The best places to spot wildlife in southern India is the Nagarhole National Park, in Western Ghat mountain range of western Karnataka. Created from the private hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Mysore, the sanctuary encompasses a tract of jungle-clad hills and the banks of a reservoir fed by the Kabini River. When water levels are low between February and March, elephants are enticed out of the trees to drink, along with herds of deer and antelope, and the predators that prey on them: striped hyena, dhole (wild dog) and even the occasional tiger.
In addition to towering teak trees, Nagarhole’s forest protects jungles of rosewood, silver oak and, most highly prized of all in this part of the world, sandalwood, which is used to make incense. Birdlife is also prolific, with 270 species recorded, among them the endangered Oriental white-backed vulture, Greater-spotted eagle and three kinds of hornbill.