Not having a great telephoto lens, I decided to take less pictures and enjoy the nature at the most through my own eyes.
As we crossed Gundulpet, the main town before Bandipur, the landscape changed. We could see the beautiful mountains covered with clouds. The weather was just perfect with the cool mountain breeze blowing.
The road ahead beyond the sanctuary leads to Ooty. It passes through the heart of the sanctuary, crossing hills with several hair-pin bends.
This is a common scene while you drive past those roads. We need to drive slowly and carefully and let the animals go first as it is their territory. There are several notice boards warning us - "Wild animals have the right of the way in the Tiger Reserve Limits" and “Wild Animal Crossing Zone”.
Its 4 pm and we head to the national park using one of the vehicles owned by Jungle Lodges and resorts for jungle safari. Private vehicles are not allowed inside the park. These govt. vehicles though are in good condition and are able to pull the rough and muddy terrain. The best thing about the vehicles are the huge windows which provide you enough room to shoot with a camera. You are not allowed to step out of the vehicle though. The forest department vehicles are much like the conventional mini-buses and have less space to see out or shoot.
Even if you don’t get to see a wild animal, its a great experience driving through those beautiful winding roads inside the sanctuary. As it was monsoon, the greenery was ubiquitous and added to the charm.
One of the settlements near the park.
There are several villages and small settlements on the border of the park and they are a big cause for the man-animal conflict. Tackling this is one of the biggest challenges for the Forest Department. Wild animals stray out of the forest and kill livestock and sometimes humans as well. A huge budget of the department goes in paying compensation in these cases. On the contrary, there are several encroachments of forest land by the local people – another big issue for the protectors of the forest. There was one case of a village being settled in the forest land and it was named after Indira Gandhi so that the officials cannot move them out.
Places to Stay
Stay in the forest is great for people of all budget groups.
For people who want the best in terms of accommodation, the well reputed Jungle Lodges and Resorts, Bandipur owned by Govt. Of Karnataka is unmatched.
One of the suites of the Jungle Lodge and Resorts.
For budget travelers there are rooms available at Forest Rest House Bandipur. These rooms are just at the border of the park. Rooms can be booked online.
I woke up early in the morning and was amazed to see plenty of chitals around. They feel safe near human presence but as the day breaks, they run away into the forest. More experience in the park will follow soon. :)