Nagarhole national park is part of Nagarhole tiger reserve in Karnataka state of South India. Nagarhole was declared as a Tiger reserve in 2008-09. It is part of Nilgiri Biosphere which covers a vast forest area at tri-junction where the Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala border meets thus its wildlife is very good. National park area is spread over Kodagu district and Mysore districts of Karnataka state. Its name Nagarhole is derived from two words i.e. “Nagar” means Snake (Cobra) and “hole” means river. This tiger reserve is adjoining Bandipur tiger reserve of Karnataka and Wayanad wildlife sanctuary of Kerala. In Karnataka state, Bandipur and Nagarhole forest was separated by Kabini river. Terrain of this national park is undulating with small hills ranging from 800 mtr. To 950 mtr. This forest is spread from foothills of Western Ghats to Brahmagiri hills and touches Kerala state border in the south. It receives annual rainfall ranging from 900mm to 1500 mm which is recorded during monsoon season, prevailing from June to September. Here western part of this tiger reserve receives comparatively more rainfall than eastern part. In addition to rainfall, other water sources are the local rivers in which prominent names are Sarati Hole, Lakshmanatirtha and Nagarhole river. Nagarhole national park vegetation dominated by mixed deciduous type. Here local villagers are tribal people in which mainly are from Jenu Kuruba and Koraga tribes.


Nagarhole forest area is just 90 kms from Mysore or Mysuru city. As Mysore was the leading kingdom nearby Nagarhole forest area thus its control was in hand of rulers, ruling over Mysore kingdom. These forests were traditionally used by the ruling power of Mysore and British India officers for hunting expeditions. Shooting animals like Tigers, Leopards, Spotted Deers, Gaurs etc was part of their camping trips which was popularly called “Shikar”. Many time hunters were officially invited to kill man-eater tigers or leopards, on demand of local people. Mysore kingdom was mainly ruled by Wadiyar Kingdom who are actually Hindu Yaduvanshi who trace their ancestry to Lord Krishna’s Yadava clan. From 1399 to 1565, they ruled under the Vijayanagara Empire. From 1565 to 1760, they ruled independently. From 1760 to 1799, this region was under control of Sultans. From 1799 to 1947, they continued to rule under the supremacy of British India rule. When it became part of India, in 1955, it was first declared as a wildlife sanctuary and in 1988, declared as a national park. It was declared as a tiger reserve in 2008-09.


There are many reasons to visit Nagarhole national park. As per tourists, who have already visited this national park, Nagarhole forest is a good habitat of Leopards. Here, the probability of leopard sighting is very high. The Black Leopard, that we have mostly seen in movie “The Jungle Book” as the character of “Bagheera” can be seen in this Nilgiri Biosphere reserve whose constituent is Nagarhole national park. Nowadays, black Leopard sightings are rare thus it attracts many wildlife photographers, from all over the world to explore this jungle for wildlife photography. Another important information for tourists is that Nagarhole national park remains open in all seasons, for tourism activities.

Safari Timing

In order to plan for Nagarhole tour, it is important to know the safari timings so that accordingly we will draw our tour plan, decide arrival & departure schedule. Here safaris are mainly done in two ways i.e. Canter or Bus safari and Jeep Safari. As if now, their is no online safari booking system thus advance safari booking is not possible and we have to rely more on hotel & resorts management team. Park authority offers bus safari options only and jeep safaris are offered only by resorts. Given below table shows bus safari information. Where as jeep safari is costly but have some long safari duration. Here Jungle safaris are operated through two popular entrance gates i.e. Nanchi (Northern Gate) & Veerranahosahalli (Western Gate). Park is open all the days but will remain closed in case of moderate to heavy rainfall or flood situation.

Period Morning Safari Afternoon Safari
All days 06:00 - 08:30 Hrs 15:30 - 18:00 Hrs

Here the park management authority retains the right to change the safari timing at any time as per situation. Bus safari option is good for low budget visitors to get glimpse of Nagarhole forest where as actual safari is possible through jeep only.

