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Published: June 26th 2019
Animals in Bandipur
We spotted several animals during our drive through the Bandipur forest.
Here is my astonishing travel experience from the Bangalore to Wayanad road trip through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
Located close to the Karnataka border, Wayanad the wonderful hill station located in Kerala is unique with its scenic nature and lush beauty. Wayanad, known for its beautiful hills, valleys, dense forests, mountains, and coffee/tea plantations is the perfect holiday destination in Kerala for nature lovers. Located on the southern tip of the Deccan plateau, this greenish spot is deal for a short distance drive from Bangalore. The best part of the drive itself is the lush green nature on the Kerala border following the Bangalore-Mysore highways.
Our Drive from Bangalore to Wayanad
A road trip is always exhilarating for travel lovers like me. When it is with our family, happiness will be double. This time our happiness was much more as our kids are super-excited to go on a trip after their schooling. The best part is that we get to enjoy with kids since they are locked up in the car and have limited access to other spoiler toys like laptops and they are ready to enjoy a beautiful road trip.
Schools were closed
We stayed in Abad Brookside, a fantastic resort near Lakkidi
for summer holidays; the trip is actually a celebration of my elder son’s decent victory on his 10th exam. Bangalore-Wayanad trip was decided after a few discussions and debates like every other time. Anyways, this post is solely about our amazing driving experience from Bangalore to Wayanad.
Like our usual unplanned road trips that are decided at the last minute, this one was also made suddenly(but after some disputes). We packed up and get started the very next day. Before the set-off, I quickly verified the insurance documents, fuel, and made sure that the emission certificate is renewed and spare tyre have proper air pressure; also did a quick shopping to have enough food items for kids even though stopping by the restaurant is very much liked by the kids on their road trips. Additionally, we searched for the best resorts in Wayanad and decided on Abad Brookside located at Vythiri, considering its ambiance and desirable facilities. Actually, kids were super excited from the very start of the Bangalore trip planning because for quite a long time they have been telling me about visiting the Snow city in Bangalore. Kids’ have only one demand regarding the resort- it should
have a swimming pool and sports facilities, and we parents needed a very tranquil relaxing atmosphere. However, Brookside met all our demands ideally well and we were happy that we selected it for our holidays in Wayanad.
Starting from Bangalore
For our Bangalore to Wayanad trip, there were 3 routes before us. All the three routes go via Mysore and have equal distance- the first choice was via Mysore - Hunsur - Nagarhole - Kutta- Kartikulam-Mananthavady; the second one was via Mysore - HD Kote - Bavali - Kartikulam - Mananthavady; and the third one was Mysore - Gundlupet - Muthanga (Bandipur forest) - Sulthan Bathery-Wayanad. We opted for the third route via the most scenic Bandipur forest as our plan was to enjoy the drive.
Though our initial plan was to set-off from Bangalore early in the morning at about 4 am and to reach Bandipur forest entry by 6 am when the gate opens for vehicles, we started from Bangalore in the afternoon. It was apparently a wrong decision to travel in the afternoon since the roads in Bangalore are crowded. If we entered the forest in the early morning, we could have a much higher
chance of spotting animals which were wandering around until the roads get busy with vehicles. However, we got a little late and had to push our journey to the evening to locate some animals which come close to the roads at sunset. It took a long time to exit the crowded city and even after entering the Bangalore - Mysore Express Highway, the roads were full of vehicles all over.
For lunch, we stopped at Taj Biryani Paradise. Though we thought we could find different varieties of Biriyani, there was only just one type, but it was good in taste and everyone enjoyed it very much.
At around 4 pm, we reached the Mysore area. We took the ring road that goes around Mysore city to escape from the city traffic and after some time we stopped by a coffee shop at the ring road to have some food before we enter the forest area.
Bandipur forest road will be closed between 9 pm and 6 am and no vehicles are permitted to ride through the woods during this time considering the safety of travellers as well as animals.
Night Drive Through the Bandipur Forest
best part of our Bangalore to Wayanad road trip was the night ride through the Bandipur Forest. By the evening we reached the Bandipur forest area. Before the forest checkpoint, there was a toll booth with no one to collect toll. Finding it non-operational we continued our journey. But at that small station, we saw a single forest officer standing impassively in the road watching the vehicles passing by. Since he took no heed, we didn’t stop there.
