Enveloped by the breathtaking surroundings of the lofty Western Ghats on the Mysore-Ooty highway in Karnataka, Bandipur National Park is known as one of the most picturesque and well-managed national parks of the country. Endowed with a wide range of plant and animal species, the park attracts a horde of visitors throughout the year. Bandipur National Park is a part of the larger Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve that comprises Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Nagarahole) of Karnataka to its Northwest, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu to its South, and Wayanad Wildlife sanctuary of Kerala to its Southwest. The Bandipur National Park is spanning across an area of 873sq. kilometers and is situated partly in the Gundlupet taluk of Chamarajanagar district and partly in H.D. Hote and Nanjangud taluks of Mysore district.
Perched in the foothills of the Nilgiris, the area was used by the Maharajas of the then princely states as their hunting grounds and thus has always had a long rendezvous with Tigers. The park is one of the thirty tiger reserves across the country and one of the safe places for the threatened Asiatic Elephants. Apart from the infamous tigers and elephants, the park also inhabits some of the other exotic wildlife species such as sloth bears, muggers, jackals, antelopes, the rare flying lizard, etc. Over 200 species of birds and vibrant flora add to its spectacular visuals.
Declared as a National Park under the Wildlife Protection Act in 1974, Bandipur National Park is abode to 70 tigers and over 3000 Asian elephants along with other diverse fauna species. The forest department also organizes jeep safaris and minibus safaris which is the highlight of the park excursion and must be experienced when you visit the park. The Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta is the tallest peak in the park premises which is a great spot for some Instagram-worthy shots. A Hindu temple is also located in this spot adding a cultural touch and historical facet to your nature exploration. The reserve also has an animal care Centre which is established to take care of the health of all the residing animals along with their injury and their breeding problems. Make the most of your visit here and enjoy to you fullest by indulging in activities such as camping under the stars, trekking to explore the area and the exotic species, and mountaineering for our adventure junkies. You can also go on bird watching tour during the day and sit around the bonfire at night while listening to the numerous camping activities to fill your bag with happy memories. To enhance the visiting experience of the tourists, Bandipur National Park has an organized accommodation system with exotic luxury services under the lap of natural beauty. All the available resorts and lodges near the park are equipped with services and are designed in a way to match your necessities and preferences. Some of the resorts in Bandipur National Park are Bandipur Safari Lodge, Dholes Den, Country Club Wildlife Resort, The Serai, MC Resort, Vana Vihar, etc.
The flora found in the park consists of a wide range of trees such as teak, rosewood, sandalwood, Indian laurel, Indian kino tree, giant clumping bamboo, and Grewia tibiae folia. Other flowering and fruiting trees include flame of the forest, Indian gooseberry, golden shower tree, Shorea Talura, Indigo Berry, Satinwood, and black cutch.
Mammals and Reptiles: Asiatic Elephants, Tigers, Four-Horned Antelope, Gaurs, Sloth Bears, Muggers, Indian Rock Pythons, Jackals, Dholes, Indian Giant Squirrel, Wild Boar, Muntjac, Sambar Deer, Chital, Vipers, Flying Lizards, Spectacled Cobra, Monitor Lizard, Indian Chameleon, Bengal Fox, Indian Civet, Indian Red Hare, Cat Leopard, etc.
Birds: Peafowl, Jungle Fowl, Indian Rollers, Bea-Eaters, Kingfishers, Osprey, Changeable Hawk-Eagles, etc.
Jeep safari is one of the reasons that attract an influx of visitors in Bandipur National Park. Only Jungle Lodges and Resorts are responsible and licensed to operate jeep safaris. Mini-bus safaris organized by the Forest Department start from the range office between 6:15 am to 9 am and 2:15 pm 5 pm. The jeep safari cost Rs3000 max and is organized between 6:15 am-8 am, 8 am-9:45 am, 2:30 pm-4:30 pm, 4:30 pm-6:30pm. For the more adventurous souls, trekking is also allowed inside the Bandipur National Park. Out of the 11 parts in which the whole forest is divided, safari is conducted only in the Bandipur sub-area.
Exclusive Jeep Safari: It is done in an open Bolero which can contain up to 6 passengers (no-sharing). An expert Tiger tracker will be present in the jeep with the travelers who will choose this option.
Shared Jeep Safari: This is done in an open jipsy that can seat up to 6 passengers, however, it will be shared among other tourists. As a replacement for an expert Tiger tracker, a guide shall be assigned by the Forest Department to go with the tourists.
Canter Safari: The canter can accommodate up to 20 passengers at once. There would be no expert Tiger tracker, instead a guide shall be appointed by the Forest Department.
The region has moderate temperature that ranges from 17 degrees Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit the park is during winters between the months of October and March when the weather is pleasant and the park is covered with lush green grass. The park can also be visited during the monsoons but it makes the excursion a bit slow, while the summers are a little hotter to be comfortable.
Nearest Airport: The closest airport from the park is the Mysore Domestic Airport at about 73km away. Taxis and buses are available from the airport to the park.
Nearest Train Station: Mysore Railway Station is the nearest railhead from the airport which is at a distance of 73km from the park.
Road Accessibilities: The park can be reached from all the major cities of the country through the well-connected road network. The distance from Bengaluru to the park is about 220km.