RAJIV GANDHI NATIONAL PARK (NAGARAHOLE): The Nagarahole Game Sanctuary is one of the most well-maintained game parks in India. The Nagarahole (meaning snake stream in Kannada) sanctuary derives its name from a serpentine river which flows through the park.
Spread over an area of 571 square km in the districts of Coorg and Mysore, the Nagarahole sanctuary is 68 km from Virajpet and 94 km from Mysore via Hunsur and Murkal and 236 km from Bangalore.The Rajiv Gandhi National Park is flanked by Karnataka’ s Bandipur National Park and Kerala’ s Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary. These three parks, together with Tamil Nadu’ s Mudumalai forest and Kerala’ s Silent Valley National Park, constitute the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve.
Visitors to the park can spot majestic Asiatic elephants and graceful spotted deer moving in their natural surroundings. The lucky ones can even spot tigers and panthers. Most of the south Indian species of animals could be found in the park. They include besides elephants and tigers, leopard, wild dog, sambar, barking deer, sloth bear, wild boar, bison, mouse deer, slender loris, jackal, langur, porcupine, Malabar squirrel, striped hyena and the four-horned antelope.
Covered mainly by moist and dry deciduous forests, the park is a store house of 250 species of birds like herons, storks, egrets, ducks, kites, eagles, falcons, patridges, peafowl, lapwings, wagtails, sandpipers, woodpeckers, sunbirds, warblers, babblers, owls, etc. The reptiles in the park include, marsh crocodile, star tortoise, rat snake, Russell’ s Viper and Indian python.
For a better view of the animals, it is convenient to go on an elephant ride. Visitors are taken around the park in early mornings and in the evenings. The park also has its own safari vehicles for visitors. Private vehicles are allowed, but they should be accompanied by forest guides. Within the park, there are good motorable roads.
Trekking is permitted on payment of entry and guide fee.
Accommodation is available at Nagarahole and the room tariff range from Rs 750 to Rs 1,500. Dormitory facility is also available.
Reservation of rooms can be made through the office of the Field Director, Project Tiger, Aranya Bhavan, Ashokpuram, Mysore-570008.
Accommodation can also be reserved through the office of the deputy conservator of forests, wildlife division, Hunsur, Mysore district.