Location: Located in Kodagu and Mysore district in Karnataka
Area: 643.4 square km
Nearest Airport: Mysore
Nearest Town: Mysore
Safari: Elephant and jeep safaris
Entry Fee: Free
Best time to visit: Between October and May
Number of Fauna Species: The Park is known for its high tiger-predator ratio
Number of Avifauna species: 270 bird species
Also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, this park is located in Kodagu and Mysore district in the south Indian state of Karnataka. Under consideration by the UNESCO for declaring it a World Heritage Site, the park covering an area of 643.4 km square; it is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The park constitutes of the rich forest area, waterfalls, hills, streams and valleys along with boasting of an excellent tiger-predator ratio with good number of tiger, elephant and Indian bison. A wildlife sanctuary in 1955, it was upgraded to a national park in 1988 and declared a tiger reserve in 1999.
During the summer season, between March-May, the temperature does not rise above 33 degree Celsius while the winter lasts from November-January with temperatures dropping to 14 degree Celsius. The annual rainfall in the park is 1,440 millimeters. The park has 4 permanent rivers, 41 artificial tanks, 47 seasonal streams, 4 small perennial lakes, various swamps, Kabini reservoir and Taraka Dam.
Along with tiger, Indian bison / gaur (Bos gaurus) and Asian elephant, the park also houses other mammals including leopard, wild dogs, jackals, grey mongoose, sloth bears, striped hyena, chital, barking dear, sambar, wild boar, four-horned antelopes, Indian giant flying squirrel, Indian pangolin and more.
Popular as an Important Bird Area, Nagarhole houses as many as 270 species of birds including ‘Critically endangered’ ‘Near threatened’ and ‘Vulnerable’ avifauna species such as Oriental white-backed vulture, Nilgiri wood-pigeon, oriental white ibis, white bellied tree pie, Malabar whistling thrush, white cheeked Barbet, painted bush quail, yellow legged green pigeon amongst others.
Common vine snake, Russell’s viper, the common toad, Indian rock python, Indian monitor lizard, bamboo pit viper are some of the commonly found reptile species.
In Nagarhole, there are around 96 species of dung beetles such as Heliocopris Dominus and Onthophagus Pactolus as well as 60 species of ants including some unusual ones like Harpegnathos Saltator and Tetraponera rufonigra.
The vegetation in the national park comprises largely of deciduous forests with teak and rosewood in the southern areas. There is dry deciduous forest too with Pala indigo and thorny wattle towards the eastern areas. Other than this, there is sub-mountain valley swamp forest including various species of the Eugenia genus.
Rosewood, teak, sandalwood, silver oak, axlewood, Indian Kino Tree, Grewia tilaefolia, Schleichera trijuga, species of Ficus, Kadam and Lagerstroemia microcarpa are the main trees found in Nagarhole. Clumping bamboo, Flame of the Forest and golden shower tree can widely be seen here.
The area in and around the Nagarhole National Park are inhabited by several tribes, Jenu Kurubas (honey-gatherers), the Betta Kurubas (hill- tribes) and the Hakki-Pikki (bird -trappers) being the major ones. These tribes are popular for still following their traditional ways and are known for deep information about the forest.
The vans of the Forest department organize safaris inside the park 2 times in a day: early morning and evening. Both elephant and jeep safaris are available. During the monsoon season and during the mating season of the animals, the park is generally closed.
On a regular basis, education camps are organized for school children with the forest department offering them special concessions.
No permit is required for going inside the park and entry is absolutely free. It is only necessary for a visitor to enter details like as name, vehicle registration number and the number of visitors. Between 6 pm and 6 am, the gates of the park are closed daily and the movement of the traffic is restricted from Hunsur to Nagarhole.
The best time to visit the Nagarhole National Park is between the months of October and May, especially in April and May.
Around 80 kms away, the nearest railway station to the Nagarhole national park is Mysore railway station, which is well-connected to Bangalore (just 220 kms from the park) and thus with other cities. You can hire taxis from the station to reach the national park.
The nearest airport to Nagarhole is in Mysore, which is around 80 kms away, connected to Bangalore. The closest international airport is in Bangalore that connected with other prime destinations (both national as well as interaction) by the way of regular flights.
The national park is connected to all the cities through Mysore and Coorg. Regular Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation connects the park with other nearby cities. From Bangalore, Madikeri and Mysore, you can take the services of A/C deluxe tourist buses.
• It is best to reach the park before dusk because the road towards the park closes down at 6 pm
• Do not visit the park in the monsoons if you are interested in trekking.
• Carry your medicines, a torch, a mosquito repellent, a sun –block cream but do not over-carry stuff in the park.
• Make sure you do not indulge in littering inside the park.
• Avoid wearing loud colors and bold prints as that might be disturbing for the animals and dangerous for you.
• It is advisable that you should make the arrangements for the safari, well in advance to avoid any last minute disappointment.