Bannerghatta National Park is a 104 square kilometer zoological park located around 30 minutes South of Bangalore. To get there, take the Nice Road from Hosur (Rs 30 toll) and Exit at Bannerghatta Road (it is the next exit and it comes at around the 9KM mark) and drive around 20 minutes on that road to get to the entrance. There is also excellent public transportation to the place (BMTC buses 365, 366, 368, and Big-10). The park is open 9AM to 5PM and closed Tuesdays.
The main activities available at the park are the safari, the zoo, and the butterfly park. The overall facility is pretty well organized. We got there around 9:15AM and got the Grand Safari plus Zoo tickets (Rs 210). Although they say the park opens at 9AM, the first Safari doesn’t leave until after 9:45AM. Thankfully, there are waiting sheds provided. Also, it is to your advantage to be among the first to arrive - the animals are caged at the end of the day and so you get to see them when they are released for the day, if you are in the first batch of buses.
The safari buses are seating only - the windows have grills but there are openings to put a camera and/or binoculars. The front of the bus have wider grill-less windows but that place is usually blocked off - sometimes the helper (‘kili’) will offer someone a seat there but the expectation is that they will give a good tip - Rs 500/- is the usual solicitation but you can bargain it down. The large area that the safari takes you through is fenced in and there are entry/exits to different portions of the safari (lion safari, tiger safari, bear safari etc). It takes about an hour as they stop whenever they see animals. They also have a more private safari in a jeep . For us, the highlight was the great sight of a bunch of happy-looking lions running into the forest when they were released. Also saw white tiger, bears, deers, etc.
On the way back, they dropped us off at the Butterfly park - the tickets (Rs 30) can be purchased from there as well. The main facility is an enclosed glass house with plenty of flowering plants and butterflies. There is a breeding center adjacent to it (restricted entry). Also, the Butterfly park grounds have plenty of butterflies as well - you can spend a good half hour here.
The zoo is also very well organized and covers an area of 12 hectares at the moment, although there are expansion plans for another 28 hectares. It hosts over 1400 animals belonging to over 70 species. The complex also has a museum, auditorium, and an animal hospital (no access for visitors) inside the premises. Prominent animals on display include cayman crocodiles, panthers, hog deer, a good variety of exotic birds, etc. They also occasionally have feeding time, demonstrations, and such - we got to pet a baby elephant! Also, the albino peacock was a first for us.
Not everything was perfect at the park when we visited: Parking was not that well organized, ticketing areas were chaotic, restroom facility was well below par, and there were no restaurant options to speak of (Hotel Vanashree Mayura is next to the entrance but did not look appealing).
Last Updated: 01/2015.
- Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore.
- Lalbagh Gardens & Viswesarayya Museum, Bangalore - Review.
- HAL Aerospace Museum, Bangalore Review.
Last Updated: 01/2015.