Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park is the enchanting 247 square-mile long wild reserve located in Kodagu and Mysore district of Karnataka. Adorned with rich forest cover at the west of the Kabini River, the Nagarhole National Park is counted among the well maintained national parks in India.
Nagarhole's summers (March-May) do not cross the temperature more than 33°C. Although, winters are brief to last from November to January, has got the temperature plummeting to 14°C. Monsoons are simply erratic, but it generally rains from June to September. By receiving the annual rainfall of 1,440 millimeters, the area of Nagarhole bring plush environment around the locality with the availability of great water resources like Lakshmmantirtha river, Sarati Hole, Nagar Hole, BalleHalla, Kabini River, four perennial streams, 47 seasonal streams, four small perennial lakes, 41 artificial tanks, several swamps, Taraka Dam and the Kabini reservoir.
Flora 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 Terminaliatomentosa is association with Tectoniagrandis, Dalbergialatifolia, Pterocarpusmarsupium, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Anogeissuslatifolia, Adina cordifolia, Boambaxmalabaricum, Schleicheratrijuga, Ficus sp. and others. The lower canopy has Kydiacalycina, Emblicaofficinalis, Gmelinaarborea etc. Several shrubs belonging to Solanum, Desmodium and Helicteres sp. etc. are abundantly found but weedy shrubs like Eupatorium and Lantana now dominate.
Nagarhole name has been derived from two Kannada name, Nagar means "snake" and hole meaning streams. Genuinely, the name strikes the true meaning to this national park where few serpentine streams fork through the rich tropical forests running eastwards through its center. The birth of Nagarhole National Parkcan be traced by the stretching area of 258 sq km when it was a hunting reserve for the Maharajas of Mysore. That time it included some of the areas of the forest like Arkeri, Hatgat and Nalkeriin Kodagu. Subsequently in the year 1974 some other reserve forests from the adjoining areas of Mysore district were added to bring the area as Nagarhole Game Reserve and then was updated into the national park extending by the area 643.39 sq km in the year 1988.
The park was declared as a tiger reserve in the year 1999 to exemplify rich forest cover, small streams, hills, valleys and waterfalls. The park has a healthy tiger-predator ratio, with many tigers, Indian bison and elephants.
Being an important Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, Nagarahole is a must-visit national park for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers as the forest safari offers a very high probability of being able to spot Bengal Tigers and Asiatic Elephants in their natural habitat. Nagąrahole National Park is also home to a large number of Wild Dogs, Leopards, and Bears. Commonly spotted herbivore animals are Wild Gaurs, Wild Boar, Sambar Deer, Antelope, Spotted Deers as well as several species of birds. Nagarahole National Park also has a rich collection of Teak Trees
Visiting the Nagarhole National Park is undoubtedly the highlight of everyone’s trip to Mysore. With so much to see and do throughout the day, it is a place where you can experience the world’s best safari with a lot of surprises. One can choose from a Jeep Safari, Coracle Safari, Boat ride, or a Bus safari to roam around the park. All the options are equally rewarding and enjoyable.
Perfect for individuals or small groups, the Jeep Safari is considered the best way to enjoy the wilderness of the Nagarhole National Park. It is an ideal choice for travelers to spot many large and small herbivores in their natural habitat. Each jeep can accommodate up to 6 people along with a driver and the guide. The timings of the Jeep Safari are as follows:
Morning : From 5:30 AM to 10:00 AM
Evening : From 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Another exciting ride here is the Coracle Safari that lets you enjoy a thrilling experience along the edges of the river Kabini on a traditional round-shaped boat. During this adventurous journey, you’ll experience many moods of the river along with spotting the land animals as well. The timings of the Coracle Safari are as follows :
Morning : From 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Evening : From 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM
For all those who are interested in enjoying the aquatic wildlife at the park, a Boat Safari is a good option to go. It takes place on the river Kabini where you can also witness many other water birds along with the marsh crocodiles. The timings of the Boat Safari are as follows :
Morning : From 6:30 AM to 9:15 AM
Evening : From 3:30 PM to 6:15 PM
If you want to increase the chances of wildlife sightseeing at Nagarhole National Park, you can go ahead with Bus Safari. It operates in 2 shifts and can easily accommodate 20-25 people at once. The timings of the Bus Safari are as follows :
Morning : From 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM
Evening : From 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
The flora of the park is rich and varied ranging from deciduous forests to swamp forests, rosewood to clumping bamboo. Apart from the commercially important rose, teakwood and sandalwood found in the southern parts, trees like crocodile bark, thorny wattle and axle wood are found in the eastern sections of the National Park. There is undergrowth of Indian gooseberry, beechwood, shrubs like horse nettle and exotic species like bonesets. Trees like golden shower tree and flame of the forest stand out of the lot.
