Nagarhole National Park

About Park

Welcome to Nagarhole National Park in the south zone of India for a widest and lush experience of jungle tour. Located in Coorg district near Mysore in Karnataka this aspiring reserve takes you to the wide and serene environment of the tawny, black stripped royal Bengal tiger. The Nagarhole National Park, officially known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

This reserve is India's largest stretch of protected forest that includes other area of sanctuaries of Bandipur, Mudumalai and Wynaad besides Nagarhole. The Nagarhole is established in 1955 as a wildlife sanctuary and was designated as the national park twenty years later. Today, this park is stretched over the area of 640 sq km within the series of gentle hills and valleys and with the River Kabini at North.


The name of the park has been derived from the word naga which means snake and hole that refers actually streams. This park was originally the hunting place for the kings of the Wodeyar Dynasty, the former rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore. As a wildlife sanctuary it came into existence in 1955 once the area was extended to 643.39 km and thus was refined as national park in the year 1988. Interestingly, this park is also declared as a tiger reserve in the year 1999.


The Nagarhole National Park is lying at the foothills of the Western Ghats around the Brahmagiri Hills and south of Kerala between the latitudes 12°15'37.69"E and longitudes 76°17'34.4"N. The Nagarhole National Park covers some more interesting parts including the Bandipur National Park at the north-west location at an area of 643 kmē. These two parks are being separated by Kabini reservoir. Apart from Bandipur, two major sanctuaries are also the parts of this vast reserve and they are Madumalai National Park (320kmē) and Wayanand Wildlife Sanctuary (344 kmē). Of course this whole reserve is considered as the largest protected area in Southern India by covering the total area of 2,183 kmē.


The tourists can find amazing varieties of faunas at the Nagarhole area that brings flourishing atmosphere to the whole jungle. Different mammals, reptiles, insects, birds etc are the most captivating part of Nagarhole National Park.


Flagship species like tiger (Panthera Tigris), Indian Bison, gaur (Bos gaurus) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are found in large numbers.
Species of predators like tiger, leopard (Panthera Pardus) and wild dogs (Cuon alpinus)
Other species are jackals (Canis aureus), grey mongoose (Herpestes edwardsi), sloth bears (Melursus ursinus), striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), spotted deer or chital (Axis axis), sambar (Cervus unicolor), barking deer (Munitacus muntjak), four-horned antelopes (Tetracerpus quadricornis) and wild boar (Sus scrofa).
Some other mammalian inhabitants are: common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), brown mongoose (Herpestes brachyurus), striped-necked mongoose (Herpestes vitticollis), black-naped hare (Lepus nigricollis), mouse deer, Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), red giant flying squirrel (Petaurista petaurista), Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica) and Indian giant flying squirrel (Petaurista philippensis).


Nagarhole is an important Bird Area having over 270 species of birds with 'Critically endangered' Oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), 'Vulnerable' lesser adjutant (Leptopilos javanicus), greater spotted eagle (Aquila changa) and the Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii).
Near threatened species like darters (Anhniga melanogaster), oriental white ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus), greater grey headed fish eagle (Icthyophaga ichthyaetus) and red headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) can also be found here.
Birds commonly seen in drier regions are painted bush quail (Pendicula erythrorhyncha), Sirkeer malkhoa (Phaenicophaeus leschenaultia), ashy prinia (Prinia socialis), Indian robin (Saxicoloides fulicata), Indian peafowl (Pava cristatus) and yellow legged green pigeon (Treron phoenicoptera)


Commonly found reptiles are vine snake (Ahaetulla nasutus), common wolf snake (Lycodon aulicus), rat snake (Ptyas mucosus), bamboo pit viper (Trimeresurus gramineus), Russell's viper (Daboia russellii), common krait (Bangarus caeruleus), Indian rock python (Python molurus), Indian monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis) and the common toad (Bufo melanostictus).


The Nagarhole reserve is best known as the great biodiversity of insect population including at least 96 species of dung beetles and 60 species of ants. Some common ant and dung beetles are Tetraponera rufonigra, Heliocopris dominus and Onthophagus pactolus, a very rare species of dung beetle.


The annual rainfall of 1,440 millimeters can be found in the reserve and there are abundant of water resources to flourish this reserve. These water reserves are Lakshmmantirtha river, Sarati Hole, Nagar Hole, Balle Halla, Kabini River, four perennial streams, 47 seasonal streams, four small perennial lakes, 41 artificial tanks, several swamps, Taraka Damand the Kabini reservoir.


The types of vegetations found in Nagarhole Reserve are:

  • Moist deciduous forests with teak and rosewood at the North Western Ghats.
  • Central Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests with Pala Indigo and thorny wattle towards the east.
  • Sub-montane valley swamp forests with various Eugene species.
  • Commercial trees like rosewood, teak, sandalwood and silver oak.
  • Dry deciduous forest of species of crocodile bark, Lagerstroemia Lanceolata (Crepe myrtle), Indian kino Tree, Grewia tilaefolia, rosewood and axlewood.
  • Other species are Lagerstroemia microcarpa (Crepe myrtle), Kadam, cotton tree, Schleichera trijuga and some species of Ficus.
  • conspicuous tree species like golden shower tree, Flame of the Forest and clumping bamboo


The most popular way to encounter the wild species and at Nagarhole Reserve the safari permits are issued on the spot at the Sindh Sadan Forest Lodge office. Discovering the wild species can best be performed by driving freely in a jeep around the forest. Although, mini buses are also available but are restricted to certain distances and areas.

Travel Information

How to Reach

Air : the nearest airport is Coimbatore which is 160 kms away from the reserve.

Rail : the nearest railhead is Ooty, 64 kms away.

Road : taxis are available Mysore, Bangalore and Ooty are available. Easy connectivity through buses from Mysore and other important locations are also available for the reserve.

General Information

Location - Coorg District, Karnataka
Easy access - Mysore (80 kms)
Major wild species - Snakes, Four-Horned Antelope, Sloth Bear, Porcupine, Jackal, Mouse-deer
Main Attraction - Asiatic Elephants, tigers and birds
Total Area - 64,330 Hectares (641 sq km)
Best Season - October to May