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Spectrum Tours » National parks in india » Nagarhole national park

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The forest of South India, mainly survive along the Western Ghats and her lies the cluster of protected areas that lie adjacent to one another in the state of Karnataka. In Karnataka the two attractive wildlife parks of Nagarhole and Bandipur are a part of a larger contiguous wildlife reserve that includes the Mudumalai Sanctaury in Tamil Nadu and Wynad Reserve in Kerala. Nagarhole, among India's most well-managed wildlife reserves, is situated in the vast wilds between the Western Ghats and the Nilgiris. Endowed with numerous winding streams, the Nagarhole National Park lies in the picturesque Coorg region of southern Karnataka. The better-known rivers are the Nagarhole or Cobra, the Kabini, the Taraka, the Lakshmanateertha and the Sarathi. The Nagarhole area falls just north-west of Bandipur, but it is comparatively less hilly. Masalbetta at 957 m is its highest point.

This region, especially the forests of Kakkankote in its south, was the private hunting ground of the prosperous princely state of Mysore. The tall, luxuriant forests are a mix of moist-deciduous and tropical semi-evergreen, interspersed with scrub and grassy swamplands, known locally as hadlus, and a favourite site of herbivores, especially elephant and gaur. There are also large numbers of deer. Nagarhole is the first site in India to achieve success with radio-collaring of tigers, an important tool for ecological studies.

The stately teak forests, relatively undisturbed in some areas, include India's older teak plantations, dating to the mid- 1 800s. A 285 sq km tract was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1955, and in 1988 a larger area was upgraded to a national park. Some of the landscape was altered in 1974 when an irrigation dam on the Kabini River created a vast reservoir that

On the extensive banks of the Kabini Reservoir, large herds of the Asian Elephant con be seen now forms the boundary between Bandipur and Nagarhole.

On the banks of the reservoir, at Mastigudi, are the remains of an elephant-capturing operation established by Hyder Ali, the 18th- century ruler of Mysore. He was reportedly unsuccessful, but later, the same khedda or the stockade technique of trapping elephants was used with good result. In a little less than a century from 1873, more than 1,500 wild elephants were captured and several hundred killed or injured. The last khedda was held as recently as the early 1970s.

The breathtaking, panoramic sweep of the backwaters is dotted with wild elephants, sometimes a couple of hundred of them, accompanied by Gaur, Sambar, Spotted Deer and otters, and perhaps a few crocodiles at the water's edge. Myriad forest birds, including hornbills, woodpeckers and drongos call in flawless symphony. Karapura, Mastigudi and Nagarhole divisions of the park are favoured for wildlife viewing and remain treasured memories.

Riding in a jeep or open van is the best way to experience Nagarhole's wilds, but a coracle ride leaves a lingering impression.

Drifting lazily down the waters in the circular bamboo boat, the visitor can get very close views of the cormorants and darters perched on the submerged tree-trunks of the reservoir, and at times also of the lordly elephant.

The sanctuary is home to many species of wild animals like Asian Elephant, Gaur (Indian Bison), Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog (Dhole), Leopard-cat, Rusty Spotted Cat, Small Indian Civet, Striped-necked Mongoose, Ruddy Mongoose, Sloth Bear, Indian Giant Squirrel, Sambar, Spotted Deer (Chital), Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Chowsingha (Four-horned Antelope), Indian Pangolin . Here is an opportunity for the nature lover to study over 200 species of birds, chief among which are the Changeable Hawk Eagle, Besra, Crested Goshawk, Crested Serpent Eagle, Jerdon's Baza, Osprey, Brown Fish Owl, Mottled Wood Owl

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