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Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka

Area of the park: 643.39 sq. km

Year of Establishment: Constituted as a sanctuary in 1955, upgraded to the status of a national park in 1983.

Best season to visit: March and April

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Nagarahole National Park gets its name from Nagarahole, which is a river that flows eastwards in a snake like fashion through the heart of the park. Nagarahole is a Kannada word which means Cobra River. Located in the Indian state of Karnataka and spread across the two districts of Mysore and Kodagu, the park was initially conceived as a sanctuary in 1955 with an area of 258 sq. km. The area of the park subsequently increased when adjoining areas of Mysore was added to it; today the area of the park stands at 643.39 sq. km. It was bestowed with the status of a national park in 1983.

What is special about the park is its pristine wilderness: there are gurgling fresh water rivers that crisscross the park, lively streams, forests that are dense and intimidating, but serene, as well as a lake that is so peaceful that it can soothe the soul.

The park was brought under the Project Tiger initiative in 1999 and is its thirty-seventh member. Also an important member of the Niligiri Biosphere Reserve, the park is rapidly gaining recognition as one of India's best national parks –the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is contemplating to confer the status of World Heritage Site on the Western Ghats Nilgiri Sub-Cluster of 6,000 sq. km (2,300 sq mi). This cluster includes the Nagarhole National Park as well.

The wildlife of the park is teeming with rare and endangered animals. For a tiger lover, the park is where the action is as the park boosts a healthy tiger-predator ratio thereby giving this apex predator enough room to not only survive, but prosper. Giving the tiger company are the Indian bison, elephants, leopard, hyena, and a host of other anaimlals. As for birds, as many as 250 species have been recorded in the park.

Climate and Ecology

The average annual rainfall at the park has been projected at 1,440 millimeters (57 in). Apart from that, there are a host of water sources that nurture the wildlife of the park. Some of the important rivers of the park include the Lakshmmantirtha River, Sarati Hole, Nagahole, Balle Halla, and Kabini River. There are also a number of streams – four perennial streams, 47 seasonal streams, and four small perennial lakes. To tackle water scarcity in case of a natural disaster, 41 artificial tanks and a number of dams have been established inside the park.

Flora of Nagarhole National Park

The vegetation of the park is shows a lot of diversity with the southern parts dominated by North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests –trees like teak and rosewood are more common in this region. As one move towards the east, the vegetation changes to Central Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests, and one would find species like Pala indigo and thorny wattle in great numbers. Another type of vegetation that can be found inside the park is sub-montane valley swamp forests, especially Eugenia genus of which many species are native to the park.

Many commercially important trees can be found in the park, apart from teak and rosewood, like sandalwood and silver oak. Among the dry deciduous type, crocodile bark, Lagerstroemia lanceolata (Crepe myrtle), Indian Kino Tree, Grewia tilaefolia, rosewood and axlewood are commonly found. Species like agerstroemia microcarpa (Crepe myrtle), Kadam, cotton tree, and Schleichera trijuga have also been recorded here.

There are also a number of trees that grows beneath the forest canopy. Some of the important members of this group include Kydia calycina, Indian gooseberry and beechwood, Shrubs like horse nettles, tick clover, and Helicteres. Also found in abundance are invasive species like lantana and bonesets.

Also making their presences felt are a host of conspicuous tree species like golden shower tree, Flame of the Forest and clumping bamboo.


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Nagarhole National Park Widlife Packages