Jungle Safari

Nagarhole jungle safari experience can only be enhanced if you will proceed after attaining proper safari information. Here park authority offers Canter or open-bus safari option in which 25-seater person can be accommodated at a time. This safari is of approx. 1 hrs. As it takes time ticketing formality so safari begins when all seats were occupied. This mode of safari is not worth for wildlife lovers as doing safari by open bus has many limitations and noise disturbance reduced the chance main mammal attractions. If your travel budget is low then only go with this option else try for jeep-safari option, booked through resort. It is jeep safari only by which we can actually explore this jungle and can expect sighting of Tiger, Leopard, Dholes, Gaur etc. While confirming your tour, must clear all these things in advance so that you will not get any surprise, at the time of safari. If you will stay in luxury resort, you may also go for coracle ride on backwater of Kabini river. Jungle safari in Nagarhole is more for leopards, sloth bears, dholes, gaurs and less for tigers. As here safari duration is less so manage your safari time in pre-planned way.


Nagarhole offers shelter to more than 30 mammal species in which prominent predator species are Tiger, Leopards and Wild Dogs (Dholes). In compare to Central India, here Dholes sighting is better. Other easily seen mammal species are Spotted Deer, Indian Gaur, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Asiatic Elephants, Common Langur, Jackal, Sambar etc. In addition to this, other occasionally seen species are Striped Hyena, Ruddy Mongoose, Barking Deer, Black-naped Hare, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Common Indian Otter, Slender Loris, Porcupine, Malabar Giant Squirrel etc. Here we can find Black Leopard or Black Panther also whose sighting is rare in any national park. It is often called “Ghost of the Kabini”


After making of Nagarhole dam on Kabini river, water carrying capacity of this national park has increased. Its impact has been observed in overall wildlife also. Encatchment area consumed large forest area but on other side, it has resulted into better water availability of forest area with increase in grassland and wetland. This resulted into increase in birding. Here we can expect more than 270 bird species. During jungle safari, we may see the critically endangered bird species of Oriental white-backed Vulture. In vulnerable category, we may have sightings of Lesser Adjutant, Greater Spotted Eagle, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon. Wildlife experts says that presence of two major forest types i.e. Moist Deciduous Forest attracts Western Ghat birds and Dry Deciduous Forest attracts birds from dry region i.e. Deccan region. Birds like Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Blue-winged Parakeets are from Western Ghats. Where as Dry zone birds are Ashy Prinia, Common Woodshrike, Red-headed Vulture, Plum-headed Parakeet, Indian Grey Hornbill, Painted Bush Quail etc. For birders, we recommend jeep safari, nature walks and coracle rides in Nagarhole national park.

How to reach

Before visiting to any destination, it is important to know how to reach that destination. For any tourist destination, travelers are of different categories thus their way of reaching that destination may also varies.

Nearby Airports = Bengaluru Airport (240 kms), Mysuru Airport (90kms), Coimbatore Airport (250 kms)
Nearby Railway Stations = Mysuru Station (80 kms), Madikeri Station (95 kms), Bengalurui station.
Nearby Taxi Stands = Mysuru, Bengaluru, Coimbatore.
Being close to two big cities i.e. Bengaluru and Coimbatore, it is easy to reach by all travel options and also from two different directions.

Best time to visit

Nagarhole national park is open for visitors, throughout the year. Here best time to visit is from November to April month. Majority of tourists, visits this forest, in this period. It is the best time for birding and mammals photography. Probability to tiger sighting high during summer period i.e from Mar to May months. Here temperature remains good, in summers and winters thus heat waves or chilling cold waves are not a challenge for tourists. Thus tourists can decide their best time to visit as per their interest.


Here limited hotel options are available. As per local safari rules and conditions, we highly recommend to use Kabini Jungle Lodge for accommodation purpose. As it is a Tourism Department resort thus you can have better safari experience through this resort. It is a costly resort thus not for low budget visitors but if you have paying capacity then without any further searching, you can trust on them. Actually, being a Tourism Department hotel, their coordination with park authority is better than anyone thus better safari experience is possible here. Otherwise some more hotel options are also available.

Next to Nagarhole

After completing Nagarhole trip, we can visit to adjoining Bandipur national park or proceed to Ooty hill station. They are mostly next destion of tourists. Still more options are available like Madikeri, Kannur, Kozhikode, Coimbatore city etc. If not interested in further nature tourism then consider Hassan as historical site then further drive to Hampi. If your interest is in Temples then move to Coimbatore city and then further proceed to Madurai city. As per our interest, we can choose our direction of visit.