Tread the path of the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore with a visit to Bandipur, about 80 km south of Mysore on the Mysore-Ooty Road. The reserve is a playground for wildlife, with elephants taking the lead role. Be prepared for an unforegetable experience – you might see a tiger prowling admidst the mix of deciduous, evergreen forest and scrubland vegetation. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the enchanting Niligiri Mountains with its mist-covered peaks, Bandipur was once the Mysore Maharaja’s private hunting ground. It was brought under Project Tiger in 1973. This is one of the best game sanctuaries in India to observe and photograph wildlife in close proximity. A temple perched atop Himvad Gopalaswamy Hill, the highest peak in the Bandipur range, is worth a visit.
Distance: Mysore -80kms, Gundlupet -20kms, Bangalore -220kms, Ooty -60kms.
Location and Area:Chamarajnagar District: 874.2 sq.km. Bandipur is flanked by Karnataka’s Gandhi national Park (Nagarahole) to its northwest, Tamilnadu’s Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary to its southwest. Together, these constitute the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
Flora and Fauna:Deciduous, evergreen and scrubland vegetation.
Mammals:They include the tiger, leopard, elephant, gaur, sloth bear, Asiatic wild dog, striped hyena, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, mongoose, and the slender loris.
Reptiles:The common rat snake, Russell’s viper, common krait, Indian python, flying snake and the cobra can be seen.
Birds:Over 230 species of birds have been identified. Some of the most notable ones are the heron, stork, egret, kite, eagle, falcon, peafowl, lapwing, sandpiper, woodpecker, drongo and the warbler.