Nagarhole is a small town located in Kodagu (Coorg) district of Karnataka. Nagarhole means ‘Snake River’ in Kannada language and the name is derived from the fact that its river flows through the dense forest in a shape similar to that of a snake. The town consists of many dense forests, waterfalls and temples that are an integral part of Nagarhole’s cultural heritage.
This area was earlier a place where the ancient rulers of Mysore used to hunt for wild animals. The two of the biggest animals found here include the wild elephant and Indian bison, popularly known as the gaur. Jenu Kurubas, a primitive tribe in Karnataka, are the main inhabitants of this forest area.
The famous Nagarhole National Park, which is now known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Situated about 94 km from Mysore, this park sprawls across 643 sq km. In the centre of the park, there is a perennial water reservoir with shallow valleys spreading out of the region.
Together with the Bandipur National Park, Mudumalai National Park and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, this park is considered the largest protected area in southern India with a collective area of 2,183 sq km.
Established in 1955, the Rajiv Gandhi National Park is popular for the variety of flora and fauna found in the region, which attracts many environmentalists throughout the year. Besides the wildlife and greenery, there are many lakes, hilly terrains and grassy swamps covering the area.
The green plantation cover and suitable climate makes this place a home to different species of wildlife like the four-horned antelope, sloth bear, jungle cat, civet, spotted deer, tiger, panther, sambhar, wild boar, black-naped hare, bonnet macaque and pangolin.
Other than natural reserves and wildlife, the Brahmagiri Mountains form the backdrop of the national park. Tourists and adventure enthusiasts can also try out various packages for trip to Nagarhole. The other attractions here include the Rameshwara Temple, located on the banks of the Lakshman Tirtha River, the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary and Irpu Falls, also known as Lakshamana Tirtha Falls. There are different forest reserves within the park like Arikeri, Hatgat, Nalkeri Forest Reserves and the nearby regions like the Mysore Forest Reserve.
This park is also one of the most visited because of its favourable climate throughout the year. The park is not accessible for safaris during the mating season and during monsoons. The winter season between November and January and summers is ideal for tourists to visit the park as the climate is dry and there are chances of sighting more wild animals.
The nearest railhead is Mysore to reach Nagarhole and tourists can book cabs from the city in two hours. Bangalore, 220 km away, is the closest airport to the destination. The park is well connected to Mysore and Madikere, 96 km and 90 km away from the place, respectively.
Travel Tips for NagarholeNagarhole National Park is open from 6 am to 6 pm everyday. The road from Hunsur to Nagarhole is closed after 6 pm in the evening. Entry into the park is free and tourists do not have to acquire any permits to enter the area. Jeep safaris are booked by hotel authorities in the area.