Bandipur National Park is located in the
Gundlupet taluq of Chamarajanagar district in
Karnataka. The park is nestled in the midst of
the magnificent Western Ghats and covers a
sprawling area of about 874.2 sq km.
The park was created as a private forest reserve by the Maharaja of Mysore Kingdom for his dynasty in 1931. The Maharaja christened the reserve as Venugopala Wildlife Park. In 1973, under the Project Tiger plan, 800 km2 more was added to the park to create a single tiger reserve known as the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. In 1974 the reserve was upgraded as a national park.
Today, the park along with Kerala's Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu's Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Nagarhole National Park in the north, forms a single huge biosphere reserve, known as the 'Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve'. This reserve is believed to be the country's largest reserve.
The reserve is quite prominent for its Tiger and Asian elephant population. Other animals sighted are gaurs, porcupines, sloth bears, Indian rock pythons, black-knapped hare, four-horned antelope, chital, sambhar, panther, etc.
Birds such as red-headed vulture, honey buzzard, Indian roller, changeable hawk-eagle, crested serpent eagle, etc can be frequently sighted here. Peafowls are quite prominent birds of the region.
It has a variety of floras such as Black Myrobalan, Flame of the Forest, Indigoberry, Golden Shower Tree, Teak, Giant clumping bamboo, Sandalwood, etc.
The closest airports are Bangalore-International airport and Mysore airport. Nanjungud is the closest railway station to Bandipur. The national park is situated on the Mysore-Ooty highway and is easily accessible from Bengaluru (earlier Bangalore), Mysore and Ooty.
Accommodation is available in the forest department dormitories, KSTDC cottages, jungle homes and rest houses located around the park. Elephant ride and bus safari are popular tourist activities. For trekking prior permission is required from the forest official. There is a ban on traffic from dusk to dawn to prevent wildlife deaths.
Address: Bandipur National Park, 370/4, JLB Road, Mysore, Karnataka - 570005, India
Ideal time to visit: October to March
Visiting hours: 6:00 - 9:00 am & 3:00 - 5:30 pm (daily)
Entry Fee applicable