In my quest to explore the forests of India, I travelled to Bandipur National Park this time just after the monsoon. Yet the rains were not over in Karnataka as the monsoon stretched its span this year in the Western part of India. Forests always look pretty when dressed up in foliage and the monsoon is the best makeup artist for them. The only worry was spells of rain must not spoil the safari. With not much hope of sighting and just being in the forest, we reached Bandipur.
Bandipur National Park is now a larger version of the sanctuary that was established by the Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore. The Maharaja created a 90 sq km sanctuary (Venugopala Wildlife Park) in the year 1931. Later in the year 1973, an 800 sq km area was added to it and the Bandipur Tiger Reserve was established under Project Tiger. This National Park is also a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
The park comprises areas where the Deccan plateau meets the Western Ghats and hence it supports a variety of biomes which in turn maintain several habitats. Thus the floral range of the forest varies from dry deciduous forest to moist deciduous forest and shrublands too making it home to a wide variety of faunal species.
We were here with our same old companion of the forests in Karnataka, the Jungle Lodge and Resorts. We have been to many other properties of Jungle Lodge and Resorts all across Karnataka and we like their nature-friendly initiatives and activities during the stay. The property in Bandipur is located just beside the highway a few kilometres ahead of the forest checkpost.
Bandipur National Park is bordered by the Kabini river in the North and the Moyar river in the South while the Nugu river runs through the park. These rivers provide water to the animals as well as support the groundwater level thus maintaining the vegetation cover of the forest. A variety of timber trees including Teak, Sandalwood, Laurel and others impart a green cover to the area. Spotting animals within such cover becomes difficult.
This time was even more challenging as the forest cover was in its thickest coat ever. Not thinking much about the sighting we went for four jungle safaris which came along with our stay in the JLR. In the summer we visited the nearby Nagarhole National Park, staying at the JLR Kabini property. (Read my Kabini experience.)
The weather was cool with a thick morning fog covering the area. There were rains in these areas even in the previous week hampering the crops of the surrounding village. Water patches filled the low areas of the forest floor. The grass beneath was bathed in dew and the forest had a smell of fresh moist air.
For two consecutive days, we did both the morning and the evening Gypsy safari. The pictures I share here are the moments I captured within the forest of Bandipur. After delaying this post for such a long, I thought, probably this is the best time to share this post. So this new year, my friends from the forest and I wish all of you a very Happy, Prosperous, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.