Bandipur National Park is one of India's best known sanctuaries, and is an important Project Tiger reserve. Bandipur National Park is about 80 kms from Mysore city and is a peaceful retreat in nature's lap far from the din of the city. It is home to around seventy tigers and over three thousand Asian elephants as per the 1997 census, along with leopards, doles, gaur and sloth bears. Bandipur is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
A sanctuary of 90 km² was created at this site in the Bandipur Reserve Forest in 1931 by Maharaja of Mysore. As it was realised that this was too small for effective wildlife conservation, leading to the instituting of the Venugopala Wildlife Park at this site, extending over 800 km². The Bandipur National Park includes the neighboring wildlife sanctuaries of Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad in Kerala. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve recognized under Project Tiger in 1973, this park has boasted constant rise in Tiger population. Also famous for Sandalwood trees and rare species of Flora.
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 generally from June to September.
Safaris are conducted in well-protected buses, jeeps and also on elephants within the Park. Elephant safari is the best and most exciting option to get at close proximity to animals. The visitors can enjoy safaris twice a day, once in the morning and then during the evening. The animals that one sees commonly are deer, antelope, elephants and peacocks and occasionally on can see elephants and tigers. The forest department also organizes group treks inside the park lead by professionally trained guides.
Gopalaswamy Betta (Hill) is the highest point on the sanctuary is about 16 Km. from Gundlupet. It is at a height of 4,770 ft. above the seal level. It is described as Dakshina Govardhanagiri, and the hill is also called as the Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta as the hill appears to be covered by clouds and mist. There is old fort built by the Palegars of Terakanambi during 13th century and inside the fort is the Gopalaswamy temple. The temple has gifts donated by the Mysore Royal family and there is a guest house said to have belonged to the Mysore royal family.
How to Reach Bandipur National ParkBandipur National Park is 20 kms from Gundelpet, 80 kms from Mysore, 80 kms from Ooty and 215 kms from Bangalore.
KSRTC Buses & Private Buses ply regularly from Mysore and Gundelpet.