It could be that the prolonged lockdown period has left you craving to seek adventure tourism. If this is what you have in mind, then you should consider visiting Bandipur National Park in South India. You can enjoy trekking or riding in a jeep amidst the lush green forests and come across different types of wild animals in its natural habitats. There are also temples that you can visit or simply relax by the riverside. Booking the serai bandipur hotel in advance allows you to make the most of your trip and get to know nature up close.
Things to do during the trip to Bandipur
- Jungle Safari: You are to contact the forest department as they can help arrange for jeep or bus safaris as desired, depending on your budget. Bus safaris are conducted two times a day. The first session is between 6.30am and 9am while the second is between 3.30pm and 5.30pm. The total time is about 45 minutes. On the other hand, jeep safaris are conducted depending on vehicle availability and prevailing weather conditions. Also is conducted elephant ride allowing you to enter the jungle and get to see more wildlife in action. Such rides are offered between 10 and 11am.
The safari ticket counters and tourist reception centre is presently shifted to Melukammanahalli located on the highway from the forest interiors. Tickets are offered at the counter on first-come first-serve basis. The counter opens half an hour before starting of the safari session.
- Trekking: You can also take a leisurely stroll at Bandipur Park and enjoy nature. The local forest department will provide you with a guide who will provide you with ample knowledge about the place and its inhabitants. Anti-poaching camps have been installed all along the routes which trekkers can use to halt, relax and continue their trekking adventure. But remember to carry along a good camera and water bottles to stay hydrated.
- Explore riverside: River Moyar, Cauvery River’s tributary flows east through Mudumalai, considered being Wayanad and Bandipur Park’s southern boundary. You will walk through the forests filled with eucalyptus, rubber and teak plantations. River Kabini flows on the park’s northern boundary. As you reach Kabini or Moyar riverside, do not miss out on the mesmerizing sunrise or sunset view. This place is frequented by small animals and elephant herds during summer season.
- Moyar Canyon: It is also referred to as Moyar River Gorge, located on the park’s southern boundary. It separates Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. There is a fall carved by Moyar River over which its cool waters tend to take a deep plunge creating wonderful scenery. You can visit this gorge by taking either jeep or bus safari tour.
- Pykara Falls: The local tribal Todas consider this river sacred. It emerges from the plateau and then creates series of falls, thus deriving this name. You can get to learn about the Toda settlements, interact with them, visit Pykara temple and enjoy boating rides on Pykara reservoir. From Bandipur National Park, Pykara Falls is located at a distance of approximately 82 kilometres towards Ooty.
There are several small lodges and luxury resorts available for tourists near Bandipur National Park. The serai bandipur resort is what you should consider for your stay. Also is present a Government Safari Lodge that belongs to the Karnataka Government. They make arrangements for bird watching expeditions, nature walks and safaris. You can learn a lot about the place from the accompanying guide.
If you choose to stay near the National Park, then you will not get many options with regards to eateries and restaurants. However, lodges, guest houses and resorts here serve fresh & tasty South Indian snacks, meals and other international flavours at reasonable prices. You can order both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacy depending on your mood and preferences.
How to reach?
There is no airport or train station at Bandipur. Rather, the Park is located at the point that connects Ooty with Mysore city. Hence, it does boast of having excellent road connectivity. From Mysore, you can travel by road by availing of cabs or busses as it is the easiest way to visit this national park.
First book a train and reach Mysore station. From there you can avail two options to reach Bandipore forest. From Mysore, either get a connecting train to the small town of Chamarajanagar or simply book a taxi to each your destination. The former type will take more time, but is quite affordable than the latter. From this park, Chamarajanagar Railway Station is located at a distance of about 48 kilometres.
You can avail a Bengaluru flight and then a connecting flight to Mysore. Next hire a taxi or cab to reach Bandipur National Park.
At Mysore bus station, you can board the KSRTC bus and reach Ooty and alight at Bandipur Park. If you can afford, then take a cab.
You cannot take your private vehicle inside the park as it is a strictly restricted area. To enter this place, you have to book a seat in the jeep or minibus that is offered by the concerned government authorities. There is a ticket counter, where you have to buy your tickets. A guide will accompany to provide all essential details about the park, its wildlife, flora and fauna, etc.
Best time to visit
Generally, winter is considered to be the peak tourist season to visit this national park. The weather then is pleasant, mild blowing gentle breeze and covered with mist.
- Winter: It is between November & February. The weather during this time is pleasant and misty. The forested regions from Biligiriranga Hills appear charming.
- Monsoon: It is between June & September. Forest appears beautiful with onset of rains. However, roads become muddy, slushy and slippery. Often, safaris are cancelled.
- Summer: It is between March & May. Although tall trees offer shade from the blazing sun, the dry deciduous landscape does not offer much respite from heat. However, it is the best time to view more wild animals cooling themselves.
Proper planning will allow you to explore the park and enjoy what it has to offer.