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India’s Best Wildlife Parks

India’s Top 10 Best Wildlife Parks are listed below along with some basic information about each park. To protect its great variety of wildlife, India has over eighty national parks and four hundred and forty-one sanctuaries. They are spread all over the country, and offer numerous opportunities for the enthusiast to observe and enjoy a huge variety of wildlife. Some of the major endangered and threatened species include two thirds of the world's remaining tigers as well as the last remaining Asiatic lions. The gigantic one-horned rhino is found here, as is the Asian elephant.

Birdwatchers can also select from various options, such as Keoladeo Ghana National Park, one of Earth's most famous wetlands. There are dozens of bird species that flock to different parts of India from far away nations and continents.

We select lodging at the wildlife parks based on the lodging provider’s commitment to protecting their environment. We have a passion for India’s wildlife parks, and go to great lengths to provide wildlife experiences that do not hamper conservation efforts. You can stay at comfortable to incredibly luxurious Jungle Lodges and venture out during the day to explore the parks and view wildlife. A safari into the jungle can be exhilarating, and will provide memories that will last a lifetime. In some cases, you can sit and watch from a watchtower or take a boat trip to observe the wildlife.

Bandhavgarh National Park – Tigers & Leopards

The Tiger Reserve of Bandhavgarh National Park covers an area of 1537 square kilometers with a core area of 717 square kilometers. In our experience Bandhavgarh offers the highest statistical chance in India of viewing tigers – our guests almost always enjoy multiple sightings. Many hills and hillocks dot the area amidst valleys, meadows and marshes. The Charanganga is the main river that flows through the park, and there are a number of old tanks and water holes that provide reliable water sources for the wildlife. With tropical dry and moist deciduous forests interspersed with grasslands, the vegetation is chiefly of Sal Trees in the valleys and on the lower slopes, with bamboo found in abundance throughout most of the park.

At the center of the park is Bandhavgarh Hill and the remains of the 2000 years old Bandhavgarh Fort which sits atop the rocky outcrop and is surrounded by a large number of smaller hills separated by gently sloping valleys. Concentrated around it, as well as in other parts of the park, are numerous cave shrines with ancient Sanskrit inscriptions dating back to the 1st century BC.

Bandhavgarh has an abundance of tigers and other wildlife species. Among mammals the most common are chital, sambhar, barking deer, wild dog, leopard, wolf, jackal, sloth bear, wild pig, langur, and, as in most Indian wildlife parks, uncountable numbers of monkeys. Reptiles include the cobra, krait, viper, python, and chameleons. The reserve is rich in birds with about 250 species of birds. The common ones are egret, jungle crow, peafowl, grey hornbill, red wattled lapwing, crested serpent eagle, quails, owls, parakeets, and common teal.

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Ranthambore National Park – Tigers & Leopards

Named after the once imposing 10th century fort whose ruins preside over the park from a nearby hilltop, Ranthambore National Park offers excellent chances of seeing tigers in the wild. It is the easiest park to access on a tour that involves India’s Golden Triangle. In the 18th and 19th centuries the jungles here were the royal hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Jaipur. In the mid-nineteenth century, the British Officer in charge of the area started a program of conservation for the fast-dwindling wildlife. It became a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1955 and a National Park (as part of Project Tiger) in 1973.

The park is surrounded by the Vindhya and Aravalli mountain ranges and is one of the greener parts of the mostly desert state of Rajasthan. It is bordered by rivers on its north and south, and there are many streams inside the park. Dry deciduous forests cover much of the park, and the rest of the terrain can vary from flat grasslands to massive boulders to steep ravines. There are six manmade lakes in the park that serve as watering holes for the wildlife. Over 30 different animals are found here, including tigers and leopards. There are three different types of antelopes, over 250 kinds of birds, and a decent number of snub-nosed marsh crocodiles. You can also find sloth bears, wild boars, monitor lizards, jackals, and jungle cats, just to name a few.

The park has a number of ancient ruins of royal structures, and the combination of the jungle, the wildlife, and the ancient ruins can be a photographer’s delight. Unlike Corbett and certain other parks, there are no native elephants at Ranthambore, and safaris are conducted on board 4WD vehicles.

Kanha National Park – Tigers & Leopards

The dense forests, open fields, and plethora of wildlife found in Kanha National Park inspired Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Kanha has very good tiger sightings, and it is frequently combined with Bandhavgarh National Park due its relatively close proximity.

In 1955, 60 years after Kipling’s book was first published, Kanha National Park was founded to protect the diverse wildlife and lush flora that inspired one of the most memorable tales from India’s colonial British era. With boundaries stretching over 500-square-miles of forests and plains, Kanha National Park is the largest tiger reserve and nature sanctuary in Central India.

There are more than 1,000 flowering species of plants within the park boundaries, and tigers, leopards, wild cats, and sloth bears are numerous and easily spotted while on safari inside the park.

Best Time to Visit Kanha Park: Kanha National Park is closed to visitors between July and September every year for conservation efforts. From October to June the park is open to safari tours, which coincides with the area’s best weather and increased chances to view the animals that are more active during the cooler months.

Kanha Park Highlights: It’s a rare treat for guests on our luxury tours of India to experience the beautiful natural setting that inspired one of the most prolific modern tales of India. Kanha National Park should not be missed while sightseeing in Madhya Pradesh on one of our luxury tours of India.

Nagarhole National Park: Elephants, Tigers, Leopards, Bears

Nagarhole National Park, (also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park), was set up as a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and gained National Park status in 1988. The park stretches for over 643 square kilometers in the southern state of Karnataka. It is part of the UNESCO designated Nigiri (Blue Mountain) Biosphere Reserve, one of twelve Biosphere Reserves in India, and the entire Biosphere Reserve area is said to have the largest population of tigers on our planet. This is one of the two best Wildlife Parks in South India, and the lush and dense sub-tropical forests in this region are home to a very diverse array of amazing wildlife and avian species, the latter of which are both migratory and indigenous to the Park. Wild Elephant Herd sightings are common, and there are frequent sightings of sloth bears, tigers, and leopards.

Best Time to Visit Nagarhole National Park: The park is open all year round with the best time to visit being between September and May.

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Bandipur National Park: Elephants, Tigers, Leopards, Bears

Bandipur National Park is separated from Nagarhole National Park by the extremely scenic Kabini River and this 870 square kilometers sanctuary is also connected to Mudumalai National Park and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Together they form the largest protected area for wildlife in Southern India and latest reports show that Bandipur now has 2500 Wild Elephants, 173 Bengal Tigers, and over 300 Leopards – a growth in numbers that illustrates the success of the Park’s conservation efforts. This is one of the two best Wildlife Parks in South India, and the lush and dense sub-tropical forests in this region are home to a very diverse array of other fascinating wildlife and avian species, the latter of which are both migratory and indigenous to the Park. Wild Elephant Herd sightings are common, and there are frequent sightings of sloth bears, tigers, and leopards.

Best Time to Visit Bandipur National Park: The park is open all year round with the best time to visit being between October and May.

Kaladeo National Park – India’s Premier Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is also known as the Kaladeo Ghana Sanctuary. Once the shooting preserve of royalty, this small sanctuary is the most spectacular water-bird sanctuary in India and it lies just off the Agra to Jaipur highway. It is one of the major wintering areas for large numbers of aquatic birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia.

About 364 species of birds, including the rare Siberian Crane, have been recorded in the park. The name Kaladeo is derived from the name of an ancient Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva in the sanctuary's central zone, while the Hindi term "Ghana" implies dense, thick areas of forest cover. Covering an area of just 12 square miles, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is an interlocking ecosystem of woodlands, swamps, wet prairies and dry savannah.

Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary – One Horned Rhino & Tigers

Kaziranga National Park was designated a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. It is spread over 858 square kilometers, and is located in the floodplains on both sides of the Brahmaputra. At the heart of its mind-boggling biodiversity is the rich topography with its lush hills and valleys, dissected by the majestic Brahmaputra and its many tributaries. Patches of mixed deciduous forests are interspersed with vast stretches of savannah grasslands, wetlands and chars of river islands formed by the shifting course of the Brahmaputra.

The Park is ‘home’ to more than 70% of the world’s One Horned Rhinoceros, and harbours more than 60% of India's wild buffalo population along with the only population of the Eastern Swamp deer. Other wildlife found here are - Bengal Tiger, Leopard, the Indian Civet, Sambar, Barking Deer, Hog deer, Hog Badger, the endangered Hoolock Gibbon, Capped Langur, Assamese Macaque, Sloth Bear, Gangetic Dolphin, Otter and several species of turtles and tortoises.

The park also has a sizeable population of birds. Home to 25 Globally Threatened and 21 Near Threatened species of birds, huge flocks of pelicans and rose-ringed parakeets can be spotted here besides crested serpent eagles, grey-headed fishing eagles, red jungle fowl, Bengal floricans, bar-headed geese and whistling teal.

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Sasan Gir Lion Sanctuary – Last Home of the Asiatic Lion

The last home of the Asiatic Lion, Sasan Gir Lion Sanctuary is a model of success for conservationists. A century ago, there was about 20 lions left in this area; currently there are almost 300. The 'Gir Lion' (as it's now known) is relatively easy to view and photograph, in comparison to the elusive tiger and most other big cats. This is partially due to the fact that the protection offered to the wildlife in this Park is among the best in India, so they have less fear of humans.

The 1424 sq kilometer Park is mostly hilly, and all-wheel drive vehicles are the best way to explore the rough terrain. Jeep safaris are the chosen means of transportation in Sasan Gir. There are a number of rivers that flow through Gir, and the green belts surrounding them provide a striking contrast to the rest of the Park. Although not as lush and conventionally scenic as some other sanctuaries, Sasan Gir has a stark charm all of its own, and its dry deciduous jungle is also populated by teak and bush filled grasslands.

Sasan Gir has a large population of leopards, as well as more than a fair share deer and antelope. Wild boar, panthers, hyenas, and jackals are found here, as are more than 300 species of birds. There is a large reptile population, including a crocodile farm that's been developed in the jungle.

Jim Corbett National Park – Tigers & Elephant Herds

India's most famous wildlife park, and the first park in Project Tiger, Corbett National Park is easily accessible from Delhi by road, but is in a direction that necessitates a roundtrip journey. Designated as a wildlife park in 1935, it was the first wildlife sanctuary in Asia. A visitor to Corbett is guaranteed encounters with an amazing diversity of wildlife, as well as a chance of coming across the elusive tiger. It is a large and beautiful park, and safaris into the core area of the park are a thrilling experience.

The terrain is a mix; there are grasslands and forests, plains and mountains, even dry earth and marshlands. The river Ramganga flows through Corbett, and if you reserve well in advance, you can stay on its banks at the picturesque park headquarters at Dhikala. This diversity in terrain produces a similarly large range of wildlife, while also offering some spectacular scenery in places like Dhikala.

For viewing a wide variety of Indian wildlife, Corbett National Park has no equals. It offers Northern India's best opportunities for observing wild elephant herds. Numerous kinds of deer, monkeys, and lizards abound here. The gharial (Indian crocodile) makes its home here, and so do leopards, wild boars, and jackals. It is one of India's best places for birdwatchers, with almost six hundred species of birds.

Periyar National Park – Elephant Herds & Spice Plantations

Kaziranga National Park was designated a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. Located in the lush jungles of Kerala, Periyar National Park offers among the best opportunities to view elephants in the wild. A stop here is part of all our tours that explore South India’s major attractions. A visit here includes a boat cruise on the magical lake of the same name, which is where you will get to observe wild Elephant herds on the banks. The sub-tropical flora in this region is spectacular and the world’s most prized spices are grown here. A naturalist guided visit to a Spice Plantation is part of a visit to this Park.

The terrain is hilly and the elevation of the park ranges from a few hundred feet to about 6000 feet above sea level. Periyar is home to just under a thousand elephants and also over 60 other mammal species including tigers, bison, deer, wild boar, and wild dog. There are over 300 species of birds, and even 160 species of butterflies.

The park is situated around an artificial lake. Boat cruises around the lake offer great opportunities to view wildlife. Guided treks are available for the more adventurous. You can also observe from a few strategically placed watchtowers. Like Corbett National Park, Periyar is very scenic country, and could easily pass for a resort area just on the merits of its lush jungles, big lake, and surrounding hills.