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Things To Do In Mudumalai National Park
The expansive Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve is one of the finest examples of the bounties of Nature. It is a veritable treat to folks who love nature and wildlife and Mudumalai National Park is a perfect holiday getaway if you would care to to take a break from the monotony of city life and escape into the natural world of wild flora and fauna.
We will give you a list of the things you can do in Mudumalai and in its neighbourhood. We will tell you of the places you can stay and eat at, the festivals that the people near Mudumalai celebrate and the things you can shop for, if you are keen on taking a long drive to the quaint little towns near the National Park.
Safaris arranged by the Forest Department are the only ways you can explore the core area of the Reserve, as private vehicles are not allowed. You have the option of choosing from a Longer Safari Camper, Mazda, Gypsy vehicles or buses and the timings may run from an hour to 2 and a half, depending on the type of vehicle you choose. Tourists are supposed to be at the venue an hour before the safari time and can buy the tickets at the main reception at Thepakadu, that’s about a 100 m from the main gateway.
Safari timings are from 7.00 am - 9.00 am and from 3.00 pm - 5.30 pm.
Exploring the jungle while swaying along the broad back of an elephant, is yet another experience by itself. Elephant rides may get cancelled if the weather plays a killjoy. Tickets for elephant rides will also be purchased at the reception centre at Thepakadu.
Safari timings are from 7.00 am – 8.00 am and from 4.00 pm – 5.00 pm.
Thepakadu Elephant Camp
Founded in 1927, the Camp for Elephants at Thepakadu is one of the oldest camps in India for the giant gentle herbivores. You can visit the Elephant Camp to watch them being fed. The elephants, by the way are trained in camp activities that include patrolling the forests, taking tourists on joyrides or participating in rescue and relief operations.
The Elephant Camp is a little away from the reception centre at Thepakadu. Visiting hours at the camp are from 8.30 am – 9.00 am and from 5.30 pm – 6.00 pm.
Bandipur National Park
Bandipur is yet another enchanting trip into the world of animals. Go on a boat safari on the Kabini River that flows midway between the Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks. You could also explore the jungle on a bus or an elephant safari and visit the spectacular Moyar Gorge or Mysore Ditch that separates Mudumalai National Park from the Bandipur National Park. You can go on conducted treks across the forest, with the aid of professional guides. Bandipur is about 6 km from Mudumalai National Park.
Go for a drive
Go on a long drive to Masinagudi, a beautiful cluster of hamlets surrounded by dense forests, sparkling lakes and birds aplenty. Avid bird watchers would have a great time in Masinagudi photo shooting bulbuls, flycatchers, thrushes, parakeets, warblers and sunbirds. The town is a spread of green with clumps of bamboo, spice and coffee plantations and will be an ideal weekend getaway from Mudumalai. Masinagudi is about 15 km from Mudumalai.
One of the greatest events that lights up the Buffer Zone limits of Mudumalai National Park is the Bokkapuram Mariamman Festival. The forest comes alive as thousands of pilgrims throng to the temple in March for the 5 day long Car Festival that almost turns feisty with tiny shops selling knick knacks, giant wheels to keep the kids entertained and the devotees praying ardently for blessings from the Goddess.
As Mudumalai is a wild life zone, you wouldn’t get things to shop for here. By the Bandipur National Park you could buy honey, furniture made of lantana wood by the tribals and shirts emblazoned with animal prints. If you are passing by Ooty, visit the Tibetan Flea Market for winter wear and Charing Cross in the heart of the town for homemade chocolates, tea and nuts. At Mysore, stopover at the Mysore Silk Emporiums for Mysore Silk Saris. While travelling to Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary from Mudumalai, visit Sulthan Bathery for textiles, forest honey, spices, home appliances etc.
One of the best options for a delicious dine in would be the Banyan Restaurant, opposite the Thepakadu Elephant Camp. Run by the Mudumalai Tiger Conservation Foundation and Tribal Eco Development Committee, the Banyan is hosted by the tribals of the region. The place is calm, broken only by the sounds of the Moyar River gurgling at the distance and an elephant trumpet from close by. The Banyan serves piping hot traditional South Indian food for lunch and is open for breakfast and dinner, too. You would find a decent choice of restaurants in Gudalur or Masinagudi as well within about 15 km from Mudumalai National Park.
The Tribal Eco Development Committee has cottages near the Banyan Restaurant where you can stay. You can also look up the Forest Department’s log guest houses at Thepakadu, Kargudi, Masinagudi and Abhayaranyam for a stay. Apart from these, there are a number of resorts, OY0 Rooms, dorms, Nature Camps and guest houses near Mudumalai National Park and in Masinagudi or Gudalur.