At 5.30 pm while we were about to enter the forest limits, we could feel the atmosphere totally changed with the forest immersed into complete silence, and darkness. On the road, we saw animal crossing warning signs. As we didn’t want to encounter with animals, I drove very gently through those easy-drive roads. Nevertheless, to take a glance at the animals on both sides of the roads, I drove slowly and kids were thrilled to watch the first flock of deer. In a jiffy, they counted about 50, but there were more than that.
Spotting Animals on Our Drive through the Forest
The whole experience at Bandipur Forest was like a visit to a zoo; we spotted a lot of
animals trapped in small areas. We noticed a lot of deer, especially sambar deer and wild elephants throughout our 2-hour long Bandipur forest journey and at Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Close to the villages in the Kerala side, we were welcomed by monkeys and the beautiful nature along with home feeling. The place is a uniquely preferred destination of bird watchers. If you are a bird watcher, you can find various species of rare birds; however, as stopping the car in the forest is not allowed, you may miss out on the photographs. We snapped a lot of photos of the animals from the car though.
We left the woods and by 7 pm we reached the Sultan Bathery town. I think our Bangalore to Wayanad journey took nearly 7 hours. After entering Sultan Bathery, we invested a considerable amount of time to find pit stops at various spots for coffee and snacks and to take a few minutes rest. If your itinerary includes no stopovers, you can cover the Bangalore - Wayanad drive in around 5 hours or even less.
Wayanad is a fresh green mountainous terrain in northeast Kerala, and the whole locale is impressive
with trees in abundance and hills all over. Truth be told, even after leaving the reserve forests, we didn’t feel much difference because on the Kerala side it is equally rich and lush green after the summer rains. Though I admit that the scenic drive through the Bandipur forest was the most impressive part of our road trip, the entry to Wayanad district that boasts of untouched green landscapes, coffee plantations, majestic mountains, and beautiful scenery leaves put a lasting imprint on our memories. In Wayanad, every spot was picturesque with rich green woodlands.
Abad Brookside, a Magnificent Resort at Lakkidi, Wayanad
By late evening we reached Abad Brookside, one of the luxury resorts in Wayanad
and we were worn out even though we all relished the whole drive to its best. When we reached the resort it was mizzling. On our driving from Bangalore, we got a call from the resort manager informing us the ongoing repair work on the road to the resort. Upon their suggestion, we parked our car in a private property near the highway and we headed to the resort from the parking area on a jeep arranged by the resort team. The jeep driver assisted us
to unload our things from the car and moved them all to the jeep. For kids, it was free off-road jeep drive through the wild!
When we arrived at the resort, we got an incredible treat- the drizzling has stopped and the entire area was covered with mist, which all of a sudden appeared from nowhere. We didn’t see any flash of mist until then. We left the reception only after a couple of minutes watching the mist passing through the woodlands. As we were told, Lakkidi is truly a spectacular area covered with magical mists unexpectedly all throughout the season.
In no time, we completed the check-in and moved to our private cabin along the brook. Our Brookside stay was exceptionally de-stressing and delightful. Kids were very much happy throughout the stay and they liked the indoor/outdoor games as well as swimming pool
Tips to Plan your Bangalore- Wayanad Road Trip
Following are some important tips you should keep in mind on your next drive from Bangalore on a weekend trip:
• Plan your trip in a way that you can leave the Bandipur forest road before the closing time. You may not be able to drive through the woods after 9 pm and the gates will be next opened only at 6 am.
• Early morning is the best time to spot animals. Try to reach the forest entrance just before 6 am; if you are one among the first few vehicles to enter the forest, you will have greater chances of watching more animals.
• Those who prefer a bus journey from Bangalore to Wayanad can rent a self-drive rental car after reaching Wayanad. You may not find it difficult to hire self-drive rental cars that is a very popular option available in Kerala. Find the list of rental car agencies in Kerala. The best part is that some of these services have offices in Wayanad and will deliver the vehicle to you at the bus stop.
• In the forest limits, there are no shops or restaurants; so carry light refreshments especially if you have kids with you.
• If you see wild elephants close to the road, it would be better to follow big trucks. Though the elephants found here are not very aggressive, better be on the safer side.
• Try not to leave your vehicle in the forest area. Animals may approach unexpectedly and you may not find any immediate help if something turns out badly. So abstain from such risks.
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