plateau rises to meet the wrinkled folds of the Western Ghat mountains. Here lies one of India’s best-known wildlife reserves – Bandipur National Park. It is situated within Chamarajanagar district in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, and abuts the states of Tamil Nadu & Kerala. Endowed with a moderate climate and diverse geographical features, the park supports a remarkable variety of flora and fauna, making it a veritable paradise for wildlife.
In 1973, Bandipur became one of the first of India’s Tiger Reserves and the southernmost of the nine reserves specially established under Project Tiger. In 1974, intention was declared under the Wildlife Protection Act to notify it as a National Park.
Flora & Fauna: The scrub jungles towards the eastern limits of the park consist of stunted trees, interspersed with bushes and open grassy patches. Towards its northwestern 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.
With the onset of pre-monsoon showers in April, Bandipur begins to unfold in all its glory. The resident birds commence their breeding activities. The air is filled with their melodious calls. Sprouting grass in the meadows and view lines attract elephants and the majestic gaur in large numbers. For the tourist who comes to watch the larger mammals in their natural surroundings, Bandipur is a paradise from April to October. Even before this, during summer, when dryness prevails over most parts of Bandipur, the backwaters of the Kabini Reservoir in the northwestern portion of the park host huge congregations of large mammals, especially the elephant and the gaur. This unique feature makes a breathtaking spectacle, and is almost the only one of its kind in Asia.
Best Time to visit: the Bandipur National Park is between the months of April and October.
How to Get there:
Air: The nearest airport is at Bangalore which is 220 km from Bandipur.
Rail: Mysore is nearest railhead, at a distance of 80-kms.
Road: 220 km from Bangalore; 80 km from Mysore; 80 km from Ooty.
Mysore & Ooty (80-km)
Asian Elephants & Gaurs