Such dense vegetation is home to an ever diverse range of wildlife. Being a Tiger Reserve, the most important predator is the Bengal Tiger. Leopards, sloth bear and the striped hyena are the other carnivores that one can catch a glimpse of in the forests. In order to balance the predator-prey ratio, there is an adequate number of herbivores like chital, deer, antelope and wild boar. The Indian elephant is quite a sight to behold when it roams around the bamboo thickets.
Among the occasionally spotted mammals are grey langur, jungle cat, mongoose, European otter, Indian giant flying squirrel and the golden jackal. The reserve is also recognized as an Important Bird Area for preserving threatened and critically endangered species of birds in India. Some of these imperil birds include the Oriental white-backed vulture, the Nilgiri wood pigeon and darters.
The blue-winged parakeet and Malabar grey hornbill are exclusive to this region. The Indian peafowl, Indian robin and painted bush quail are often sighted here. Muggers, snakes like Russell's viper and Indian rock python, lizards and toads also find a place in the thriving flora. Dung beetles and ants comprise much of the insect life found here.
Madikeri Fort has been a popular tourist attraction to witness the lives, rise and fall of several glorious rulers and dynasty. Founded by Mudduraja in the second half of the 17th century and constructed in mud, it finally took shape in granite and has stood testimony to several incidents. It is a coming together of several religions and an amalgamation of different cultures and traditions.
A Fort with a temple, Church, prison, Museum and library is pretty intriguing, especially to history lovers. Different rulers from majestic dynasties have constructed and reconstructed the Fort time and again and used it in a way they felt was justified. Located amidst rolling mountains and lush greenery, one can spend hours inside the Fort looking for artefacts mentioned in the pages of history.
One of the famous attractions near Madikeri, Abbey Falls is a great way to have a fun-filled day with your loved ones. Amidst the lush green surroundings of Western Ghats, Abbey Falls is a delightful place to visit when you are looking to escape from the hustle and bustle. A must visit for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts, Abbey Falls is one of the most attractive waterfalls in South India and also one of the best places in Coorg. Falling down from a height of 70 feet in the middle of a panoramic landscape, the tourists are sure to be charmed by the spectacle.
Iruppu Falls is one of the best tourist destinations of South India, a best place in Coorg and a popular trekking site in Karnataka for a plethora of gems the place has in its store. It is a cascading waterfall that flows down the Bramhagiri hills nestled amidst the woodlands in the Coorg district of Karnataka. Iruppu Falls is also known as the Lakshmana Tirtha Falls as it originates as the tributary of River Cauvery under the same name.
Raja’s Seat or the Seat of the Kings is a popular tourist destination of Madikeri. It is named so as in the past, the place has been visited by the kings of Coorg. Raja’s seat offers a panoramic view of the surrounding region consisting of green valleys, towering hills and paddy fields. The atmosphere of the place is quite refreshing and it is one of the best Coorg attractions.
The actual Raja’s seat is a statue resembling a brick mortar and pestle structure surrounded by four equidistantly placed pillars. All four pillars are bridged with the aid of arches. In ancient days, this spot was an important point for tourists to capture some delightful sunset moments.
One of the highest peaks in the Kodagu region, Tadiandamol has been a favourite not only amongst the trekkers but also with nature lovers, bird watchers and photo enthusiasts. The mountains have withstood the testimony of time and have inspired many since time immemorial.
The erstwhile rulers of the Kodagu region have drawn serious inspiration from the mighty mountain. Trails of their legacy have been left behind at the Nalknad Palace which is close to 200-year old now. Tadiandamol has a rich diversity in its flora and fauna harmoniously co-existing amidst the dense forests and grasslands of the Western ghats.
