Bandipur National Park is located in the Gundlupet taluq of Chamarajanagar district in Karnataka. The park is nestled in the midst of the magnificent Western Ghats and covers a sprawling area of about 874.2 sq km. The park was created as a private forest reserve by the Maharaja of Mysore Kingdom for his dynasty in 1931. The Maharaja christened the reserve as Venugopala Wildlife Park. In 1973, under the Project Tiger plan, 800 km2 more was added to the park to create a single tiger reserve known as the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. In 1974 the reserve was upgraded as a national park.
Today, the park along with Kerala’s Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Nagarhole National Park in the north, forms a single huge biosphere reserve, known as the ‘Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve’. This reserve is believed to be the country’s largest reserve.
The reserve is quite prominent for its Tiger and Asian elephant population. Other animals sighted are gaurs, porcupines, sloth bears, Indian rock pythons, black-knapped hare, four-horned antelope, chital, sambhar, panther, etc.Birds such as red-headed vulture, honey buzzard, Indian roller, changeable hawk-eagle, crested serpent eagle, etc can be frequently sighted here. Peafowls are quite prominent birds of the region.
It has a variety of floras such as Black Myrobalan, Flame of the Forest, Indigoberry, Golden Shower Tree, Teak, Giant clumping bamboo, Sandalwood, etc