Nagarahole National Park is one of India’s prominent Tiger Reserves, however, the most sought after animal remains elusive as ever. People keep trying their luck, though and like the thousands before us, we wanted to see if the King of Nagarahole National Park would be kind on us and to let us have a glimpse of him.
When it showered beauty !
We waited for more than an hour for the 4 PM safari to start and it was ready to rain by the time the Safari bus started the ride on the jungle path. Hopes of spotting any animal, forget the tiger, were almost dashed !
The bus safari took us deep into the jungle, it looked mysterious and every now and then we would jump when we found something that looked like an animal but mostly, it turned out to be a rock or a tree branch. No wonder, animals have the ability to camouflage, unless you near an object in the forest, there is no saying whether it is an animal or a rock or a branch.
We also found ourselves very alert to any sound, any movement, for all the human talk, the animal instinct in us seemed still intact !
The further the bus went, the denser the forest became. We could spot a lot of deer, a common sight at Nagarahole. Here and there we could see Sambar Deer, the bus stops for a few minutes so you can see the animals. Clouds gathered thick and black, ready to rain any moment.
After a long wait, in the distance, we spotted two elephants, busy grazing in the bamboo forest. They must be young elephants, they looked very cute ! We could only click pictures from the bus so this was the best we could do.
A few meters ahead we spotted some more elephants. Chitals (Spotted Deer) could be found everywhere. In one instance, all of a sudden a group of deer jerked and ran as if to protect themselves, for a moment, everybody thought the Tiger was arriving and the bus was abuzz with excitement. It only turned out to be a branch of a nearby tree that broke off due to the heavy winds and fell on the ground with a cracking sound !! You should have seen the alertness and quick instinct of the deer !
A little later, the skies opened up and it began to pour. Forget the tiger, watching heavy rain in a thick jungle was is one of those ultimate, lifetime experiences. Devoid of buildings and artificial constructions, you could hardly hear the rain falling on the ground. It was like the rain was quietly going about its business with no fuss at all !
Only the ones sitting in the bus seemed to realise how heavy the rain was, take this Sambar Deer for example. He refused to move even an inch and looked like he was having a great time standing still in the heavy rain !
The visuals of the rain and the green, dense forest are still fresh in our minds and probably will remain so, as long as our memory remains.
It is not easy to click pictures from the safari bus, so we gave our cameras some rest and let our eyes and brain store all the pictures.
A fight of might
About 40 minutes into our safari, the bus doors which were open so far were ordered to be closed, we were approaching the tiger zone or where tigers were known to be roaming. The bus fell silent and there was a Jurassic Park kind of feel ! Eyes darted every where, following every slight moment and then 15 minutes later, we reached the open road !!! The safari ended with no sighting of the tiger !!
There is a notice outside the ticket counter which says spotting wildlife is pure luck and that the authorities/safari drivers cannot be blamed for lack of sightings. That is very true and all those who grumble about no having seen any animals and what a waste these safaris are, should read that notice and understand what it means.
Firstly, we have no business going sightseeing for animals in the forests, the forest is their home and we should be leaving them alone to their privacy. Considering our privilege as the intelligent beings, even if we go into the forests, it is ridiculous to expect the animals to come out so we can catch a glimpse. The wildlife is not there for our entertainment and they are not obligated to come out and make our day ! As it always happens, there were a lot of disappointed people, who probably, would go back and write reviews on Nagarahole National Park, saying the safari is a waste of money. If only we learn to appreciate beauty in all respects and not link everything with money.
While most people dispersed off, we were lucky to spot some wildlife in action on the outer edge of the forest, close to the safari reception area. A group of wild boars versus some Dholes. The boars were trying to protect their injured companion while the Dholes waited to pounce on it. It was very interesting to watch the fight, the boars trying to chase the Dholes and the latter retaliating.
Check this video (we suggest you mute the video to shut out our annoying voices !), we could only record it for a minute before we were asked to leave the place since it was closing time.
All for one, one for all, a lesson the wildlife teaches you.
We left the place with this picture of the deer peacefully grazing near the forest rest houses. After sunset, groups of spotted deer wander near the rest houses and settle in for the night.
May be man and wild can co-exist as it was always meant to be, we can count on the wild, can we trust man?
It was getting dark while we drove back to our homestay and just as we were leaving the Nagarahole National Park area, we spotted what looked like a small Jaguar, it was crouching in the bushes bordering the road and ran off in the forest, the moment it saw us. It could have been a Jungle Cat too but we like to believe we saw a Jaguar !!
We headed back to our homestay for yet another round of insanely delicious Kodagu meal and then wound up our day, ready to drive back to Mysore the following morning.
– The safari costs around Rs.300/- per head, free for kids upto 5 years of age and Rs.150 for kids between 5 and 12 years.
– Timings – 6 AM to 8 AM and 3 PM to 5 PM. The safaris usually start a little later than the scheduled time but if you are visiting on a weekend or holiday, advisable to go early to reserve your tickets. It takes about an hour for the safari.
– Usually, morning safaris are supposed to be good for spotting animals, however, it all depends on your luck so choose a time that is convenient for you.
– Bus safari is the only option available at Nagarahole.
– Do not litter in the forest, let us show some respect for the wildlife and their home.
– Do not use flash while taking photographs of the animals, it will scare them.
– Do not shout or scream when you spot an animal, people are expected to keep calm and let the animal go about its business.
– Mysore is the nearest major city/town near Nagarahole, Nagarahole is around 90 kms from Mysore. You can hire a vehicle because public transport is difficult to find in these areas.
– There are cottages in the National Park which can be booked at Aranya Bhavan in Mysore atleast 15 days in advance. There is no option to book them through their website.
– The best option however, would be homestays around Nagarahole, Kutta is a great option. There are some good resorts but we found most of them quite expensive.
– A trip to Nagarahole can be combined with Wayanad which is around 60 kms from Nagarahole.
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