Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve in India 2022

The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve is named after the Bhadra River, which flows within the forest. From tigers to gorgeous birds, this wildlife forest on the Western Ghats has it all. This forest shares border with both the Chikmagalur and Shimoga districts of Karnataka.

Muthodi and Lakkavalli are the two main regions that fall in this Sanctuary. This Indian forest first received sanctuary status in 1951 from Mysore Government as the Jagara Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. It was later reconstituted and renamed as Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary in 1974. Thus Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as Muthodi forest.

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve in India
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve in India

Table of Contents

My Experience at Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary near Bhadra Reservoir is a perfect place to go on safari like Jim Corbett National Park. I visited the sanctuary in the evening. Our Bhadra and Muthodi safari started at 3.30 pm, but I reached the place at 3 pm because of the limited availability of jeeps and buses. Jeep charges are 400 rupees per head.

The ride via the forest was decent and took 2.5 hours. It would help if you were lucky to spot the animals. I spotted hornbills, monitor lizards, deer, Indian Bison, elephants, and a few birds on my trip.

As we went deep into the forest, I was lucky enough to spot the Indian Gaur twice. Through my Bhadra forest journey, none of them was spotted by us during our trip. Everything was perfect, and the boat ride made my trip more memorable.

Information from my experience:-

  • A jeep safari to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve takes approximately 2-3 hours.
  • The packages for visiting Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve start from INR 400 (approx).

How far is Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary from Chikmagalur?

Travellers reach Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve from Chikmagalur (33 km), Shimoga (40 km), Hassan (100 km), Mangalore (213 km), and Udupi (170 km). Bajpe (near Mangalore) is the closest airport, while Shimoga is the closest railhead.

History of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, previously known as the Jagara Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, was established in 1951. In the Western Ghats in Chikmagalur and Karnataka’s Shimoga district, Bhadra is 492 sq km long. The name “Bhadra” comes from the Bhadra river flowing through the lush green forest. In 1998 it was declared as India’s 25th tiger project.

Geography of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary Lakkavalli

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and tiger sanctuary in India lie amidst lush green vegetation and lofty hills. The reserve comprises more than 100 different species of plants. Dry and moist deciduous forest, semi-evergreen forest, swampy patches, and bamboo and teak plantations adorn this region. 

The semi-evergreen forest, also known as “Sholas” treasures a variety of medicinal plants. Pure and tall grasses called “Hadloos” grow in the swampy patches. Bamboo shrubs grow along the valley and river and reach a height of 18-24 m. At higher altitudes, short bamboo shrubs and Seebu grow. 

Various economically important timber species like Rosewood, Mathi, Teak, Nandi, Kindal, and Honne are found in abundance. Jagara Giant, a big and 300 years old teak tree with a girt of 5.21 m, is the major attraction of the sanctuary.

Climate and Temperature Range in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Climate

The region experiences three well-defined seasons: Autumn (June-October), Winter (November-January), and Summer (February-May). Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary enjoys rain from both South-west and Northeast monsoon winds. 

During the southeast monsoon, the sky remains cloudy, and heavy downpours with strong winds and lightning & thunder are experienced. At the same time, the weather remains gentle and bright, with steady precipitation when the northeast monsoon wind blows. 

Mostly, the climate of Bhadra Sanctuary remains fairly healthy and pleasantly cool.

Temperature

During summer, the temperatures go up to 36 degrees Celsius in the daytime. At the same time, the temperature drops to 10 degrees during winter. For most of the year, the temperature of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve hover between 18 degrees and 30 degrees Celsius.

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary famous animals

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary was named a Tiger Reserve in 1998 under the Indian Government’s. Project Tiger was an initiative taken by the Indian Government in the 90s to demarcate areas with increasing (endangered species) Bengal tiger populations as Tiger Reserves. The sanctuary is also known for its impressive population of elephants, bison, black leopard, deer, gaur, boar, sloth bear, wild cat, jackal etc.

How many tigers are there in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary?