Nagarhole National Park Tour Packages-1
Tour Name Nagarhole Weekend Tour
Duration 03 Nights & 04 Days
Destinations Covered Bangalore - Kabini or Nagarhole National Park- Bangalore
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Nagarhole National Park Tour Packages-2
Tour Name Around Bangalore Birding Tour
Duration 08 Nights & 09 Days
Destinations Covered Bangalore - Bannerghata - B.R. Hills - Nagarhole - Dandeli - Goa Birding Tour
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Nagarhole National Park Tour Packages-3
Tour Name Karnataka Wildlife Tour
Duration 10 nights & 11 days
Destinations Covered Bangalore - Bannerghatta - Mysore - Nagarhole National Park- Bandipur National Park- Ooty - Bangalore
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Nagarhole National Park Tour Packages-4
Tour Name South India Wildlife Tour
Duration 17 nights & 18 days
Destinations Covered Bangalore - Bannerghatta - Ranganathittu - Nagarhole - Bandipur - Ooty - Cochin - Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary - Kovalam - Thiruvananthapuram - Delhi / Mumbai
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Nagarhole National Park Tour Packages-5
Tour Name South India Wildlife Tour
Duration 17 nights & 18 days
Destinations Covered Bangalore - Bannerghatta - Ranganathittu - Nagarhole - Bandipur - Ooty - Cochin - Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary - Kovalam - Thiruvananthapuram - Delhi / Mumbai
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Nagarhole National Park Tour Packages-6
Tour Name Best Of South Indian Wildlife
Duration 13 nights & 14 days
Destinations Covered Bangalore- Mysore - Nagarhole National Park - BR Hills Wildlife Sanctuary - Bandipur National Park - Ooty - Eravikulam National Park - Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary - Kumarakoram Bird Sanctuary - Kochi
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Wild Animals in Nagarhole National Park

Fauna of the Park

The tiger sits at the top of the food chain in Nagarhole National Park and is its prized possession. In fact the park enjoys a decent tiger count making it a great place to spot this wild cat. Other than the tiger, other predators include the leopard, wild dog, sloth bear, and hyena. These predators survive on the large number of herbivores that dwell in the park like spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis), gaur (Bos gaurus), and wild boar (Sus scrofa).

The title of the biggest animal of the park, however, belongs to the elephant which continues to thrive on the rich vegetation and bamboo thickets of the park. Nagarhole has one of the highest concentrations of elephants among all national parks in India, making it the best place to spot this magnificent giant; visitors can conveniently watch the elephant inside the park without breaking a sweat.

Some of the other less popular mammals of the park include the common langur (Presbytes entellus), Bonnet macaque (Macaca radiata), jungle cat, slender Loris (Loris tadigradus), leopard-cat (Felis bengalensis), civet cat (Viverricula indica and Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), mongoose (Herpestes fuscus and Herpestes vitticollis), common otter (Lutra lutra), giant flying squirrel (Petaurista petaurista), giant squirrel (Ratufa indica), porcupine, jackal, and mouse-deer.


More than 270 bird species have so far been recorded in the park including the likes of the 'Critically endangered' Oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), greater spotted eagle (Aquila changa), and the Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii).

The park also includes a number of 'near threatened' species, with darters (Anhniga melanogaster), oriental white ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus), greater grey headed fish eagle (Icthyophaga ichthyaetus), and red headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) being the prominent ones. Among the endemic species found in the park are the blue winged parakeet (Psittacula columboides), Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus), and the white bellied treepie (Dendrocitta leucogastra).


The park is also famous for its insects and remains a favorite destination among research scholars and students. So far more than 96 species of dung beetles and 60 species of ants have been observed in the park. Among the ant species, the Harpegnathos saltator of the jumping ant category is a special mention as it has this unique ability to jump as high as up to one meter in the air. Then again, the Tetraponera rufonigra species is used by scientists to study the heath of the forests; this species is actually termite eaters and so they are mostly found in areas where there are large numbers of dead trees.


Nagarhole National Park Travel Information

How to reach

Nagarhole National Park is well connected by all three modes of communication to all major cities of Karnataka and India, so one can reach the park easily and quickly.

By Air: Mysore is the nearest airport and is well connected to all the important cities in India. Yet, Bengaluru, which is 236 km away from the park, is a first choice of many travelers as being an international airport it offers first-class service and in addition to connecting all major Indian cities also covers a number of international destinations like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Doha, Muscat, Riyadh, Colombo, Hong Kong, Bangkok. From Bengaluru or Mysore, taxis are available to the park.

By Train: The nearest railway station is at Mysore which is 96 km away from the park. It is a busy station with trains running to all the major destinations like Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Ajmer, Tirupati, Jaipur, Kolkata, and Shimoga. From Mysore, one can arrange a taxi to get to the park.

By Road: If one is travelling by road, private and public buses are available on a daily basis from Bengaluru and Mysore to HD Kote which is barely 30 km from the park. From Kote, taxis ply regularly to the park.

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