Namdroling Monastery Bylakuppe
Situated at 34 km distance from Coorg district, Namdroling Monastery is a popular spiritual centre and also among the best place in Coorg. This place is amongst Mysore’s largest teaching centres where you learn every aspect of Tibetan Buddhism. Amongst locals, this shrine is famous as the Golden Temple.
The architecture of Namdroling Monastery is as attractive as its spiritual significance. You will witness some finest quality architectural and artwork styles. The elegance of the temple tower blends perfectly with the ornate outer walls. Finally, there are beautiful murals to add the finishing touch.
Barpole is turbulent river full of class 2 and class 4 rapids originating from Kithu Kakathu River further extending to Brahmagiri hills to the Arabian Sea. Whitewater rafting is one recreational activity that Barpole river is famous for.
One of the most challenging rafting experience on the different level of rapids. The adrenaline rushing activity is best done in Monsoon. Launch you rafts high in the rapids and click the most adventurous pictures on your trip to Coorg or Kodagu.
Dubare Elephant Camp Overview
Dubare Elephant Camp is Jungle Lodge and Resorts Ltd.’s (JLR) project located at the riverbank of Kaveri. It lies in Kodagu or Coorg district in Karnataka, a major Coorg attraction on its own. Every year tourists find solace in exploring the different elephant species at this camp.
These elephants are in fact, highly trained by the naturalists or the Mahouts—the person who is in charge of taking care of tuskers and other elephants. In fact, these naturalists are very well aware of the history and biology of the elephants. Visitors from across the globe get to know more about these elephants’ lives, eating habits, rules and regulations, etc.
Best Time to Visit
To explore the surroundings of Nagarhole National Park, you don’t need to wait for a specific time to plan your Mysore tour. However, if you want to make the most of your visit, the ideal time would be during the dry summer season i.e., April and May month. At this time, the animals come out of their space to the lake to quench their thirst, so the chances of seeing them closely increases.
Winter season that starts from November and continues until February is also considered a good time to pave your way towards this park. During this time, the city offers pleasant weather conditions, with temperature sometimes even dropping to 10-degree Celsius, making it a perfect destination for holidaymakers of all ages.
Temperature during summer would be around 32°C. Winter is brief from November to January and has the temperature dipping to 12 °C and rains from June to October.
During the summer heat, March and April, the waterholes are dry and the animals congregate near the lake, so it is the best time to see wildlife. From November to February, the weather is more pleasant though, for hiking or touring.
From July to October, the monsoons may make the roads impassable, and safaris may not operate. It is difficult to spot wildlife during this season.
How To Reach
By Air :
Mysore Airport, which is the only airport in the city, is approximately 94 Km away from Nagarhole National Park and it receives direct flights from Hyderabad, Kochi, Goa, Bengaluru, and Chennai. However, if you are coming from any other city in the country, you can fly to Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. From there, one can either take a bus or hire a taxi from the top car rental companies in Mysore to enjoy a hassle-free journey.
By Rail :
Another convenient way to reach Nagarhole National Park is by train. Mysore Railway Station, also known as Mysuru Junction, is the main station that serves as a connecting link between Mysore and many other major cities. It operates around 172 trains from across the country and takes only 4 hours to cover the distance to the park. Once reaching the station, you’ll easily find several local transport options that will drop you wherever you want to go within the city.
By Road :
Enjoy a road trip to Mysore to witness its mesmerizing beauty and picturesque landscapes on the way. It is considered as the most preferred option for people living in Coorg, Bengaluru, Ooty, Madikeri, and Coonoor. Other than that, there are several private and public-owned buses by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation that take you to the Nagarhole National Park at pocket-friendly prices.
Hotels In Nagarhole National Park
The Nagarhole Tiger Reserve area is extenuated with great residing options in the area so as to make the jungle tour more adventurous and thrilling with the advancements of comfy services. One can stay in the Nagarhole Forest Guest house with prior booking from Wildlife department in Mysore. Besides, number of private lodges and guest houses are available at Kutta, the area available just at the outskirt of the park on the way to Irrupu Falls. Murkal is also the most demanding place in the Nagarhole vicinity to get a number of private lodges and resorts.