Sunday, 14 April 2013

Nagarhole, a much cherished trip in the wild

 Thanks to Ugadi.....we got a long weekend. If by chance you do not know what is "Ugadi" (we also did not know before moving to Bangalore) let me tell you its is the Kannada New Year. We had long planned a trip to Nagarhole in summer, since summer is the best time to spot wildlife in south India. The sun may be hot on your back but the animals might come near the few remaining water holes where you get a better chance of spotting them.

We started early in the morning at 5:00 am. The route that we took to reach Nagarhole was like this:
Bangalore -->Mysore-->Hunsur-->Nagarhole. The distance from Bangalore to Nagarhole is approximately 250 kms and the time required will be roughly 4-5 hours largely depending on how many breaks you take and at what time you leave Bangalore.

The road is good but for going towards Hunsur, there is no marker on the road, we had to ask the locals and they helped us generously. From Hunsur the road goes straight to Madikeri, so we had to take a left turn at Hunsur for Nagarhole. The road is beautiful with gulmohar trees bursting with red flowers on either side of the road. Some people were selling mangoes that were piled up on their vans to cars passing by.

On entering the National Park we had to make an entry at the first check post. Our tour itinery was pretty straight forward. First reach our host's place....... have breakfast/lunch and all....... then again go to the National Park for the jungle safari......spend the night at our host's place.......head out for Bangalore next morning.

To reach our homestay we had to cross the National Park and drive 2 kilometres towards Kutta. Since the speed limit inside the national park was 30 kms per hour we drove really really 20 kms and 2nd gear :). Soon we got lucky, I spotted something standing very still behind the bushes. I asked Ankur to stop the car and move a little back. There it was ...a big full sambar deer quietly standing behind the bushes. It was so well guarded by the dry bushed that had we drove faster I could have missed spotting this.

Sambar Deer

There was plenty of butterfiles all moving around in patches. Just after a few metres we were greeted by a group of spotted deer.The group consisted of bucks,does and some very cute calves.

Spotted deer pack.

Mother with her calf.
We saw more deer on our way.....some crossing the road, some eating and some caressing their babies.
We also spotted some common monkeys. We heard so many birds's songs......mostly all the sound were unfamiliar to a city ear. Sometimes we stopped the car to see what was making the sound but for novices it was difficult.

We reached our homestay. The owner Mr Narendra Pattu and his wife were really really nice . They had already kept our breakfast ready. We had heard so much about Coorg cuisine and at Mr Pattu's house we tasted the real Coorgi food and I have to say it was mind blowing. Mr Pattu 's homestay is inside his coffee estate. After our late breakfast we strolled in his coffee estate . It was so nice and relaxing. We found elephant excreta and Mr Pattu told us that elephants sometimes come at night in his coffee estate.

Pansy butterfly in Coffee estate.
We were supposed to take the after noon jungle safari. So after lunch we again drove into the forest. Again saw deer. But luck had sometime special for us. We saw a lone tusker.......yes it was playing all by itself on the side of the road. We took his photos and waved him bye...thanking him for standing there and allowing us to take his photos.

Lone tusker by the road

Posing for a photo

Taking shots of the tusker
Next we saw some more deer, magnificent nilgiri langoors and giant malabar squirrels. On reaching the safari office we bought safari tickets.There is only 1 hour bus safari that costs Rs 300 per head. Camera is not charged extra.  

Giant Malabar squirrel, having a bite.
The safari bus took us in the deeper jungles and also near to some water bodies. We spotted more deer, sambhar, elephant, peacock, turtles, monkeys, nilgiri langoors, nilgiri gaurs ,parrots, minivets and some storks and ibises.

Safari timing.


Young Sambar


Slice of jungle


Small family.

Another safari bus coming in opposite direction.

Jungle trail

Scarlet Minivet

Indian Ibis
The day was well spent. The next day we woke up early. In Nagarhole there is no need for an alarm clock to get up early. The birds will do that for you. After tea we bid Mr Pattu bye. They were such nice hosts.

Mr. Narendra Pattu, during a tea talk.

Cozy accomodation

Homestay where we stayed
In the morning the forest road looks enchanting....half misty and sunlight streaking in through all possible entries. 

Misty forest road

Namachi checkpost, near Kutta

We spotted some big malabar squirrels happily nibbling on the tree leaves. Then again there were lots and lots of deer. Next to sight was a nilgiri gaur. We were stopped by the shrill cries of a red-wattled lapwing who was strictly monitoring her little ones.We spotted the dad lapwing close by having his breakfast.

