Location: Koodogu (Coorg) and
Mysore districts of Karnataka
Area: 572.90 sq.km.
Best time to visit: September to May
Altitude: 800-850 metres.
Nagarhole National Park is an all weather park located 96 km away from Mysore. The area contains the habitat of several rare and endangered species, notably the tiger. Much of it has been protected from the ill effects of development because Indian royalty used the area as a hunting park. Nagarhole is part of the protected area complex that includes Bandipur National Park, Wynad Sanctuary and Mudumalai Sanctuary.The name Nagarhole is derived from the Kannada word `Naga' meaning `snake' and `Hole' meaning `streams'. A number of streams snake through the rich tropical forests of Nagarhole. Situated within the Koodogu (Coorg) and Mysore districts of Karnataka, the sanctuary borders the Kerala State. It was originally designated as a game sanctuary in 1955 that centered on the Nagarhole settlement. The sanctuary was later enlarged to its present size in 1974 by combining the Mysore forests and Nagarhole Sanctuary. The Park has a beautiful landscape of gentle slopes and shallow valleys. The largest river draining the area in the south is the Kabini, which was dammed in 1974. Other important rivers include Lakshmana, Teentha and Nagarhole. There are several perennial and seasonal streams and tanks, all of which drain into the four major rivers.
Animals Four horned antelopa, sloth bear, civet cat, barking deer, mouse deer, spotted deer, wild dog, elephant, jackal, common langur, slender loris, bonnet macaque, common mangoose, small Indian mangoose, striped-necked mangoose, Otter, Pangoline, panther, wild pig, porcupine, sambhar, giant squirrel, flying squirrel, malakar squirrel, threestriped palm squirrel tiger. Birds Pea fowl, common babbler, scinaitar babbler, bea eater, red whiskered bulbul, red vented bulbul, little brown dove, ring dove, spotted dove, crested hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, tawny eagle, malabar pied hornbill, malabar grey hornbill, loriekeet, minivet, biyth's myna, Alexandrine parakeet, blue winged parakeet, blossom-headed and rose ringed parakeets, southern treepie, green imperial pigeon, adjutant stork, balabar trogon, great Indian Warbler, reed warbler, wood-peckers.Reptiles Common cobra, marsh crocodile (in Kabini river) Krait, Monitor Lizard, rock python, Indian python, bamboo viper, pit viper, Russell's viper, several species of gecko, skink and agamid lizaards, etc.
The predominant vegetation in the Nagarhole National Park is of southern tropical, moist, mixed deciduous type with a substantial eastern portion intergrading into dry deciduous type. The upper tree canpy is dominated by Terminalia tomentosa is association with Tectonia grandis, Dalbergia latifolia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Anogeissus latifolia, Adina cordifolia, Boambax malabaricum, Schleichera trijuga, Ficus sp. and others. The lower canopy has Kydia calycina, Emblica officinalis, Gmelina arborea etc. Several shrubs belonging to Solanum, Desmodium and Helicteres sp. etc. are abundantly found but weedy shrubs like Eupatorium and Lantana now dominate.
The major railhead closest to Nagarhole is Mysore, 80 km away, with train connections to a large number of towns and cities across peninsular India. Nanjangud, 55 km away, also has trains coming to it, but they’re fewer in number. Bangalore, with excellent air and rail links to the rest of the country, is about 220 km from Nagarhole, while the hillstation of Ooty is about 240 km from the park. Buses connect Nagarhole to Bangalore (a ride of about 6 hours) and to a network of smaller towns across Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala. Alternately, you could hire a vehicle in one of the larger towns- Bangalore is especially convenient- to get to Nagarhole. Within the park, there’s ample scope for wildlife watching. Jeeps can be taken for a drive through Nagarhole, or you can go off on elephant safari- the best way, in fact, to go deep into the jungle. Hiking is also allowed through the park, although only in some areas where there are fewer chances of encountering a hungry tiger or a masth elephant! The lake is open for a slow coracle ride or a swift motorboat skim.
Best time to visit
Nagarhole can be visited all through winter and through the pre-monsoon half of the summer. The winter months from November-February are exceedingly pleasant, and are the best time to go if you don’t like being hot and sweaty. The summer, on the other hand, though it may be pretty hot, is a great time to see wildlife, including the tiger. The dry, hot season (March-May) is the time when the animals gather at the lake, allowing for great wildlife viewing. The monsoons (June-September) are best avoided, as the entire road network gets washed out, and leeches and dense undergrowth proliferate in the forest.
The summer (March. May) temperature does not cross the 33°C mark. The brief winter, which lasts from November to January, has temperature plummeting to 14°C. Monsoon is erratic, but it generally rains from June to September.