Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park

Wild Tusker
I got the oppertunity to travel to Nagarhole National Park during the weekend of 14/15 July.

From Bangalore, it is about 230 KMs. It is close to Madikeri (Coorg) and approach is through Mysore. From Mysore, it is about 90 KMs.

Nagarhole gets its name from the snake like river that flows across this dense forest. The Nagarhole means the "Serpent River". It is a tributary to Kabini.

This tiger reserve is also officially known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park. Nagarhole
I along with family and Pravin plus family started on Saturday early morning from Bangalore. We had secured the booking of two rooms at Forest guest house of Gangotri Cottage at Nagarhole Tiger Reserve through Forest office at Mysore. The details to book the forest guest house is mentioend in the end of this blog.

There are other options available to stay at Nagarhole. This includes resorts at the entrance of the park (Veerahosanahalli). But only the forest guset house is located deep inside the park and though facilities are quite basic in nature, it gives a good feeling to be in midst of nature and wildlife.

This is a good thing about Nagarhole, the main forest reserve office and the forest guest house (where the safaris start from) is located deep inside the park. It means that visitors can pass through quite a bit of the park area on their own, and are staying deep inside the dense forest, if get a reservation for forest guest house.

grazing in peace
The other options are the Kabini River Lodge, located on the river near the southern edge of the park. The Jungle Inn and the Kings Sanctuary, near the main Veeranahosahalli entrance to the park.

Alternatively, the town of Kutta on the other end of Nagarhole, has reasonably priced accommodations including homestays, as well as jeep hire.

The route we took was Bangalore - Ramnagaram - Srirangapattanam - Hunsur - Veerahosanahalli - Nagarhole.

Though while returning, we took a little longer route. This was Nagarhole - Kutta - Ganikoppal - Hunsur - Mysore - Ramnagaram - Bangalore.

We covered the entire stretch of road running through the Nagarhole Forest range. It is 35 KMs from Veerahosanahalli till Nagarhole and about 10 KMs from Nagahole till Kutta.

Dhole (Wild Dog) pack
There are a lot of coffee estates enrote to Ganikoppal from Kutta. Both the drives from Hunsur to Nagrhole and Nagarhole to Ganikoppal are very beautiful and scenic.

I drove at normal pace, generally I keep vehicle in comfortable speed limits of 60-80 KMPH. The weather was good with clouds overlapping Lord Anshumaan and whispering of cool breeze.

We took some refreshment at Chennapatana. This place is famous as Toy City with many wood industries involved in crafting toys here.

Just after the historical town of Srirangapattanam, we took the right turn to go towards Hunsur (and Coorg). This turn is just after the Paschimvahaini bridge on cauvery, after crossing the Srirangapattanam town.

The next stretch of about 20 KMs is not that good and the speed came down considerably. Finally we met the good raod coming from Mysore towards Coorg.

Hunsur is the gateway to the forest. From here there are four different routes, one towards Mysore, another to Madikeri (Coorg) third one to GaniKoppal and one more towards the Nagarhole.

The main entrance to Nagarhole is from Veerahosanahalli. Here at forest gate, one need to enter the details about self and purpose etc.

This road which goes through the forest from Veerahosanahalli via Murkal and Nagarhole meets the other forest gate at the village of Kutta. This stretch of about 45 KMs which passes through the dense green forest is quite a good drive provided adequate care has been taken and NO ADVENTURES PLEASE.

We drove slowly through this forest stretch towards Nagarhole, which is about 35 Kms from Veerahosanahalli gate. We met with herds of deer but they were uninterested in us and we also slowly passsed through them with some snaps.

This dense and unspolied forest is home to different types of birds, herds of elephants and different species of deer, sloth bear, bison, tiger, leopards, wild boars and packs of wild dogs (Dhole).

Finally after driving for about 5 hours, we were excited to be at Nagarhole.

The park can be visited throughout the year. But monsoons are avoidable as safari is not operated then.

The best time to view the animals is during the heat of Summer months, March till June. During this time, the waterholes are dry and the animals visit a few water bodies which the forest officials are aware of.

Safari take place in the early morning from 6 AM to 8 AM, and again in the afternoon from 3 PM to 5 PM.

Safari fee for Indian adults is 300 Rs. and children 200 rupees. If you can manage children in your laps, then no ticket required for them. Negotiate the forest official there. Entry fee for foreigners 1100 rupees!!

First thing we did was that to ask for lunch from Siddhappa, a nice and gentle caretaker of Gangotri Cottage at Nagarhole, forest guest house. He brought us the freshly cooked Rice Sambar, Rasam, papad and a dry curry of cabbage. Food was good and hygenic.

The next thing was to roam nearby around the cottage. Kids were quite excited and we elders were busy with camera.

