There are over 80 national parks and 500 wildlife sanctuaries in India, which reflect the importance that the country places on nature and wildlife conservation. The variety of wildlife in India is incredibly diverse and being able to view these animals and birds in their natural habitat is an experience of a lifetime. Many vistors come to India wanting to see the infamous tiger. The chance of spotting a tiger greatly depends on the size of the national park and the number of tigers, and is higher at some parks than others.
Here are five of the best national parks to see tigers and other wildlife in India.
1. Sunderbans National Park
Sunderbans is a magnificent tangle of mangrove jungle that’s the only one of its kind in the world. It’s spread over 54 islands and extends into neighboring Bangladesh. The Sundarbans is only accessible by boat and exploring it this way is a thrilling experience that shouldn’t be missed. Don’t be hopeful of seeing any tigers though. They’re very shy and usually remain well hidden in the reserve.
2. Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh is best known for its spectacular setting, as well as having the highest concentration of tigers in any park in India. The park features dense green valleys and rocky hill terrain, with an ancient fort built on 800 meter (2,624 ft) high cliffs. Although it's relatively difficult to reach, this park offers the best chance of seeing tigers. Elephants are also available for tiger tracking in the morning and treks in the evening.
3. Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park has the honor of providing the setting for Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, The Jungle Book. It’s rich in lush saal and bamboo forests, lakes, streams and open grasslands. This large park is well regarded for its research and conservation programs, and many endangered species have been saved there. As well as tigers, the park abounds with barasingha (swamp deer) and an extensive variety of other animals and birds.
4. Nagarhole National Park
Nagarhole gains its name from the snake like river that winds its way through it. The park is a place of unspoilt wilderness, with serene forest, bubbling streams, and a tranquil lake. Nagarhole can be explored by jeep, elephant back and boat. Visitors can also go trekking. The park offers the opportunity to see elephants close up in their natural habitat, and it’s not unusual to see herds of elephants on the river bank. However, the likelihood of seeing a tiger here is quite rare compared to parks such as Bandhavgarh in the north.
5. Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore is a fascinating blend of history and nature. Inside the park is a formidable fort that was built in the 10th century and coveted by many rulers due to its strategic position between north and central India. The park itself is characterized by rocky plains and steep cliffs. It supports a diverse range of flora and fauna, including around 30 tigers. This park is very popular due to its proximity to Delhi and the fact that tigers are relatively easy to spot here.
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