The reserve is 93 km from Mysore. It is spread between Kodagu and Mysore districts. The national park has rich forest cover, little streams, valleys and waterfalls.
The place derives its name from Kannada - naga meaning snake and hole referring to streams.
The area was an exclusive hunting reserve of the former rulers of Mysore.
It was set up in 1955 and is one of the best-managed parks in the country. This park is northwest of Bandipur National Park. In 1975 its area stretched to 575 km2. Kabini reservoir separates this park from Bandipur National Park. The climate is tropical; summer is hot and winter is pleasant. The park boasts a healthy tiger-predator ratio. Tiger, gaur and elephant are much denser here than in Bandipur.
The office of the Deputy Conservator of Forests is in Hunsur, about 47 km away from Nagarhole.
Mostly moist mixed deciduous forest (Tectona grandis, Dalbergia latifolia) in the southern parts, dry tropical forest (Wrightia tinctoria, Acacia) towards east, i.e. Bandipur and Sub mountain hill valley swamp forest (Eugenia).
Flora and fauna
- Mammals: elephant, jackal, tiger, panther, gaur, muntjac, sambar, Spotted deer, mongoose, Civet cat, hyena, and Sloth bear.
- Reptiles: King Cobra, krait, python, viper, tortoise, Monitor lizard, toads etc.
- The main trees found are rosewood, teak, sandalwood and silver oak.
Temperature during summer would be around 32°C. Winter is brief from November to January and has the temperature dipping to 12 °C and rains from June to October.
During the summer heat, March and April, the waterholes are dry and the animals congregate near the lake, so it is the best time to see wildlife. From November to February, the weather is more pleasant though, for hiking or touring.
From July to October, the monsoons may make the roads impassable, and safaris may not operate. It is difficult to spot wildlife during this season.
- Mysore is the closest city to the reserve (94 km away). From there, you can book a train to the reserve, make the journey by car or taxi, or take a bus in Mysore. The bus drops you at the HD Kote Bus Station (about 30 km or 18 miles from the reserve) where you can hire a taxi to take you the rest of the way.
- There are many buses from Mysore to H.D. Kote which is 30 km before the park. The entry point from Heggadevanakote is through Antharasanthe village on Karnataka state highway 33 connecting Mysuru (Karnataka) to Kattikullam (Kerala) via Hampapura, Balle, D.B. Kuppe (Bavali).
- You can enter from Hunsur town which is on Mysuru- Madikeri-Mangaluru highway. A lot of KSRTC (Karnataka) buses ply on this road.
- If you are entering from Kerala, reach Mananthavadi Town, which is some 100 km from Calicut or Kozhikkod. It takes some 30 km to reach the reserve. Round the clock KSRTC buses are available to Mananthavadi from Calicut.
- Anechowkooru is the entry point if you are coming from Periyapatna through Karnataka state highway 21 (SH-21) going to or from Hunsuru through SH-90 going to Gonikoppalu via Thitimathi. Anechoukur lies in northern part of the reserve.
- Veerahosanahalli village is another entry point from Hunsuru after deviation from Hunsuru - HD kote state highway 86. You can enter the reserve from Kutta village which is in Kodagu district of Karnataka state. Motorbikes or motorcycles (two-wheelers) are not allowed in this route.
- You can enter the northern part of the reserve from Siddapura (Kodagu) through a road going to Piriyapatna via Kallala.
Fees and permits
Entry to the national park is free & does not require any permits. You have to enter few details such as name, vehicle registration number, and number of visitors at the gate.
On roads within the reserve, travel is allowed from 6AM to 6PM only. Confirm the timing at forest checkpost while entry.
- The forestry department operates mini-bus safari tour in 26-seat buses twice a day (early morning and late afternoon)
- jeep safari
- hire a boat or coracle to take you down the river
- drive the park's roads by yourself (you must remain inside your vehicle, and stopping is not allowed)
- hire a guide to hike through the reserve
- Dubare Elephant camp on the banks of river Kaveri (Cauvery) on Karnatak state highway 91 connecting Guddehosuru and Virajpete via Abyathmangala, Siddapura and Ammathi. Balle Elephant camp on SH 33.
- Bylakuppe near Kushalnagara, Tibetian resettlement colony in Kodagu district of Karnataka state.
- Taraka dam and reservoir near Heggadevankote (H.D.Kote). Kabini dam at Beechanahalli. Nugu dam near Hediyala on SH -86 connecting Begur (on NH 766) to HD Kote via Sarguru.
Take jungle safari ride conducted by Karnataka forest department to see wild animals.
- Central Nagarhole Walking Trail is a short trail that doesn't require a guide. You can see elephants, gaur, and deer.
Hikes to do with a trained guide:
- North Nagarhole Walking Trail along the banks of the Kabini River to see the birds and animals congregate at this water source.
- South-East Nagarhole Walking Trail is a trail for experienced hikers as it tends to be wet and slippery, and is sometimes becomes overgrown.
- The West Nagarhole Walking Trail goes through forested valleys to waterfalls and streams to see tree-dwelling wildlife. Stay away from the banks of the river which is home to crocodiles and snakes.
Local fruits and vegetables grown.
Local food and snacks.
- Nagarhole Forest Guest house requires prior booking from Wildlife department in Mysore: ☏ .
- Private resorts & guest houses are available at Kutta just outside the reserve on the way to Irrupu Falls. There are hotels and restaurants at Hunsur also.
- You can also stay at Murkal which is within the reserve.
- Kabini River Lodge, Karapura (30 km after H.D. Kote), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. At the south of the park, between the reserve and the Bandipur National Park, it is one of the state lodging. One of the best place to observe wild elephant specially from February to April when they converge to the lake. ₹3,500 and above for 24 hours and 2 safaris.
Outside but very close to the park
- Machaan Resorts, Churikad, K.Bagada Village (from Mysore move towards Hunsur, drive through the reserve), ☏ . Check-in: 1PM, check-out: noon. Offers accommodation set amidst a lush coffee plantation near the boundary of the reserve. The cottages have a tranquil view of an open stretch of a body of water that attracts a large variety of bird life. They have also been thoughtfully designed using green ideas and materials. The rooms have two single beds using hypoallergenic materials. A diwan is also placed in the room that can sleep a third person. A study table is provided. Also provided are in-room tea and coffee making facilities. The bathroom has hot and cold water supply and a set of eco-friendly toiletries. Each room comes with umbrella, torchlight, solar lamp, ceiling fan and electrical outlets.
Camping is not allowed inside the reserve since it has fairly good number of tigers and other such wild animals.
Do not get down from your vehicle while traveling through the reserve. There are elephants, tigers, Indian bison and other wild animals which may pose danger. Do not litter the forest with plastic and other non bio degradable items. Forest fire is another hazard. Do not lit fire or throw inflammable things on the road or forests. Always carry torch, water, eatables, towels, clothes, whistle while entering the jungle.