Bandipur National Park is situated in the Chamarajanagar district in Karnataka, Southern part of India. It is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in India established in 1931 and a protected reserve for tigers. It was built under the Project Tiger for the preservation of the tigers in their natural habitat. The park covers an area of 874 sq km (337 sq mi).
History of Bandipur National ParkIt was established by the Maharaja of Mysore in the year 1931 with an area of only 90 sq km. Later, it was expanded to 800 sq km and was named the Venugopala Wildlife Park then. The place Venugopala is named after the Lord of the local shrine located at Gopalswamy Betta. The park was re-named in the year 1973 when the Government of India took over this property, under the Project Tiger establishing it as a Tiger Reserve.
Things to do in Bandipur National ParkBandipur makes a great vacation spot with number of exciting things to do, like boating, fishing, bird watching and trekking on the visit to the Bandipur National Park. However, safaris are the major attraction. The van safari is available at INR75 per person and the timings are 6:30 am to 9:00 am and 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. The van safari takes 30 minutes and can accommodate 25 people at a time.
The jeep safari, on the other hand, is more expensive at INR1750. There are four trips in a day, two in the morning (6:30 am to 8:00 am, 8:00 am to 9:30 am) and two in the evening (3:30 pm to 5:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm). The jeep safari includes a maximum of six people.
Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as the connecting link as it connects the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, and the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, forming a long stretch of natural beauty. It is now under consideration for selection as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Those interested can opt for the Bandipur holiday packages provided by several agents and tour operators.
It is located very close to the cyber city, Bangalore. This makes Bandipur National Park one of the most visited places. Other than wildlife, Bandipur Sanctuary is home to hundreds of rare varieties of flora and fauna. The spectacular location makes it an ideal place for a great vacation complimented with lovely weather.It is also famous for sandalwood trees and aromatic wood. The National Park has three natural rivers, Moyar, Kabini and the Nagur.
Travelling to Bandipur National ParkBandipur is well connected by road to nearby destinations within Karnataka and neighbouring states. KSRTC buses are available from Bangalore which cost around INR150 and those from Mysore cost around INR75. The road which runs through the park is closed from 9:00pm to 6:00am, so travel arrangements should be made accordingly.
The nearest airport to Bandipur is at Bangalore, which has connections to most cities within the country as well as many international cities. From Bangalore, buses and taxis are available to cover the distance of 200 odd kilometres. The nearest railway station is at Mysore, almost 80 km away. From Mysore, buses and taxis are available to reach Bandipur.
Travelling within Bandipur National ParkThe Bandipur National Park can be explored by jeep safaris and car rentals.Park management authorities provide van safari, elephant safari and jeep safari. The safari operates on different time periods starting from dawn to dusk. It is advisable to make prior bookings for the safaris as the destination is heavily crowded with tourists during peak season.
Travel tips for Bandipur National ParkThe road inside the park remains closed from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am. This needs to be kept in mind while making travel plans. There is an entry fee which is different for Indians and foreign nationals. Also chargeable are hired vehicles, cameras and elephant safaris.
Visitors should wear coloured clothes which blend in easily with the natural surroundings like browns, greens and greys. Also it is important to wear comfortable clothing and good sturdy shoes.
While planning for safaris inside the park, it is best to make reservations in advance as there is always a rush. To spot wildlife March to May is the best time as the animals come out in the open and flock at the water bodies. Smoking within the park and carrying guns and other inflammable material within the park premises is prohibited.
Accommodation options in Bandipur National ParkHotel options in Bandipur National Park include rest houses, forest department dormitories, jungle homes and KSTDC cottages. Apart from these, there are one or two resorts as well. All facilities provide food as there are no eateries or restaurants within the national park.
Bandipur can be visited at any time of the year. However, it is best for animal lovers and photographers to visit during the summer months, which is March to May, though the temperature is a bit on the higher side ranging from 25⁰ - 35⁰ Celsius. From October to May, it is easier to spot animals as they come out in the open to the water sources. June to September receives heavy rainfall.