Wildlife & National Parks

Bandipur – Tale of a Big Cat!

Last updated on August 14th, 2023 at 06:39 pm

Bandipur is one of the lovely tiger reserves in the country. We start our safari and come back  come back satiated!
The excitement was mounting. We were one hour into the safari and were already greeted by our friends in the wild. The Sun rays were peeping through the thick canopy of trees. Bhima, the naturalist from Jungle lodges went on showing us different birds, pug marks of the tiger et all.
Golden showers on the left and another charming but unknown tree on the right
A Peacock in full Glory!
Blue Kingfisher
Crested Hawk Eagle
Wild Boar
We now longed to see the elusive big cats the park is famous for.
Bhima was looking around through his Binoculars as we continued the safari. All of a sudden, Bhima spot something and ask the driver to stop. A lady in the vehicle shouts “Leopard!” We all stand up stunned as Bhima guides us to the tree where the big cat is sitting and looking at us. It is dead silence in the jeep except for sound of camera. Everyone wants to catch the best frame! Five minutes on, the guy gets up lazily and stroll down the tree gently and walk into the bush! It was a lovely sight! We had seen a Leopard earlier in BR Hills and now we are seeing it very close. For more on B R hills please click here.

B R Hills

We continue the drive. The colours of the forests is intriguing. We always feel that many of us lose out on experiencing the forest as a whole in our urgency to see the big cats. The rains had ensured that trees were coming back to their glory. The golden showers was in full flow and looked beautiful. We also saw monkeys and langurs as well.
Bhima asks the driver to stop. We can’t believe what we were seeing! Another Leopard on the road! The guy is walking lazily. But he can smell us. Looks back at us and continue. And then….takes a left turn and climb a tree and settle there!
All of us are thrilled! “Paisa vasool ho gaya”, somebody in the jeep shouts! Yes, we have had the best safari so far, though the Tiger is still elusive. Before we end the safari, we get a scare of our life. We spot two elephants – mother and her baby – enjoying the fresh sprout of greens. We stop to click pictures. The mother senses us. She looks at us and charge! We all get scare of our life. Bhima is cool. He ask us not to worry as this is a as mock charge which will help the elephant to find out whether the other animal is a friend or foe. She goes back after charging for few metres and vanish into the forest.
We did not want the Safari to come to an end. But it had to. It was a morning well spent in the Jungle.
Getting there
Bandipur is 80 KMs from Mysore and 220 KMs from Bangalore.
By Road – The road from Mysore to Bandipur is a very good condition. Since many resorts are inside the buffer zone, you need to make sure that you reach there between 6 AM and 9 PM. The road through the National Park is closed between 9 PM and 6 AM.
By Bus – All busses going from Mysore to Ooty or Calicut/Wayanad stops at Gundlupet which is 15 Kms from bandipur. Shared jeeps/ Autorickshaws are available at Gundlupet.
By Train – The nearest railway station is Chamarajanagar which is connected to other parts of the country through Mysore. One can either take a bus or jeep to Gundlupet from Chamarajanagar.
By Air – The nearest airport is Mysore. But there are very few flights to the city. The best option is Bangalore.
Stay Options
Bandipur has many resorts. Some of them very high end and exorbitant.
The best bet still happens to be Government run Jungle Lodges and Resorts. (http://www.junglelodges.com/bandipur-safari-lodge)
The forest department also has accommodation which can be booked online.
If you want to splurge, then there are high end resorts like The Serai or Windflower.
We have stayed in a cute little place called Dhole’s Den. Excellent value for money. See our review in Trip Advisor here.
Wherever you are you are going to stay, make sure that Safari cost is included in your package. Bargain for it.
Other information
a) This is one of few national parks in India which is open throughout the year. However, best time to spot animals is in summer months of April – May.
b) This is a national park and not a sight seeing place. Please maintain the decorum that a National park deserves. Maintain silence and enjoy the nature.
c) Make sure you take good binoculars and camera. Do not wear flashy dresses. Have you seen anything flashy in jungle? Be camouflaged and one with nature. Sober colours are the best bet.
d) Enjoy the experience of jungle. If you spot a big cat – Leopard or Tiger – it is a bonus. You don’t have to get disheartened if you don’t spot a Big Cat.
e) Be an early bird at Safari start point to get some vantage seats! Normally the Safari starts between 6.30 – 7 AM in the mornings.
f) Carry small eats with you as the Safari is likely to be three hours. Don’t litter the Jungle with Garbage. Carry it back with you.
g) The Park is a strict NO SMOKING zone. Keep your cigarets away for three hours! Animals don’t like them!
h) Don’t use flash of your camera while capturing the animals.
i) If you are not staying in Jungle lodges or resorts in Bandipur, you will not be able to go on longer safari. There are two jeeps available with Forest department which can be hired on first cum first served basis. However you may go for one hour safari which is conducted by park officials for which you can buy ticket in the counter. be aware that the counter may get crowded on weekends and after 9 AM.
j) Morning safaris in winter months can be chilly. Carry light woollens along. Safaris in the afternoon during summer will be hot. Carry your sunglasses and hats.
h) There are no elephant safaris like the ones we see in the national parks in Madhya Pradesh/Kaziranga.
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