Nestled well amidst the towering Western Ghat Mountains on the Mysore-Ooty highway, the Deccan Plateau houses one of the first Tiger Reserves of the country - The Bandipur National Park. Situated in Karnataka, the Bandipur National Park includes the neighbouring wildlife sanctuaries of Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad in Kerala. A moderate climate and diverse geographical features support a remarkable variety of flora and fauna. Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the 15 sanctuaries belonging to the Project Tiger Scheme launched in 1973, by the World Wide Fund for Nature. In 1974, the Bandipur was declared a National Park under the Wildlife Protection Act. The Bandipur National Park is one of its own kind in Asia as it has huge elephant herds.
The drier SE corner of Bandipur National Park has scrub forests. During the dry months of March-May, Indian Elephants stay close to rivers and lakes. At this time of year, Indian Elephant sightings are unsurpassed in Nagarhole National Park, especially if you are staying at the Kabini River Lodge in Karapur. Nearby, at Mastigudi large gatherings of 100 or so Indian Elephants on the banks of the Kabini Lake are known, a sight unrivalled anywhere. Bandipur National Park is probably the best place in the subcontinent for seeing Dhole, and the Indian Giant Squirrel can be seen at Mudumalai, lying curled in trees holes or crooks of brances during the day.
Bandipur National Park 87,420 hectares.
Mudumalai National Park 32,155 hectares.
Bandipur National Park, 1931 as a sanctuary, 1941 as a national park, 1973 as a tiger reserve. Mudumalai, 1940 as a sanctuary.
The Bandipur National Park is covered with a mix of deciduous forests, evergreen forests and scrub, which is provided by the waters of the Moyar River. The major types of fauna in this reserve are the Asian elephant, gaur, sambhar, chital, mouse deer, four horned antelope, wild pig, black naped hare and the Indian porcupine. Apart from being home to the Asiatic elephant, Bandipur also has a large number of tigers, which count around 66 in number. The scrub jungles consist of stunted trees, bushes and open grassy patches. In the northwestern area, the vegetation contains the open dry deciduous forests to tropical mixed deciduous forests.
The Bandipur region is also rich in avian population. Peafowl and the game birds like the grey jungle fowl, red spur fowl etc. are the most common avians found in the national park. The Kabini backwaters and the larger tanks attract cormorants, ducks, herons, teals, and waders. Among the woodland birds the hawk eagle, serpent eagle, the collared scops owl, the yellow-legged green pigeon, parakeets, woodpeckers and barbets, hornbills, drongos, scarlet minivets, and diverse warblers can be easily seen in the national park.
Bandipur is a tourists' paradise from April to October. During summer, the backwaters of the Kabini Reservoir provide the best opportunity to the tourists to observe large mammals, especially the elephant and the gaur. The best time to spot elephant herds is in the rainy season. Other animals found in this forest are gaur (a type of bull), sambhar, chital, mouse deer, four-horned antelope, wild boar, jackal, sloth bear, panther, Malabar squirrel, porcupines, and the black-naped hare. Bandipur National Park
You cannot tour the national park in your private vehicles are not allowed to tour the park. The tourists can go around the park in the forest department jeeps and vans. The elephant rides are also organised by the Forest Department for an hour (or more) or so. One can also book a 'Machan' near the watering hole to have a close view of the animals. The tourist places near the Bandipur National Park are Gopalaswami Betta and Rolling Rocks. These places are certainly picturesque and photogenic.