Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka is a Tiger Reserve well known for wildlife and a real forest experience. Located near Mysore, this is a nice destination for a weekend trip from Bangalore and Mysore. It is about 230 km from Bangalore and 75 Km from Mysore.
I had a breathtaking experience at Bandipur and sharing the same. This will also serve as a guide on how best you can spend your time here.
Start early in the morning from Bangalore. Early morning weather will be pleasant and you are also fresh and hence you can enjoy the drive.
Stop at Indradhanush – a Vegetarian Restaurant for Breakfast. This is approximately 75 km from Bangalore, after Ramanagar. I love the Neer Dose served here, but all breakfast items are good. Have a leisurely breakfast and enjoy your coffee. You can occupy the table adjacent to the garden to enjoy the cool breeze. Continue the journey after breakfast, but do not forget to taste tender coconut on the way with a short break.
You can now head straight to Bandipur. You will reach around 12.30-1 PM. It takes some 20-30 minutes to check into the room. There is only one eatery/ hotel which serves food and you have to depend on this only. So the moment you are fresh, inform the number of people for lunch which is essential here as the food is prepared based on the number of tourists.
The rooms available in the forest guest house are decent, spacious and well ventilated. There are a few guest houses which have a portico with grills from where you can watch the animals during the night. If you are interested in watching the nightlife of deers and other rarer visitors, pick these cottages. The rooms can be booked online and for bigger groups, they provide dormitories also.
Room service is not available, you have to depend on the only restaurant available for food. If you are in a large group, you can request for a specific food, otherwise, the choice you get about food is limited.
There are many resorts around Bandipur giving an option of budget stays, and also luxury places. We opted to stay in the forest guest house.
SIMPLE YET TASTY FOOD
The lunch provided here is simple but tasty and sumptuous. Enjoy the lunch, but keep a watch on monkeys, which manage to enter inside through the small openings in the wall. It is fun watching them do all the circus. Post lunch, relax for some time in the cottage.
Safari starts at 3.30 and the second at 5.30. Better you take 3.30 ride by a bus which will be a trip of about one and a half hours. Encounter with wild animals depends on your luck. You can certainly encounter elephants, but sighting other animals is not for sure. Going inside the deep jungle itself is an amazing experience.
After the safari, you can have some snacks and coffee and take a walk around the campus to grab some fresh oxygen. Enjoy the nature there is a small complex which has eateries and a shopping center. Watch the monkeys playing and creating nuisance here, it is fun.
As the sun sets a lot of guests to gather around the rooms. Yes, you can see hundreds of deer coming close to the rooms. You can see them in groups wherever you turn. They will run away if you go nearer so watch them from a distance. They can keep you occupied for hours by which time your tummy reminds you about dinner. Enjoy dinner at the same hotel. There will be a video playing about wildlife, watch them for some time after dinner. Now it is time to retire for the day.
BANDIPUR MORNING SAFARI
In the morning, I suggest you take a safari by Jeep. Take a long safari, i.e. double safari which will be for 3 hours. They will take you deep inside the jungle and visit all the water bodies in the forest. This enhances the chances of your encounter with wild animals. You will encounter wild buffaloes, some rare birds like kingfisher and peacock and deer. You will never realize how fast those 3 hours vanish. Every minute you will be holding your breath and watching and listening which is an experience by itself.
The chances of meeting wild beauties are better during morning times. My experience was thrilling. First, we encountered some wild buffaloes, then saw deers and peacocks, which did not excite us much. Then our guide-cum-driver showed us some pug marks which was an indication that the tiger was around that place.
SAFARI EXPERIENCE & EXCITEMENT
Also one of the deer was making a peculiar cry and we were told that it is giving warning to other deers about the danger. But we were not lucky enough to see the tiger. We roamed in the deep forest for two and a half hours with no luck. We could only see a few kingfishers, some other small birds.
We were about to return disappointed. Lo and Behold then came to the surprise! We met a herd! A herd of 12-13 elephants. One younger elephant was putting its trunk across the way of its mother and the guide told us that the younger one was stopping its mother from moving towards us.
We watched them for about 10 minutes and then came the sudden trumpet from one of the elephants from the herd. Yet another one started pouring mud on itself. Our guide told it is time to move and we left the place. My first-time journey inside the deep forest was refreshing, exciting and pleasant.
BANDIPUR FROM BANGALORE
Bangalore is around 230 km from Himavad Gopalaswamy temple. It will take around 5 to 5½ hours with a break for coffee.
This trip will certainly leave a long-lasting memory which you will carry home. One the way back do not forget to shop for fresh vegetables and fruits for the next week!
SUMMARY & CONCLUSION
One the way back, we visited Himavadgopalaswamy temple which is located on a hillock. As the name itself suggests, there is fog all around the temple.
The weather is cool around the year. It is a beautiful temple and the view from the temple is also panoramic. Since the area is frequented by wild animals, private vehicles are not allowed on the hill. You have to park your vehicle at the foot of the hill and travel further to the temple by Government bus.
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