Once the private game reserve of the Mysore 'maharajas' (rulers), the Bandipur Tiger Reserve was among the first nine Tiger Reserves formed in India at the launch of Project Tiger in 1973. Located in the Mysore District of Karnataka, the reserve lies adjacent to the Nagarhole National Park, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. Three rivers flow through the main area of the Bandipur Tiger Resrve, Karnataka. Of these, the Nugu River flows through the middle, while the Moyar River forms the southern boundary between Bandipur and Mudumalai. The third river - Kabini, forms the boundary of Bandipur and Nagarhole Sanctuary. Numerous seasonal rivulets like Wadli, Chammanahalla, Aidasanahattihalla, Hebballa, Warranchi, Chippanahalla and Mavinahalla also flow through Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
Bandipur Tiger Reserve is teeming with rich and varied wildlife and some of the endemic and endangered species of animals spotted here include Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Gaur, Sambar, Spotted deer, Sloth bear, Mouse deer, Wild dog, Four horned Antelope, Flying Squirrel, Nilgiri Langur, Panther, Crocodiles, Python, Osprey, Pea fowl, etc. The around 1,900-odd elephants at Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka, form one of the prominent attractions of the Sanctuary.
Dry deciduous scrub, Southern tropical/Dry deciduous & Southern Tropical Moist Mixed deciduous forests constitute the vegetation of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka. There are some natural and artificial saltlicks available at Bandipur Tiger Reserve and these are happy hunting grounds of the wild animals inhabiting the forests. Bandipur Sanctuary forms part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve - the first 'Biosphere Reserve' in India.
The nearest railhead is at Nanjangud, 55 km away.
The nearest road junction is the town of Gundulpet, about 20 km from Bandipur. As both of these are fairly small places, a better way to reach Bandipur is via Mysore (80 km) or Ooty.