Nagarhole National Park, the enchanting 247 square-mile park in Karnataka has an astonishing abundance of wildlife including large mammals such as tiger, leopard, wild elephant, Dhole (Indian wild dog), and Gaur (Indian bison). The park has been recently renamed as Rajiv Gandhi National Park after the late Prime Minister of India.
Nagarhole National Park is counted among India’s best wildlife parks due to the large elephant and bison population. It also hosts a variety of animal species along with approximately 250 species of birds. On its northern confines is the Kabini River and on its southern fringes is the Bandipur national park. A dam on the Kabini River and its picturesque reservoir demarcates the two national parks. During the dry season (February till June), this artificial lake attracts a large number of animals, making it an ideal spot for sighting wildlife.
The important predators and carnivore in the Nagarhole National Park are tiger, leopard, wild dog, sloth bear and the hyena. The herbivores are spotted deer, sambar deer, barking deer, four-horned antelope, gaur, wild boar and elephant. Nagarhole National Park provides an opportunity to see some of the southern population of Gaur (Jungle Bison). Also, this park in Karnataka is a good place to see elephants in the luxuriant forests and bamboo thickets which they most enjoy. Other mammalian miscellany includes the common langur, bonnet macaque, jungle cat, slender Loris, leopard-cat, civet cat, mongoose, common otter, giant flying squirrel, giant squirrel, porcupine, jackal, mouse-deer, hare and pangolin.
Over 250 species of birds are found at Nagarhole National Park. Besides the enormous variety of woodland birds, there are large congregations of water fowl in the Kabini River. Birds range from blue-bearded bee-eater, scarlet minivet and Malabar whistling thrush to the more common ospreys, herons and ducks.
The best season to visit Nagarhole National Park is October to May. The park usually remains closed during monsoon season (June to September).