Bandipur Tiger Reserve

About the park

Famous for its significant tiger and elephant population and protected sandalwood trees, Bandipur National Park is one of India's most delightful wildlife sanctuaries. Its proximity to big cities like Bangalore and Mysore make it an ideal weekend getaway for numerous wildlife enthusiasts. Part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, it is located in the Chamarajanagar district and stretches over 874 sqkm. Together with the adjoining Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and Nagarhole and Mudumalai National Parks, it forms the largest protected area in Southern India, totalling 2,183 sqkm.

The Reserve was once the erstwhile Mysore Maharaja Voodiyar's private hunting ground till 1941 when it became part of a larger National Park called 'Venugopal Wildlife Park'. In 1973, it was recognised as Bandipur National Park and it became one of 15 sanctuaries brought under the umbrella of Project Tiger. The wildlife here has flourished with the help of conservationists and it offers a variety of flora and fauna on view, apart from the beautiful landscapes.

The dirt roads through these forests are winding, rocky and narrow making it difficult to drive. Since no outside vehicles are allowed here, the drivers that take visitors around are especially skilled to drive in this terrain, even in the dark. Another option for wildlife viewing is going on an elephant safari. From the comfort of the elephant’s back you would have more chances of seeing those animals that usually prefer the cover of shrubs, such as wild hogs and sambar. The slow and steady pace of the magnificent animal also gives you time to appreciate other aspects of the forest that you might miss out in the swiftness of a motorized vehicle.

Another feature of this Park is the Gopalaswamy hill towering at about 1,454.5 m. It is one of the highest peaks in the area while Kannegals at 680 m is the lowest. The Nugu in the centre, Moyar towards the south and the Kabini between Bandipur and Nagarahole are the rivers that feed this area perennially with gushing water. Numerous natural and artificial pools are found in Bandipur. Aquatic weeds flourish as water is released from the Kabini reservoir in summer.

IN THE FIELD UPDATE

Mar 2012 - Elephants, gaur and wild boars can often be seen drinking, bathing or feeding at waterholes. With dry conditions tigers are also being seen quite often. In the evenings, the large tank at Tavarakattey affords a fair chance of spotting mammals as well as birds such as the Spotbill and Lesser Whistling Teal. Herds of wild elephants are regularly seen near the Gopalswamy peak. A lake, a few hundred feet below the peak serves as the local watering hole for the other wildlife. Chital herds are also spotted near the Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp. The elephant population is evenly distributed in the monsoon but tend to cluster around the Mulehole River and the Mastgudi region on the banks of the Kabini during the dry season.

Park Notes

All private safaris operators have to go on Government run 16 seater converted vehicles to enjoy the park.

The Forest Department also provides a large bus that leaves every hour between 6 and 9 am and again between 4 and 6 pm. Shorter Bus tours can also be booked in advance at the Forest Department office but sightings are very minimal on this route. Due to its proximity to nearby big towns like Mysore and Bangalore, the availability of accommodation is difficult, especially over weekends and other holidays. Booking in advance for weekends, or visiting during the weekdays are advisable.

Some incidents of poor practice or rule breaking is being reported. You can reported it to us on admin@toftindia.org for action, ideally with photos.


May 2011 - Elephants, gaur and wild boars can often be seen drinking, bathing or feeding at waterholes.  In the evenings, the large tank at Tavarakattey affords a fair chance of spotting mammals as well as birds such as the Spotbill and Lesser Whistling Teal. Herds of wild elephants are regularly seen near the Gopalswamy peak. A lake, a few hundred feet below the peak serves as the local watering hole for the other wildlife. Chital herds are also spotted near the Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp.

The elephant population is evenly distributed in the monsoon but tend to cluster around the Mulehole River and the Mastgudi region on the banks of the Kabini during the dry season.

N.B. Bandipur is not well known for its tiger sightings and bus tours offer a poor visitor experience and level of guiding in most cases.

Please note: There have been several complaints of visitors feeding junk food to the wild animals in the Park. Please do not feed any animals in the Park and do not litter the Park with items that animals might eat. This is very detrimental not only to the health of the animal but also our conservation efforts. Once animals get used to being fed by humans, they become an easy target for poachers, and also a threat to other visitors.

Private vehicles are not allowed inside the Park. The Forest Department provides a bus that leaves every hour between 6 and 9 am and again between 4 and 6 pm. Bus tours can also be booked in advance at the Forest Department office.

Due to its proximity to nearby big towns like Mysore and Bangalore, the availability of accommodation is difficult, especially over weekends and other holidays. Booking in advance for weekends, or visiting during the weekdays are advised.

Map: http://projecttiger.nic.in/bandipurmap.htm

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