Biligirirangana Hills are a set of hill ranges situated in Karnataka, and it is an ideal place for a short vacation if you are adventurous and love the wild.
A Nature Lovers’ Paradise
Biligirirangana Hills, also known as BR Hills, is situated 5,091 feet above sea level in between the Western and Eastern Ghats in Karnataka. The hills are in the Yelandur and Kollegal Taluks of Chamarajanagar District of Karnataka.
Most of BR hills are taken up by the BR Hills wildlife sanctuary (Biligiri Rangaswamy Sanctuary), which is a protected reserve by the government. It has a wide array of species of animals, birds, and insects. It also has a wide range of plants and trees with over a total of 800 species and a major Tiger reserve. The sanctuary covers an area of over 540 km, and it has varied temperature.
During winter, the temperature drops till about 9°C, and in summer, the temperature can be as high as 38°C. The forest is open all throughout the year for visitors, but the best time to visit is in the summer as you can spot a larger variety of animals.
BR hills also have one of the holiest tribes the Dodda Sampige tribe situated in the Chamarajanagar district. The forests are controlled by the Karnataka Forest Department.
BR Hills seen from Krishnayyana Katte reservoir. Photographer Prashanth NS
Options for Bird And Animal Watching
The wildlife sanctuary of the Biligirirangana Hills is a major attraction that attracts tourists from all over. There are many safari rides in a day that help you get around the forest and look for animals. The animals spotted in the forest are panthers, tigers, leopards, guars, wild pigs, sloth bears, Langur, antelopes, Chital, Sambar deers, and bears.
BR Hills has around 200 species of birds. Some of them are the Malabar Whistling Thrush, Racquet Tailed Drongo, Paradise flycatcher, Yellow throated bulbul, and the Crested Hawk Eagle.
The forests are covered with a range of tropical deciduous forests with the Cauvery River flowing through. There are number of adventure-filled activities too, such as river rafting, trekking, fishing, boat rides, and outdoor camping.
Other than the wildlife there is also the famous Biligirirangaswamy Temple. It is the temple of Lord Ranganatha and Lord Venkatesha, which is present on the white cliff. The temple is of great importance for the Srivaishnavites. There are special prayers and poojas held on Fridays.
How To Reach BR Hills
To get to BR Hills, you can travel by air, train, or board a bus till Bangalore or you can also take a train to Mysore. Then, you take the Bangalore Mysore highway and drive till Maddur. From there, you turn and drive till Kollegala Town and finally an hour’s drive to BR Hills.
Since the hills are situated in the vicinity of the forest, there are many options for the stay. We have the Maharaja’s Hunting Lodge that has about eight tented cottages, Log houses, and tents. One can even find accommodation at the Kyathadevara Gudi Camp, which is very professional as it hosts meetings and conferences.
The Biligirirangana Hills is the place for a vacation for those who want to try something new and be adventurous.