Nagarhole National Park is also called as Rajiv Gandhi National Park and is located in the Mysore and Kodagu districts of the Indian state of Karnataka. The park is named after the River Nagarhole that flows eastwards towards the centre. The sanctuary was constituted in the year 1955 and is spread over an area of 258 Square Kilometres. Over years the sanctuary gradually extended to cover an area of nearly 644 Square Kilometres and in 1983 it was granted a status of national park. The Nagarhole National Park has an astounding abundance of wildlife animals that includes large mammals like leopard, tigers, wild elephant, gaur (Indian Bison) and dhole (Indian wild dog) to name a few. Tourists from all over the world visit the park for a unique wildlife viewing experience.

The Nagarhole National Park was a small establishment that came to its present size by including the adjoining Mysore forests into its territory. There are two small villages adjacent to the reserve and the locals here survive by collecting forest procedure and by cultivating small holdings. Some villagers even now graze their livestock here and hence come into quarrel with the forest authorities. There was an accidental fire in 1992, but over years the forest has regenerated. The Nagarhole National Park was declared as a Tiger Reserve in the year 2008 and is counted amongst the best wildlife parks of India.

 Attractions at the Park

The Nagarhole National Park is recognised for abundance in the flora and fauna. There are several attractions inside the park to give visitors the best of experience in wildlife viewing.

Nagarhole Tourism Zone, banks of River Kabini and the Mule-Hole River are superb spots for sighting wild elephants in abundance during the summers.

The Nagaraja Game road is mysterious and dark and excellent spot for viewing muntjac. If you drive out from here towards Karapura, there are high chances of spotting the leopards that are after their favourite prey, the langurs. On reaching Karapura you must also visit the old khedda site, with khedda being an ancient method of capturing elephants, located at the Mastigudi.

The Nagarhole National Park has observation towers located at different place throughout the park. Enquire the locals and forest officers to find out the towers that offer the best wildlife viewing experiences.

The Kabini Lodge also offers coracle that is country made circular boats, rides on the river. Moreover you can also enjoy boating at the lake in Karapura. The experience is both splendid and scenic.

Nagarhole National Park is also renowned for a unique trekking experience. However, trekking is allowed inside the park only during the presence of forest guide along.

 Information about the Safari

The Nagarhole National Park has incredible diversity of animals and the population of tigers here is one of the best in the world. The safari rides are the best options to discover the jungles and sight the wild animals in their natural habitat. The forest department at Nagarhole National Park does not offer jeep safaris. Tourists are however allowed private jeep safaris arranged by their hotels or even book the jeeps on their own. Private jeep safaris require permission from the forest officers and a department guide accompanies all jeep safaris.

The forest department conducts minibus safaris inside the park for one hour. Visitors need to pay a nominal charge for the minibus safari that takes them to explore the jungles and spot the wild animals.

 Duration:

the duration of jeep safari timings is 2 hours in the morning and evening respectively.

 Timings:

The morning safari timings are 6am to 8am while the evening safari starts from 3pm to 5pm.

 Entry Pass and Permits:

Entry into the park is allowed after taking the permission from the forest department officers. There is a fixed entry rate that differs for Indian tourists and foreign tourist.

 Dos and Don’ts Within the Park:
  • Always maintain silence within the park to avoid disturbing the animals inside their habitat
  • Playing loud music or transistors is not allowed
  • Private jeep safaris must always be accompanies by a forest guide
  • Littering inside the park is not allowed and all garbage must be collected in a bag
  • Carrying inflammable objects is not allowed as accidental fires can destroy the forest in no time
  • Teasing or feeding the animals within the park is not allowed
 Things to Carry Along:
  • Some eatables and water for drinking
  • Cap/hat and sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellents

 Safety Measures to be Followed

Your personal safety is in your hands. Never get down from your vehicle at any point of time inside the park. Also going too close to the wild animals can be dangerous and should be avoided. It is best to follow the instructions given by the accompanying forest guide.

 Best Time to Visit the Park

The Nagarhole National Park is open to visitors all year round but the most suitable time to visit the park is from April till May. During this time the waterholes are dry and animals need to come out to the lakes, thereby optimising your wildlife sighting. The period from November to February is also ideal as the weather conditions remain very pleasant during this time.

 Nearby Tourists Attractions

Bandipur National Park is a close tourist destination from Nagarhole National Park that is famous for tigers and abundance of exotic flora and fauna. Just like the Nagarhole sanctuary it also comes under the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve.

Mudumalai National Park is another adventure destination for tourists visiting the Nagarhole National Park. This park is well known for its elephant population and is also declared a Tiger Reserve due to the high density of the wild cats. The Mudumalai National Park comprises of over 13% of total mammals species in India.

Wayanad National Park is Kerala’s second largest wildlife sanctuary. The park is known for the presence of endangered wildlife species. Besides it is also has an abundance of elephants and comes under the Elephant Project.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is located at a distance of 80 kms from the Nagarhole National Park and has a remarkable collection of avifauna. Asian openbill stork, wooly necked stork and common spoonbill are some birds commonly spotted here.

 Useful Information

It is advisable to return to the park gates before dusk as the area leading to the lodges through the park is prone to elephants and also closes at 6pm. Trekking enthusiasts visiting the Nagarhole National Park should avoid the visiting the place during monsoons as the rains washes away the tracks and renders trekking impossible.