The first reaction that I got from my cousin when I talked about going to Bannerghatta was- must be another zoo or probably we’ll spend hours trying to spot a tiger and end up with deer. We couldn’t help thinking that way considering all the stories we had heard of people having to make do with a tiger footprint or some ruffled bushes in some of the national parks.
But that was not the case. Both of us visited the biological park near Bangalore on the 1st of January to enjoy our new year holiday. As advised by our friends, we started early so that we were at the park by 11:00 a.m. That saved us from the long queue and we immediately got a ride on the safari van. The park has 4 sections, the herbivore safari, the bear safari, the lion safari and the tiger safari. The entire ride is for about an hour. The tourists are taken inside in a safari van which is caged from outside to ensure safety of the passengers.
Contrary to our expectations, we saw a lot of bears, tigers and lions (some of them even walked upto our van). It was amazing to see them in the open, walking carefree around us. For once, the humans were in the cage and the king of the jungle roaming around.
One of the bears also blocked our van and refused to let it go further till he was done with his basking in the sunshine on an early winter morning. The van stops whenever the animals are around so that everyone gets a good view. Of course, we were asked to maintain silence to not rake them up.
After a very satisfying visit to the safari, we also spent time at the zoo and aviary. Again, the variety of birds at the aviary was beyond our expectations. We even sighted a herd of elephants and had time permitted, we would’ve definitely taken a ride. Bannerghatta also has jungle lodges for accommodation, in case you are visiting from another city.
They have an enormous parking lot and food, water and toilets are available. All in all, a very refreshing outing, away from the maddening traffic and buzz of city life. For a first timer, do take clear road directions to reach the place, since there aren’t many sign boards on the way till you actually reach the entrance to the park.