Bannerghatta National Park
Bannerghatta National Park is about 25 km from Bangalore. The National Park boasts of Tiger or Lion safari which takes you on tour of the section where the big cats roam free. You ride inside a poorly designed diesel bus while the animals peer at you quite close by. This park spread over a 100 square kilometer has thick thorny undergrowth and dry deciduous forest teeming with animals.
You can take an elephant ride into the less dense part of the forest too. Don't miss the Indian peacock - Pavo cristatus which is in dark blue color. This peacock is magnificent to behold when it is in the mood to display its full plumage. Peacock is the National bird of India and is considered as the vehicle for Murugan - a deity from south India.
Bannerghatta National Park is home to dozens of tigers and lions amongst other animals. Royal Bengal Tiger, Panthera tigris tigris is an endangered animal. India has about 3500 tigers located in various reserve forests spread across India. Tigers are the National animals of India and after Mrs. Indira Gandhi's successful conservation project aptly called as Project Tiger have bounced back from near extinction. Still due to the shrinking of its habitat and illegal poaching, the numbers are dwindling.
A male tiger extends to about 10 feet in length and weighs about 570 lb (250 kilo) and can easily subdue the Asian lion - his co denizen of the forest at times. Tigers are past masters in the art of hunting and primarily feed on wild cattle and deers. Rarely they develop a taste for human flesh and coupled with their skills in swimming and tree climbing contribute to the lore of Man eaters from the days of Jim Corbett.
Indian Elephant is often associated with Ganesh, the elephant faced son of Lord Shiva. Elephants are kept in many Hindu temples. In the western Ghats of Karnataka,Kerala and Tamil nadu, elephants roam free. The Indian elephant - Elephas maximus - can reach about 12 feet and weighs about 5 metric tons. For all its leisurely looking gait, it can be surprisingly fast when taunted and in hot pursuit. Sadly male elephants are poached for their tusks.
You have a general animal safari too which will cover almost all the major animals living in this park. It is amazing to watch the animals - the predators roaming free in what appears to be their natural habitat. You will need to spend at least the major part of a day here to cover the vast forest.
The road to this park is through a bustling newly emerging IT companies and residential region of Bangalore. Some of the companies located in this approach road reads like a who-is-who in the top business world - IBM, HSBC, Oracle, Honeywell and Accenture to name a few. But one look at the condition of the road will make you ponder over the poor infrastructure of this beautiful garden city. The residential buildings on this Bannerghatta road reflect the massive increase in the real estate development.