Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, encompassing six contiguous wildlife
sanctuaries, spans the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil
Nadu. Created to protect the extraordinary biodiversity of
the last surviving tracts of tropical evergreen and deciduous
of the Western Ghats. It includes the area over which the
notorious sandalwood smuggler and bandit, Veerappan, holds
reserve, along with the adjacent Mudumalai Sanctuary forms
one of the
most important migratory corridors for animals such as the
Asian elephant and the Indian bison. These parks are within
convenient reach of Bangalore.
The Ranganthittoo Bird Sanctuary
Covers 540sq km ( 209sq miles)
of riverine islands in the middle of the Kaveri river and
attracts a large number of water birds during the nesting
from June to November.
Declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1931 by the then Maharaja
of Mysore. It has many Chausingha and is also a project
for Tiger Reserve.
It spreads over 875sq km (338 sqmiles).
BRT Wild Life Sanctuary
East of the Nilgiri iosphere Reserve, is a corridor between the western and
eastern Ghats. Covering an area of 540 sq km (209 sq miles), it supports a
birdlife including storkes.
The Nagarhole Wild Life Sanctuary
Profusion of Rivers and swampy grass lands keep it green all year. Established
in 1983, the park has 645 sq km ( 249sq miles) of deciduous vegetation. Its
wildlife includes the bonnet macaque.
The Kabini Reservoir
Separating Bandipur from Nagrbole, offers fineviews. The Kabini river lodge
nearby is an excellent place for sighting wildlife and a good place to stay.
The drive from Bangalore to Mudumalai runs over wellmaintained
State highways. The first stretch between Bangalore and Mysore
is a reasonably smooth run. Once you cross the towns of Ramanagaram
and Chennapatna, the drive goes through avenues of bougainvillaea
which form natural archways. If you are thirsty, you can stop at
any of the coconut vendors lining the road.
Passing through Mysore is a honk - and - crawl affair till the
city limits. Beyond Nanjangud, for about 20 km, the road is a narrow
concrete strip with shoulders of tar. You need to be very careful
on this road as the tar has eroded, leaving huge potholes. There
may be times when you will be forced to go onto the tar shoulders
to avoid oncoming traffic. Remember, utmost care should be taken
then to avoid damage to the underbody.
Once the road enters the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary limit, it
is almost straight with dense forest on both sides. Seven - and
- a half kilomtres after the Bandipur reception centre, the road
crosses over into Tamil Nadu and the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
The scenery along the road is varied with a clutter of small towns
on the outskirts of Bangalore. These give way to light forests
and fields till Mysore. If you have time with you, a stop at the
fantastic Mysore Palace is worth the extra hour to get to Mudumalai.
The accommodation and hotels for Mudumalai are on the road that
runs from the reception center to Masinagudi. Though there is a
sign warning that the road is very steep and that you will have
to strain your car much with the kind of cars that we have today,
it is redundant.
There is actually more to do at the places to stay than in the
park itself. Consider yourself lucky if you see bison and deer.
Should you happen to see a tiger, take a quick look around for
the saint who performed the miracle to make it appear.