The Denizens of Bannerghatta National Park
For those who have been stuck at home in Bengaluru, exploring the wilderness of the Bannerghatta National Park can be a great alternative to those long journeys to Karnataka's hill station
Locked down at home and can’t plan a long term vacation anytime soon? Well, how about meeting the denizens of Bannerghatta this weekend? The Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bengaluru was reopened on June 8, and has been welcoming visitors in limited numbers since then. While earlier the park used to enjoy a daily footfall of as many as 20,000 people, it has now capped it to only 4,400 visitors every day.
Strict standard operational procedures are being implemented to ensure the safety of visitors, staff and the animals, such as sanitisation at regular intervals, social distancing, and online ticket booking. With fewer people at the park, this may well be the best time for city dwellers to discover the rich biodiversity of Bannerghatta.
A group of Chital satiate their thirst at the Bannerghatta Biological Park (Image Courtesy: Karan Kaushik)
Spread over an area of 730 hectares, the Bannerghatta Biological Park was carved out of the Bannerghatta National Park in 2004. While entry to the core zones of the Bannerghatta National Park is restricted, the forest department has rehabilitated lions and tigers at the biological park adjoining the national park. Taking a safari to spot the wild cats in a setting that’s almost similar
to their natural habitat, is the highlight of the Bannerghatta experience. A ticket for the Safari Combo gives you access to the safaris, the zoo and the Butterfly Park.
A white tiger seen during the Tiger Safari at Bannerghatta Biological Park (Image Courtesy: Karan Kaushik)
Embarking on this thrilling expedition through the natural forests of Bannerghatta and observing the wild beasts up close in their natural habitat is the most special part. On offer are the Lion Safari, Tiger Safari and Bear Safari. A sanitised mini bus being operated with half capacity is your best bet to explore the wilderness. The best part about taking the safari right now is that
everyone in the bus is guaranteed a window seat, thanks to social distancing protocols.
The sheer excitement of trying to spot a tiger in the jungle with tiger calls maybe missing from the Bannerghatta experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less exciting. The best part, in fact, is that you can focus on appreciating the sheer majesty of the striped beasts instead of spending most of your time struggling to spot one. At present, there are 26 tigers (15 male and 11 female)
that you can spot during the Tiger Safari.
The Lion Safari is the most thrilling. After all, you don’t get to meet the king of the jungle every day. The biological park is home to 19 lions but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get to spot all of them.
The wild cats are housed in the Ragihalli Reserve Forest area, located at a distance of 4km from the zoo (Image Cortesy: Karan Kaushik)
The identified groups of animals are allowed into a safari area on a rotational basis for the benefit of visitors. When done marvelling at the wild cats, you will be taken for the Bear Safari, which completes your safari experience.
A bear spotted during the safari at Bannerghatta Biological Park (Image Coutesy: Karan Kaushik)
The Butterfly Park
Possibly the first-of-its-kind park in India, the Butterfly Park was made open to public in 2007 and since then, zoological parks across the country have been trying to replicate the model. According to a study, 48 species of butterflies have been recorded at the Bannerghatta Biological Park.
The ‘butterfly trail’ established over a five-acre garden leads you to an innovatively designed dome structure that houses a conservatory, a museum and a multi-media center.
A magnificent butterfly at the Butterfly Park captured in our lens (Image Courtesy: Karan Kaushik)
The Zoo at Bannerghatta had modest beginnings when it was started as a picnic spot for the people of Bengaluru in 1971. Today,1941 animals belonging to 94 species are housed in this zoo that saddles between the Champakadhama hill and Mirza hill in the Bannerghatta Sandal Reserve.
A variety of mammals, reptiles and birds of both exotic and Indian origin can be seen at the zoo in Bannerghatta Biological Park. Most prominent among these are Thamin deer, Hog deer, King Cobra,Crocodiles, Himalayan black bear, Panthers and various birds.
A visit to the zoo at Bannerghatta is a sheer delight for birdwatchers. The zoo is home to a whopping 271 species of birds, which include 9 globally threatened species. From Grey Francolins and Red Spurfowls to Crested Treeswifts, Common Moorhens and Painted Storks, the list is really endless.
Tickets are available online at https://Bannerghattabiologicalpark.org. No tickets will be available at the counter.
Types of tickets available:
Non AC Jeep Safari Combo (Safari+Zoo+Butterfly Park)
Non AC Bus Safari Combo (Safari+Zoo+Butterfly Park)
Wearing a face mask and undergoing thermal screening is mandatory before entering the park.
Before booking your tickets, you must check the updated guidelines at: