Since many years now, tourists have flocked to the beaches to enjoy the cool waves in this hot Indian summer. Nowadays, while that number is intact, tourism industry has also seen a rise in the number of wildlife enthusiasts. Summer being the main season for wildlife sightings, a lot of travelers these days choose this greener alternative to the otherwise hotter one.
“Let nature be your teacher.” – William Wordsworth
India is home to varied flora and fauna with wildlife in abundance. This country has 104 national parks, 550 wildlife sanctuaries along with numerous marine parks and conservation centers. The topography of each park is different from the other. With the launch of Project Tiger, a tiger conservation program, in 1973, the wildlife scene in India grew, for the better. With a lot of focus now on conservation as well as tourism, these wildlife parks are seeing an increasing number of travelers, Indian as well as Foreigners.
The main attraction of the Indian wildlife remains the elusive and ferocious tiger. Photographers, documentary makers and researchers stay put in these parks for weeks on end for that one perfect shot.
Scroll through our list of best wildlife parks in India for your summer of 2019.
Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
Tadoba is situated in the Chandrapur district in Maharashtra. It has become famous for its consistent tiger sightings along with an abundance of other wildlife and a unique bamboo vegetation. The park, which is spread over 625 sq.km, also has two big lakes which house numerous birds and crocodiles. This park has had continual legacies of multiple ferocious tigers and tigresses. Tourists can book morning and evening safaris in the park which go on for four hours each.
- Famous for: Tigers, leopards, sloth bears, nilgai, jackals, wild dogs, deer, mongoose, etc.
- Nearest railway station:Chandrapur (35 km) and Nagpur (145 km)
- Nearest airport:Nagpur (145 km)
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
Located in the eastern Satpura hill range of Umaria and Katni districts, Bandhavgarh is 1,536 sq.km big tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh. This national park is the jewel of wildlife in Central India. Tourists visiting this reserve can enjoy panoramic views of flora and fauna against the background of the tall Bandhavgarh fort. Unlike the other parks of central India, the Bandhavgarh forest is green even in summer as about 70% Sal trees with their lush green leaves populate it, all year round. This reserve has a high density of tigers which is directly proportionate to its sighting opportunities.
- Famous for: Tigers, leopards, hornbills, vultures, jackals, wild boars, hyenas, deer, Hanuman langurs, etc.
- Nearest railway station:Umaria (35 km), Katni (100 km), Jabalpur (200 km)
- Nearest airport:Jabalpur (200 km), Khajuraho (250 km)
Gir National Park, Gujarat
Sasan Gir has an exceptional offering being India’s only abode of the Asiatic lion.This park is situated in the Junagarh district and covers a total area of 1,412 sq.km. Gir National Park also has an interpretation zone called the Devalia Safari Park. This Safari Park is an enclosed area of the sanctuary that offers rides to visitors in mini-vans for 25-30 minutes. Unlike other national parks, safaris in Gir are available thrice during the day, for three hours each.
- Famous for: Lions, Chowsingha – world’s only four horned antelope, jackals, hyenas, fox, marsh crocodiles, raptors, etc.
- Nearest railway station:Junagarh (80 km)
- Nearest airport:Rajkot (160 km)
Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest national parks in north India. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Ranthambore fort, this national park offers stunning landscapes for photography. This park was a former hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Ranthambore is infamous for the tigress Machali who played a key role in the regeneration of the tiger population of the park. She was India’s most famous tigress and won a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for her popularity that earned the park around $10 million per year. Ranthambore is perhaps one of the most beautiful parks in India thanks to its 3 gorgeous lakes and rocky ruins.
- Famous for:Tigers, leopards, striped hyenas, sambar deer, chital, nilgai, marsh crocodiles, desert monitor lizards, etc.
- Nearest railway station:Sawai Madhopur (10 km)
- Nearest airport:Jaipur (180 km)
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
For all those who are curious to see the one-horned rhinoceros, a trip to Kaziranga is a must for you. Situated in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam, Kaziranga is famous for its unique topography and varied flora and fauna. The 430 sq.km. park is full of elephant grass, swampy lagoons and dense forest. Along with the iconic Greater one-horned rhinoceros, the park is the breeding ground of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Over the time, the tiger population has also increased in Kaziranga, which led to it being declared as Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park is also recognised as an important birding area. Kaziranga also has elephants’ safaris every morning for a duration of one hour.
