My first encounter with wild life and forests was when the whole family comprising of my grandparents, parents, aunt, sister and me visited Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary in 1977 for 3 nights. As a child I was too scared or rather ignorant of wilderness with creepy imagination triggered by watching the Kannada kids adventure movie “Nagarhole”. I remember stopping and pulling my grandmother into the cottage when she decided to take a stroll in the forests, lest she is attacked by wild animals. At sunset hundreds of spotted deers would flock around the cottages for safety to spend the nights and we could see their eyes gleaming like diamonds in the flash light.
Now, I must have made innumerable visits to wild life sanctuaries, which has become a family passion and thanks to the numerous TV channels on wildlife, which has helped understand and appreciate the enormous wealth of flora and fauna on this earth.
This summer we drove to Nagarhole, which is approximately 80Kms from Mysore. In the local dialect Kannada, “Naga” means snake and “hole” means stream, there is a river zig zagging its way into the forest hence the name. The sanctuary is now renamed as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, but for us it will always be Nagarhole! The forest here is evergreen thick deciduous and brims with remarkable flora and fauna. Birds in all hues chirping gleefully flutter around with complete freedom. The birdcalls are a treat to the ears, which are tired of hearing only shrieking vehicle horns.
The forest is a haven for a variety of birds and animals. 50 varieties of birds like Peacocks, Wagtails,Golden Oriole, Drongo, Barbet, Jungle Wabbler, Fly Catcher, Robin, Woodpeckers etc., have made their home in this forest.
Picture – Wagtail
Pachyderms majestically roam the forests along with the elusive Tigers, Leopards and Panthers. Spotted Deers, Wild Boar, Sambars, Giant Malabar Squirrels and the largest cattle in the world – the Gaur/Indian Bison add to the life chain in the forests. Sighting animals in these jungles can be both exciting and exasperating, but that is what makes you visit the place time and again as every visit is a an experience by itself.
Picture – Gaur and Malabar Giant Squirrel
Jungle Safari by the forest department will take you deeper into the forest to sight animals. The timings for the safari are 6:00 a.m to 8:00 a.m and 3:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m.
You can also visit Iruppu falls, which is 23 kms away.
Distance – 80 Kms from Bangalore
Staying Options – Jungle Inn, Kings Sanctuary and Forest department cottages offer a variety of staying option. The forest department cottages can be booked at Aranya Bhavan, Ashok Puram, Mysore
Food – For a day visit, it is better to carry food and water. Tea/Coffee is available
Transport – Taxis and Buses
Rest Rooms – Available