Located in the Indian State of Karnataka, Bandipur National Park is one the premier Tiger Reserve in the country. The park is known for its wildlife and has many types of biomes of which the dry deciduous forest is dominant. The Park was established in 1974 under the Central Government’s Tiger conservation program “Project Tiger”.
The forest near the Karnataka border was once a private hunting reserve for the Maharaja of Mysore Kingdom; it was later transformed to Bandipur tiger reserve. Spread across an area of 874 square kilometres, the park protects several species of India’s endangered wildlife. Bandipur along with the adjoining Nagarhole National Park (643 km2), Mudumalai National Park (320 km2) and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (344 km2), form the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve which totals around 2,183 km2. This makes the Nilgiri Biosphere the largest protected area in southern India and the largest habitat of wild elephants in entire South Asia. Bandipur supports a wide range of Flora and Fauna. The commonly seen mammals along the public access roads in the park include chital, grey langurs, Indian giant squirrels, spotted deer, wild boars and elephants.
The reserve provides round the year Eco-tourism activities catering to every class of visitors. A forest area extending about 82 square kilometres (9% of the total reserve) is used for the eco-tourism activities. This area covers two ranges, Bandipur and G S Betta. This region facilitated for the eco-tourism is bisected by the National Highway 67.
Wildlife safari is one of the most popular Eco-tourism activities. The safaris are conducted using Jeeps and Buses provided by the Reserve authorities. Private vehicles are not allowed inside the forest. Thus, be prepared for shifting to the vehicles provided by the park authorities. The first trip starts at 6.15 AM and the last trip starts at 5.30 PM. Each trip takes around 1.30 hours to complete. The chances of spotting rare wild lives are high during the first trip.
The reserve also provides accommodations to its visitors. The facilities are arranged adjacent to the administrative building inside the reserve, near the National Highway 67. The facilities include a VIP Guesthouse, nine cottages and four dormitories.
The climate in Bandipur is warm almost throughout the year. If you are visiting between October and January, the temperature might drop during the evening or early morning. The monsoon is between June and September. The chances of spotting Wildlife during heavy rain are very slim. If you are visiting during the summer season, the best time of the day to visit is in the early morning so that you can spot a lot of animals in the reserve.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Coimbatore Airport Tamil Nadu which is 84 kilometres away from the park. The nearest airport in Karnataka is Bangalore International Airport which is 255 kilometres away. The Nearest railway station is 84 kilometres away at Mysore. Night traffic through the park is completely banned between 9 PM and 6 AM, so plan your trip accordingly.