If you are a nature lover and wild life enthusiast, come to Kabini National Park, located in the state of Karnataka, India. It is named after the River Kabini, which flows quietly past this verdant and fertile land. This famous National Park is also alternatively known as the Nagarhole National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread over 55 acres of land, this National Park was once the favourite hunting grounds of Maharajas and British Viceroys. This is very much evident when you survey the well-maintained hunting lodge, which is now run by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, under the aegis of the Jungle Lodges Enterprise. On offer are a menu of options for tourists to stay over at this scenic paradise: cottages, colonial style rooms, and tents.It was almost dusk when we arrived here, but the Park authorities proved to be extremely hospitable. We were booked in a lovely brick-finish cottage, dimly lit, with comfortable and modern interiors. A meeting with the rest of the tourists, a medley of people comprising students, families, foreigners etc., was held at the “Gol Ghar” (Round House), an open-air dining space, built as a hunter’s pavilion. Here, after a short introductory talk, the group is divided into groups of six to seven by experienced forest guides, who led us to a jungle safari jeep, for an evening safari. Excitement ensued, as for many, it was for a first time experience of a drive around a natural forest, famous for it’s tigers, elephants, deer, bison and jackals. Besides, the chances of seeing a nocturnal predator is higher in the evening hours.
As with any other nature park, it is entirely the luck of the individual as to any experience with an actual tiger sighting. Wild life parks are by nature spread over a vast territory, and predatory animals take care not to knowingly come into any kind of human contact. However, the sight of a variety of deer, bison, monkeys and birds is a treat for any nature lover.The Nagarhole National Park is actively involved in a number of environmental issues, which include research into animal behaviour vis-à-vis human encroachment into forest land. At a large projection room, tourists are shown a very thought-provoking documentary titled, “Nagarhole: Tales from an Indian Jungle”. Shot very sensitively and intelligently, and it’s message was not lost on the audience.The somber mood with which the documentary film leaves on the viewer, is lightened up at dinner time. The Forest Dining Room, resembles an open air hunting lodge, where one joins the rest of the tourists for a buffet dinner. The courteous and well trained staff has something to suit any palate. The fresh air, and being in the lap of Mother Nature seems to work wonders on appetites here.A wake-up call at 6:00 am in the morning signals the beginning of another fun-packed day at the Nature Reserve. Packed into special jungle safari jeeps, in groups of six, the company of tourists get ready for any exciting sighting in the wild. If one is lucky, there is no knowing what wonderful sight may meet your eyes; a wild dog, a member of the Cat Family, or maybe a wild bison. Needless to say, keep your cameras ready for that split-second occasion.The real thrill of our adventure trip turned out to be the absolutely exhilarating motor-boat ride which we went on, down the back-waters of the River Kabini, home to several land and avian creatures. The bamboo thickets and damp soil had provided us with sights like not-so-old tiger pug marks, and tiger dropping. Along the river banks, in amazingly green and wonderous surroundings, the sighting of an entire elephant family, greedily ripping out the thick bamboo from the soil was a sight straight from the National Geographic channel: an unforgettable scene.
The backwaters of the Kabini River also happens to be home for an endangered species of squirrel: The Giant Red Malabar Squirrel. Very active, but shy, these creatures like to survey people from the safety of their tree tops and branches. The mildly cloudy weather, clear waters, and the sheer serenity is a sheer treat, and is something that every person should experience.The Kabini River Lodge is about 220 kms from the city of Bangalore, and only 80 kms from Mysore. Well connected with roadways and signs to show you the way, one can reach within 8 hours from Bangalore City.