Nagarahole National Park – Where the Wild Reside

nagarhole national park

Image source: Jayanand Govindaraj

The Nagarahole National Park is the best place for you to exactly know where the wild truly reside. A visit to the park can be an amazing experience, one that you won’t forget for a long time in your life. Nagarahole was an exclusive hunting reserve of the former rulers of Mysore.

An Overview of Nagarahole National Park

The Nagarahole National Park, also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park, was set up as a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and later christened as a national park in the year 1988. The park stretches for over 643 sq km between the Kodagu (Coorg) district and Mysore district in the southern state of Karnataka.

Together with the Bandipur National Park (870 sq km), the Mudumalai National Park (320 sq km), and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (344 sq km), it forms one of the largest protected areas for wildlife in Southern India. The park is also a part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, and is being considered by the UNESCO for selection as a World Heritage Site along with the Western Ghats.

The Nagarahole National Park derives its name from two Kannada words ‘Naga’ meaning ‘snake’ and ‘Hole’ meaning ‘stream’. The Kabini River separates the Nagarahole National Park from the Bandipur National Park. Besides the Kabini, there are other rivers flowing in the vicinity of the park and these are the Lakshmana and Teentha rivers. The park is dotted with enchanting greenery and forest cover, coupled with waterfalls and a wide array of wildlife.

Due to high levels of rainfall in this region, the park consists of numerous open grassy swamps lined with teak and eucalyptus. Wildlife varieties are numerous in number. Some of the common predators that can be seen include tigers, leopards, sloth bears and wild dogs. Spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, four-horned antelopes, wild boars and elephants constitute the herbivores.

Elephants in particular are seen the most, and they can be spotted enjoying their natural habitat at its best.

Other mammals present include the common langur, Bonnet macaques, jungle cats, slender Loris, leopards, civet cats, mongoose, common otters, giant flying squirrels, giant squirrels, porcupines, jackals, mouse-deer, hares and pangolins. The park also has a wide variety of birds and amphibians.

Blue-bearded bee-eaters, scarlet minivets, Malabar whistling thrushes, common ospreys, herons and ducks are some of the species of birds present in the park. Marsh crocodiles, monitor lizards, rock pythons and several other species of frogs, insects can also be spotted.

What to See and Do

There are several resorts near the park that offer panoramic views of the park and its wildlife. Tourists have to take jeeps and vans run by the forest department accompanies by an expert guide while moving through the park. The park also has innumerable observation towers that help you have a closer look at the wildlife residing in it.

Enjoy trekking through the park surrounded by exquisite variety of flora and fauna.

How to Get There

The park is open all year round but the best time to visit would be between September and May. The park’s gates are closed by 6:00 pm.

  • By Air: The nearest airports are in Bangalore and Mysore.
  • By Rail: The nearest station is in the city of Mysore.
  • By Road: The park is well connected by roads and distances with various cities can be calculated as follows: Madikeri (93 km), Mysore (96 km) and Bangalore (236 km).

The Nagarahole National Park is bound to leave you breathless with its enchanting natural beauty and offers a great opportunity for you to release your wild side.

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