Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bannerghatta National Park

When I was in Mumbai, a colleague of mine once told me that she had lived her entire life in Mumbai, but hadn't been to Juhu beach. I fell off my rotating chair in shock. But that is how it is usually, isn't it? For example, I have been to Bannerghatta National Park on the outskirts of Bangalore only twice in my life, and I don't even remember the last time I have been there, whereas tourists and visitors make a beeline to the place.

Anyway, I amended that this weekend. S~'s cousin has adopted a Russel's viper and a Python at Bannerghatta, and so he has been given a pass. He asked us if we would like to join him, his wife, and his five-year-old son Ani on Sunday to go to Bannerghatta, and we jumped at the offer. Considering how much Puttachi likes animals, it is a shame that we haven't taken her to any animal place after her Mysore zoo visit. So this was an opportunity we couldn't miss.

We reached at about 9 am, and debated a bit about taking the safari ride, wondering if Puttachi would have the patience to sit in an enclosed place for more than an hour. But Ani was insistent, and so we went. The Safari turned out to be just wonderful. We saw Bison, Spotted Deer, Nilgai, Bears (Teddy! Teddy!), Elephants, Lions and Tigers. Yes you heard me right. And a couple of white tigers with an ordinary tiger were playing with each other and jumping about, actually enacting a Discovery Channel scene right outside the barred window of our bus. Magnificent sight, magnificent animals. Puttachi went crazy with excitement.

After the Safari, we went around the zoo. Puttachi saw birds, snakes, rabbits, deer, zebras, monkeys, Indian Giant Squirrels (never seen them before - they are huge!), elephants, turtles, crocodiles, alligators, and coriander-eating hippopotamuses. Oh and have you ever seen a baby hippo? Adorable!

It was lunch-time by the time we finished. The Park by itself doesn't have any eateries inside it, but people usually bring their own food and eat it inside the park. There are a few stalls outside the park which sell snacks, but I don't think you get a filling lunch there. So we ate at the restaurant at the Jungle Lodges and Resorts, attached to Bannerghatta. The food itself was not too good, but we were too hungry to care. The resort, though, is very good. Built at a slight elevation, it is spacious, bright and airy. Very refreshing. Staying there for a night would be an attractive option, I think.

After lunch, we went to the newly built Butterfly Park, the first in India, I hear. The Park enclosure itself is very green, well-maintained, with well-laid paths. The actual conservatory is a domed structure. Entering it is like entering one of these "paradise" scenes in movies. A lush tropical environment, with a stream and a waterfall, with the rich gurgling sound of falling water providing a perfect backdrop. Lots of flowers, and of course, scores of butterflies flitting about all around you. If you stand still, they actually come and alight on you. There are boards with butterfly information amidst the plants, and so you can actually see a butterfly and read about it at once. It is lovely. Puttachi had a fabulous time. Since we had been there in the comparatively hot afternoon, the butterflies were at their most active, I think. Exit the conservatory and you enter a museum of sorts, with loads of information about butterflies, and different kinds of butterflies on display. There is also a room with an audio-visual presentation of about 20 minutes. Quite informative, if you have the time and the inclination, and if you don't have a tiny human tugging at you constantly.

It was a day well-spent. The entire Bannerghatta Park is far more well-maintained than I had imagined. Oh, and I have to mention this. At the entrance of the Park, there is a lady sitting with a number of paper bags. She checks your bags, takes out all the plastic bags and puts the contents into paper bags and hands them back to you. And this includes Lays and Kurkure and Haldiram Packets and the like. She cuts them up with a pair of scissors, empties the chips into the paper bags and gives them to you. I liked that. Inside, we learned that a deer had died a while ago due to plastic consumption, and hence the extreme precautions.

So that was it. I would recommend a visit. But do go early to avoid the rush. Have fun!

8 comments:

nalini said...

This took me back in time when you were like Puttachi and used to run behind the butterflies in H'nagar home singing 'ba ba chitte'.
And our visit together to Bannerghatta Park - when in front of a tiger's cage, P~mama asked you what if the tiger ate him up. You started crying which made mama happy that you cared for him so much!Then your words followed,"Oh!if that happens, who would drive us back home?!!!!!!

Vidya said...

Shruthi,I remember going there on a school picnic sometime in middle school, and also remember it to be a super crowded,dirty park!! Nice to know that its better maintained now!

Chaitanya said...

Believe it or not, I have been in Bangalore all my life, but have never been to Bannerghatta!

Nice post.

Shruthi said...

Nalini, I thought it was the crocodile enclosure! :) I told S~ that story when we saw the crocs :)

Vidya, Wasn't that Hesarghatta? Did we go to Bannerghatta too?

Chaitanya, Yeah exactly, just like I haven't seen that huge Shiva idol on Airport Road :D

praneshachar said...

very nice to read about the park and the way it is maintained. heard about buttteryfly park appears really good one and unique too. u r lucky u got so many animals on safari some times you will get very few to see here. may be as the crowd grows and sun goes up they go for shelter and shades. so puttachi had
wonderful time seeing so many lovely creatures of nature
it is pleasure to read your posts and reeally it was like going thro the park along with u all keep posting
pranesh

Mama - Mia said...

:)

i have been wanting to take Cubby to the national park now that he has started reacting and leraning more. and if nothing else, he is sure to enjoy the wide open spaces to run on!

so next holiday we get, Bannerghatta it is!!

thanks for this post!

cheers!

abha

ps: and shall we meet in the new year?! :D

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