Giant Malabar Squirrel


  Then we saw two nilgiri langoors enjoying the morning sun. They looked so beautiful with the early sunlight sharp on them.

Langoors, enjoying the morning sun.
The prize sighting of this tour came next. The full credit goes to Ankur. While I was looking up the trees to see any leopards Ankur slowed the car and said me in a hush," Look to our left just on the side to the road.There is a bear". Before I could believe my ears I saw a big black bear near to my car window. The bear stayed for a few seconds before quickly crossing over to the other side of the jungle and disappeared.
I never expected this big a SURPRISE!!

Bear, running away.

Next we spotted a big sized elephant, but soon it went deeper into the jungle. Then we saw a few cuckoos playing on the ground. We heard some wild dogs but could not see them. Then again Ankur spotted some gaurs. We saw more deer and some chameleons crossing the road.


Greater Coucal

On the way we saw quite a few racked tail drongos and finally Ankur managed to click one. We also saw parasise flycatchers and some other birds. Our jungle road came to an end when we approached the checkpost. Now its time to head to city leaving the nature's nest behind.
Racket tail drongo

Entry to the forest.

Nagarhole was a memorable trip and we are sure to visit Nagarhole very soon.

Useful Information:
Where we stayed: Mr. Narendra Pattu's Homestay. Ph: +919945286608
                          (Cost:- Rs. 900/- per person including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack).

Accommodation options inside the national park: Cauvery and Gangotri Lodges. Dormitory is also available. Ph: 08222-252041 (Deputy Conservator of Forests). Email:
                          (Cost:- Rs.1000-1600/room (not dormitory), excluding food)

Bus Safari Fee: Rs. 300 (Rs. 200 park entry fee + Rs. 100 bus ride).

Safari Timing: 6AM to 8AM and 3PM to 5PM, total 6 bus rides a day. Approx. 1 hour each ride.

Entry gates timing: 6AM to 6PM.

Some more photographs from our trip:

Full grown spotted deer.

Young spotted deer

Rate chart

Grazing in grassland

Cute, isn't it?
Government accommodation: Cauvery Lodge

One of our favourite

Government accommodation: Gangotri Lodge

Near the booking office


  1. Nice account of your travel to Nagarhole. Lovely pics.

  2. absolutely Beautiful snaps ... thanks for share the experience !

  3. nice photos and write up. Looks very green even if it is peak summer. thanks for the details

    1. Thank you very much.....there were some patches in the forest (mainly where the grass was more) that was completely yellow.....other places had touch of green even in summer

  4. Amazing and Mind blowing pictures . you are blessed. This is real travel and exploring

    Travel India

  5. Wonderful capture of magnificent beauty.......


  6. Awesome Pics, some of th pictures just take the breath awy, esp. the moth, tortoise, and the 'cute isn't it' pic
    thanx for sharing :)

  7. the pics are really amazing.

  8. Wow! You had an amazing time at the reserve. The photographs are simply amazing ! :)

  9. What a bliss to be so close to nature , lovely pics!

  10. Beautiful photos and write up.

  11. I am a first timer at your blog! I must say the pictures are amazing and narration is very good! Keep it up :)

    Bong's Belleza

    1. Thank you Ayantika and welcome to our blog :)

  12. very nice writing. i also visited during rainy tourista.only my family and deers.very calm greenish ,peasefull.i cant explain the beauty.
    benny jacob

    1. yeah.........even we also liked the place so much that we also want to go there one more time.thanks for your comment.

  13. Hi , I want to visit Nagarhole. Wanted to know if we have to book safari tickets in advance?

    1. Hi Rama,
      No you cannot book safari tickets online or in advance.
      You have to go and book it

  14. Very nice write up & photos. I am going to stay at madikeri for 3 nights in april, is it advisable to travel 90+90 kms both way & take a safari at Nagarhole, considering my 2 yr old baby?What do u suggest?

    1. Hi Darshan,
      Though April is really a good time for spotting a lot of wild animals in Nagarhole,but personally I would not recommend you to travel 180 kms with a 2 year old baby just for a 1 hour bus safari inside the park.

      Though you get to see animals in the safari,but the chances of spotting animals is while driving from the National Park entrance till the safari booking office.You will enjoy more if you can stay in/around Nagarhole for a day.That way you can take the safari according to your convenience.

