Bandipur Tiger Reserve and National Park is located in the southwestern corner of Karnataka, near the borders between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It was birthed in 1931 when the then Maharaja of Mysore Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV decided to establish a sanctuary named Venugopala Wildlife Park. At the time, it extended over an area of almost 90 sq. km. It stayed that way for almost 40 years until former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched Project Tiger in 1973 to conserve the tiger population in India. Under Project Tiger, an area of around 800 sq. km. was added to Venugopala Wildlife Park. It was later renamed to Bandipur Tiger Reserve, after the village whose outskirts it is located on.
Bandipur Tiger Reserve was awarded the title of National Park, making it one of five in Karnataka. With the new title came new responsibilities and the park now became home to a large variety of animals and plants. Since 1986, the park has been a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which spans the three states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Spread over 5500 sq. km., it is India's first biosphere reserve and the biggest protected forest area in the country. Here are a few of its most famous inhabitants.
Bandipur National Park is home to a large variety of shrubs and timber & flowering trees. Some of the more famous timber trees that constitute the flora in Bandipur National Park include teak, sandalwood, rosewood, and multiple varieties of bamboo, among others. The flowering trees and shrubs include Indian gooseberry (commonly known as amla), crape-myrtle, satinwood, black clutch, and many others. There are innumerable plant species growing throughout the park, including medicinal and flowering varieties.
Bandipur wildlife is known for its staggering variety. The National Park is home to an impressive mixture of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. Some of the highly celebrated mammalian residents of Bandipur National Park include the Bengal tiger, Indian elephant, gaur, and the chital and sambar deer species.
Birdwatching is a common pastime around the park, with peafowl and vultures being among its most-commonly sighted birds. The reptile inhabitants of the park include the Indian rock python, flying lizards, vipers, and more. There is a multitude of other species including butterflies, ants, beetles and amphibians that make up the rest of the fauna in Bandipur National Park.
Over 12% of the total land in Karnataka is classified as forest area, which is home to almost a quarter of the entire Asian elephant population, and around 10% of all the country's tigers. Bandipur National Park is proud to play host to a majority of them. Come stay at The Serai Bandipur and see these magnificent creatures in all their glory.