Nagarhole National Park or Rajiv Gandhi national park is located in Kodagu district of Karnataka. It is a part of Nilgiri biosphere reserve and is now under the consideration for recognition as a heritage site. The park is filled with waterfalls, hills, valleys, streams and forests. The park is famous for its rich population of animals and birds.
The park is located to the north west of Karnataka’s Nagarhole national park. The two parks are separated by the Kabini reservoir. The park gets its name from the streams. Naga means snake and hole means streams. Many wriggling streams are found in this park and, thus the name. The park has 47 streams, 41 artificial tanks, four lakes with water throughout the year, 4 perennial streams, a reservoir and a dam. There are several swamps in this region. This diverse landscape promotes the population of various species of animals and birds in this region
Nagarhole national park has the highest density of herbivores in Asia. This park is best for spotting elephants, guar, tiger and bear..
The park is located in a place where the Deccan plateau joins with the Western Ghats. The park’s altitude ranges from 680m to 1,454m.
North – This region is bordered by Kabini river. This is the main water source of the park and many mammals can be spotted near the banks. The region receives heavy rainfall and is covered with forest. Moist deciduous forest are common here. Large herbivores are spotted easily.
South East – This part of the park is dry and excellent spot for finding predators and also for birdwatching.
Center – This region is famous for the Kabini backwaters. It is the best spot for finding elephants and other wildlife. Gaur and deers are common here.
West – This region is covered with mountains, streams, waterfalls and valleys. Bamboos and sandalwoods are common in this region. Tree dwelling animals can be easily spotted here.
The Northern part of Western Ghats form a predominate region in the park. This region is filled with moist deciduous forests. Rosewood and teakwood are found very common in the southern part of the park. In the central part of the park, dry deciduous forests are found. Pala indigo is very common here. In the swamp regions, Eugenia trees are very common.
Other main trees found in this park are silver oak, sandalwood, teak, crocodile bark, Indian kino tree, axle wood, kadam, cotton tree, ficus, beechwood, Indian gooseberry and others. Top conspicuous tree species are clumping bamboo, flame of the forest and golden shower tree.
Top animals to spot here are Bengal tiger, leopard, sloth bear, ussuri dhole, antelope, barking beer, sambar deer and elephant. You can find many jungle bison here. In places where bamboo trees are found, elephants are very common. Other common animals to spot are jungle cat, leopard cat, gray langur, civet, mongoose, bonnet macaque, Indian giant flying squirrel, hare, pangolin and others.
Nagarhole national park is famous for birdwatching too. More than 250 species of birds are found here. The birds are commonly found near the KabiniRiver. Top birds to spot are blue bearded bee-eater, Malabar whistling thrush, common osprey, duck and herons.
The park is an important bird watching spot during summer season. The artificial lakes and rivers dry into puddles, which attract many birds. Top birds to spot are white backed vulture, greater spotted eagle, Nilgiri wood pigeon, red headed vulture, blue winged parakeet, oriental white ibis, Malabar grey hornbill and others. In the dry region of the park, top birds to spot are painted bush quail, ashy prinia, Indian robin, yellow-legged green pigeon, Indian peafowl and others.
Top reptiles found in the park are muggers, common vine snake, bamboo pit viper, Indian rock python, Indian monitor lizard, common wolf snake and others. There are 96 species of dung beetles and more than 60 species of ants in the park. Most interesting ant species in the park is the jumping ant, which can jump up to one meter high.
Summer : Summer starts in March and ends in May. The temperature can go higher than 30-degree C. Dehydration during trekking and other activities is very common in this season. During the summer, the artificial lake dries into puddles of water. This attracts manybirds, which feed on fishes in the puddles of water. Excellent time for birdwatching.
Monsoon : Monsoon stretches from June to September. The place receives heavy rainfall. Leeches are common in this season. Thus, keep caution while enjoying safari. The land becomes mushy and sticky during rainy season making transportation, harder. Certain safaris might be temporarily stopped during this season and certain regions would be blocked for entry.
Winter : Winter starts in November and ends in January. The temperature can go as low as 14 degree C. Migration birds are common during this season.
The best time to visit is from October to May. During this period, spotting animals and birds is easy. Travel within the park is also easier. It is better to avoid monsoon season. During heavy rain, the park might be closed for visitors.
Nagarhole national park provides many different types of safari experience.
Jeep safari is the best for spotting large herbivores and predators. Top animals to spot during a jeep safari are leopard, elephant, tiger and others.
Boat safari is available on the river Rabini. This safari is the best to spot aquatic wildlife like water birds, crocodile and others. Coracle ride is also available in the river. Coracle is an Indian round boat that is best for slow drifting. During the ride, the coracle is kept along the river to spot land animals too.
Bus safari is available in the morning and evening. The possibility of spotting animals is higher with the bus. The bus fee is 150 INR per head. 16-20 people can travel in a bus. During peak season, the route of the bus would be shortened to avoid long queue.
The nearest airports are located in Mysore and Bangalore. Bangalore is the nearest international airport to the park. It is located 236 km away from Nagarhole national park. Mysore airport is located just 96 km from the park. Tourists usually enter India via Bangalore airport and then take up a connecting flight to Mysore. From Mysore airport, a lot of cabs, buses and other transportations are available to reach Nagarhole national park.
The nearest railway station is located in Mysore. The railway station is just 80 km away from the Nagarhole national park. There are train services from various parts of the country to Mysore. From the railway station, one can hire cab or bus to reach the park.
Buses to Nagarhole national park are available from Mysore, Bangalore, Madikere and others. Taxi services are also available. A taxi ride from Bangalore to the park would cost around INR 5,000 and from Mysore, the cost is approximately 2000 INR.
Distance between major cities and Nagarhole National Park
Inside Nagarhole national park, a forest guesthouse is located where tourists can stay. Prior booking is required for accommodation. Getting accommodation during peak season is rare due to high demand.