- Famous for: One-horned rhinoceros, elephants, water buffalos, swamp deer, tigers, etc.
- Nearest railway station:Furkating (75 km)
- Nearest airport:Guwahati (217 km)
Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Kanha National Park is the largest wildlife park of Madhya Pradesh, located in the heart of India. It is spread over an area of 1,945 sq.km. The park gained a lot of recognition for its attempts to save the Barasingha – the swamp deer. It is the first tiger reserve to introduce an official mascot – Bhoorsingh the Barasingha. The forest is very dense, full of lush sal and bamboo trees with grassy meadows and ravines giving it an incredibly cool feel. When you visit Kanha, make sure to go to the Bamni Dadar to watch deer and sambars grazing against the backdrop of the setting sun.
- Famous for:Tigers, leopards, striped hyenas, sambar deer, chital, nilgai, marsh crocodiles, etc.
- Nearest railway station: Gondia (145 km), Jabalpur (160 km)
- Nearest airport:Jabalpur (160 km), Raipur (250 km), Nagpur (300 km)
Sundarban National Park, West Bengal
The Sundarbans means different things to different people. It is one of the largest mangrove ecosystems in the world, one of the largest wetlands, a complicated riverine area encompassing 102 islands with a maze of innumerable rivers, rivulets and creeks. The inhabitants believe that the forest derived its name from the Sundari tree, and ‘ban’ meaning forest – hence, the Sundarbans. There are a few watch towers in Sundarbans from where you can see fresh sweet water ponds created to attract animals, so that the tourist can have better chances of sightings in this highly dense region.
- Famous for:Bengal tiger, Estuarine Crocodile, Fishing Cat, Common otter, Water Monitor lizard, Gangetic Dolphin, River Terrapin, Marine Turtles like Olive Ridley, etc.
- Nearest railway station: Canning (48 km)
- Nearest airport:Kolkata (112 km)
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Jim Corbett National Park lies in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. Spanning over an area of 520 sq.km, this park consists of marshy meadows, grasslands, riverine and a lake. Jim Corbett has a healthy population of the tiger but because their sighting is relatively lesser. The park also has a large number of elephants and migratory birds. This park also has elephant safaris. If you are an avid bird watcher, then Jim Corbett is your paradise.
- Famous for: Tigers, elephants, five species of deer, etc.
- Nearest railway station:Ramnagar (12 km)
- Nearest airport:Pantnagar (50 km)
Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka
Nagarhole National Park is located in the Kodagu and Mysore district of Karnataka. It is a part of the Nilgiri biosphere. It is one of the few national parks which is open even during the monsoon. This national park has the highest density of herbivores in Asia. The park has 47 streams, 41 artificial tanks, four lakes with water throughout the year, 4 streams, a reservoir and a dam. Nagarhole also has a unique offering of the coracle ride, twice a day on prior booking.
- Famous for: Elephant, jungle cat, leopard cat, grey langur, civet, mongoose
- Nearest railway station: Mysore (96 km)
- Nearest airport:Mysore (96 km)
Hemis National Park, Jammu and Kashmir
Hemis National Park is a high-altitude national park located in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. The park is quite famous for its population of snow leopards. It is the only national park in the country to be located in the Himalayas and is also the largest wildlife park of the country. Vegetation in this park is quite scarce. There are no motorable roads in this park, as vehicles are not allowed. Tourists have to trek their away along the many routes if they want to visit this park.
- Famous for:Snow leopard, Tibetan wolf, red fox, Eurasian brown bear, mountain weasel, Himalayan mouse hare, Himalayan marmot, Tibetan sheep, blue sheep, etc.
- Nearest airport: Leh (5 km)
To experience nature at its best, visit any of these wildlife parks and you will be surely left wanting more!