BR Tiger Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary
Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple (BRT) Wildlife Sanctuary takes its name from the ancient Ranganatha Swamy Temple that sits at the edge of a precipice and has an extent of 539.52 sq km. The Biligirirangana Betta (hill) is at a height of 5,091 feet above the sea level and stretches from north to south for about 16 km. It is considered to be the wildlife corridor that connects the Eastern Ghats to the Western Ghats which in turn facilitates the gene flow between the population species inhabiting both the mountain ranges. The hills are covered with a variety of species of plant life, including scrub, dry deciduous, moist deciduous, shola forests, and montane grasslands. It provides shelter to many species of wildlife like mammals, reptiles, and a variety of butterflies. The forests also teem with over 250 species of birds.
Why visit BR Hills
- Dodda Sampige Mara (a large Michelia Champaka tree): A unique attraction is the Dodda Sampige Mara (a large Michelia Champaka tree), believed to be over 2000 years old and worshipped by the Soliga tribe. Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra located here displays preserved tribal information and the biodiversity of the region. There are many trekking trails here, including one that leads up to Honnametti, the highest point of the range. Another attraction here is the Honnametti Kallu – a boulder on the hilltop. A unique aspect is that it gives a metallic clang when stuck. The local Soliga tribes living here believe that the rock has gold inside.
- Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple: Another attraction of the Biligiri Ranganatha Hill is the famous Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple from which the hill takes its name. The deity in the temple is actually Lord Venkatesha, popular as Ranganatha. Figures of Ramanuja and Alvars are placed in the temple. Kanakadasa cave, Brindavana, and other shrines in the range are of religious interest. There are ruins of an old fort called Kanchikote, stated to have been built by the Gangaraja of Shivanasamudra (during the 15th-16th centuries).
- Forest Safari: Jungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd. in coordination with the forest department operates jeep safari into the BRT wildlife sanctuary twice a day (6 AM to 8 AM and 4 PM to 6.30 PM). Elephants, Sloth Bears, Gaurs, Malabar giant squirrels, wild dogs, and deers are common animals seen during forest safari, with the potential to spot tigers.
- Bird watching: BR hills are home to over 250 species of birds.
- Elephant bathing: Local Mahouts (caretaker of elephants) give a bath to the elephants under their care in a pond located near the JLR K Gudi campus. Visitors can get a close look.
- Viewpoint: A sunset viewpoint offers a great view.
BR Tiger Reserve Timing: Entry is allowed only between 6 AM and 6 PM.
Best Season To Visit
October - May
The sanctuary is home to Tigers, Gaurs ( the largest bovines ).
Places To Stay
The best place to experience BR Hills is the River Tern Lodge, a property of Jungle Lodges & Resorts and opens up an opportunity for you to get up close and personal with nature
How To Reach
Mysore Domestic Airport is the closest airport located 79 Kms away.
The nearest railway station is Mysore Station ( 89 Kms ).
One can drive from Bangalore to BR Tiger Reserve which is about 195Kms.
Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple ( 18 Kms ), BR Hills ( 17 Kms ) are some of the attractions that can be visited along with BR Tiger Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary.