A wild life resort that’s practically at your door step, makes for a great day-trip with your kids.
The Bannerghatta National Park, is 22 kms from south Bengaluru and is among the more famous and prominent National Parks of India. The park which is spread over 104.27 sq. kms was created in 1972 which gradually grew into the present Biological Park in 2002. It houses a wide variety of birds and animals. Its natural greenery provides plenty of interesting hours of enjoyment to children and adults alike especially the tiger and lion safari which are thrilling experiences!
There are two ways of taking the safari, either by bus or by jeep. We recommend that you begin your tour in the first hour of the morning with the Grand Safari through the forest where you will get to see wildlife presented in a natural ambience. You will come across a wide array of wild animals like bears, Bengal tigers, bison, deer, elephants, lions, white tigers and many more. The park is divided into two separate sections – Herbivores and Carnivores.
The bus safari
The bus is well secured by metal grills. Animals may decide to appear on any side of the bus and onto your side if you are lucky! Sometimes you can find them right in the middle of the road! Photography can be a little difficult due to the bumpy roads and the metal grill, though do try, as and when you get the opportunity.
The jeep safari
It is definitely the better choice, though it is more expensive than the bus ride. The upside of this safari, is that you can ask the driver to stop where and when you feel like it. The driver tries his level best to get as close as possible to the animals, all the time keeping in mind our safety and that of the animals. The kids will be thrilled to watch the animals, particularly when the tiger – the magnificently striped creature walks past the vehicles – up so close! Needless to state, with none of the limitations of the bus trip, you get the best photo-ops too!
Herbivore Animal Zone
The first few kilometres of the park are dedicated to herbivorous animals like the bison, deer, elephants, monkeys etc. They generally do not come very near, but you will still have plenty to see during this part of the safari because of the large number of deer families that are found here.
Parent’s tip: In case you choose the bus safari, be sure to take a seat on the side for best viewing. Photography is a little difficult here as its a bit of a bumpy ride, also due to the metal bars it gets tougher, though each window does have a small hole through which you can try to aim your lens for a few good snaps.
On the other hand the jeep safari is preferred as the driver will not only stop for you to indulge in your photography but it also gives you a chance to take in the natural landscape as well.
Bears are not just caged in the zoo, but they roam about all over this area of the forest openly. If you’re lucky you can see quite a few wild bears who come near the bus and pose for you! There are approximately 78 bears in all ( 40 male and 38 females) as per the official site.
Tiger & Lion Zone
You get to see many tigers and lions, including the magnificent white tigers! They are a sight to behold even from afar, but, up close, you will simply not be able to look away. As mentioned earlier, if you are lucky, they might just come on to the road and lie there for some time. Thankfully, the vehicle does not honk them away – though do remember that it is their domain and we are only the visitors!
Parent’s tip: Please be aware that these are wild animals and are free to walk around the forest area as they please. So please advise your kids to not thrust their hands outside the vehicles at any point. Also, feeding the animals food/snacks is strictly prohibited. Not only can this cause danger to yourself and others on the bus/jeep but also it is harmful to the animals as well.
Once you finish with the bus safari or the jeep safari, one gets dropped off at the gate of the butterfly park. This is the first ever butterfly conservatory in India. A little walk down the path leads you to a fairly large circular shaped structure with a huge butterfly at the door. The conservatory maintains a tropical climate with all the necessary humidity levels to suit the butterflies. There are over 20 different species of butterflies swarming around!
The zoo isn’t as large or as well maintained as the Mysore zoo but you can cover a large variety of different animals and birds fairly quickly.
Outside the Park: There are a number of stalls that sell basic snacks, chips, biscuits, juices, soft drinks etc. Don’t miss out on the sugarcane juice and corn ‘butta’. In case you skipped breakfast you can head to ‘Dosa Camp’. It opens fairly early in the morning and the dosas are great. For lunch you can head to ‘Mayur Vanashree Restaurant’. They serve veg & non-veg food.
Inside the Park: The zoo has a few tiny kiosks that sell beverages, packaged juices, snacks like chaats, samosas and other packaged foods. Not very exciting, but enough to satisfy a quick hunger pang, though we highly recommend you carry a little snack/lunch box for your child. There are ample open spaces with benches in the park where you can sit and enjoy your little family picnic.
- Sundays and holidays can get a little crowded, so head to the national park as early as 9:30 am if you can.
- In case you reach the park by around 12:30 pm, ir would be a good idea to finish the zoo first, as usually it is lunch time for the animals. You may catch them half asleep after their feed!
- The BNP is a Plastic Free Zone – so carry a drinking water dispenser. If a plastic bottle is carried, the guards will ask you to leave it at the entrance.
- There is a mini children’s play area with a variety of amusement rides that include the giant wheel, a small merry-go-round, a horse ride facility and so on. Do note that this facility is a privately run park, and hence safety and reliability of their services cannot be guaranteed by the National park.
How to Get There
By car: Driving down is most convenient as there’s plenty of parking space available. The parking lot is walking distance to the entrance and exit point of the park.
By bus: Catch the early morning bus from Majestic, otherwise known as the Kempegowda Bus station. They have AC and Non-AC buses. We would recommend you take the AC bus no: 365, as travel time is an hour and a half hour long journey ( peak time could take longer) straight to the national park.
The official timings are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, though, as per indian standard time the ticket counter opens only by around 9:30! Please note: The park is closed on Tuesdays.
The cost of the tickets vary depending on the type of visit: Please do call the park, for updated ticket prices.
|Zoo||Bus Safari (Non A/C)||Butterfly Park|
|Foreigners||Adults: Rs.400/- Kids: Rs.300/-|
|AC bus only (for Safari)||Rs.500/- per head|
|Jeep Safari||Rs.2500/- for the trip ( max. 4 people only)|