The Nagarhole National Park, (also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park), was set up as a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and gained National Park status in 1988. The park stretches for over 643 square kilometers between the Coorg and Mysore districts in the southern state of Karnataka.
Together with the Bandipur National Park (870 square kilometers), the Mudumalai National Park (320 square kilometers), and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (344 square kilometers), 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 UNESCO for selection as a World Heritage Site.
Nagarhole National Park derives its name from two Kannada words ‘Naga’ meaning ‘snake’ and ‘Hole’ meaning ‘stream’. The Kabini River separates The Nagarhole & Bandipur National Parks. Besides the Kabini, there are other rivers flowing in the vicinity of the park and it 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. Other larger animals include spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, four-horned antelope, and wild boar. Elephants in particular are seen the most, and they can be spotted enjoying their natural habitat at its best.
The park also has a wide variety of birds, reptiles and amphibians, and marsh crocodiles, monitor lizards, and rock pythons, can also be spotted.
The park is open all year round with the best time to visit being between September and May. It is well connected by road, with other very popular destinations - Madikeri (93 kilometers), and Mysore (96 kilometers) being the closest.
How to reach
Open year round, Nagarhole & Bandipur National Parks are easily incorporated into most itineraries that include South India. They are located adjacent to each other, in close proximity to many of the other most important sites in the region, such as Belur & Halebid, Mysore, Ooty, and the Coorg district.
Mysore is the closest airport with non-stop air service to/from Bangalore 5 days a week.
What to Wear
In a wildlife destination, colors of clothes should be muted - khakis and browns, not distracting bright colors. It’s about being comfortable, not stylish. If you’re travelling in summer, take tees and shorts, except for the evenings when mosquitoes are more abundant. In the winter, come in with woolens and mufflers and light shawls. During the monsoons, take Macintoshes, caps, jackets and water-proof footwear, and enough changes of clothes.