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Tourist Places To Visit In Nagarhole National Park
Nagarhole National Park is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Karnataka. The park forms a chunk of Southern India’s largest wildlife protected areas along with Bandipur National Park, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
Nagarhole’s serpentine streams fork in and out of the terrain, earning the forest the name Nagar (snake) and Hole (streams). It’s not only the wildlife, but the waterfalls, the rivers and the places of interest in the tiny towns close by that attract tourists to visit Nagarhole National Park.
Nagarhole National Park
Tourists throng to the Reserve to catch sight of the much talked-about melanistic Black Panther of Nagarhole. Though only a few have seen the elusive carnivore, you have literally hundreds of other animals, rodents, reptiles and avians to observe. There are bisons, big carnivores like tigers and leopards, dholes and hyenas, sloth bears, civet cats, mongoose, and over 250 species of birds. The forest has luxuriant pockets of bamboo clumps where you can find herds of elephants. You’d find a monitor lizard crossing a fire track or a crocodile snapping at a frog in the marshes.
The Park is open from 6.00am-6.00pm. There are three entrances, viz a viz, at Veerahosanahalli, near Hunsur on the north, Nanachi near Kutta on the west and Antharasanthe near Kabini on the east. Private vehicles are allowed in, with a strict deadline of an hour’s time to enter through one gate and exit through the other.
Kabini Forest Reserve
The Kabini Reserve, once the hunting ground of British Viceroys and Indian Kings, lies in the south-eastern part of Nagarhole National Park and on the banks of the Kabini River. 55 acres of this Reserve have dense forests with a plethora of elephants and carnivores and birds. There are about 350 species of birds in the Kabini Reserve and near the lakes, including Grey Headed Fish Eagles, Ospreys, Great Cormorants and Malabar Pied Hornbill.
The Kabini dam’s reservoir is located near the village of Beechanahally. Set amid lush surroundings of lakes, valleys and forests, the dam is a favourite spot for tourists to spend a quiet day in, especially during the monsoons. The forest around the dam, once the favourite hunting ground of the Maharajas, is home to a number of avian species. The Kabini Dam is about 66 km from Nagarhole National Park.
With the Brahmagiri Hills at its backdrop, the Iruppu Falls or the Lakshmana Thirtha Falls is such a nice place to spend some time. Take a trip to the Falls during monsoon, as the rain showers add more allure to the full glory of the cascade. According to legends, Ram and his brother Lakshman reached the Brahmagiri Hills, as they wandered along searching for Sita. When Ram asked for water to slake his thirst, Lakshman promptly shot an arrow on the Brahmagiri Hill and a spout of fresh water, thenceforth called Lakshman Thirtha, gushed forth. The Lakshman Thirtha River is a tributary of the Cauvery branches off from the Iruppu Falls. It’s believed that bathing in the Falls rids us off our sins. Hundreds of people gather at the Falls during Shivratri.
At the foothills of the Brahmagiri and lying quite close to the Iruppu Falls is the ancient Rameshwara Temple for Shiva. According to inscriptions dated 1841 AD, the Shiva Linga in the temple was installed by Ram as he was returning to Ayodhya from Lanka along with Lakshman and Sita. The temple has shrines for Ganapathi, Parvathi and the gandharvas. The temple sees a steady flow of devotees during Shivratri when the people bathe in the Iruppu Falls and gather at the temple. The temple is about 1 km southeast of Iruppu Falls.
Balle Elephant Camp
The Balle Camp is about 56 km from Nagarhole National Park. It lies on the Manathavady road, enroute from Wayanad to Mysore. The Camp, on the Kabini backwaters, belongs to Nagarhole National Park. Traditionally elephants like Arjuna and Drona from the Balle Camp are used as Howdah carriers during the Mysore Dusshera.
Balle Elephant Camp is located in a very undisturbed, quiet, grassy landscaped forest, with only tall trees and the gentle giants for company. The only sounds are the chirps of the birds and the trumpets from the elephants. Don’t miss out a peaceful day with the elephants at Balle Elephant Camp. The Camp is open for tourists from 9.00am to 6.00pm on all days.
The Taraka Dam built over river Taraka, is located at H.D.Kote and is a part of the Nagarhole National Park. The Taraka, which is in the Cauvery Basin, runs along into the Kabini river, along with the Nugu River at H.D.Kote. Take a tour of the Taraka reservoir during monsoon. The waters swell to a glorious misty spray that is so mesmerising to watch. The Taraka reservoir is about 44 km from Nagarhole National Park.
Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary
Nagarhole National Park lies to the northwestern side of the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. With an all terrain landcape of hillocks and valleys, interlocked by streams and lakes, the Brahmagiri Sanctuary is home to a variety of wild flora and fauna. Bound by coffee and cardamom plantations, the Brahmagiri Sanctuary promises to be a glorious place to visit. The Brahmagiri Peak at the southeastern side of the Sanctuary stands over 1608 m high and is a trekkers’ delight.