Nagarhole National Park is 10 kms From Sherlock’s Jungle Retreat
Nagarhole National Park (also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park), is a national park located in Kodagu (Coorg) district and Mysore district in Karnataka state in South India. It is one of India’s premier Tiger Reserves along with the adjoining Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
This park was declared the thirty seventh Project Tiger Tiger reserves of India in 1999. It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Western Ghats Nilgiri Sub-Cluster of 6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi), including all of Nagarhole National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
The park ranges the foothills of the Western Ghats spreading down the Brahmagiri hills and south towards Kerala state. It lies between the latitudes 12°15’37.69″N and longitudes 76°17’34.4″E. The park covers 643 km2 (248 sq mi) located to the north-west of Bandipur National Park. The Kabini reservoir separates the two parks. Elevations of the park range from 687 to 960 m (2,254 to 3,150 ft). It is 50 km (31 mi) from the major city of Mysore and 220 km (137 mi) from the Karnataka state capital of Bengaluru.
Together with the adjoining Bandipur National Park (870 km2 (340 sq mi)), Mudumalai National Park (320 km2 (120 sq mi)) and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (344 km2 (133 sq mi)), it forms the largest protected area in Southern India, totalling 2,183 km2(843 sq mi).
The park derives its name from naga, meaning snake and hole, referring to streams. The park was an exclusive hunting reserve of the kings of the Wodeyar dynasty, the former rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore. It was set up in 1955 as a wildlife sanctuary and later its area increased to 643.39 km (399.78 mi). It was upgraded into a national park in 1988. The park was declared a tiger reserve in 1999.
Cimate & Ecology
The park receives an annual rainfall of 1,440 millimetres (57 in). Its water sources include the 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 Dam and the Kabini reservoir.
The vegetation here consists mainly of North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests with (teak and rosewood predominating in the southern parts. There is Central Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests with Pala indigo and thorny wattle towards the east. There are some sub-montane valley swamp forests with several species of the Eugenia genus.In the understorey, species found growing include Kydia calycina, Indian gooseberry and beechwood, Shrubs like horse nettles, tick clover, Helicteres species and invasive species like lantana and bonesets are found in abundance. These forests have some conspicuous tree species such as golden shower tree, flame of the forest and clumping bamboo.
The park protects the wildlife of Karnataka. The important predators and carnivores in Nagarhole National Park are the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Ussuri dhole (Cuon alpinus alpinus), sloth bear and the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena). The herbivores are chital, sambar deer, barking deer, four-horned antelope (Tetracercus quadricornis), gaur (Bos gaurus), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and Indian elephant. Nagarhole National Park provides an opportunity to see some of the southern population of gaur (jungle bison). Also, this park in Karnataka is a good place to see elephants in the luxuriant forests and bamboo thickets which they most enjoy. Their total population in southern India is now about 6500, nearly all living in the area where Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala adjoin in the shadow of the Western Ghats. Other mammals includes the gray langur (Presbytes entellus), bonnet macaque (Macaca radiata), jungle cat, slender loris (Loris tadigradus), leopard cat (Felis bengalensis), civet (Viverricula indica and Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), mongoose(Herpestes fuscus and Herpestes vitticollis), European otter (Lutra lutra), Indian giant flying squirrel (Petaurista petaurista), Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica), porcupine, golden jackal, chevrotain (Tragulus meminna), hare and pangolin (Manis crassicaudata). Over 250 species of birds are found at Nagarhole National Park. Besides the enormous variety of woodland birds, there are large congregations of waterfowl in the Kabini river. Birds range from blue-bearded bee-eater, scarlet minivet and Malabar whistling thrush to the more common ospreys, herons and ducks.
Flagship species like Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), Indian bison or gaur (Bos gaurus) and Indian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) are found in large numbers inside the park. A study carried out by Dr. Ullas Karanth of the Wildlife Conservation Society has shown that the forests of Nagarhole have three species of predators i.e. tiger, Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) and Asiatic wild dogs (Cuon alpinus alpinus) present at an equivalent density (PA Update 2000).The park also has a good number of golden 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 (Tetracercus quadricornis) and wild boar (Sus scrofa).Other mammalian inhabitants include the 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), Gray Langur and Indian giant flying squirrel (Petaurista philippensis).
