“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”– Sir Richard Burton
Visited Bandipur Tiger Reserve in June 2014, along with my family. Bandipur reserve is around 250Kms from Bangalore.
Going to the wild is always exciting and refreshing.
As we crossed Gundulpet, the main town before Bandipur, the landscape changed. We could see the beautiful mountains covered with clouds. The weather was just perfect with the cool mountain breeze blowing.
As soon as we entered the park premises, we saw many deer’s roaming around, langurs, peacocks and wild boars .
“Wild animals have the right of the way in the Tiger Reserve Limits” and we had to stop for a while at many places waiting for the herd of deer’s to cross the road. Bandipur National Park is regarded as one of the most beautiful and the better-managed national park of India.
The Bandipur, Nagarahole, Wayanad, Mudumalai and Sathyamangalam Tiger Landscape is spread across the states of Karnataka (Bandipur-Nagarahole), Tamil Nadu (Mudumalai-Sathyamangalam) and Kerala (Wayanad). Is a fine example of managing inter-state Tiger Reserves for the long term Conservation of Tiger Source Population (Courtesy: https://bandipurtigerreserve.in/)
Bandipur Tiger Reserve:
The bus safari is available between 6:30 am and 9:00 am and between 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Jeep safari is available from 6:00 am to 9:00am and from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
We took the 6:30 am bus safari. We headed towards the national park using one of the vehicles owned by the Forest department. You are not allowed to step out of the vehicle though. The forest department vehicles are much like the conventional mini-buses and have less space to look outside or shoot. Even if you don’t get a chance to see a wild animal, its a great experience driving through those beautiful winding roads inside the sanctuary
Little known is the fact that these Bandipur forests once belonged to the Mysore Maharaja’s personal Game Preserve. The park was announced to be a Tiger Reserve in the year 1973. It also came under the Project Tiger in the very same year. It was notified as a national park in the year 1974.
Many people come in from Mysuru, Bengaluru and Kerala for safari alone, on weekends.
Madumalai Tiger Reserve:
In this trip, we also visited Madumalai Tiger reserve. There is a jungle safari option available here aswell, but we did not go for this safari. In general, Bandipur safari is more preferred than Madumalai safari.
Himavad Gopalaswami Betta Temple:
Himavad Gopalswamy Temple is located on the hill of Bandipura Tiger Reserve Forest. This temple is very near to the tiger reserve. There is a forest checkpost on the way to the temple.
It is approximately 19 km from Gundulpet. Take a right turn at Sri hangala on the way to Bandipur from Gundulupet. The best time to visit the place is July when on both sides of the entire route to the hill temple will be covered with Sunflower and Marigold farms in full bloom.
More details are available in http://himavadgopalaswamy.org.in/
This temple was built by the King Chola Ballala during AD 1315. The temple is dedicated to Gopalaswamy, which is one of the names of the Hindu God Krishna. We were told that the temple is build of lime and jaggery. This area is covered under the Project Tiger for Bandipur wildlife sanctuary and is a no plastic zone.
It is also the highest peak in the Bandipur National Park. It lies in the core area of the Bandipur National Park and is frequented by wild life including elephants.The view from the temple is awesome.
New updates: We went to the temple in our own car in 2014. But recently Government had decided not to allow any private vehicles beyond the Checkpost. There is a KSRTC(Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) bus providing shuttle service between checkpost and the temple (6Kms Drive). Ticket fare is 20rs per person for going up the hill and again 20rs per person while coming down. Own vehicles should be parked below the hill entrance and the parking charges is around 30 rupees for car parking . Some Tea shops are newly opened there. Stuffs like hot bajjis, tea, churmuri , Mineral water etc are available.
We stayed in Country Club resort. I have been to couple of Resorts/hotels of Country club. Even though the experience in most of them were bad, this one was really nice. Won’t mind recommending this to our fellow travellers here.
But there are many accommodation options like Serai , Jungle Lodges and so on in this region, suiting all budgets.