Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Safari story

Bangalore shares a unique distinction with Nairobi in Kenya and Mumbai. All the three cities have a national park adjoining them. If Bangalore has the Bannerghatta Park, Mumbi has the Borivili National Park and Nairobi, the Nairobi National Park.
However, the difference between the Bangalore and Mumbai parks are in their area. While Borivili National Park is surrounded on  three sides by human habitation, Bannerghatta is comparitively far away. Nairobi national park is just separated by a fence from the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
Moreover, Bannerghatta encompasses 25,000 acres or 104.27 square kilometres, while Borivili or Sanjay Gandhi Nationa Park as it is now known has an area of 43 sq kms.
The Nairobi National Park is just seven kms from the City, Only a fence separates the park from the City. If Borivili is known for leopards, Bannerghatta for elephants, Nairobi is known for rhinoes.
Bannerghatta has not only a national park but also a big zoo. It is located on the southern side of the city and the Bannerghatta Road which starts from the Jayadeva Hospital junction takes you tp the park.
It was initially set up in 1971 and since then it has developed rapidly into one of the best preserved zoological parks in India. In 2006, India’s first ever butterfly park was started within the park.
It is about 20 kms from the City and the journey can take an hour or more. The lion and Tiger reserves or safari is worth seeing.
The park has an amazing variety of  wildlife including spotted lions, tigers, leopards, deer, sloth bears, elephants, fox, common langur, barking deer, sambar, chittal, wild pig, porcupine, bonner, chital, Ahre. Pangolin, slender loris, boars and Monitor Lizards.
The snake park has a large number of species including King cobras, cobras, Russsel vipers, Pytyhons and Kraits.
The park has made a name for itself as a relocation and rescue centre for animals which have been rescued from circuses and private zoos.
While on the safari, be careful not to alight from the vehicle. In 1992, a tiger pulled out a small girl while she was standing on the footboard of  a vehicle. The girl was killed and her grandfather was mauled.The snake park and reptile park in the park is worth a visit. The mini zoo is sure to attract children. Take the safari option to explore the interiors of the park and sight tigers and lions,
Bannerghatta is part of the Nilgiris Eastern Ghats Reserve which has the largest elephant population in the country. Therefore, elephants sightings in and around the park and in villages around Bannerghatta has become common.
The Bannerghatta forests and of course the park comes in an area which has ten reserve forests under the management of the Anekal range of  the Forest Department, Bangalore. The Bannerghatta hills are dotted with many ancient temples such as the Champaka Dhama Temple which is at the base of the Bannerghatta Hill.
The Suvarnamukhi stream runs through the national park. The stream has its origin in Suvarnamukhi Hills and it is a seasonal water body. It almost dries up in summer.
The Suvarnamukhi pond near the hill has a hoary history. It is believed to have medicinal properties.
A few months ago, a software professional, Satwick Shastry, was killed by a herd of elephants near Ragihalli Gudda while trekking in the Bannerghatta forest. So please avoid hiking on your own and take the help of the Forest Department. Check out the Nature camp where you can spent quality time with your family and friends.
If you are interested in hiking and trekking, take the Uddigebande, Mirza Hill and a natural rock formation called  Hajamana Kallu.
Check out http://bannerghattabiologicalpark.org for more details. The Park as well as the Butterfly park is closed on Tuesdays, It is open from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., the rest of the week. There are buses to the park from Majestic, Shivajinagar, Wilson Garden or Shantinagar Terminus and City Market. 
The entrance fee for the zoo is  Adults Rs. 25:  Children Rs. 10: Senior Citizens Rs. 15.
Tiger & Lion Safari Entrance Fees: Adults Rs. 30: Children Rs. 15: Senior Citizens Rs. 25.
Grand Safari Entrance Fees (Tiger Safari, Lion Safari, Bear Safari & Herbivore Safari): Adults Rs. 60: Children Rs. 30:
Senior Citizens Rs. 40.
Elephant Safari Entrance Fees to sight the animals (1hr): Adults Rs. 75: Children Rs. 40: Senior Citizens Rs. 60.
Elephant Joy ride Fees: Adults Rs. 30: Children  Rs. 15:
Senior Citizens Rs. 20.
Long trek and  Nature walk in forest- Fees to view chital, black buck, crocodile and other animals (1 ½ to 2 hrs): Adults Rs. 50:
Children Rs. 20: Senior Citizens Rs. 40.
Short trek and  Nature walk in forest Fees to view chital, black buck, crocodile (1 hr): Adults Rs. 30: Children Rs. 10:
Senior Citizens Rs. 20.
The photography charges at the Bannerghatta Biological Park:
Still camera - Rs. 15: Video camera Rs. 100.
If you are going in your own vehicle, you can add the Cave Temple of Hulimavu which is opposite the Meenakshi Temple on Bannerghatta Road. The cave temple is one of the oldest of its kind and even the Meenakshi Temple is worth a visit. There is a small but beautiful temple of Raghavendra Swamy at Hulimavu. There are several malls and shopping complexes on Bannerghatta Road.
There are a few temples worth visiting in Bannerghatta village, Many international and residential schools and educational institutions have sprung up all along the Bannerghatta Road.
If you like adventure, go to Doddi betta which can give you a beautiful and breathtaking view of the rolling forests of Bannerghatta

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