Bandipur National Park
Bandipur National Park Wildlife Sanctuary & Tiger Reserve: Bandipur National Park is one of India's best known sanctuaries, and is an important Project Tiger reserve. It is located in the Chamarajanagar district of southern Karnataka, and is contiguous with the Mudumalai National Park in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, the Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, and the Nagarhole National Park to the northwest. It is home to around seventy tigers and over three thousand Asian elephants (as per the 1997 census), along with leopards, dholes, gaur and sloth bears. Bandipur is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Bandpur National Park today is home to tigers, elephants, gaurs, sambars, spotted deer, black-faced monkeys, and sloth bears. Tigers are rarely seen.
Admission foreigners and Indians are for Rs 200 & Rs 35 respectively, which includes a bus tour of the park. Buses depart between 6 am and 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm. Camera is charged Rs 20.
On elephant back, which is charged Rs 35 per person per hour. The minimum people required being 4. Private vehicles are not permitted inside the park, but jeeps may be arranged through the Forest Dept. The best place to see wildlife is from the raised platforms near the watering holes.
The best time to visit is between October and February, and from May to June. You have a good chance of see wild elephants during these months. It is best to avoid the park on weekends as it is crowded with tourists. Because the buses can make a good bit of noise they are not ideal for wildlife Safari.
Advance bookings for the bus tour and accommodations can be made be secured with:
Chief Wildlife Warden
Aranya Bhavan, 18th Cross,
Phone Number: 080 334-1993 (or)
Project Tiger, Aranya Bhavan,
Phone Number: 0821-2480901, 02480902
Elephants are trained to work at Kargudi Elephant Camp, 5km from Bandipur. The elephants do puja (worship) in a temple at 6 pm.
The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster (6,000+ sq km), including all of Bandipur National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
History of Bandipur National Park
A sanctuary of 90 sq km was created at this site in the Bandipur Reserve Forest in 1931. As it was realised that this was too small for effective wildlife conservation, leading to the instituting of the Venugopala Wildlife Park at this site, extending over 800 sq km. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve was constituted in 1973 by carving out 880 sq km from the Wildlife Park. Recognised under Project Tiger in 1973 this park has boasted constant rise in Tiger population. Also famous for Sandalwood trees and rare species of Flora
Bandipur National Park's altitude between 680-1454 metres and is situated south of the Kabini river at the foothills of the Western Ghats.The rivers of Kabini, Nagur and Moyar flow through the reserve. Climate - Winter minimum 10, Summer maximum 28 degrees, Monsoon from June to September and best time to visit is open throughout the year but preferably in monsoon when wildlife is plenty and forest is green. Greenery is quite lean when viewed from road but gets thicker as we proceed into the forest.
Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta
Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta in the core zone can be accessed by a small road through the village of Hangala north of the national park. Gopalaswamy Betta (betta is hill in Kannada) located inside the forest is a popular trekking spot. There is also a motorable road to the summit of the hill. The area is also frequented by herds of wild elephants. The hill gets its name Himavad (fog in Kannada) due to the fog during most parts of the year. Atop the hill is a temple of Lord Venugopala Swamy built centuries ago and a travellers' bungalow which remains locked now and belonged to the Ruler of Mysore. Nobody is allowed to stay beyond 5:30 PM. These hills are covered with grass and classified as shola forests.
Government of Karnataka Accomodation
The government of Karnataka provides spacious and comfortable accommodation at Bandipur National Park. The rates charged are quite reasonable, but frequently all rooms are booked well in advance. There are many resorts near Bandipur including the Country Club, Tusker Trails, and Jungle Lodges etc. These are luxurious resorts with relatively high prices. Mudumalai is the Tamil Nadu part of the forest where accommodation is available at lower prices. Mudumalai is 20 km from Bandipur, and there are many resorts at Mudumalai. To name a few; Jungle Hut, Green Park, Jungle Retreat, Bear Mountain, Casa Deepwoods etc. Jungle home is near Bandipur on Mudumalai to Gudalur road in the crucial elephant habitat zone. It is a cottage near the forest which offers comfortable, clean accommodation at low rates. Elephant spottings are very common in this area. Leopards are also seen frequently; almost once a week. Jungle home also has a river attached campus surrounded by forest on three sides, making it especially suited for activities such as fishing and bird watching.
Bandipur forest department cottages cannot be booked at Bandipur. They need to be booked , at least two weeks in advance, by contacting the forest department at Mysore.
Accommodation at Bandipur National Park
Bandipur Tiger Reserve has 7 cottages and 4 dormitories - totaling about 95 beds, out of which 4 cottages and 3 dormitories (totaling 77 beds) are offered for online booking. The remaining is reserved for emergency and for officers on duty. The online bookings can be done by logging into the official website of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, www.bandipurtigerreserve.in
[ + ] HOTELS, BOARDING, LODGING & ACCOMMODATION IN BANDIPUR
Conflicts & Threats
For farmers in the 200 villages along the Bandipur forest periphery, the National Park is a vast pasture for grazing cattle and for collection of firewood and other forest produce. The reserve holds nearly 1.50 lakh cattle. The Nugu wildlife sanctuary and Himavad Gopalaswamy range located in the north-west of the park are the most cattle infested. There are fears of possible transmission of diseases from cattle to wildlife. In 1968, large numbers of gaur were killed in an outbreak of rinderpest. Lantana bush introduced by British in 19th century in tea gardens has spread rapidly at the cost of other valuable herbs and saplings. This bush is thorny, attracts mosquitoes, is not eaten by any herbivores and rapid spread has caused other species of fauna to vanish which is staple food for wild life. Rapid spread of Parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus) has severely damaged bio-diversity and typical landscapes of this beautiful jungle is making way for this invasive weed.
Elephants which traditionally migrate from dry to moist zones now increasingly come into contact with human habitations and farms are often damaged. Sugarcane crops are particularly attractive to them. Off-lately road has been a major concern as speeding vehicles have killed many wild animals in spite of frequent warnings to travellers from forest department officials.