Bandipur National Park- a tryst with the wild side
There are places around Bangalore which are perfect for adventure activities. In fact, a whole range of activities are possible around Bangalore- from trekking to rafting and everything else. But if you are looking for a really wild experience, Bandipur National Park is the place to be. Located on the Ooty-Mysore highway, you will have a thrilling adventure at this national reserve that you would never forget.
Bandipur National Park is located about 200 km from Bangalore. You can always take your bikes or car and drive down to the destination, which take about four hours. The roads are in pretty good condition, so driving on the highway shouldn’t be a fuss for you. For the best on-road experience, try and leave early in the morning, when the sun’s fury is at a minimum. There are quite a few picturesque spots that you will come across on the way to Bandipur National Park.
Landscape of Bandipur National Park
The forest reserve is blessed with lush greenery all around. The amiable climate of the place throughout the year and the Moyar River which feeds the jungles means you get to see plenty of varied flora in the place. In fact, the time right after the monsoon season is the best if you are looking to explore the flora of the region.
There are plenty of lodges around the periphery of the jungle which are maintained by the forest department. They offer a very decent accommodation, although you can never be sure about water safety issues. Thus, it is always better to carry your own mineral water around when visiting Bandipur National Park.
If you would like to camp in the forest, you would have to take the permission of the Forest Ranger, which is a difficult task. As far as jungle safari is concerned, you have two options. You can either take a 45 minute bus safari, or you could opt for a jeep safari.
A bus safari may not be the best of experiences for you, especially if you are visiting on a weekend, since it is jam-packed with people. A better option instead is to take the jeep safari, which is also of 45 minute duration.
Safaris are broken down into two halves- the morning half which lasts till 11 am and the evening half which starts post 4 pm. There are a lot of different animal species which inhabit the jungle including Indian Bison, tigers, leopards, elephants and a lot more. However, you need to be lucky to spot all these in a single safari of the jungle.
Most people are excited about seeing the tiger roaming about in the wild. If you too are a tiger or a leopard enthusiast, your best chance would be to take the night safari. Carnivores generally venture out of their holes at night in search of food.
There is an elephant ride too available for kids. However, it is not a safari, but is fun nevertheless. If you have kids with you, make sure you let them have the elephant ride.
There is trekking to be done too
Wildlife spotting isn’t the only adventure possible in Bandipur National Park. Although trekking inside the forest is banned, you can still get your trekking fill at Gopalswamy Betta. With a height of more than 1400 meter above sea level, trekking on this hill is an enriching experience. The top of the hill houses an old fort which dates back to the 13th century.
But the real highlight of the trek is the view of the valley you get from the top. And the perpetual winds that blow at the place just take your breath away. If you are trekking during early morning hours or during the winter season, you could also come across the famed mist which covers the top of the hill. It is a sight to behold.
Best time to visit Bandipur National Park
It is a perpetual destination, with different delights in different times of the year. If you are interested in elephant spotting more than anything else, the winter months are your best bet. If you would rather explore the rich flora of the place, monsoon months and the months immediately after that are the best time to visit Bandipur National Park. However, if you are visiting the reserve during
monsoon months, make sure you carry raincoats with you, since umbrellas are little use against the torrential rains and wind.
Many a times, adventure seekers are interested in spotting the beasts of the jungle. If that’s the case with you too, the months of March to May are the best. The drier months see the animals flocking to the lakes in the jungles to quench their thirst. However, these months are also the peak tourist season here. Thus, it is better to make travel and accommodation arrangements beforehand if you are travelling during these months.