Include the Bhadra Tiger Reserve/Wildlife Sanctuary if you are interested in wildlife. It began in 1951 as the Jagara Valley Game Sanctuary, and covered about 252 km². In 1974, it was combined with the surrounding Lakkavalli forests and the name changed to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. It now covers 492 km², divided into 2 blocks---Muthodi and Lakkavalli, in the districts of Shimoga and Chikmagalur. In 1998, it was covered under the Project Tiger program. The sanctuary is surrounded by hill ranges, while the River Bhadra and its tributaries flow through the forests.
Wildlife: Situated in the Western Ghats, the tiger reserve is rich in wildlife, including tiger, leopard, wild dog, jackal, sambar, elephant, wild dog, gaur, sloth bear, spotted dear, monitor lizard, barking deer and wild boar. You are almost certain to see the common langur, slender loris, bonnet macaque, and the Malabar giant squirrel. Almost 300 species of birds, (including the Malabar whistling thrush and Malabar Pied Hornbill), 32 species of snakes and ninety nine species of butterflies are found here.
Vegetation: The vegetation of the sanctuary ranges from dry to moist deciduous to semi-evergreen. The 120 tree species include rose and teak wood. There is also a unique species that flowers every twelve years.
Safaris are conducted by the Forest department and the government-run River Tern Lodge, while one can also trek over a nature trail.
A boat cruise down the Bhadra river is a bird watcher’s delight. In season, you can see huge colonies of river terns nesting on the rocks.
Tip: You can stay at a forest guest house, though bookings must be made much in advance and difficult to get. A good option is the River Tern lodge.
By road from Bengaluru, about 270 km. or by rail to Birur (216 km) and then by road via Tarikere. By road from Mysore, 210 km.