Bandipur National Park, located in the Indian state of Karnataka in the foothills of the Western Ghats, is a haven for both nature lovers and animal lovers.
This well-known national park, which spans an area of around 874 square kilometres, is recognised for its varied flora and wildlife, magnificent scenery, and rich biodiversity. The larger Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which is a member of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves, includes Bandipur National Park.
History and Conservation: Bandipur National Park
One of the first protected sites in India, Bandipur National Park was created as a wildlife sanctuary in 1931. In 1974, it was elevated to become a national park as part of Project Tiger, a programme to protect the critically endangered Bengal tiger. Since that time, India’s efforts to conserve wildlife have been led by Bandipur National Park.
The Karnataka Forest Department oversees the park, and a number of conservation measures have been implemented to save the region’s diverse flora and animals.
This entails anti-poaching patrols, habitat restoration, and community involvement initiatives to guarantee the wildlife and human populations can coexist sustainably.
The world’s biggest wild population of tigers, numbering over 382 of them, can be found in this area.
Due to the combination of deciduous and evergreen woods found in Bandipur National Park, it is a sanctuary for a diverse range of plant species. Teak (Tectona grandis) and rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia) trees, as well as sandalwood (Santalum album), Indian laurel (Terminalia tomentosa), and several other types of trees and plants, make up the majority of the park’s vegetation.
The park is a botanist’s paradise because of its extensive undergrowth of grasses, climbers, and medicinal plants.
Bandipur National Park is renowned for having a large and diversified population of animals, making it one of the top locations in India for wildlife sightings. The majestic Bengal tiger, Indian elephant, Indian leopard, sloth bear, spotted deer, sambar deer, barking deer, and wild boar are just a few of the more than 100 species of animals that call the park home.
With over 350 species of birds reported, including the Malabar pied hornbill, Indian roller, crested serpent eagle, and many kinds of migratory birds, Bandipur National Park is also a birdwatcher’s delight.
The Indian gaur
commonly known as the Indian bison, is a rare animal, and Bandipur National Park has a successful conservation programme for it. One of India’s largest populations of Indian gaurs may be found in Bandipur National Park, and conservation efforts have been successful, since their numbers have been rising over time.
Bandipur National Park offers a thrilling safari experience for visitors, providing an opportunity to witness the magnificent wildlife in their natural habitat. The park offers both jeep safaris and elephant safaris, allowing visitors to explore the dense forests, grasslands, and water bodies of the park while spotting wildlife in their natural surroundings.
The safaris are conducted by trained guides and naturalists who provide valuable insights into the flora, fauna, and ecosystem of Bandipur National Park.
Best Time to Visit:
The months of October to May are ideal for visiting Bandipur National Park since the weather is good and the wildlife is active throughout this period. Due to the park’s inaccessibility during the monsoon season, which lasts from June to September, the park remains closed.
Opening Time of Bandipur National Park
Sun to Sat 9.00 AM to 6.00 PM
Like many other wildlife reserves in India, Bandipur National Park faces several conservation challenges. Encroachment, habitat destruction, and poaching are some of the major threats to the park’s biodiversity. Human-wildlife conflict is also a concern, as the park is surrounded by several human settlements.
However, the Karnataka Forest Department, along with various conservation organizations and local communities, has been working tirelessly to address these challenges through effective conservation measures, community engagement, and sustainable livelihood initiatives.
Tourism and Community Engagement:
For National Park to be preserved, tourism is essential. The park’s conservation initiatives, including as anti-poaching patrols, habitat restoration, and community welfare programmes, are supported by the money made from tourism-related activities, such as safari fees and lodging costs.
Along with minimising their reliance on park resources and fostering a feeling of ownership and conservation duty, tourism offers local residents options for livelihood.
Programmes for community involvement have also been created by Bandipur National Park to involve local residents in the park’s conservation efforts. These activities, which attempt to raise community knowledge of the value of wildlife protection and encourage their engagement in conservation efforts, include livelihood projects, education and awareness programmes, and capacity development initiatives.
Fees and Charges
The Bandipur National Park levies an entrance fee of INR 250 per person. The cost of a safari varies depending on the manner of transportation. Gipsies and buses are available for a safari. Gipsy rides, which hold six passengers at once, cost 3000 INR, while bus journeys cost 350 INR each.
Accommodation and Facilities:
National Park offers a range of accommodation options for visitors, ranging from budget to luxury lodges and resorts. These accommodations are managed by the Karnataka Forest Department and provide a comfortable stay amidst the wilderness of the park. The facilities include well-appointed rooms, dining options, and amenities to ensure a memorable stay for visitors.
National Park offers a plethora of ecotourism activities, allowing visitors to explore the park’s rich biodiversity and learn about its unique ecosystem. Apart from jeep and elephant safaris, visitors can also indulge in nature walks, birdwatching, and wildlife photography.
Interpretive nature trails, guided by trained naturalists, provide an opportunity to learn about the park’s flora, fauna, and cultural heritage.
Conservation Education and Awareness:
National Park also focuses on conservation education and awareness programs to sensitise visitors towards the importance of wildlife conservation. Interpretive centers, nature camps, and awareness campaigns are conducted to educate visitors about the park’s ecological significance, conservation challenges, and the need for sustainable tourism practices.
How to reach Bandipur National Park
National Park is well connected by road and air, with several options for reaching the park. Here are some ways to reach National Park:
The nearest airport to National Park is Mysuru Airport, also known as Mandakalli Airport, which is approximately 75 kilometers away from the park. From the airport, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach National Park.
Alternatively, Bangalore International Airport is also well connected to major cities in India and is approximately 215 kilometers away from National Park. From Bangalore, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the park.
The nearest railway station to National Park is Mysuru Railway Station, which is approximately 80 kilometers away from the park. Mysuru Railway Station is well connected to major cities in India with regular train services. From the railway station, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach National Park.
Park is well connected by road and can be reached via several routes.
From Bangalore: Park is approximately 215 kilometers away from Bangalore. One can take the Bangalore-Mysuru Highway (NH275) and then take the SH17 towards Gundlupet. From Gundlupet, the park is just a short drive away.
From Mysuru: Park is approximately 80 kilometers away from Mysuru. One can take the SH33 towards Nanjangud and then take the SH67 towards Gundlupet. From Gundlupet, the park is just a short drive away.
From Ooty: Park is approximately 50 kilometers away from Ooty. One can take the NH181 towards Gudalur and then take the SH67 towards Bandipur.
Regular bus services are also available from significant Tamil Nadu and Karnataka cities to Bandipur National Park. Bus services from adjacent cities and towns to Bandipur National Park are run by KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) and TNSTC (Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation).
Before making travel arrangements to Bandipur National Park, it is advised to that the schedules and transportation alternatives are still in effect.
Additionally, as Bandipur National Park is a protected region, it is best to abide by all traffic laws and regulations as breaking them may result in legal repercussions.
Once you reach Park, you can avail of the safari and accommodation facilities provided by the Karnataka Forest Department to explore the park and enjoy a memorable wildlife experience.