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Things To Do In Bandipur National Park
The sun dappled lush forests of Bandipur, home to anything from rodents and reptiles to carnivores and elephants, offer things beyond sightseeing for the usual wildlife enthusiast. Seeing the sights, of course, is one among the best things around Bandipur National Park, for it is pretty exciting to state-hop and treat yourself to a range of cultures and languages. And that by itself, is going to keep you busy.
Otherwise you can go on a pilgrimage to the temples, trek up the hills or go for a nature walk by the river. We have a list of things you can do on your visit to Bandipur National Park.
The Forest Department arranges for bus and jeep safaris twice a day. Bus safaris are from 6.30am to 9.00am and from 3.30pm to 5.30pm, for a period of 45 minutes. Jeep safaris are from 6.00am to 9.00am and from 4.00pm to 6.00pm. Timings and duration of safari rides are subject to changes depending on weather conditions and availability of vehicles. You can choose to ride an elephant that can take you deeper into the jungles. Elephant rides are from 10.00am to 11.00am.
The tourist reception centre and safari ticket counters have moved out of the interior of the forest to Melukammanahalli on the highway. Tickets are booked on first come, first served basis at counters that open 30 minutes before the safari.
Explore the Riverside
The east flowing Moyar river, that is a tributary of the Cauvery, flows through Mudumalai, the southern boundary of Bandipur Park and Wayanad, through forests of teak, rubber and eucalyptus plantations.The Kabini flows by the Bandipur Park on the northern boundary. Spend a pleasant sunrise or sunset by the Moyar or Kabini riverside, which are frequented by elephants and other smaller animals during summer.
Safaris apart, a leisurely stroll through at your own pace is sure to be most gratifying in the park. You can take a trek into the Bandipur Park with a guide from the Forest Department. There are anti-poaching camps along the routes that can be used as trekkers’ halt too. Carry water bottles and a camera along, and you are set for a great outing.
The Moyar Canyon or the Moyar River Gorge is a must see tourist place near Bandipur National Park. The Gorge sits on Bandipur's southern boundary separating Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Dug by the Moyar River, the cool waters plunge 20 km down to fall into the gorge below. Bus or jeep safaris can take you to the Moyar Gorge.
Hill Station Visits
Take a trip to Ooty, a popular hill station in Tamil Nadu, that’s about 100 km from Bandipur National Park. If you are visiting in summer, check out Ooty’s vegetable, flower and spice shows, the 20 million year old fossil tree trunk in Botanical Gardens, the umpteen numbers of lakes, the Stone House built in 1822 and the tribal huts of the Todas.
The Pykara River, considered a sacred river of the tribal Todas, cascades from the plateau into a series of falls called the Pykara Waterfalls. Visit the Toda settlements, go boating on the Pykara reservoir and visit the tiny Pykara Temple. Pykara Falls are about 82 km from Bandipur National Park, towards Ooty.
There are a number of resorts and basic lodges close to Bandipur National Park that can accommodate you. You could also stay in the Bandipur Safari Lodge of the Government of Karnataka, which also arranges for safaris, nature walks and bird watching expeditions along with a guide accompanying you. The jungles are never quiet. While in the jungle resorts, it is quite pleasant to go to sleep at night lulled by the sounds of the crickets, night birds and frogs; to watch the twinkling lights of civilisation in the distance and the luminescent glow in the eyes of the animals out for a noctural forage.
Eat South Indian
Being a National Park and all that, there aren’t many restaurants or eateries near the Park. But the resorts, guest houses and lodges close to the Park serve South Indian meals, snacks and a variety of International fare. There are some restaurants like Khan's Resort and Gufha Restaurant about 4 km from the Park on Ooty road, or the Pugmark Restaurant about 1 km from the Park that serve vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food.