Want to get up close and personal with the regal tiger? Head to the Bandipur forest, where you can not only spot the mighty tiger but also a plethora of Tropical and deciduous flora and fauna. Located in Karnataka, between Ooty and Mysore highway. Bandipur Tiger Reserve is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve along with Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu), Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) and Nagarhole National Park. Spread across an area of 874 square kilometers it was established as a Tiger reserve under the Project Tiger. Bandipur Tiger Reserve is one of the most popular National park in India. Here you can catch a glimpse of the wildlife in India.
How to Reach Bandipur Tiger Reserve
One of the major reasons for the popularity of Bandipur Forest is its accessibility.
By Road : Located between Ooty and Mysore highway, it is easily accessible from the both the cities. It is located at two and half hour’s drive from Mysore and three hour’s drive from Ooty. Bangalore is 220 kilometers away.
By Rail : The closest railway station from Bandipur is Nanjungud Railway station, which is 55 kms away. The nearest major railway station is Mysore, which is 80 kms away.
By air: The closest airport is Mysore 80 kms away. And the closest international Airport Bangalore, is 204kms away.
Once hunting ground for the kings of Mysore, now Bandipur Forest counts as one of the well known wildlife Sanctuaries in India. Visit the forests of Bandipur, and get acquainted with the tigers, Asiatic elephants, leopard, gaur (Indian bison), chital (spotted deer), sambar, sloth bear and langur etc. in their natural habitats. You will also find a variety of flora and vegetation, including deciduous and evergreen forest. The Moyar River acts as the lifeline of the forest. A paradise for nature lovers, you can catch some amazing view of the wildlife and the surrounding forest. The vast expanse of forest makes it one of the finest habitats for spotting Asiatic elephants in their natural surroundings.
You can go for a Safari ride in an open jeep or in a mini bus. Since the vehicles are allotted in a first come, first serve basis. Try to reach early or book in advance to enjoy an open jeep safari. For your best bet at spotting animals , go for the early morning safari at 6:30 am or the afternoon safari at 5:00 pm . You can also go on foot safari on certain trails. For spotting tiger, a lot depends on your luck. However, you can spot plenty of elephants, bisons, deer, sambar, foxes and langurs.
Safari charges are as follows:
Indians: INR 300 per head
Nationals of foreign country: INR 1100 per head
There are a number of accommodation options to choose from at Bandipur forest. They are as follows:
You can stay at the Bandipur Lodge operated by the Karnataka government. There are in all twelve rooms in the lodge, all based on different themes. All though modern and comfortable, it is devoid of Air conditioning and televisions.
Windflower Tusker Trail
If you are looking for luxury in the middle of wilderness, then look no further than Windflower Tusker Trails. A retreat and spa, here you can not only enjoy the wild but also experience opulence.
The Serai Bandipur
Another resort in close proximity to the forest is The Serai Bandipur. Wake up with the view of Nilgiris. You can opt for a laid back hut or a room.
If you are looking for more than a stay at Government lodge, then Dhole’s den provides a lot of options. Although limited in number, the accommodation option range includes room, suites as well as bungalows.
When to go
Bandipur is one of those rare places that can be visited year round.
So look at your calendar, spot your next holiday and leave for a retreat at the Bandipur Forest.