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Tourist Places To Visit In Bandipur National Park
Bandipur National Park, considered to be one of the best Tiger Reserves in India, is such an impressive tourist place in Karnataka; not only for its wildlife but also because it’s so strategically placed enroute to many tourist spots like Ooty and Wayanad. The district of Chamarajanagar where Bandipur National Park lies, is literally dotted with ancient Shiva temples, mosques and Jain temples. If you are a history buff, you’d love to visit these old places of worship, built by the rulers of yore. We have a list of places you can visit near Bandipur National Park right here.
Bandipur National Park
Bandipur is nature at its best. Bandipur has the second largest tiger count in India after the Jim Corbett Park in Uttarakhand. You find elephants, chital and Giant Indian Squirrels crossing the road soon after you enter the NH that meanders through the forest. Though tigers may be hard to find, you can spot herds of deer, dholes, sloth bears, four horned antelopes and gaurs. The forest is vibrant and alive with hundreds of reptile, butterfly and bird species and trees including teak, sandalwood, rosewood, satinwood and Golden Shower.
Private vehicles are not allowed, but you can book a safari ride in the 6.00am-8.00am slot or the 3.00pm-5.00pm slot.
The splendid BR Hills lie on the south-eastern border of Karnataka, at the confluence of the eastern edge and the western edge of the Western and the Eastern Ghats, so you get to see a variety of flora and fauna of different habitats. Visit the Biligiriranga Swamy Temple for Vishnu, whose idol of Ranganatha is found in a standing position. The temple gets a large crowd for the biennial temple car festival in April. Take a peek at the huge pair of sandals displayed in the temple. It is believed that the presiding deity walks around the hills wearing these sandals. The worn out pair is replaced with a new one by the tribal communities of the village.
You can also visit the Biligiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife (BRT) Sanctuary, home to Gaur, Barking Deer and about 250 species of birds.
About 4 km from BR Hills, stands a temple with the Dodda Sampige Mara or Big Champak Tree that’s about 200 years old and has grown about 34 m high and 20 m broad.
The Chamarajeshwara temple is believed to have been built in AD 1826 for Shiva. Built in the traditions of Hoysala architecture, the temple stands imposing, with a 70 ft high Gopura (tower) and carvings depicting Dravidian style of architecture. The Shiva Linga is said to have been brought all the way from Shringeri and the temple built by Mummadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar, in memory of his father Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar. The temple lights up in all splendour for the Maha Rathotsava and Girija Kalyanam in June.
The Chamarajeshwara Temple is at Galipur, Chamarajanagar. Timings are from 7.30am-11.30am and 5.30pm-8.30pm.
The temple is about 47 km from Bandipur Park.
Male Mahadeshwara Betta
MM Hills is a popular tourist and pilgrim destination in Chamarajanagar. Situated about 3000 m above sea level, the hills have a temple for Male Mahadeshwara Swami, who is said to have lived in the 15th century and had miraculous powers. The Saint who was considered an incarnation of Shiva is still said to be doing penance in the sanctum of the temple in the form of a Shiva Linga. The Male Mahadeshwara Temple was built by a rich Kuruba landlord called Junge Gowda.
During festivals, people not only from Karnataka, but from the neighbouring districts of Tamil Nadu throng the temple. A visit to the temple includes a dip in the perennial lake of Antharagange. There are regular buses to the uphill temple from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The lush green valleys and the fresh mountain air, in the midst of which sits this ancient lovely temple makes Male Mahadeshwara Temple a must-see. The MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary established in 2013 has elephants, tigers, leopards, gaurs, wild boars and species of deer. MM Hills are about 158 km from Bandipur National Park.
Kanakagiri temple is situated in Kanakagiri in Chamarajanagar. A winding fleet of steps lead to the ancient Jain temple that sits on a hillock, in the middle of a vast misty landscape dotted with sandalwood trees.
The temple for Jain Parshwanatha was built by the 5-6th centuries by the kings of the Western Ganga Dynasty and was supported by the Vijayanagar, Hoysala and Wodeyar rulers. The temple has idols of Parswanatha, the Tirthankars and a 18 ft monolith of Baahubali. Hindu and Jain pilgrims visit the temple for the special Kalasarpadosha Parihaara Puja. Sprinkled along the hillside are caves, where the ancient Jain monks were once seated in meditation. Kanakagiri Kshetra is about 45 km from Bandipur National Park.
Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, ‘Himavad’ for its height, is the highest peak of the Bandipur National Park. There are roads leading to the top of the hill. Private vehicles are not allowed in, but there are state buses at the foothills that can drive you up to the peak. On the peak is a small temple of Venugopala, Krishna the cowherd, playing on his flute and surrounded by his cows. The temple was built by Chola King Ballala in AD 1315. The area is a favourite haunt for wild elephants. Along with the elephants you can have an amazing view of the rising and setting sun from the peak.
Masinagudi is located on the Mysore - Ooty Highway of the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. While in Masinagudi, visit the Mudumalai National Park, which is one among the biggest tiger Reserves of India, the Maravakandy Dam whose watch tower gives some splendid views of the animals that come to the river for water, the Theppakadu Elephant Camp and the Murugan Malai, which has a small temple at the top and a charming view of the forests and valleys of three states around.
Masinagudi is about 12 km from Bandipur National Park.
Sultan Bathery or Sultan’s Battery as it was known once upon a time, has a fort in ruins, built by Tipu Sultan during his invasion of the Malabar region. Visit the ancient Jain temple, which was used by the Tiger of Mysore Tipu Sultan to hoard his weapons of war. Apart from these historic remnants, check out the prehistoric carvings in the Eddakal Caves and the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary.
Sultan Bathery is about 19 km from Bandipur National Park.
The Gaurishwara Shiva temple was built in the 16th century by a local chieftain called Singedepa Devubhupala of Hadinadu dynasty who was the feudatory of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Not many tourists are aware of this temple, built most aesthetically, with deeply intricate carvings and reliefs of various gods and stories from the Puranas on the walls and pillars. There are utmostly divine carvings of Kalinga mardana, Anthakasura Vadha and dancing girls on the walls, and further more craftsmanship on the pillars once you enter the sanctum. The towerless Bale mandapa or the Bangle mandapa is adorned with well rounded smooth encircled stone rings that hang down from the roof.
The temple is at Yelandur in Chamarajanagar district, about 68 km from Bandipur National Park.