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The park is located at Kodagu (Coorg) in Mysore district in the state of Karnataka. The vast area of the park, 572.90 sq km is united with Arikeri, Hatgat, Nalkeri, Mysore reserve forests, streams, waterfalls, Hills and valleys etc .
Nagarhole is part of the 2400 sq km of forest which includes the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka, Mudhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala which together constitute the Niligiri Biosphere Reserve. This is the largest forest cover of its kind in South East Asia. The altitude of Nagarhole Park varies between 700-850 meters. The maximum temperature reaches 33 degrees C and the minimum is 14 degrees.
The Park mainly consists of moist deciduous forest in the northern and western parts and dry deciduous forest in the south-eastern part. Plantations of teak, Rosewood, bamboo, sandal, silver oak trees and species of eucalyptus cover most of the area of the park.
This park is an ideal habitat for wildlife. It contains varied and rare kind of animal species. Apart from the elephants and tiger there are panther, chital, sambar, sloth bear and Indian wild dogs (dhole). Animals like Bonner Macaque, gaur, Nilgiri Langur (adjoining areas), Dhole, Smooth-coated Otter, Common Palm Civet, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Jungle Cat, Tiger, Wild Boar, Chital, Gaur, Indian Palm Squirrel, Grizzled Indian Squirrel, Liontail Macaque, Golden Jackal, Sloth Bear, Indian Grey Mongoose, Striped Hyaena, Rusty-spotted Cat, Ratel, Indian Spotted Chevrotain, Sambar, Nilgiri Tahr (adjoining areas).
Indian Porcupine, Hanuman Langur, Bengal Fox, Eurasian Otter, Small Indian Civet, Ruddy Mongoose, Leopard Cat, Leopard, Indian Muntjac, Four-horned Antelope, Indian Pangolin, Indian Hare, Red Giant Flying squirrel, Indian Giant Squirrel are found in the park. While in reptiles several species of lizards, Cobras, crocodiles, kraits, pythons and vipers might catch your eye.
Among the 250 bird species found here, the prominent ones are the common babbler, bee-eater, bulbul, dove, moorhens, Brahmini kites, crested hoopoe and serpant, Malabar pied Hornbills, alexandrine, peacock, paradise fly catcher, minivets, woodpecker, warbler, great Indian reed, eagle, crested hawk, golden-back parakeet, and the southern tree pie.
The park is centred around a perennial water reservoir. Kabini, a tributary of the Cauvery river runs through the 675 sq.km of the park. The Kabini Dam at Karapur separates Bandipur from the Nagarhole and the other rivers are Lakshmana, Teentha, Hebballa, Saruthi.
The park is open throughout the year and the best season to visit is between October and April. The monsoon season is from June to September; followed by winters till January; and then summer from February to May. Dry, hot season (March-May end) is the time when wild animals can be spotted in large numbers near sources of water. The wildlife preserve is inhabited by the humans too there are the honey-gatherers, hill tribes and the bird trappers.
Forest Department arranges Elephant and Jeep safari's to view the park. Tourists have to get the entry permit costing Rs.15 from the entrance of the park. Charges for boat rides, jeep or elephant safaris and accommodation are additional.
Other places in Nagarhole are Brahmagiri Mountains good for adventurous trekking and Madikere 93 km away is famous for orange and coffee plantations.