Situated in the Mysore district of Karnataka, Nagarhole National Park is one of the most popular national parks in India for its wide variety of wildlife and a pleasant weather throughout the year. Also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, the park is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and is at present considered to be recognised as a World Heritage Site (The entire Western Ghats) by UNESCO. The park also happens to be one of the Project Tiger Reserves in India.
The park derives its name from two Kannada words meaning ‘Snake’ and ‘Streams’ and was earlier an exclusive hunting territory for kings of Wodeyar dynasty from Mysore.
It is predominantly a deciduous forest area with thick, lush greenery across the park with countless streams, rivers, artificial lakes and shallow valleys. The park is spread over 643 sq. km and was established back in 1955; eventually extended to a greater area in 1975.
Talking about the rich flora and fauna the park offers, the park hosts over 250 different species of birds and gives some great sightings of Monitor Lizard, Marsh Crocodiles, and Rock Python among others. It has over 60 tigers and is also one of the few national parks in India to maintain a healthy tiger-predator ratio.
Talking about the wildlife, here one can easily sight a Civet, Wild Elephant, Dhole (Indian wild dog), Four-horned Antelope, Gaur (Indian Bison), Chital Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Muntjac (barking deer), Wild Boar and Sloth Bear to name a few.
Though the park is open for tourist throughout the year, the best time is during November to February and April to May. One should avoid a visit during monsoon if you’re planning to go on trekking sessions. There are breathtaking views and most feasible accommodation option near Kabini Lake. One can also opt for bus tours by the Tourism department if short on time or wants to avoid staying overnight.
The place is easily accessible to the rest of the world via two nearby towns, Madikere and Mysore. From both the places, it would be roughly a two-hour drive to the national park. Nearest airport, however, is at Bangalore.