Nagarhole National Park: Facts & Tiger Reserve | UPSC

Nagarhole National Park derives its name from the Kannada language, where “Naga” means snakes and “Hole” refers to streams. Originally established as a wildlife refuge in 1955, it attained national park status in 1988.

This article aims to provide valuable information about Nagarhole National Park, which holds great importance for the UPSC Exam. As part of the UPSC syllabus, Nagarhole National Park, along with other national parks, is a significant topic within the subject of the Environment.

Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is a renowned wildlife sanctuary located in the southern state of Karnataka, India. Established in 1955 as a wildlife refuge, it gained national park status in 1988. The park spans approximately 643 square kilometers and is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Following are the important points on Nagarhole National Park:

  • Location: Nagarhole National Park is located in the state of Karnataka, India.
  • Establishment: The park was established as a wildlife refuge in 1955 and later granted national park status in 1988.
  • Size: The core area of Nagarhole National Park spans approximately 643 square kilometers.
  • Biosphere Reserve: Nagarhole National Park is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.
  • Flora: The park is characterized by moist deciduous forests, with dominant tree species including teak, rosewood, sandalwood, and silver oak.
  • Fauna: This National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including Bengal tigers, Indian leopards, dholes (Indian wild dogs), sloth bears, striped hyenas, chital (spotted deer), sambar deer, Indian elephants, and various reptile species.
  • Tiger Reserve: In 1999, Nagarhole National Park was designated as India’s 37th tiger reserve, highlighting its importance in tiger conservation efforts.

History of Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is located in the Kodagu and Mysore regions of Karnataka, India. It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the country’s first biosphere reserve established in 1986. The park is situated to the northwest of Bandipur National Park and covers an area of approximately 643 square kilometers as its core area. It is separated from Bandipur National Park by the Kabini River and its reservoir.

In the year 2000, Nagarahole was included in the “Mysore Elephant Reserve” and became a part of “Project Elephant” due to its significant population of elephants. In 2003, an additional 71.84 square kilometers were added to the park, expanding its total area to 643.392 square kilometers.

During the peak of summer, the fertile banks of the Kabini backwaters attract a remarkable gathering of Asian elephants, with an estimated 600 to 800 elephants visiting the area. The Nagarhole River, before merging with the Kabini River, flows through the park’s habitat.

Nagarhole National Park is the largest protected territory in Southern India, covering approximately 2183 square kilometers when combined with the neighboring Bandipur National Park, Mudumalai National Park, and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala.

Nagarhole National Park UPSC - Tiger Reserve

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Flora & Fauna

Nagarhole National Park boasts a diverse range of flora and fauna, contributing to its rich ecological significance. Here is some information about the park’s flora and fauna:

Teak (Tectona grandis)Bengal Tiger
Rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia)Indian Leopard
Sandalwood (Santalum album)Dhole (Indian Wild Dog)
Silver Oak (Grevillea robusta)Sloth Bear
Schleichera trijugaStriped Hyena
Ficus speciesChital (Spotted Deer)
Kadam (Neolamarckia cadamba)Sambar Deer
Cotton Tree (Bombax ceiba)Indian Elephant
Lagerstroemia microcarpaIndian Bison (Gaur)
Bamboo speciesFour-horned Antelope
Indian GooseberryWild Pig
Indian Kino TreeVarious reptile species
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)Numerous bird species
Flora & Fauna Species


  • The park is dominated by moist deciduous forests of the North Western Ghats, with teak and rosewood being prominent in the southern regions.
  • Commercially significant tree species include rosewood, teak, sandalwood, and silver oak.
  • Other tree species found in the woodlands include Schleichera Trijuga, various ficus species, Kadam, cotton tree, and Lagerstroemia Microcarpa (crepe myrtle).


  • The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including several iconic and endangered species.
  • Predators in this Park include the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, dhole (wild dog), sloth bear, and striped hyena.
  • Herbivores found in the park include chital (spotted deer), sambar deer, barking deer, four-horned antelope, gaur (Indian bison), wild pig, and Indian elephant.
  • Nagarhole National Park is also known for its reptiles and boasts a significant variety of reptile species.
  • The park is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, with over 250 species of birds recorded within its boundaries.

Nagarhole National Park’s diverse flora and fauna create a harmonious ecosystem, showcasing the importance of conservation efforts in preserving this unique natural heritage.

Tiger Status of Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park holds a significant status in tiger conservation efforts. Here is some information regarding the tiger population in the park:

  • Designation: In 1999, Nagarhole National Park was declared India’s 37th tiger reserve, emphasizing the importance of protecting and conserving the tiger population in the area.
  • Tiger Density: Nagarhole National Park has been recognized for its substantial tiger population. It is reported to have a tiger density of 11.82 tigers per 100 square kilometers, making it the leading tiger reserve in the state of Karnataka.
  • National Ranking: The park’s tiger density places it third in the nation, following the Corbett Tiger Reserve and Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, which are known for their significant tiger populations.
Tiger StatusNagarhole National Park
DesignationIndia’s 37th tiger reserve
Tiger Density11.82 tigers per 100 sq. km
National Ranking1st in Karnataka, 3rd in India
Tiger Status of Nagarhole National Park

The recognition and conservation efforts directed toward the tiger population in Nagarhole National Park highlight the importance of safeguarding this iconic species and its habitat.


In conclusion, Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka, India, is a significant wildlife sanctuary and part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. With its diverse flora and fauna, including iconic species like tigers, leopards, and elephants, the park showcases the natural beauty and ecological importance of the region.

As a designated tiger reserve, Nagarhole National Park plays a vital role in the conservation of these majestic creatures. Visitors to the park can experience the richness of its ecosystems and contribute to its conservation efforts. Overall, Nagarhole National Park stands as a testament to the importance of preserving and protecting our natural heritage.

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