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Nagarhole National Park
Located 96 kms from Mysore in Karnataka, Nagarhole National Park is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and shares its boundary with the Bandipur National Park in Karanataka, the Mudumalai wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and the Wayanad Reserve in Kerala; making it one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in India. The Kabini river creates a natural barrier between the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary and the Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary. Established in 1955 as a wildlife sanctuary, Nagarhole was designated a national park in 1975. Nagarhole National Park derived its name from two Kannada words 'Naga', which means snake and 'Hole, which means streams. The term indicates towards the natural rivulets, which meander across the tropical forests of Nagarhole, just like a snake. The other three important rivers that drain the Nagarhole National Park include Lakshmana, Teentha and Nagarhole. The park is home to diverse flora and fauna is counted among India's best wildlife parks.
Best time to Visit
The best time to visit National Park is between October to May. In summer (March-May), the temperature is around 33°C, while in winter (November-January) temperature drops to 14°C.
Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary can be visited all through winter and through the pre-monsoon half of the summer. The winter months from November-February are especially pleasant, and are the best time. The summer, on the other hand, is a great time to see wildlife, including the tiger. The dry and hot season is the time when the animals gather at the lake. The monsoons (June-September) should be best avoided.
How to get there ?
» By Air - The nearest airport is at Coimbatore, 160-km away.
» By Rail - Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of 65-km from Udhagamandalam railway station and 95-km from Mysore station.
» By Road - Gudalur (16-km) is the nearest town to the sanctuary, which is situated along the Udhagamandalam - Mysore highway. This sanctuary could be reached from Mysore as well. There are regular buses from Udhagamandalam, Mysore and the neighbouring towns to the sanctuary.
Travelling within the park
The best way to explore National Park is through an elephant safari. Tourists can also opt for a jeep safari or wildlife safari in the vans operated by the forest department within the Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary. The veteran guides have to accompany the visitors compulsorily while their park tour. Tourists can also have a close view of the wildlife from the observation towers in the park.
Major Attractions of Nagarhole National Park
» Flora - The main vegetation in Jungle in Nagarhole is of southern tropical, moist, mixed deciduous type with a substantial eastern portion intergrading into dry deciduous type. Terminalia tomentosa, Tectonia grandis, Dalbergia latifolia, Pterocarpus marsupium, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Anogeissus latifolia, Adina cordifolia, Boambax malabaricum, Schleichera trijuga, Ficus, and others dominate the upper tree canopy. The lower canopy has Kydia calycina, Emblica officinalis, Gmelina arborea etc. Several shrubs belonging to Solanum, Desmodium and Helicteres etc. are abundantly found but weedy shrubs like Eupatorium and Lantana now dominate.
» Fauna- The important predators and carnivores in the Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary are tiger, leopard, wild dog (dhole or Cuon alpinus), sloth bear and the Hyena. The herbivores spotted are deer, sambar, barking deer, four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis), gaur (Bos gaurus), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and elephant. Moreover, southern population of Gaur (jungle Bison) can also be spotted. This park is also a good place to see elephants in the luxuriant forests and bamboo thickets. About 250 species of birds are present in the Nagarhole National Park. Some of the birds that you may come across are Malabar trogon, crested hawk-eagle, crested serpent-eagle and Malabar pied-hornbill. Cobras, crocodiles, kraits, pythons, vipers, and various other species of lizards are also found here.
There are a number of lodges and rest houses in the vicinity of the park. The forest department runs two rest houses that can be booked in advance. State-owned forest rest houses, private lodges and cottages are among the accommodation options in Nagarhole. There is also a posh river lodge (state-run) at the Kabini River, which, though it comes for a high-end price, also offers a great experience. Similarly priced accommodation options exist in towns just outside the Park, at Veerana Hosahalli and at Siddapura in Coorg.
Mysore (90 kms), Banglore (236 kms) and Madikeri (93 kms)