Situated in the Nilgiri mountain range, Nagarhole National Park is spread across Kodagu and Mysore districts of Karnataka. Situated 96 km from Mysore on the Karnataka-Kerala border, Nagarhole National Park is considered to be one of the best wildlife parks in the country.
The park, which once served as hunting grounds for the Mysore kings, covers an area of 643 sq km and is named after the river Nagar Hole, which means the ‘snake river’ winds through the park. It is officially known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park and is home to the Royal Bengal tiger.
Along with Mudumalai, Wayanad, Bandipur and other small parks and reserved forests, Nagarhole National Park forms the largest protected area in South India covering an area of 3300 sq km. Kabini reservoir separates it from Bandipur National Park.
Nagarhole National Park along with Mudumalai, Wayanad and Bandipur forests has one of the densest tiger populations. The Nilgiri Reserve is home to around 48 tigers.
Set up as a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and a national park in 1988, it was declared a tiger reserve in 1999.
Apart from the tigers, leopards and wild dogs are the two other predators found in the wildlife sanctuary. Elephants and bison are other prime attractions. One can also spot animal species like jackals, striped hyena, sloth bears, mouse deer, black naped hare, etc. Russell’s viper, vine snake, Indian rock python, common krait, etc. are some of the common reptile species found in the park.
Nagahole is also an have for several varieties of birds. Over 270 varieties of avian species can be spotted in the park. The critically endangered oriental white-backed vulture is a key attraction. Lesser adjutant, Nilgiri wood-pigeon, greater spotted eagle, Indian peafowl, yellow legged green pigeon, painted bush quail, etc. are some of the other bird species that can be seen in the park.
The park has a rich green cover. Precious timber such as rosewood, sandalwood, teak, etc are found in abundance in the national park.
The park also has human settlements. Jenu Kurubas are the main inhabitants of the forest. They speak Jenu nadi, a dialect of Kannada.
Accommodation options are limited in Nagarhole National Park. Forest Department runs rest houses; however, it needs to be booked in advance. Camping is not allowed inside the park. Private run mid-range and luxury resorts are also available inside the park. One can find lodges outside the park. Staying in Mysore is a better option as the town offers innumerable options to stay.
There are no eating options within the park. Just outside the park one can find few small restaurants serving basic meals and snacks. It is advisable to carry eatables and sufficient quantity of water.
Nagarhole National Park can be visited all through the year. During summers, it tends to get extremely hot. During winters, temperatures drop to 14 degree Celsius. During monsoon, the park receives moderate rainfall. Monsoon months are best avoided since the chances of seeing animals are remote. October to February is the best time to visit the national park.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MYSORE
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Mysore is as given below. The best time to visit Mysore is also specified.