The faint sunlight was filtered through dense clouds. A slight nip in air started to culminate into cool wind. Jeep engines hummed to life and we were set to explore wilderness and track serendipitous movements of wildlife. Bandipur National Park is considered as one of the most stunning and the better-managed national parks of India. Bandipur was once a private hunting reserve for the Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore but has now been upgraded to Bandipur Tiger Reserve Bandipur National Park covers an area of over 850 SQ KM.
Places to Visit in and Around Bandipur
Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta
Betta in Kannada means “hill”. It is the uppermost point in Bandipur National Park and is topped by a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. Don’t be surprised if you see elephants grazing here. You can also appreciate attractive sights of the nearby hills and valley from here. The sunrise and sunset views are spectacular and make for a great photo op.
Generally known as B R Hills, the place is home to varied fauna and flora, a wildlife sanctuary and a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The drive up to the hills is scenic and takes about 20 minutes from the base. Come here for great sights, calm, peace and the balmy mountain air.
Fun Activities to Do In Bandipur
Bandipur is a safe haven for a wide diversity of wild animals. Seeing tigers in the Bandipur national Park is not as easy as in Ranthambore, but they exist in substantial numbers. A mini-bus Safari or jeep safari would be perfect to chance upon any chance of sighting a tiger. The sanctuary is also home to other animals like, panthers, elephants, Jackals, spotted deer, sloth bears, grey langurs and snakes from cobra to the python. It is likely to sight them congregating around the guest houses. Four-horned antelope is also a member of the forest but it’s rarely sighted.
The Bandipur sanctuary can boast of being home to about 300 species of birds. Enjoyed by people of all ages, birdwatching can be an excellent way to pass time, especially if you have not been lucky enough to sight the tiger. Bird watching can be more fruitful in the morning hours and can be a real treat for the enthusiastic birdwatchers.
Trekking & Hiking
Hiking on the Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta hilltop is also a thrilling activity to do in Bandipur. On the top of the hill is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. A stunning mist covers the area for most part of the year. In fact, there is a greater chance of sighting animals from this hill top. Take along your trekking shoes and make sure that you make minimum noise so that you don’t disturb the natural habitat.