    2. Hi Ankur & Soma,
      Since i am travelling to Madikeri from Mumbai, do you know any decent & dependable tour operator in Madikeri who can help us in sight seeing. i have planned very selected sights like Dubare, Raja's sit, Nisargadhama & Tibetan temple, etc. If yes, can you share his contact details

    3. Hi Darshan,

      We are sorry that we will not be able to refer any tour operator as we did all the sight seeing
      in Madikeri in our car.

      You may ask the hotel where you will be putting up during your stay because many a times the hotels
      can also sight seeing tours.

      Incase you want to have a look at our madikeri blog you will find it here

  15. Superb narration and supporting images..

  16. Hi.. We are planning to visit Coorg this month 16th... Would be helpful if you could suggest 3 or 4 places in and around coorg worth seeing.. we are aroung 33 ppl including children and senior citizens.. also, please let me know if thy allow our rented bus for safari inside the park..

    1. Hi,

      There are quite a few places in and around Coorg that you can consider visiting.
      Tibetan Monastery (Golden Temple)
      Kaveri Nishargadham
      Dubare Elephant Camp
      Abbey Falls
      Raja's Seat
      Raja's Tomb
      Madikeri Museum
      Omkareshwar Temple

      I have a detailed blog that you may find helpful.

      And rented bus will not be allowed for safari inside the park. You need to get tickets for the government safari bus

  17. Hi nice narration. .. enjoyed it fully. Can I take my car (fortuner) instead of the forest dept jeep or bus for the safari in nagarhole? Am planning a trip from mysore this weekend. . Thanks in advance

    1. Thanks,you cannot take any private car for safari. You can drive on the motorable road that passes through Nagarhole National Park, but for the safari you have to take either government safari bus or governmet safari gypsy.

  18. thanks for sharing such detailed information....almost felt like i was part of your trip while reading :)....i am planning a week long trip to coorg-kabini-wayanad this october...the stay options in kabini are blowing off my budget...i might connect with the homestay that you have mentioned here....if i understand correctly i would be able to get to the safari start point in my private vehicle from the homestay and then take the govt vehicle for a 1 hr trip, right? can i also book kabini river boat trip from this same place?

    1. Hi Ritesh,
      Thank you for stopping by...
      Kabini and Nagarhole are two different areas of the same jungle but they are a little far apart.If you stay in the same homestay where we did then you will be staying near to Nagarhole.

      And yes you have understood correctly.You will be allowed to go till the safari start point
      in your own private vehicle, but sor the jungle safari you need to book government bus or jeeps.

      I dont think you can book Kabini boat trips from here,for that you need to go to Kabini.

      Wish you a nice trip :)

  19. Thanks, for sharing good pictures and information.

  20. Hi im traveling tdy nite to nagarahole in my bike frm banglore so if i reach thr bfr 6 am i can go fr safari rite?

  21. Awesome and more useful information.. Thanks Brother.

  22. Hi,
    Nice Pics. just wanted information regarding the no. of gates for the nagarhole national park..are they 2? Karapura and hunsur? or only 1 i.e. karapura? This will help me in deciding the resort. Thanks

    Shailesh Bhansali

    1. Hi Shailesh,
      sorry for the late reply. Yes there are two entry gates to the park.
      Happy Journey!

  23. Hi Ankur and Soma,
    I am planning my trip to Nagarhole in April, I planning to stay in Tirunelli, which entrance should I go for safari.

    1. It does not matter which entrance you take because safari starts from the forest department office. Both the roads will lead you there.

  24. Hi Sir,

    very nice blog. i plan to goto gangotri forest lodge in December. Is it good for a family with kid? also can we hire jeep inside for longer safari?


    1. Thanks so much.
      Yes december will be the perfect time to stay in the forest lodge. Its absolutely good and safe for family. If kid is too small then better first check with the forest lodge authorities if they allow kids below a certain age. Also carry mosquito repellent creams.

    2. Jeeps are there that will take you deep into the safaris are better than bus safaris...but please keep in mind that number of jeeps are limited.

  25. Hi, thanks a lot for such a beautiful write up.
    I'll be going to Naharahole in April from Bangalore but don't have a personal vehicle. Do you know which cabs can take us to Nagarhole and back?

    1. There are shared local jeeps that can take you to Nagarhole ticket counter, but they are erratic. Also you will only get those jeeps in the stands. So its better you ask your hotel or home-stay to arrange a vehicle for you for both pickup and drop.

  26. Thanks for sharing content and such nice information for me. I hope you will share some more content about. nagarholen much cherished trip please keep sharing!

    4 Star Resort In Jim Corbett


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