At a distance of 85 km from Mysore, 40 km from Chamarajanagar and 170 km from Bangalore, the Biligiri Ranga Hills popularly known as the BR Hills is a lofty hill range in Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka. It is considered to be the wildlife corridor that connects Eastern Ghats to Western Ghats. This is one of the popular tourist places to visit near Mysore and is one of the top attractions you must include in Mysore packages.
BR Hills is famous for BRT Wildlife Sanctuary (Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary). The sanctuary is situated at an altitude of 5091 feet and is spread across an area of 540 km. It was declared a tiger reserve in 2010 by the Karnataka State Government. The highest peak within the sanctuary is the Kattari Betta. The wildlife sanctuary is inhabited by a number of animals including elephants, sloth bears, bison, deer, porcupines and a number of other wild animals. It is said that the sanctuary has more than 250 species of birds like the Paradise Flycatcher, Racquet Trailed Drongo and the Crested Hawk Eagle, etc.
Another attraction of the BR Hills is the 500 years old famous Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple which is situated on the highest peak of the hill range, on the white cliff (biligiri) which gives the hill its name. The local form of the deity is called Ranganath, another form of Lord Vishnu and is depicted in a unique standing position. The temple premises offer wonderful views of the valleys of BR Hills. During February-March, a car festival is celebrated which attracts thousands of devotees from whole of South India. To visit the temple one can either climb the 150 steps or drive through the lush green forests.
There is also a 600 years old Big Michelia champaka, known as Dodda Sampige, which is holiest for the soliga tribes and other local people. The Dodda Sampige has been the God of the soliga tribe’s, who perform the fire dance surrounding the tree on the eve of Maha Shivarathri festival. Trekker’s who are visiting BRT wildlife sanctuary can visit Dodda Sampige by trekking.
BR Hills provides ample scope for adventure activities like trekking, Jeep Safari and Elephant Safari. The Cauvery and Kapila Rivers that flow through these hills also offer opportunities for rafting, angling, fishing and coracle boat riding. Safaris are conducted by KFD at K. Gudi. Experienced guides from Chamarajanagar can be hired for nature walks and trekking in the hills.
There is a Jungle Lodges Resort situated in the middle of the forest at Kyathadevara Gudi (K. Gudi) where tourists can stay. They have nice cottages and a restaurant. They organized the jeep and elephant safaris as well. Tourists can also stay at Forest Guest House and the PWD Guest House by taking permission.
There are two routes to the get to the top of BR Hills from Bangalore. One is via Mysore, Nanjangud, Chamarajanagar and BR hills. The other is, Bangalore, Malavalli, Yelundur and BR hills.
The best time to visit the Biligiri Ranga Hills and the wildlife sanctuary is between the months of October to May.