It started raining heavily around 4 PM and the Safari got cancelled. The forest officials decided to cancel the safari for next morning as well, leaving us in utter disappointment.

We consoled ourselves that we will take round of forest patch from Veerahosanahalli till Kutta on our own in our vehicle.

As the rain stopped, we get into the car and drove slowly towards Kutta. A few KMs further, we got a glimpse of a Tusker, busy with playing a tree about 100 meters away from main road. We tried to take a few snaps and proceeded further.

road between the giant tree
The Forest Department doesn’t offer jeep safaris but allows private jeep safaris. A Forest Department guide must accompany all jeep safaris. You can either go on a jeep safari arranged by a hotel, which you can get near Veerahosanahalli or hire a jeep yourself. Better is to head the town of Kutta for a better deal.

Enjoy the jungle sound at night from the comfort of your room!! In the darkness the jungle becomes alive. The most prominent are the characterstic sound of forest (Chicada) and alarm calls of Langur and barking deer.

Deer Herd near forest guest house
It was pitch dark outside. It is not advisible also to roam outside after dark. From window we can see the shining eyes of deer, roaming around. These deer, wild boars roams near guest house, probably they feel safe in vicinity of humans.

Dinner/Breakfast are all arranged by Siddhappa, the nice caretaker of Gangotri Lodge at Nagarhole.

After spending good times at Nagarhole, we started back. The road that we took was a bit longer and its very bad from Ganikoppal till Hunsur. As we approached Mysore, it started raining.
We took some rest at Mysore and then non stop driving lead us to Bangalore.

After about 6 hours of driving, we were at home.

In total we drove about 534 KMs.


1. This forest is home to different species of animals. Do not stop the vehicle or go out of vehicle.
2. This is not a picnic spot, do not try to go near to wild animals, take extra precautions if elephants are sighted. Keep adequate distance, do not turn off your engine.
3. Do not honk or flash the light on animals, they may charge upon you.
4. Take extra precaution, if you are with females and kids. in my view, this place should be avoided if you are with kids.
5. DO NOT go out of main road.
6. This road from Veerahosanahalli till Kutta is prohibited for vehicular movement from 6 AM till 6 PM. So make sure youneed not to  go out of your room during night.There is no light after 11 PM and mobile connectivity is very very poor.
7. If any help is required or expected, just find out where the guest house care taker resides. He will be of any help if you may need at odd hours.
8. Carry a good torch with you and be in shoes while being there.
9. In case of utter emergency, if you have to cross the forest in night, go to Kutta and then you are out of forest area. From Kutta take road to Ganikoppal (right turn near the Bar at Kutta). From Ganikoppal to Hunsur and then to Mysore.
10. Even for this above night travel to Kutta, request the Forest Guest House Caretaker to send a forest Jeep to accompany your vehicle. Nights are dangerous here. Elephants generally comes to the road and do not move away easily. Any provocation and they may charge.

Procedure for booking a forest guest house at Nagarhole.
1. The facilities are very basic. But the rooms are clean and decent.
2. As there are only very limited number of rooms available, you may need to book in advance.
3. Call the Forest office at Mysore (0821-2480902).
4. Tell them about your proposed dates and also check the availability
5. In case the rooms are not avaialble, ask for the dates on which its available or the dates which suits you.
6. Once you get the slot/date, they will ask you to send a letter with request and dates to Project Tiger, Karnataka Forest Department, Aranyabhavan, Ashokpuram, Mysore-570008
7. A few days later, again call on the above number, if they recieved your request letter. If yes, then will inform you the money required to be send to them by money-order.
8. Send the money, wait for a few days and call them up for confirmation.
9. You will get the receipt through post and so the room at forest guest house Nagarhole is reserved.
10. Food you can get there at nominal price. Otherwise drive to Kutta village (about 10 KMs) for some small but decent hotels.


  1. Excellent info...

  2. i believe you are becoming good have gained good expertise in making your reader more interesting. like giving the details at end of the blog for booking. i believe that was a conscious attempt. keep!!!!

  3. Nagarhole Sanctuary is the best sanctuary, good information about this place.Those who are wants to go for day outing near Bangalore, this is the best place.

  4. Very well written...
    It cleared my years Old doubt and curiosity of how things are done to book or reserve a forest guest house...

    -Thank You

  5. Very informative blog, covers all aspects of the trip. were you able to see Tigers during your visit, I ask this because Nagarahole is a Tiger reserve.

  6. Lovely post!! thanks for sharing this wonderful post in this blog. Loved reading this post. Pictures were awesome with well written. It is a best weekend places. Make your trip by booking your bus tickets in leading Bus Ticket Booking portal to enjoy your trip.

  7. I have contacted forest department Mysore and sent them an email for booking in Gangotri rest house and hoping to receive a positive response.