Nagarhole forest (also called Rajiv Gandhi National Park)

Nagarhole forest (also called the Rajiv Gandhi National Park) is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Coorg. Located in the districts of Mysore and Coorg, at a distance of 94 KM from the city of Mysore, Nagarhole is one of the best managed parks of India. Nagarhole derives its name from the several serpentine streams that abound inside the forest. (in Kannada, Naga=snake, hole=streams) This forest was the exclusive hunting grounds of the erstwhile Maharaja's of Mysore, in 1955 Nagarhole was declared a National park and since then the forest had the good fortune of having some of the best forest rangers the country has produced which has helped in maintaining the forest.

Nagarhole is a part of the Niligiri Biosphere reserve and boasts of a very healthy Tiger Predator ratio. This means that though rare, you still have a better chance of seeing the Tiger here in Nagarhole than in any of the surrounding forests. It is home to big cats like the Tiger, Leopard and also the Asiatic elephant, several varieties of Deer, langurs and a whole host of other wildlife. The forests are also inhabited by the Kuruba tribals. The forest is mostly mixed deciduous, primarily teak and rosewood. Temperatures at Nagarhole range from 33C in summer to a pleasant 14-15C during the rest of the year

Regular safari's are organized by the Forest department into the forest. Sometimes this safari is stopped in the rainy season when it becomes too dangerous to take vehicles into the forest because of the rains. There are government owned cottages that can be reserved on the for accommodation, apart from that there are several homestays in the vicinity of the Nagarhole forest that cater to all budgets

Location: South Coorg, closest town being Kutta. Nearly 100 KM from Madikeri

Distance from Bethel home stay: 10 KM

Traveller notes: As with any popular tourist spot, expect big crowds on weekends and holidays and very little on week days. Apart from the Safari, another good way to see the wildlife of Nagarhole is to take the restricted road that passes thru the edge of the Nagarhole forest. This road connects the town of Hunsur to Kutta and is open only between 6 AM and 6 PM. Also note, two wheelers are not allowed on this road