Nagarhole National Park
Karnataka's Nagarhole National Park (now Rajiv Gandhi National Park) is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India's largest stretch of protected forest, which includes the neighboring sanctuaries of Bandipur, Mudumalai and Wynaad. The scenic 640 sq km park stretches over gentle hills and valleys, north of the river Kabini, centered around a perennial water reservoir formed when the Kabini River was dammed.

Nagarhole is one of the best places in the world to find the elusive stealthy, noble and regal black-striped Royal Bengal Tiger. Besides this fearsome cat, we will find Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri langur, bison, leopard, Asian elephant, wild boar, deer, dhole (wild dog), porcupine, sloth bear, striped hyenas, jackals, four horned antelopes, gray langurs, bonnet macaques, civets, mongoose, otters, pangolins, hare, porcupines, flying squirrels, marsh crocodiles, tortoise, chameleons and monitor lizards. Moist deciduous forests, including bamboo, teak, eucalyptus and cassia, cover much of the sanctuary, providing a refuge for over 250 recorded bird species such as egrets, storks, eagles, kites, falcons, woodpeckers, nightjars, swifts, kingfishers, pigeons, herons, ducks, partridges, etc. Snakes are not a rare phenomenon and there is a large number of poisonous and non-poisonous species found in the cooler comforts of shady bushes and rocks.

As with most other parks in India, the best time to visit Nagarhole is during March to May when it is hot and dry, and the animals come to the known watering holes or lake banks for water. November-February are exceedingly pleasant, and are the best time to go if you donít like being hot and sweaty. Again, common with other parks, the monsoons (June-September) are best avoided, as roads get washed out, animals find local water, vision is impaired due to the denser foliage, and leeches proliferate in the forest. The park is 700 to nearly 1,000 meters above sea level, round-the-year temperatures ranging between 10 and 30 degrees centigrade and a rainfall between 1270mm and 1800mm.

Mysore is about 2 hours away and Bangalore about 5 hours. Within the park, we can go on either 4-WD vehicles or elephant back for our safaris, and on the water, the most memorable way to travel are on the unique coracles.