the-south-asian Life & Times          October -December 2009



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Kabini - Wild about Life

By Subhasish Chakraborty

Karnataka, one of the southern states of India has 3.83 million hectares of its area in forest - about 20 percent of its geographical area. Exotic species such as Sandalwood, Rosewood, Teak, White Cedar, and Silver Oak grow naturally in these forests. Amidst this esoteric biodiversity are the state’s five National Parks and twenty-one Wildlife Sanctuaries, with a density of 108 animals per sq km.

The 644 sq km Nagarhole National Park is one of the five national parks in Karnataka - a protected haven for its denizens - elephants, tigers, leopards, silver monkeys , dhole (wild dogs), Malabar flying squirrel, gaur (Indian bison), the striped mongoose, the spotted deer and more than 300 species of birds. The park has the largest concentration of elephants in Asia. It is situated in the Mysore and Coorg districts of Karnataka and is also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park. Once the private hunting ground of the Maharajah of Mysore, it was declared a national park in 1955.

Summer, when the forest is dry, is the best time to see the animals in the wild, as they come out in the open in search of water. Soon after the rains, the forest turns green, moist and thick. A new life cycle begins in the jungle.

Only a tenth of the Nagarhole forest is actually open to the public. With a total area of 644 sq km, its south western corner is the Sunkadakatte tourism zone, a small pocket of 60 sq km in size, wherein lies a stretch of the Kabini River. On its banks are two resorts – the Kabini River Lodge on the northern bank, and the more recent Orange County Resort on the southern bank. The former is a government-run former regal retreat and the latter a privately owned aesthetic blend of contemporary and tribal architecture and design - two of India’s most extraordinary wildlife resorts that have attracted the attention of global travellers and wildlife lovers.

Read the complete article in the print issue of SALT



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