National Parks and Sanctuaries : Bandipura Tiger Reserve

Once the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Mysore, it was first decalred a National Park in 1941 and a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973.

Part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the 874 Bandipur Tiger Reserve is primarily a dry deciduous forest with some moist decidous along the Western fringes and scrub forest in the Moyar gorge area.

A very picturesque Park with a good network of roads and numerous waterholes,Bandipur is one of the best places to see Chital which are found in large numbers. Sambar and Muntjac are also quite common, as are Common Langur and Bonnet Macaques. The Indian Wild Dog is the more visible predator and Leopards are also regualarly sighted. A good time to see Elephants here is in September-October. Gaur are also found here but are quite skittish. Bandipur has its fair share of birds with 200 species being recorded.

Bandipur is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve that covers a vast area of 12,500 across 3 states - Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and is one of the most important conservation areas for the Asiatic elephant. An estimated 10,000+ elephants inhabit the (Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve) region, perhaps the largest single population of these animals anywhere in their range.

In common with so many of India's best PAs, Bandipur was once a princely hunting reserve, in this case of the Maharaja of Mysore. In 1931 a small area of 90 was first afforded protection as a reserve. Ten years later this was extended to cover an area of 800, which included the high range of Gopalaswamy Betta. At that time it was called the Venugopal Wildlife Park in honour of the deity atop the Gopalaswamy hill. In 1973 Bandipur National Park was declared a Project Tiger Reserve.

For all its present wilderness, these jungles were once inhabited by some unidentified people. In Krishnan's words, "…vestigial remains may still be seen in the Bandipur area, and a few of these old stone figures and an inscribed tablet have been brought to the campus and housed in it, near Mysore Lodge and the Reception Office-in their details these carvings follow their own iconography, interestingly different from that of the classical periods of southern sculpture. In places, the old village tanks still survive and are used by the animals, as at Baisanapura and Moolapura-the newly constructed Mangala dam is right next to the old Moolapura tank. Elsewhere, decrepit little shrines and stone gods and tablets may be seen, as atop the low hill of Eeranamunti near the campus. "

Latitude: 11°37' - 11°54' N
Longitude: 76°07 - 76°52' E

The Bandipur Tiger Reserve is situated in the eastern foothills of the Western Ghats in the southernmost part of Karnataka. It is contiguous with three other wildlife reserves - Nagarahole National Park (Rajiv Gandhi N.P.) to the northwest, the Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary to the south and the Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary to the southeast, which, together form the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

As with so much of India's remaining wilderness, the terrain here is hilly (since humans have occupied most of the cultivable plains), seamed with deep gorges and dominated by the superb scenery of the Nilgiri Mountains. Such a landscape is well endowed with the hollows that fill with rainwater to provide pools for animals and over the years the park management has improved these natural pools and created a number of tanks. In dry country the judicious creation of water bodies greatly enhances the carrying capacity of the jungle.

Altitude: The elevation ranges from 400m(1312ft) to 1450m(4921ft) with the highest peak being Gopalaswamy Betta.

Area: 874


Tropical Monsoon receiving both the SW monsoon from mid June to September with the heaviest rains in July - and the NE monsoon in October - November with comparatively light rains. Low latitude and relatively high altitude translates into an equable climate with a mean temperature of 24° C (75.2° F).

Average rainfall:
1060 mm (41.7 inches)
Temperatures: High of 30° C (86° F) to a low of 15° C (59° F)

Bandipur lies within the rain shadow of the Western Ghats which is why the vegetation is primarily dry deciduous with some moist deciduous forest found on the western fringes where the altitude and therefore rainfall, is higher. The Moyar Gorge which receives the lowest rainfall supports only scrub vegetation. This is a typical mosaic habitat with open forest punctuated with patches of grassland. This lends the entire landscape a woodland-cum- savanna-like appearance, which improves the viewability of the wildlife and provides better photo opportunities than the other forests of this region. Dominant tree species include Dindalu (Anogeissus latifolia), the Indian laburnum (Cassia fistula), the ' Flame of the Forest', (Butea monosperma) and bamboo (Bambusa arunidaceae, Dendrocalamus strictus).


Four species of deer are found here, the commonest being the Chital (Cervus axis) or spotted deer . These are found in large numbers around the Bandipura complex and are habituated to humans. There is a good population of Sambar (Cervus unicolor) as well in this park. The other two species are Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) and mouse deer (Tragulus meminna) although the latter, being a crepuscular/nocturnal creature is rarely seen.

The primates include both the Bonnet Macaque (Macaca radiata) and the Common Langur (Semnopithecus entellus). When the flame of the forest is in bloom one can often see langur monkeys feeding on the flowers, while the chital feed below on what the monkeys drop. The Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) is seen in large numbers at certain times of the year. Possibly the best time to see good elephant herds here is the post SW monsoon period i.e. September/October. Gaur (Bos gaurus), Chowsingha (Tetracerus quadricornis), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus), Giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) are other mammals seen here.

Among the large carnivores, the Tiger (Panthera tigris) the Leopard (Panthera pardus) and the Indian Wild Dog or Dhole (Cuon alpinus) all coexist in the Park. The Dhole is the more visible predator and they are quite often seen in packs around the tourism complex area, where their chief prey the Chital are found in large herds. Smaller carnivores that are mainly nocturnal and rarely seen include jungle cat, rusty spotted cat, leopard cat, the small
Indian civet and the palm civet. Mongooses - the common, striped necked, brown and the ruddy are all found here and seen from time to time.
Bandipur has over 200 species of birds of which peacock, jungle fowl, parakeets, bulbuls, Crested Serpent eagles, and Racket tailed drongos, to name a few, are commonly seen.

Best time to visit
Throughout the year except during the monsoons i.e.between June and August. The period between September and March is particularly rewarding both in terms of weather and wildlife viewing.

How to get there
Nearest airport - Bangalore, 138 km (86miles) from Mysore.
Rail: Nearest station - Nanjangud (55 km) and Mysore 80km (50 miles) is a major railhead.
Road: Bandipur is very accessible being only 80km (50miles) from Mysore on the Ootacamund road and about the same distance from Ootacamund. There are buses plying regularly along this road and taxis can be hired, both from Mysore and Ootacamund. The Bandipur campus is right besides the road and all buses stop at it. The closest town is Gundlupet 20 km. away.

Forest Department
The Department offers various accommodations from dormitories to suites, ranging from Rs.250/- to Rs.2000/-per day, not including food and jungle trips. Wildlife viewing & elephant rides are normally arranged between 0600 to 0900 hrs. and 1630 to 1830 hrs.

For further information and reservations

Deputy Conservator of Forests,
Bandipur Tiger Reserve,
Bandipur 571126.
Ph : +918229 36043

The Field Director,
Project Tiger, Vanasree,
Govt.Sandalkoti Premises,
Ph : + 91 821 480901.

Apart from the Forest Department accommodation, there a number of private lodges situated outside the Park which cater to different budgets.

1. Tusker Trails
2. Bush Betta
3. Tiger Ranch


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