Bandipur national park is located in the Southern state of Karnataka and is known for the wide range of wild life that it offers. Nested in the Nilgiri biosphere, the forest comes to life during the monsoons and is pretty green throughout the year – except during the summer months of March to May. The park is famous for the small population of tigers and also harbors Indian elephants, Bisons, antelopes, spotted deers and many other native species. Located at around 230 Kms from Bangalore, Bandipur is one of the most sought out weekend destinations for people residing in Bangalore.
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Bandipur over the years has become one of the most sought after weekend destinations for people residing in Bangalore, mainly due to the connectivity and the advent of many resorts. Most of the resorts and hotels are fully booked during long weekends and if you have any plans of visiting Bandipur during a long weekend, ensure that you have your booking well in advance. The drive from Bangalore to Bandipur usually takes around 5 hours, but this time can vary a bit based on the traffic that you might find on the 4-lane highway to Mysore.
Most of the resorts in Bandipur have a check-in time of 12:00 PM, which is very convenient as you can start at around 7:00 AM and have a leisurely drive to Bandipur. Our plan was to start the drive at 7:00 AM, take the N.I.C.E road and reach the Bangalore – Mysore highway and drive all the way to Bandipur. We usually take around 5 hrs to reach Bandipur, which would include a breakfast break at “Right-O” food junction near Mandya.
The plan was to start by 7:00 AM, but we got delayed and were able to start only by 9:00 AM. Considering that it was a long weekend, there was a queue of vehicles heading out of the city. It took us a good 30 minutes to reach NICE road and we managed to hit the Mysore road by 9:45 AM.
The roads opened up a bit after we crossed this junction, and we were able to reach Mandya by around 12:00 PM. Crossing Mandya during peak hour traffic will easily take 30 minutes of your time as you would have to drive through the entire stretch of the city. The highway cuts right through the city and traffic would be moving at snails pace.
The outer ring road will join the road that leads you to Nanjanagudu. From here the road becomes a 2-lane highway and you will find traffic all the way up to Bandipur. Since we were driving during the month of March, Bandipur and Mudumalai forests were pretty dry and were a bit barren to our liking.
Tips and recommendations:
- Plan your drive: Either leave Bangalore early in the morning at around 6:00 AM so that you can avoid the city traffic on Mysore road or leave by noon so that you can drive through the cities post noon when the traffic is not heavy
- Do not over-speed: Drive within your limits as this highway is a relatively narrow 4-lane. You will also find many bikers using this highway to reach the near by cities.
- Recommended eating joints: There is a good Cafe Coffee day (on the wrong side – you will have to take a U-turn) and RightO (Around 12 Kms from Mandya towards Mysore). We usually stop at RightO which is very clean and has many options like UpSouth, Cafe Coffee Day, Subway, Polar Bear etc. There is ample parking available and the rest rooms are very clean.
- The infamous speed breakers all along this highway have been removed after this highway has been converted into a National highway. But you will zig zag through many barricades that have been positioned in place of the speed breakers (Another reason why you should not be over-speeding)
We had our reservations at the “Windflower Resort” Bandipur. The entire drive took us around 5 hours and we were able to reach our resort at around 2:00 PM.
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