Travel

Step into the Wild at Bandipur and Nagarhole

The chilling roar of a tiger piercing the still of the dawn, or the harried chirping of colourful birds in thick canopies – one cannot supplant a trip to the deepest jungle with any other activity when it comes to primeval and rejuvenating experiences.

Southern India is gifted with natural beauty, conveniently accessed by some of the best road networks. Bandipur and Nagarhole are part of India’s largest stretch of protected forest areas – the Nilgiris Biosphere reserve. They are also considered amongst the top places in the country to experience the wild. Find cabs in Bangalore and enjoy a getaway into these beautiful reserves.

Bandipur

The untamed glory of the Western Ghats can be viewed in its full magnificence at Bandipur National Park. The tiger is the flagship species here and one can also encounter leopards, elephants, dholes, gaurs and myriad species of birds and reptiles. The national park can be reached via the Mysore-Ooty highway and is 240 kms away from Bangalore.

Choose from a range of Bangalore to Bandipur cabs to enjoy this scenic journey. Some of the activities here apart from the safaris include nature walks and cycling tours. These forests also provide a wonderful stage for shutterbugs, eager to capture beautiful nature stills.

There are many safari options at Bandipur National Park. The 45-minute bus safaris have morning and evening sessions. You can also opt for an elephant ride around the forest; these rides are around 20 minutes long. Longer rides can be arranged.

The best way to experience the pristine nature and get a chance to view the animals are in jeep safaris, which run in the mornings and evenings. Safari timings are 6.30 to 8.30 AM and 3.30 to 5.30 PM, but it is always wise to double check with the department officials. Bandipur has a host of lodging options for all budgets. Some of the popular lodges include the MC Resort, Dhole’s Den, Bandipur Safari Lodge and the Windflower Tusker Trails.

Nagarhole

Located in the enigmatic Coorg district, Nagarhole is a hub for adventure and nature lovers. Some of the activities you can engage in and around Nagarhole include night camping, rappelling, and trekking. The Kabini area of Nagarhole is considered one of the best spots for animal sightings and is famed for its local population of leopards, including melanistic ones (black leopards).

The tiger lords the jungles of Nagarhole and other species that can be sighted include elephants, striped hyenas, and various deer species. Birds here include the greater spotted eagle, the Oriental white-backed vulture – a critically endangered species and the Malabar grey hornbill, amongst many other species. Another fascinating facet of Nagarhole is the riverine landscape, which includes many gushing waterfalls and streams.

Safari timings are 6.30 to 8.30 am and 3.30 to 5.30 pm. Options include bus safaris and jeep safaris and they usually last an hour, charting routes into the forest. Some of the popular lodging options in Nagarhole include Red Earth, Kabini River Lodge, Orange County and MachaanNagarhole. Book outstation cabs from Bangalore and experience a lovely 5-hour journey into the misty hills of this National Park.

As you leave the city behind, the terrain changes to the open plateau landscape and you slowly start to climb into the verdant, beautiful and unforgiving landscapes of the Western Ghats. A forest getaway provides a conduit for us to connect with nature and rediscover the most basic human relationship, that of man and his environment. Explore, discover and experience- the wilderness of Karnataka beckons.

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Isabella Morra

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