Bandipur National Park
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Bandipur National Park   |   Chamarajanagar

Bandipur National Park established in 1974 as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger, is a national park located in Gundlupet taluq of Chamarajanagar district which is about 80 kilometers (50 mi) from the city of Mysore on the route to a major tourist destination of Ooty in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It was once a private hunting reserve for the Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore but has now been upgraded to Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Bandipur is known for its wildlife and has many types of biomes, but dry deciduous forest is dominant.

The park spans an area of 874 square kilometers protecting several species of India's endangered wildlife. Together with the adjoining Nagarhole National Park , Mudumalai National Park and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary , it is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve totaling making it the largest protected area in southern India and largest habitate of wild elephants in south Asia. The Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore created a sanctuary of 90 km2 in 1931 and named it the Venugopala Wildlife Park. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve was established under Project Tiger in 1973 by adding nearly 800 km2 to the Venugopala Wildlife Park.

The wide range of habitats help support a diverse range of organisms. The park is flanked by the Kabini river in the north and the Moyar river in the south. The Nugu river runs through the park. The highest point in the park is on a hill called Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, where there is a Hindu temple at the summit. Bandipur has typical tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry and hot period usually begins in early March and can last till the arrival of the monsoon rains in June.

Photography: [Divakar Hiriyadka]

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