One of my most favourite weekend getaways from Bangalore is the BR Hills. I have been to BR Hill many a times and I have had great time all the times. My first trip to BR Hills was the best as I saw two leopards during my trip.
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About BR Hills
The Biligiriranga betta, also known as BR Hills is a hill range located in Karnataka. The area is called Biligiri Ranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a protected tiger reserve. It is a corridor between the Western and Eastern Ghats.
The best time to visit BR Hills is between the months October and March.
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How to get there?
BR Hills is just about 170 kilometres from Bangalore and 85 kilometres from Mysore. The drive takes around 4 hours. And the best way to reach BR Hills is by driving via Mysore Road.
There are buses between Bangalore and BR Hills. One needs to go from Bangalore to Mysore/Chamrajnagara via a train or a bus. And then change to catch a bus from Mysore/Chamrajnagara to BR Hills. The local buses go between the places.
- The train tickets can be booked on IRCTC website.
- Talk to the locals to find out which buses go from Mysore/Chamrajnagara to BR Hills.
Places to stay
As I mentioned before, I have been to BR Hills a few times and I have stayed at two different places during those travels and both of them have been awesome.
The Gorukana Eco Resort is one of the best resorts I have ever stayed in. It is amidst the wilderness with properties and the staff absolutely brilliant. The resort is committed to the Soliga Tribal Community. Most of their staff are from the Soliga tribes.
The tribal people from Soliga tribes are hired, trained and employed at the resort, which is one of the best things about the Gorukana Eco Resort.
I have stayed at many Jungle Lodges properties and all of them have been awesome. The K Gudi Jungle Lodges at BR Hills is also a great property to stay at. Their packages include all three meals. The food served at Jungle Lodges is very delicious.
It is better to stay at Jungle Lodges as it is governed by the Government of Karnataka and because of which access to every other activity such as jeep safaris become easy.
Things to do
It has been surprising to see and know how little people outside of India know about the safaris that happen in India. Whenever I have mentioned about safaris, people have just assumed it to be Africa. India has dense forests with such amazing wildlife and yes, we do have jeep safaris.
BR Hills has the largest population of Asian wild elephants. The forest is popular for spotting Indian Gaurs, giant flying squirrels, sloth bears, civet cats and many more. It is said that there are 26 species of mammals, including the deers, civet cats and wild dogs.
The forest safari is conducted twice everyday, one in the morning (6 AM to 8 AM) and the other in the late afternoon (4 PM to 6 PM) and usually cost somewhere around INR 750 to INR 1000. Ensure to check with the resorts to get the accurate prices.
According to 2017 survey, there are 62 tigers in the area. Unfortunately, I have never been successful in spotting tigers till now.
BR Hills is a great place to spot beautiful and colourful birds. It has been recorded that there are around 254 species of birds. I spotted plenty of different birds.
Ensure to take a good camera that can zoom in so you can capture the spectacular bird species.
The resorts arrange for short jungle walks where one can walk amidst the forests and learn about the flora and fauna. A local guide takes the visitors around explaining about the different plants and their benefits. And if you are lucky, you may spot some of the wild animals too on the walk.
According to Indian tourism website, there are more than 800 species of plants in the reserve.
Tribal music and dance
The resorts arrange for an evening entertainments where the tribals entertain the visitors with local music and dance. An evening is arranged with a campfire and the dancers dance around the campfire. It is a beautiful experience. And sometimes the visitors are called in for dancing as well.
Biligiri Ranga Swamy Temple
A visit to the Biligiri Ranga Swamy temple, dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara is a must. It is situated on the highest peak of BR Hills and one can drive to the temple car parking.
- The temple is open during 7 AM to 2 PM and 4 PM to 6 PM everyday.
It is a temple so please pay your respect to the devotees and dress appropriately. Also be careful of the monkeys, especially if you are having any food items.
Safety for solo female travelers
I have found BR Hills as one of those places that are safe. Both the resorts are extremely safe to stay in and I would suggest this as a place for solo female travelers. However, be careful with the wildlife as the area has tigers, leopards and elephants. Also, be cautious during nights and do not venture out alone.
BR Hills is a charming and delightful weekend getaway from Bangalore. Even though the trip to BR Hills can easily be done over the weekend, I would still suggest staying there for a few days to soak in the nature and the dense forest. It still remains as one of my most memorable places in Karnataka.