Wildlife: Bhadra Tiger Reserve - the unsung story
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Wildlife: Bhadra Tiger Reserve – an unsung story

Wildlife: Bhadra Tiger Reserve – an unsung story

If you ask anyone from Bangalore who are planning a wildlife tour about their destination, the most common answer likely to be either Bandipur National Park or Nagarhole National Park (Kabini) followed by Mudumalai or Wayanad. Surprisingly, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary (aka Bhadra Tiger Reserve) is not a popular destination.

Bhadra is not very far from Bangalore – about 285 Kms to the northwest. For comparison, Bandipur and Nagarhole are around 235 kms to the south – both about a 5 hour drive on the busy Bangalore-Mysore highway. Although Bhadra is about 50kms farther, the super-fast Bangalore-Hassan highway should ensure a drive of around 5 hours, or lesser. Given this, it’s surprising that more people aren’t heading towards Bhadra.

Bhadra is one of those rare places where you are likely to spot black leopards and leopard cats, and if you are really lucky – a majestic tiger too!!

The Unsung

I would like to call out an excellent documentary about Bhadra called “The Unsung” that was released recently. Prashanth S Nayaka, director and team leader, of the 37-minute documentary narrates the untold story of a silent movement deep inside one of the most pristine jungles of Karnataka.

“Besides showcasing the untainted beauty of Bhadra, the film follows the footsteps of forest guards who protect the reserve with dedication and passion.”

 “It was tough making a movie covering 500 sq. km. of forest. We started our work in October 2013 and completed it in May 2014. We worked for nearly 122 days shooting, facing tigers and elephants deep inside the jungle. We had to shoot at night for several days. Usually, tigers moved at nights as they are nocturnal. There were snakes on our way also. We saw an Indian rock python, bears, gaurs and many other animals,”

– Prashanth S Nayaka

The documentary has also captures the beautiful streams, rivulets, waterfalls, thick clouds, humming of birds, and the majestic trees that thrive under the watchful eyes of the forest department.

Today, 36 anti-poaching camps protect the tiger reserve, with jeeps patrolling day and night and forest watchers covering nearly 15 km on foot.

“Once, I noticed a tiger at very close range. I did not know what to do. I just stood still and stared at it for five minutes. It quietly left,” recalls Govindaraj, watcher, anti-poaching camp. 

According to Prashanth, the film aims to create awareness among public about the need to protect forests and animals. “We have not taken money from anyone for the project. The team members pooled in money and spent nearly Rs 1.5 lakh. We plan to screen the documentary in schools and colleges. The intention is to convey the message that guarding forests is as important as guarding our nation.”

You can find more details about the documentary here.

Planning a trip to Bhadra

The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is open throughout the year for the visitors. The best time to visit Bhadra, though, is between the months of October and March. Visiting times of  Bhadra are 6:30 AM to 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Safari is provided at River Tern Lodge.

To get the detailed info of the place, best season & time to visit, how to get there, safari details / boating/ trekking details, list of animals/birds you can expect to see there , entry/camera fees, and of course all of the accommodations nearby, please download the app or send us an inquiry:

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PS: Please be a responsible wildlife tourist; No littering, No sounds, No feeding, no getting down from the safari jeep (when on safari), No phone calls. Remember that we are visiting their home and when we are there, let’s follow their rules.

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