Bhadra national park has the highest population of tigers out of all other sanctuaries and national parks in Karnataka.
Currently, Bhadra was the 25th tiger reserve under this tiger reserve project. With an increase to 40 tigers from 32.

bhadra wildlife sanctuary bison
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary Bison

Birds in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary houses over 250 species of Avian fauna. Birds like the great black woodpecker, Malabar parakeet, Peacock, Parrot, Munia Bee-eaters, grey junglefowl, great pied hornbill, Indian treepie, Partridge, Pigeon, four species of hornbill, racquet-tailed drongo, Malabar whistling thrush, black-naped flycatcher, etc. are found here same as Chintamani Kar bird sanctuary.

Butterflies in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary Lakkavalli Karnataka

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is home to over 56 exotic species of butterflies. The famous butterflies found at Bhadra are baronet, crimson rose, blue pansy butterfly, tailed jay, great orange tip, yamfly, southern birdwing, bamboo tree brown, etc.

Reptiles in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhadra comprises over 43 species of reptiles. The most common reptiles found in reserve are vine snake, king cobra, common wolf snake, common Indian monitor, Russell’s viper, Draco or gliding lizards, rat snake, olive keelback, marsh crocodiles, common cobra, bamboo pit viper, etc.

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary flora and fauna

The highlands of Western Ghats, along with the river Bhadra, makes up the forest ecosystem and contributes to the said diversity. 

Vegetation found here are typical plants and trees that are common in peninsular India. The forest is a dry deciduous type with deciduous and tropical trees in the majority. To date, a total of 120 varieties of plant life has been observed here. These include the likes of Teak, Rosewood, Mathi, Honne, Nandi, Kindal, Bamboo, etc.

Fauna, on the other hand, is not restricted to only tigers and elephants. Carnivores other than tigers include panthers, leopards, jackals, bears, wild boars, panthers, etc. Sambar, spotted deer, mouse deer, barking deer, sloth bear, mongoose, porcupine, and gaur are commonly seen here. 

Birds like junglefowl, red spurfowl, painted bush quail, Osprey, pigeon, great black woodpecker, dove etc are found here like Sultanpur National Park.

How to reach Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is easily accessible in many ways. Well-defined roads allow daily public transports from different places of the state to here. You can reach here by train by air or by road. Chikmagalur to Bhadra wildlife sanctuary is 79 km through SH 57. Bangalore to Bhadra wildlife sanctuary distance is 283.4 km through NH 48 and SH 24

How to reach Bhadra wildlife sanctuary by train

The nearest railway station to the tiger reserve is Kadur. It’s at a distance of 51 km from the forest. This distance can be covered in an hour by car.

How to reach Bhadra wildlife sanctuary By Air

Mangalore Domestic Airport is the nearest airport at a distance of 185 km from the sanctuary. Cars and buses available here can take you to your destination.

How to reach Bhadra wildlife sanctuary By Road

NH 75 connects Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary to Bangalore, Kunigal, Channarayapattana, Hasan, Belur, Chikmagalur. It takes more than 5 hours to travel from Bangalore to Bhadra.

Bangalore to Lakkavalli Bhadra wildlife sanctuary

The distance between Karnataka’s capital Bangalore and Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary at Lakkavalli is 285 km.

Distance from Shimoga to Bhadra wildlife sanctuary

The distance between Shimoga and Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary is 32.5 km.

Distance from Jaipur to Bhadra

Jaipur to Bhadra distance 12.9 km via Shipra Path, takes 27 min via car.

Chikmagalur to Bhadra wildlife sanctuary distance

The distance between Chikmagalur and Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary is 79 km.

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary entry fee

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary is open every day in two shifts – morning and afternoon. It’s open in the morning from 6:30 am to 9:30 am and from 3:30 am to 6:30 pm. We reached here in the second half. Entry is allowed only by forest jeep safaris. The ticket fee for both shifts is the same. The ticket price for adults is Rs. 400. For children below age 10, it’s Rs. 200. 

Inside of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
Inside of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Best time to visit Bhadra wildlife sanctuary

October to February is the ideal time to visit Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. As it’s the dry season, your forest experience will be completed peacefully without any accidental rainfalls to ruin it. Temperature is also on the lower side during this period.

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary timings

All DayMorning TimingsAfternoon Timings
Monday6:30 am to 9:30 am3:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Tuesday6:30 am to 9:30 am3:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Wednesday6:30 am to 9:30 am3:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Thursday6:30 am to 9:30 am3:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Friday6:30 am to 9:30 am3:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Saturday6:30 am to 9:30 am3:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Sunday6:30 am to 9:30 am3:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Opening and Closing Time

The sanctuary timing is from 6:30 am to 9:30 am and from 3:30 am to 6:30 pm before sunset.

6 Things to do at Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

  1. Wildlife safari: Explore the jungle through jeep, boat, or canter safari.
  2. Trekking: Trek the beautiful mountain ranges of the Western Ghats for an adventure day.
  3. Island camping: Camping is allowed on the islands of the Bhadra river. Explore the wild in a new way through island camping.
  4. Bird watching: Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is filled with different varieties of birds attracting tourists from everywhere.
  5. Rock climbing: Try rock climbing on the acclaimed highest peak of Karnataka, Mullayanagiri Range in Chikmagalur.
  6. Boating: The River Tern Lodge provides boating facilities for guests on the Bhadra river.
The Malabar Pied Hornbill in Bhadra Tiger Reserve Karnataka
The Malabar Pied Hornbill in Bhadra Tiger Reserve Karnataka

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Rules and regulations followed in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Indians must carry government identification proof.
  • Foreigners must carry their valid and respective passports.
  • Booking for Muttodi gate is made offline.
  • Boat rides for INR 400 (approx) are available for Lakkavalli gate.
  • Visitors must use face masks and shields.
  • Visitors must carry drinking water, mosquito repellent cream and a first aid kit.
  • Tourists must wear clothes that will camouflage with the surroundings (like olive green, khaki, etc.). Guest must wear full sleeves and full pants.
  • You must not use essential oils and perfumes. 
  • Wear covered footwear. Sandals and chappals are prohibited.
  • A visitor must not litter the park.
  • The use of plastic and other non-biodegradable products are prohibited. 
  • Smoking, drinking and lighting of fire are strictly forbidden.
  • Teasing, shouting and feeding of animals are prohibited.
  • Visitors should not use flashlights to capture photos. 
  • Tourists can only get off from their vehicles at designated places.

3 Type of Safaris in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

1. Jeep Safari

Official jeeps of the Karnataka forest department are the only vehicles that are allowed to enter the forest. Book one of these safaris to see the natural vegetation along with exotic birds and animals. You might also get lucky enough to experience tiger sightings too in one of these trips. The accompanying forest ranger acts as a guide for the trip. One jeep can have 6 tourists with one guide and one driver.

The jeep safari cost for adults is rupees 400 per head. Ticket prices drop to rupees 200 for children below the age of 10.

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary jeep safari timings

Jeep safari slots as per availability of tourists for 2 hours between 6:30 am and 4:00 pm.

2. Boat Safari

The boat safari is unique to this sanctuary. Only a few other places conduct safaris on waterways. It’s a great way for bird watchers and enthusiasts to explore the forest, as boat rides are much quieter than jeeps or buses. Boat safari shows both land and aquatic ecosystems of Bhadra wildlife sanctuary. The safari takes place on the Bhadra river and reservoir located around the forest.

A maximum of 6 people can go on a boat at once. Cost per head starts from rupees 800 and can go up to rupees 2000 depending on the boat’s infrastructure and condition.

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary Boat safari timings

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary Boat safari timings are from 6:30 am and 4:00 pm.

3. Bus or Canter Safari

The bus or canter safari follows a more or less similar pathway to the jeep safari. This bus takes tourists deep into the forest and shows the beauty of the wild. Being bigger in structure, it avoids narrow and more rugged areas, but the experience remains unmatched.

Bus or canter can take 25 visitors at once. The ticket price is 300 rupees per person.

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary Bus or Canter Safari timings

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary Bus or Canter Safari timings are from 6:30 am and 4:00 pm.

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve in India 2022
Bhadra Tiger Reserve deer

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary Stay

Most accommodations are found in the nearby cities of Bhadravathi and Shimoga. Regular hotels, homestays, resorts and guest houses are available in abundance for tourists to spend a beautiful holiday. A few accommodations are available near the forest, at the foothills of Western Ghats, or in the jungle itself. Some of them are as follows:

River Tern Jungle Resort Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Out of all the resorts and homestays, The River Tern jungle Lodge is the closest to the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. They have their restaurant too. It’s on a small highland at the edge of the Bhadra reservoir, named after the Tern birds that flock to the nearby island during the breeding season.

This resort provides a view of the wild and mysterious jungle together with the calmness of the water. They also provide safaris to explore the jungle. Other activities provided by the resort are Kayaking, swimming, etc. The in-house restaurant provides both vegetarian and non-vegetarian buffets. The resort is at a distance of 4 km from the entrance of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary Govt Guest House

The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary Government Guest House is also on the bank of Bhadra reservoir. It’s a cheaper option than Tern Resort. The Forest Department of Karnataka maintains it. The infrastructure of this accommodation is simple and homely, but the view is mindblowing.

8 Places to visit near Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

1. Mullayanagiri Peak

 Mullayanagiri peak is among the most well-known peaks of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. A mere 45 minutes drive will take you to this beautiful peak from the sanctuary. It’s a part of the Baba Budan Giri Hills and reaches up to 1930 m above sea level. In recent years, Mullayanagiri has become a favourite hiking route. The trek to the top is of moderate level difficulty. The adventure and view add to the tourists’ adrenaline, and the spot becomes a memorable place.

2. Hebbe Falls

Hebbe Falls is located in the beautiful Kemmangundi hill station in Chikmagalur. The waterfall cuts through the mountains and descends on a coffee plantation. The water is rumoured to have healing properties of its own. The rumours originated due to medicinal plants on the river bank, which form the falls. Many people are attracted to this place for this reason and go for a dip in the water to check the healing properties themselves.

3. Jhari Waterfalls

Jhari Waterfalls or Buttermilk Falls is 24 km from Chikmagalur forest. This magnificent waterfall cuts through the steep mountain slope to drop down and form a small pool at its foot. Tourists often visit the waterfall for its natural beauty. Some are also found taking a swim in the pool for a splash of freshness.

Waterfalls in Bhadra wildlife sanctuary Chikmagalur Karnataka India
Waterfalls in Bhadra wildlife sanctuary Chikmagalur Karnataka India

4. Belavadi

Belavadi is a small village 29 km away from Chikmagalur. This place is famous for its Veera Narayana Temple, popularly known as Belavadi temple. The temple is known to be 1000 years old. It’s built-in Hoysala architectural style and is an important historical element of the state.

5. Coffee Plantations

Southern India is well known for its coffee and extensive coffee plantations. Many famous towns and hill stations are known for their coffee plantations, and Chikmagalur is one of them. Most of the plantations provide homestays for tourists to spend the night in the coffee vicinity. A few of these homestays are just at a stone’s throw distance from Bhadra Tiger Reserve. Visit these for the incredible scenic beauty or a pleasant hike through the plantations.

6. Inam Dattatreya Peetha

Inam Dattatreya Peetha is a symbol of religious harmony. It is structurally a cave on top of the Baba Budan Giri Hills. According to historians, this place has provided shelter to both Guru Dattatreya and Hazrat Dada Hayath Mir Khalandar.

People from any religion can visit this cave. The journey to the cave is also a beautiful way. You can choose to hike the mountain or ride a car on the circling mountainous roads.

7. Hirekolale Lake

Hirekolale Lake was developed for the sole purpose of providing water for irrigation to Chikmagalur and surrounding villages. The location of this artificial lake is in a rather exquisite place. Its view with the surrounding green hill ranges makes it a postcard-worthy scenery. Sunrises and sunsets from here look even more magical.

8. Bhadra Dam

Excellent sunset and a wide forest area watching from the Bhadra Dam.

12 Tips before you visit Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

  1. Wear sun-shielding gears like caps and sunglasses during your safari to save yourself from the heat.
  2. Cell reception is not very good at Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and the surrounding areas. Make sure to carry a SIM card that can provide network connections in such remote areas.
  3. Book your safari through the hotel to avoid any unnecessary hassles.
  4. Wear dark coloured clothes on your safari trip as bright colours might agitate elephants and other wild animals who in turn might attack you.
  5. Try to be as quiet as possible while inside the forest. Any unnecessary noises might be dangerous.
  6. Always pay attention to the forest ranger and follow his instructions strictly.
  7. October to February is the ideal time to plan your trip to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. The weather is clear of unnecessary rains, and the temperature is also on the cooler side. All in all, a favourable climate persists during this period.
  8. Visitors must carry cameras to capture the beautiful flora and fauna.
  9. Bhadra comprises insects and mosquitos. Thus, it’s recommended to carry mosquito repellent.
  10. It would be best to carry a pair of binoculars to spot the animals and birds that hide away from the jeep trail.
  11. Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary has a team of well-trained physicians. But people must carry a first aid kit along with them for emergencies.
  12. Medical Facility – The closest hospital from Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is 15 km away. A team of faculty at Bhadra imparts emergency first aid services if the need arises during the trip.
A snell
A snell

Threats of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve

  • The hunting of animals like wild boar poses a great threat to the sanctuary.
  • Poachers kill animals like elephants, spotted deers, sambar for their tusks, skin, etc. 
  • Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary suffers from illegal cutting and smuggling of valuable timber trees. 
  • The grazing of domestic animals by villagers living on the fringes results in the erosion of fertile black cotton soil. 
  • Bamboo grows in abundance in the Bhadra sanctuary. These tall and dry bamboos are most prone to wildfires. The failure of rain in 2004 made the forest dry and thus a fire menace and caused a wildfire in the Muthodi wildlife sanctuary area, Lakkavalli, Tanigebylu, and Hebbe Wildlife Ranges. 
  • Pathological problems and insect attacks have become common since the drought of 2004. 

What are the best places to visit in Chikmagalur?

Mullayanagiri peak, Hebba Falls, Inam Dattatreya Peetha, beautiful Coffee plantations are some of the best places to visit in Chikmagalur.

Which are the best Wildlife sanctuaries in Bengaluru?

The best wildlife sanctuaries in Bengaluru are Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Nagarhole National Park, Arabithittu Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park, and Bannerghatta National Park.

How do I plan a trip to Chikmagalur for 2 days?

Book your accommodation before reaching Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. Pack your luggage with your essentials and take a road trip or the train to get Chikmagalur. Once there, check into your hotel and book your safari trip at your convenient time with the staff’s help. Go to the safari the next day and also check out other beautiful places nearby.

How many tiger reserves are in Karnataka?

There are a total of five tiger reserves in Karnataka. These are Bandipur, Bhadra, Nagarahole, Dandeli-Anshi, and BRT Tiger Reserve.

Where is Bhadra wildlife sanctuary located?

Bhadra wildlife sanctuary is in the Lakkavalli town of Tarikere Taluk in Karnataka. Ranganathaswamy Temple is a famous landmark near the forest gates.

Can we go in a private vehicle to Bhadra wildlife sanctuary?

Private vehicles are not permitted within the boundaries of Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary, toured only in jeeps authorized by the forest department.

Are there buses from Shimoga to Bhadra wildlife sanctuary?

The distance between Shimoga to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is 32.5 km. Daily buses ply between the two places. These bus journeys take around 45 to 50 minutes to reach the forest entrance from Shimoga.

Is Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary worth visiting?

Yes, absolutely. You can watch many tigers and other animals during safari.

How did the Bhadra WLS help in the project tiger?

In 1973, the Indian government launched a tigers protection program; Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary was bought in 1998. It’s the 25th project tiger in India, and Bhadra helps to fulfil the aim of the project tiger by protecting them. Currently, there is a considerable population of tigers at Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.

Suggestions for improvement in the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

The major problem faced by Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is grazing by cattle. There is a growth in the human population living in villages around the sanctuary. Cattle carry many mouth and foot diseases, and it might transmit to the herbivores living in the sanctuary. Thus, officials must take steps to control the overgrazing problem at Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.

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