Get ready to go through a once in a lifetime experience when you visit the famous BRT Tiger Reserve this holiday season. Situated between the Western and Eastern Ghats the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple (BRT) Tiger Reserve is based in the south eastern Karnataka, athe border of Tamil Nadu. It has been named after the Rangaswamy temple that is embellished with a whitish rock at the helms of the sanctuary. This gift of a wonderful ecosystem is the worthy delight of floral, faunal and cultural affluence. The amazing combination of the hills, ridges and grasslands of BRT tiger reserve resides an astounding variety of varied species. It was declared as the protected reserve in the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
Imparting a distinguished quality to the region of the wildlife sanctuary, the Soliga temple in K.Gudi, sets you in an amazing blend of lush green forests and tents placed in the midst of wilderness. The scenic beauty brings out the nature lover in you. On the easternmost side of the Western Ghats, there are hills which inhabit a wide variety of flora and fauna. The wildlife sanctuary is spread over a large area of 322 sq km and initially it was created surrounding the temple. Only in 2010 it was declared a reserve under Project Tiger. Bilgri as the name of the sanctuary is derived from the white rock with the temple of lord Rangaswamy on the top side of these hills. This unique sanctuary exhibits scrub, dry deciduous, moist deciduous, evergreen, semi evergreen and shola forests. It is widely known for its many endemic species of plants including valuable medicinal ones.
The ancient temple dedicated to Biligiri Rangaswamy in the sanctuary is a place of pilgrimage for over 500 years. The temple is built in traditional Dravidian style of architecture. The festival of Lord Rangaswamy at Biligiri Temple is held during 'Vaishaka' in the month of April.
The BR hills join the Western and Eastern Ghats which helps the wild animals to move from one side of the hill to another. Therefore, the sanctuary serves as a crucial biological road for the animals residing in the entire deccan plateau.
Although one can visit the tiger reserve anytime of the year however the best season to visit BRT reserve is between October and May. During these months animals come out of their hiding and are spotted easily. Also during this time, different species of birds can be spotted in the region because a good number of migratory birds arrive the southern part of our country in this time.
While there are a very few options to stay nearby the BRT tiger reserve like jungle lodges run by the forest dept but the best way to experience nature closely is through a camp. K Gudi Wilderness Camp is the best camp of Jungle Lodges and Resorts. It is located right inside the BRT Tiger reserve and up on the hill at an altitude of about 4000 feet. The pretty isolated place which is even devoid of electricity lets you feel the air of jungle fully and completely. The staff members are enthusiastic and take you to this journey of unending adventure and excitement. This is an opportunity to feel the jungle as you stay inside the jungle. The food is also excellent with respect to the high standards of the lodge. Beautiful wilderness is just the thing that you experience, the moment you step into your tent.
The reserve boasts of a good number of tigers. It is also known to have gaur and bovines that are one of the largest. It is a good place to spot many different large and small animals. The reserve exhibits about 26 varied species of mammals. Sambhar, the shy barking beer, chital can be commonly viewed here. One can also spot a four horned antelope rarely. The diverse range predators include leopards, tigers, lesser cats, wild dogs and sloth bears. The reserve also inhabits two species of primates and three species of squirrels that includes the giant flying squirrel, all these mammals under the category of arboreal mammals. This region is a delight for bird watchers as it has a large number of bird species, 254 species, in the BR hills. This variety of species also includes the southern population of the white winged tit. The bird lovers can come here and see these beautiful birds in their leisure time. The rich variety of flora and fauna includes more than 20 species of reptiles and an amazing 116 species of beautiful butterflies. This wildlife sanctuary that extends over an area of 322.4 sq km was set up around the temple in 1974, then it was expanded to 539.58 sq km 1987. This famous tiger reserve, located at a height of 5,091 feet above sea level, the hill stretches from north to south for about 16 Km. The herds of wild elephants are the most conspicuous mammals in the BR Hills. The forest region of BR hills is the only forest areas on the east of the main Western Ghats Mountain in the central southern peninsula to have such a large number of these pachyderms.
This reserve is unique in its biogeography and the ridges of the hills move in the north to south direction. The projection of the Western Ghats in a north to east direction joins the splintered Eastern Ghats hills. This one of a kind extension of Western Ghats makes a live bridge between the Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats with the sanctuary situated almost in the middle region of this bridge. Therefore, the biodiversity of BRT sanctuary predominantly is of Western Ghats in nature with different proportion of eastern elements in it. The reserve which is 35 km long north-south and 15 km wide east-west, spreads over an area of 540 sq km with a significant variation in average temperature and annual rainfall. The hill ranges, within the tiger reserve rise as high as 1200 m above the plateau and run north to south in two ridges. With a diverse range of climate and weather conditions and also the altitude variations within this small region of the tiger reserve have transformed it into a heterogeneous mixture of habitats such that we can find almost all major forest vegetation types namely shrubs, deciduous, riparian, evergreen, grasslands and shoals. The forests of this region inhabits close to 800 different species of plants belonging to various families. They also show a close affinity to the Western Ghats. The charnocktite hills of the Biligiris are covered with tropical dry forest, some part of the south deccan plateau dry deciduous forests in this region. At lower elevations, different variety of scrub forests are observed where as at higher elevations, tall deciduous forests along with shoal forest and montane grasslands which exceed 1800 meters, are found. These forests serve as a crucial wildlife corridor between the Eastern and Western Ghats, joining the largest populations of Asian tigers and elephants in southern part of India.
The jungle lodges operate various safari trips and the cost is included in your whole package. Safari trip enables you to fully experience the thrill of wild animals. One can always enjoy the mesmerizing scenic beauty of this region along with sights of exhilarating views of wild animals. In these wonderful surroundings the astonishing exuberance of nature will be unshackled before your eyes. In watching a barking deer in glee, observing a mighty gaur in awe, praising the grace of an elephant, remembering the colours of a peacock, catching the ultimate glimpse of the majestic predators leopard and tiger, or simply reveals your naturalistic side that even you were unaware of. The birds of the forest will add to the excitement, with crested serpent eagles, changeable hawk, rollers, white bellied woodpeckers, nuthatches, kingfishers and many other species bringing a grace to the enormity of this region. Allow yourself to capture the adventure as you take your camera along, while the verbal faculty takes a backseat throughout the safari. In the lap of nature, one can have immense joy by observing authentic wildlife in one of the finest and newest tiger reserves of the country. Various other activities at the BRT tiger reserve are trekking, professional angling, amateur fishing, coracle boat rides, bird watching, river rafting and outdoor camping.
Air: The nearest domestic airport is Mysore Airport that has tri-weekly non-stop flights to Bangalore. The nearest international airport is Coimbatore Airport, 185 km from BR Hills. But Coimbatore has lesser connectivity when compared to Bangalore International Airport which is about 220 km from BR Hills.
Rail: Chamarajanagar is the nearest train station, at 40 km from BR Hills. Everyday 6 trains connect Chamarajanagar with Mysore and one among the six goes to Tirupati via Bangalore.
Road: Road remains the best way to reach. One must go through Mysore highway, and drive till Maddur. This saves a lot of time and exertion.