Recognised as an Important Bird Area the park has over 270 species of birds including the ‘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) too can be found here. Endemics include the blue-winged parakeet (Psittacula columboides), Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) and the white-bellied treepie (Dendrocitta leucogastra).Seven of the 15 Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) and 21 of the 59 Biome-11 (Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone) species have been noted from here. Some of the birds that can be sighted here include the white cheeked barbet (Megalaima viridis), Indian scimitar babbler (Pomatorhinus horsfieldii), malabar trogan and Malabar whistling thrush (Myiophonus horsfieldii).Birds commonly seen in drier regions like 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) can be found here.
Reptiles commonly found here are mugger (Crocodylus palustris), common 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).
Tribal and Native Inhabitants
The Jenu Kurubas, primary inhabitants of this forest area, are a tribe in Karnataka state and their traditional practices and rituals are slowly disappearing. The government is restricting their entry inside the National park and forest due to multiple factors including but not limited conservation efforts and bringing the community to the mainstream society.The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, identified the Jenu Kuruba and the Koraga as tribal groups in Karnataka. The Jenu Kurubas are traditional food gatherers and honey collectors. In Kannada, the term ‘Jenu’ means ‘honey’ and the term ‘kuruba’ generally mean ‘shepherd’. It is derived from the Kannada word ‘kuri’ which means ‘sheep’. The term kuruba is also associated with non-shepherd communities. They speak a variant form of Kannada commonly known as Jenu-nudi within their family kin group, and Kannada with others. They use Kannada script. According to the Census of 1981, the population of Jenu Kuruba community is 34,747 out of which 17,867 are male and 16,880 are female.
The Jenu Kurubas are found scattered in the jungles as with other tribal groups. They are excellent climbers of tree and are skilled in the use of sling, bows and arrows. They demonstrate a strong emotional attachment to the forest as their mother deity and represents a whole way of life. Their food, dress, worship, house, medicine storing articles furniture etc. all are linked with forest. Parts of the tribe which have resisted exposure to modernization still live in thatched huts made of mud, leaves and grass.The Jenu Kurubas mainly depend on forest for their day-to-day life. They occupy forested regions where for a long period in their history, they lived in isolation but in harmony with nature. They demonstrate significant knowledge of the forest including varied species of flora and fauna and relate to the forest very well. Collecting honey, wax and other forest produce like roots and tubers has been the mainstay of their survival and in recent times they have been found selling them in the market through organized trade groups, both legal and illegal which has led to a furore of angst amongst the conservationists.
Many of the cultural traits they have are common with the neighbouring tribes such as Betta Kuruba / Kadu Kuruba. In the forest the tribes also practice agriculture, the main crops grown are ragi, cow gram, Bengal gram, horse gram and black gram.In the recent years, a lot of commercialization has occurred due to increase in tourism and fragmentation of forest ranges leading to severe. The tribal communities have long since given up the traditional ways of life and have easily indulged in poaching activities and indiscreet hunting of birds and forest animals. Numerous cases of such assistance provided by the tribal folk to poachers in trying to sell game, live or dead, medicinal herbs have been observed and controlled by the forest department leading to a clash between the tribal communities protected by law and law enforcement agencies. To resolve this conflict and imminent threat to the bio-diversity in this forest, numerous relocation efforts and anti-poaching efforts have been made in the last decade. An increase in poaching was attributed to the tribal support received by poachers in getting guidance from the tribal groups to navigate the forest and tracking game, in exchange for money or other supply of necessaries.
Morning 6.30 a.m to 8.30 a.m
Evening 2.30 p.m to 4.30 p.m for one hour Ride.
Indian Nationals – Rs. 350/- per person
Foreign Nationals Rs.1500/- per person
- Dress in neutral or light coloured clothes when planning jungle safaris.
- Carry a pair of binoculars, as this will help you spot a lot of birds and lesser mammals.
- If accompanied by children, carry water and some snacks (biscuits, chocolates…) for the safari. Extremely useful in keeping the young quiet.
- Please do maintain silence in the jungle