In the middle of this year, we went on a six hours drive from Bangalore to Bandipur for an event. My kids were excited because we told them we were also going to see tigers and lions all over the place. The hotel asked us to reach before sunset as the roads, through the Bandipur forest, were shut at 9pm, by the Forest Department, in order not to disturb the wildlife. We were also told to be careful while walking around the hotel and to avoid wearing bright red clothing just in case some creature’s eyes spotted us. But after two days, all we saw were deer, peacocks, wild boars and a few birds. We heard that somewhere in Bandipur, a tiger met with an accident and died while we were in the resort. Also, the chained elephants looked quite sad at their feeding camp.
In the end, we were completely dejected that we hadn’t seen even one wild animal anywhere; especially during the hour long safari ride that felt like forever.
Last weekend at the Bannerghatta National Park, which was declared a national park way back in 1974, we spotted more than 20 types of creatures. It was overwhelming to see my kids so excited! I mean, finally, we could enjoy watching the tigers we were deprived of at Bandipur. One of them walked so close to our stationary safari jeep that we froze until he calmly walked away to the other side of the road. Presently, there are 3 Bengal tigers and 2 White tigers at the National Park though the authorities have spotted more pug mark evidence in the Biological Park.
Here are some of the beautiful creatures we got to admire and click at the Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore.
Of course, they weren’t real, but my son, who is crazy about dinosaurs, jumped with excitement on spotting his favourite T-Rex and the hidden Triceratops there. I couldn’t click a picture of the latter because of the overgrown plants around it.
Besides the red bum monkeys, we can also walk around the wild un-caged monkeys who are hungry, so beware if you are holding a packet of chips or fries around them.
These huge sloppy fellows barely moved. They probably believe in chill and let chill. I’m not sure if they were snoozing or chilling while we were watching them. Hippopotamus means ‘river horse’ in Ancient Greek.
While we stood there for five whole minutes, watching their backsides, we kept clicking these social animals in the hope they would turn. Their black and white striped coats come in different patterns that are unique to each individual. This was the best picture I could capture.
This baby is named Gauri. She was brought in from the Mysore Zoo. Until then Bannerghatta National Park did not have a giraffe residing there. Giraffes are currently the tallest living mammals.
OSTRICH, EMU and OTHER BIRDS
We did a quick stop to each of these cages to admire them. The birds were caged well so they couldn’t escape and I couldn’t click them without the cage in view. The large flightless bird just quenched its thirst. The Emu posed for us angrily. We enjoyed watching the Pelican hunt for fish. And we did not really concentrate on the other birds but they were surely stunning.
This Indian Antelope is known to run at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. They love living in dry grasslands and can jump over average fences easily. This one just sat put among the million deer around it.
These were a spooky sight. The Iguana was gorgeous though it just sat like a statue and posed voluntarily for my camera. The snakes were in different areas in their cages. We also got to see the shed snakeskin that happens twice or four times a year, unless they are young Snakes and shed every two weeks. The funniest sight was the Turtle stuck on a rock while another one tried to help by pushing him off.
Bears are usually visualized as cute and cuddly creatures but these looked quite ugly to me. They were fat and furry but once you saw their faces, they weren’t anything like the soft toys you have on your bed. Nevertheless, it was amusing to see them fight and play in the middle of the road.
There was one healthy lion behind the bushes but I could click only the two old fellows sitting there.
This was a pretty calming view where the family of this endangered species seemed quite content with their routine.
These predators belong to the dog family. This mammal was restless and looked quite alert. I believe it could be a businessman if it were a human.
For those of you who do not know (and I didn’t either), this deer-like mammal is an antelope, specifically an Asian antelope. I had always imagined an antelope to be a kangaroo like animal before Google existed. The mature male looks like an ox and is also known as the blue bull.
This panther kept jumping up and down the bunch of logs. It was quite an interesting sight.
This big cat was the icing on the cake. We finally spotted a tiger!!! Here, there were 3 of them and all in different areas so they don’t fight or kill each other. They did look handsome and well fed and we were super excited to admire them for the longest time. Apparently, these tigers are threatened by poaching and fragmentation of habitat.
This bleached tiger was the cherry on our icing. It was GORGEOUS. But, when I checked on Google, it was appalling to know that white tigers are pigmentation variants of the Bengal Tigers which are in-bred across the world in order to generate revenue. They are generally born with a genetic defect. You can read more about them here.
Nevertheless, it was an awesome day because my kids were happy and so was I. Our wishes, to see the different animals, reptiles and birds, were finally fulfilled. I just felt that the greenery could be better maintained at the park as there were many spots of visible dry grass. We walked through the Butterfly Park which had striking structures. Though there weren’t too many noticeable butterflies sitting anywhere, the walk was quite delightful and informative.
The park is open every day, except Tuesdays, from 9.30am to 5pm. The best time to visit is in the first week of October. The entry tickets are around or below Rs. 100/- unless you want an exclusive jeep safari. This is surely a wonderful place to spend with your kids in Bangalore/Bengaluru for the ultimate wildlife experience.
PS: If some of you are wondering why I am not in any of the pictures. Well, I was the photographer and the photographer is barely clicked. 🙁 Do check out my photography page here.
Have any of you been to a National Park? What was your experience like?
Below are some of the popular Zoological Parks in India that I have yet to visit: