Bannerghatta National Park is not only a zoo in Bangalore but it also houses an animal rescue centre, Butterfly Park, Lion Safari, Tiger Safari and a Bear Safari. Located just 20 KMs from Bangalore, it is astonishing to find this 25000 acres of wilderness so close to the urban concrete jungle. Bannerghatta National Park in fact acts as a wild life corridor for Elephants to move from BR hills and Sathyamangalam forest. The best part of the Bannerghatta National Park is the Lion and Tiger Safari which provides a rare opportunity to see a family of White Tigers as well. A trip to Bannerghatta National Park and zoo in Bangalore is a refreshing way to spend a day, far from the urban chaos.
Bannerghatta National Park is open on all days except Tuesdays. The Bannerghatta Zoo is open from 930am to 5pm. The Safari which includes Lion safari, Tiger safari, Bear safari and Herbivore safari is open from 10am to 430pm. The Butterfly park is open from 930am to 5pm. Boating in lake inside Bannerghatta National Park is possible between 930am and 5 pm.
The entrance fee for Bannerghatta Zoo is Rs 80, 40 and 50 for Adults, Kids aged 6-12 and senior citizens respectively.
The Grand Safari which includes Tiger, Lion, Bear and Herbivore would cost Rs 260, 130 and 150 for Adults, Kids aged 6-12 and senior citizens respectively.
Camera charges for Bannerghatta National Park are 25 and 200 for Still and Video respectively.
There is a Grand Combo entrance fee of Rs 500 for adults and 300 for kids, which would include Safari in an AC vehicle, Zoo, Camera fee and Butterfly Park.
Boating in the lake inside Bannerghatta National Park would cost Rs 60 per head for half hour. A full boat can be hired for Rs 300 where 4 people can be accommodated.
The Bannerghatta National Park is closed on every Tuesday.
The Bannerghatta National Park is located 20 KMs from the City on the Bannerghatta road. Self drive vehicles can easily reach the Zoo in bangalore by just driving on the Bannerghatta road till it ends. There are sign boards closer to the Bannerghatta National Park.
Bannerghatta National Park is well connected by buses as well. Bus no 365 plies from City Railway Station to the Zoo in bangalore. Route 366 connects City Market to the Bannerghatta National Park. BIG 10 service connects MG road to the Bannerghatta National Park. No 368 bus starts from Shivaji Nagar bus stand and goes all the way to the Zoo in bangalore.
It is possible to stay overnight at Bannerghatta National Park. Jungle Lodges and Resorts has a facility inside the Bannerghatta National Park to spend a full day and night. The itinerary at Bannerghatta Nature Camp starts with lunch on Day 1. This is followed by Grand Safari and the Zoo. There is a wildlife movie at night prior to Dinner. The next say starts with a nature walk before breakfast. Accommodation is in tented cottages, log hits and dormitories. Tariff ranges from Rs 2000-4500 per person per night on twin sharing basis. Bookings can be made online at Jungle Lodges.
The Safari in Bannerghatta National Park is organized in the Ragihally forest which adjoins the Bannerghatta Zoo. There are 30 Lions and a dozen Tigers to be spotted. The Safari at Bannerghatta National Park is one of the few places to spot a White Tiger which has vanished from the forests of India. Some of these big cats have got so used to see the Safari vehicles that they simply ignore the visitors and pretend as if we do not exist! It is a humbling experience.
The Bear safari is a novel idea. There are very few bears left in the wild in India. The Bear safari in Bannerghatta National Park is one of the few places to spot the great himalayan bear in the wild. This is a far cry of course from the 1980s when men used to train Bears to dance in the streets of India!
The Bannerghatta National Park has 75 Bears and some of them are released to the Safari route on a rotational basis.
Herbivore Safari is a unique route in the Safari at Bannerghatta National Park where you an spot Gaur, Sambhar, Cheetal, Nilghai, Pangolin, Black Buck, Porcupine and Wild Boar.
The animals in the Safari are in the wild and hence one needs to exercise extreme caution by never stepping out of the Safari vehicle. There was an unfortunate incident of a small girl being mauled by a Tiger in 1992. Please ensure the doors and windows of the vehicle are never opened. Keep your cameras handy! If you are early and have a choice of seat, the front is always better as the entire windshield will provide a great view of the animals.
The Bannerghatta Zoo is sandwiched between 2 hills and houses nearly 1300 animals from 80 species. The most popular animals to be spotted at the Bannerghatta Zoo are King Cobra, Panther, Hornbill, Malabar Squirrel, Nilgiri Langur, Lion Tailed Macaque, Emu, Crocodile and Wolf.
The best way to plan a visit to the Bannerghatta National Park is to arrive early by 930 am. Take the Combo ticket which will provide access to all the sections within the Park. Take the first Safari trip to beat the crowd. The Safari will take an hour to cover Lion, Tiger, Bear and Herbivore. After the Safari you can get down at the entrance to the Butterfly Park just before the Safari ends. another hour can be spent here between the aviary as well as the film. Now you can visit the Bannerghatta Zoo. It will take 2-3 hours to cover the zoo. There are canteen available both inside as well as outside the Zoo for snacks and beverages. Either have your food outside or get inside the zoo and visit the canteen. Outside food cannot be taken inside the Zoo premises. There is a electric power cycle rickshaw available inside the Zoo if you want to avoid the long walk!
Towards the far end of the Zoo are 2 interesting things to do. The first is an elephant ride. Its a small ride around a section of the Zoo. There is also a Lake where both row boats and pedal boats are available.
Do not enter the lake without wearing life jackets which are properly fastened. Follow the instructions of the organizers as some places in the Lake have vegetation where your boat can get stuck. Keep the camera handy as aquatic birds like Cormorants can be spotted in the branches extending over the Lake. However, never stand up or shift places once in the boat especially while taking photographs.
There is an initiative at the Bannerghatta National Park to free the elephants from drag chains which are tied to their fore leg. Currently the elephants roam around the park freely albeit with the chains. The mahouts are being trained by Margaret Whitaker, animal behaviorist to make this possible. Many celebrities like Amitabh Bachhan, Pameral Anderson and Madhuri Dixit had campaigned to relocate Sunder a temple elephant in Kolhapur, who was ill-treated and confined to chains for many years. Sunder is now in the Bannerghatta National Park and rehabilitating.
If you are fond of elephants, there is a Elephant Camp between Mysore and Madikeri where you can feed and bathe them! Visit Dubare Elephant Camp for details.
For a travelogue and details for planning a trip, visit Butterfly Park.