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 centred on the Nagarhole settlement. The sanctuary was later enlarged to its present size in 1974 by combining the Mysore forests and Nagarhole Sanctuary.
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Beasts of Nagarhole
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.
The Park mainly consists of moist deciduous forest in the northern and western parts and dry deciduous forest in the south-eastern part. A unique feature of these forests is the open grassy swamps, locally called hadlus, where the grass is lush all year-round. The swamps are numerous due to the high rainfall. Plantations of teak and species of eucalyptus cover much of the park.
The fauna is very diverse. The rich lush green bamboo, succulent grass and other shrubs offer ideal conditions for the elephant population. Apart from the elephants, the principal wildlife is the tiger, panther, chital, sambar, and sloth bear. Primates include langur, bonnet macaque and slender loris. Notable carnivores are tiger (in larger numbers than in Bandipur National Park), leopard, jungle cat, jackal, wild dog and sloth bear. Herbivores include elephant, spotted deer, sambar and gaur. Over 250 species of birds are present, including the malabar trogon and malabar pied-hornbill and birds of prey such as crested hawk-eagle and crested serpent-eagle.
Covering an area of 572 sq. km the altitude of the Park varies between 700-850 metres. The maximum temperature reaches 33 degrees C and the minimum is 14 degrees.
There is no local transport available but the Forest Department arranges for wildlife viewing in their jeeps and vans.
Trained forest guides accompany all tours. Visitors' vehicles are permitted into the Park only when accompanied by trained guides on payment of prescribed fees. Observation towers may be used with permission from the park staff Safari timings are early morning and late afternoon, generally from 6 to 9 AM and 4 to 7 PM
Reservations can be obtained from the Range Forest Officer, Nagarhole National Park, Kutta, Tel.21 (Kutta) Information can also be had from the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Wildlife Sub-division, Vani Vilas Road, Mysore- 570 002 (Tel. 211559), Deputy Conservator of Forests, Wildlife Division, Aranya Bhavan, Ashokpuram, Mysore 570 008 or Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), 2nd Floor, Aranya Bhavan, 18th Cross, Malleswaram, Bangalore 560 003. Tel.: 3341993/3345192
Read: Beautiful Beasts of Nagarhole by Manuel Fernandes
(Information courtesy Karnataka Tourism Department)
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.