Nagarahole Tiger Reserve is spread over an area of 847.981 square kilometres and is located in the Mysore and Kodagu districts of Karnataka. It is a significant centre for Project Tiger and Project Elephant conservation efforts. Large populations of herbivores and carnivores can be found in the Protected Area, including the Asiatic Elephant, Gaur, Sambar, Chital, Muntjac, Four-horned antelope, Wild pig, Mouse deer, and South-western Langur. Nagarahole is bordered by the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the southeast and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala to the south. There are numerous streams and rivulets in the park. Large bodies of water called the Taraka and Kabini reservoirs are situated in the park's southeast and west, respectively.
Formerly known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, this enchanting national park in India is among the well-maintained wildlife parks in the country. Nagarhole derived its name from Kannada names, Nagar means snake and hole means streams. The inception of the park can be traced to when it served as a hunting reserve for the Maharajas of Mysore. Arkeri, Hatgat and Nalkeriin Kodagu are some of the forest areas which were included under the hunting regions. In 1947, a few other reserve forests in the state from the adjoining areas of Mysore were added to Nagarhole Tiger Reserve. In 1988, it was officially recognised as a National Park. Nagarhole National Park once recorded 300 bird species inclusive of some endemics of Southern India which is why it is also a part of the IBA (Important Bird Area). South India is known as the land of endemics with multiple unique species of birds, reptiles and amphibians exclusively found here.
Types of Safaries
Big 5 Animals
The roads that run through Nagarhole National Park are open daily from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., year-round.
If you're embarking on a safari, expect to pay a DSLR camera fee with rates indicative of the size of your lens.
The park has two separate safari zones: Zone A consists of a woodland area, and Zone B is a riparian zone on the Kabini backwaters. The Jungle Lodges & Resorts jeep safaris can cover only one of the zones at a time, while the Forest Department canter safaris can enter both zones, unrestricted, during one tour.
The best time to spot animals is during the summer, in March and April when the waterholes are dry and the animals congregate near the lake. However, the temperature outside is more pleasant from November through February.
During the monsoon season (July through October) safaris may not operate due to muddy, impassable roads, and wildlife sightings are minimal.
The Kabini side of the park has the most tourist-friendly entrance and the best (albeit expensive) accommodations and facilities for jeep safaris.
Arrive an hour or two in advance in order to get tickets for the canter safaris. Demand can be high, especially on weekends. People start lining up early and seats are limited.
The best option for elephant viewing is by booking an afternoon boat ride.
Carry binoculars, a camera, and a bird book to identify birds to make your trip more fruitful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Nagarhole National Park is located in the districts of Mysore and Kodagu, Karnataka. The park usually has a tropical climate making it suitable to visit it any time of the year. However, summers are best suited for spotting wildlife at its best. Winters here are also pleasant and the temperature can go down as low as 10 degrees celsius. The park remains closed during the monsoon season which is from June to September. The best time for safari rides is in the month of December.
Nagarhole National Park is well connected via road, rail and air.
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Bangalore International Airport
Road: If one wishes to commute through the road, taxi services are also available from nearby cities like Bangalore and Mysore. Jeeps and bikes can also be rented to reach the park.
Flora: The flora of the park includes deciduous forests, swamp forests, rosewoods and bamboo. The southern part of the park has rose, teakwood and sandalwood trees that are used for commercial purposes and trees like crocodile bark, thorny wattle and axle wood which are found on the eastern side. A few species such as gooseberry, beechwood, horsenettle, and bonesets are also present here. The most popular attractions are the golden shower trees and flame of the forest which can be seen at Nagarhole National Park.
Fauna: Nagarhole National Park or Nagarhole Tiger Reserve is home to the famous big cat, The Royal Bengal tiger. The dense vegetation makes it a favourable place for other animal species like sloth bears, hyenas, leopards, elephants and more to exist. There is an adequate number of herbivores like deer, antelope, wild boar in order to maintain the predator-prey balance in the park.
Some occasionally sighted mammals here include jungle cat, grey langur, Indian giant flying squirrel, European otter, mongoose and the golden jackal. The park also is famous for its bird species such as oriental white-backed vulture, the Nilgiri wood pigeon, darters, blue-winged parakeet, Malabar grey hornbill and more. Nagarhole National Park is a perfect place for muggers, Russell’s viper, Indian rock python, toads and more such species to thrive.