The Biligirirangana Hills, also known as BR Hills, is a lofty hill range in Karnataka that is known for its diverse species of flora and fauna. It is situated in the Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka, at a distance of about 254 km from Bangalore. It is considered to be the wildlife corridor that connects the Eastern Ghats to the Western Ghats.
The Biligirirangana Hills is an off-beat getaway for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.
Ecological significance of the Biligirirangana Hills
The Biligirirangana Hills serves as a unique bio-geographic link between the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats that facilitates the gene flow between the population species inhabiting both the mountain ranges. This makes the Biligirirangana Hills one of the most important ecological bridges in the entire Deccan Plateau.
Biligiriranganatha Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the major attractions of the Biligirirangana Hills is the Biligiriranganatha Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or BRT Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is situated at a height of 5091 feet above sea level and is spread across an area of 540 km.
The wildlife sanctuary is a protected reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. It was declared a tiger reserve in January 2011 by the Karnataka State Government. The highest peak within the sanctuary is the Kattari Betta.
Exotic flora and fauna of the Biligirirangana Hills
The Biligirirangana Hills, as well as the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna that are unique to the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats. The hills are covered with more than 800 species of plant life, including scrub, dry deciduous, moist deciduous, shola forests and montane grasslands. The forests of the Biligirirangana Hills also have several species of medicinal plants.
The wide variety of wild animals found in the forests of the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary include tigers, leopards, elephants, bears, gaurs, sambars, barking deer and rare four-horned antelopes.
The wildlife sanctuary also provides shelter to more than 250 species of birds, 22 species of reptiles and an amazing 116 species of butterflies.
Biligiriranga Swamy Temple
Another attraction of the Biligirirangana Hills is the famous Biligiriranga Swamy Temple. It is an ancient temple that is located at the edge of a rock cliff overlooking the northern part of the wildlife sanctuary. The rock-cliff is bare and is white in colour, which gives the hill range its name of Biligiri (which means white rock in Kannada).
The temple is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha (a manifestation of Lord Vishnu), who is depicted in a unique standing position inside the temple.
The temple has been a place of pilgrimage for more than 500 years. Every year the annual car festival of the temple is celebrated in the month of April and is attended by a large number of devotees, pilgrims and tourists.
Things to do in the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary
The wildlife sanctuary of the Biligirirangana Hills is a major attraction for tourists. It is a nature centric getaway that has the Cauvery River flowing through it. The sanctuary offers several activities for adventure seekers, such as:
- Enjoying jungle safari rides
- Watching exotic species of birds
- Trekking through the hilly forest routes
- Fishing in the river water
- Riding coracle boats
- River Rafting
- Outdoor camping
- Visiting tribal hamlets
Information for visitors
There are jungle lodges situated in the middle of the forest at Kyathadevara Gudi (K. Gudi) where tourists can stay. They have nice cottages and a restaurant. There are provisions for jeep and elephant safaris as well.
Best time to visit the Biligirirangana Hills
The best time to visit the Biligirirangana Hills and the wildlife sanctuary is between the months of October to May.
How to reach the Biligirirangana Hills
The Biligirirangana Hills is a tourist destination that can be conveniently reached by different means of transport.
The nearest airport to reach Biligirirangana Hills is located in Mysore, at a distance of about 86 km. Taxis and other means of transport are available to reach the Biligirirangana Hills from Mysore.
The nearest railway station is located in Chamarajanagar, about 40 km from the Biligirirangana Hills. Visitors can opt for local means of transport to reach Biligirirangana Hills from the railway station.
KSRTC buses, private vehicles and cabs are available from Bangalore, Mysore and a few other places to reach the Biligirirangana Hills.