Which Wildlife Reserve / National Park to visit in India?
One of the toughest decisions to make is deciding on which national park to visit in India? Given the vastness of this country and the contrasting landscape it is a tough call, but improved air connectivity makes itinerary planning and travel easier across these parks.
India is an amazing destination to gratify your wanderlust! People from all corners of the world love landing in India to explore and experience this winsomeness of the country. For those who know little about wildlife tourism in India, it will be a surprise to know that there is hardly any corner or region in India that is devoid of forests and their captivating beauty, making it a superb destination to be visited. India is a large sub-continent in terms of geography and each part of the land has some uniqueness which is gets reflected in its wildlife reserves too. There are a whopping 514 wildlife sanctuaries including the 99 national parks in the country each of them offering something distinct from others to its visitors. And it is this vast diversity present in these jungles and their surroundings that brings to it all the charm and magnetism it owns.
Here is an extensive guide to the specialties of forests of each part of the country so that you can precisely know which of these should be your destination for a wildlife vacation to India. Go for the place which exactly offers the kind of experience and adventure you wish to endure on your wildlife vacation to the lovely country and welcoming people.
Wildlife Reserves in North India
Looking for wildlife destination with hilly neighborhood or briefly experience the historical Golden Triangle with a tiger safari experience? What could be better than wildlife reserves of northern India with Himalayas around? The desert land of Rajasthan and its wildlife reserves are equally inviting.
The Northern part of India basically comprises the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. The most noted wildlife reserves located in these states include:
- Jim Corbett National Park – One of the most popular wildlife reserve among Indians as well as foreign tourists in northern part of India! On your game drives, take a chance to closely watch the Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopards, Elephants, Deers and plethora of birds. Also enjoy a quaint sunset while spending your evening at the banks of Kosi river.
- Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary and National Park – With Aravalli mountains in its backdrop, Ranthambore Tiger Sanctuary forms a perfect forest setting. It is an excellent place to catch glimpses of Tigers, Leopards, Deers, Crocs, Jackals and many more wild animals thriving in their natural habitat. The national park teeming luxury lodges around which take your wilderness experience to another level with their best-in-class facilities and excellent hospitality.
- Pali National Park – Among the wilds, Leopards apart from langurs, crocs and hundreds of birds, are the prominent attraction of this reserve. While enjoying your stay at some luxurious resort around, you can also indulge in temple trails, rural excursions, nature trails, bird watching, dining amidst wilderness, and even hiking or trekking.
There are many others that are less famed though worth paying a visit, such as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Dachigam National Park, Dudhwa National Park, Gobindsagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Rajaji National Park, Hemis National Park, Great Himalayan National Park, Desert National Park, and a lot many more.
Besides stopping by at one, two or more wildlife reserves, while touring this part of the country, you can also take the advantage of visiting many more places of tourist interest such as Jaipur, Udaipur, Amritsar, Agra or any of the hill stations such as Shimla, Manali, Mount Abu, Nainital etc.
Wildlife Reserves in East India
To encounter the allure of all kind of natural splendors and a more off-the-beaten-path experience, visit the eastern part of India on your next vacation. The lush plantations and immaculate hills are spread all across to offer you a warm welcome, not to forget the sumptuous cuisines and warm people.
The states of Bihar, Sikkim, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh constitute the eastern part of Indian sub-continent. Much like other regions of the country, these too are rich in plant as well as animal biodiversity and house numerous wildlife reserves. The most noted of these are:
- Sunderban National Park – Renowned for its verdant mangroves, Sunderban National Park is a must visit reserve for every wildlife enthusiast traveling to India. The biggest of all the tiger reserves in the country, it is also a heaven for bird lovers. The best part about this forest is that it is criss-crossed by a bounty of streams owing to which a boat ride is the only possible way to explore this terrain.
- Kaziranga National Park – The most popular of all the wildlife reserves in this chunk of the country, Kaziranga National Park is every wildlife traveler’s delight. The terrain is kept alive by thousands of animals which include wild buffalos, one-horned rhinos, swamp deers, elephants, plethora of birds and other predators.
- Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary – Abundant wildlife and flourishing flora, both find an excellent abode in Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary located around Chilika Lake in the eastern state of Orissa. Hundreds of blackbucks, golden jackals, hyenas, spotted deers and numerous aquatic animals such as crabs, dolphins, prawns, limbless lizards, crustaceans etc. can be spotted around here. Fishing in the lake and visiting Kalijai Temple are among favorite activities of tourists stopping over here.
Other national parks and wildlife sanctuaries belonging to the eastern part of India deserving a mention in this section are Gorumara National Park, Similipal National Park, Khanghendzonga National Park, Nokrek National Park, Balpakram National Park, Namdapha National Park, Manas Tiger Reserve, Keibul Lam Jao National Park and Jaldapara National Park among numerous others.
Apart from these, you can also take the advantage of spending a few days in other inviting destinations nearby such as Puri, Bhubaneshwar, Konark, Shillong, Pelling, Dzouku Valley and many other picturesque places.
Wildlife Reserves in West India
Extremely popular among tourists to India from all parts of the world, Western part of India, much like other states is brimming with wildlife reserves and tourist cities. Lined by the coasts of the Arabian Sea all through, this part of India is certainly worth a visit.
The western section of India is limited to the three states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa only. But don’t go by the small number of states since the geographical area across which these are spread is quite large and houses many big and small wildlife reserves. The ones that are most fondly visited by tourists are:
- Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve – Being the abode of around 65 Tigers, this tiger reserve offers some great chances of spotting the majestic wild cat. Apart from the jeep safaris, you can also enjoy safaris while riding an elephant’s back.
- Gir National Park – A key attraction for most of the tourists to Gujarat, Gir National Park is the only natural habitat of Asiatic Lions in the world. Keep your binoculars handy so as not to miss even a single chance of the rare animal.
- Velvadar National Park – Also famously known by the name of Blackbuck National Park, this reserve houses numerous blackbucks, a rare species of deer. Nilgai, flamingoes, coots and pelicans are some other animals that can be seen here.
The western part of the country is blessed with many other wildlife reserves that tourists on their vacation to India can visit. Some of these are Navegaon National Park, Marine National Park, Desert National Park, Sariska National Park and Keoladeo Ghana National Park.
While you spend a few days close to any one or more of these wildlife sanctuaries, this vacation can also be an excellent chance to plan a sojourn to some of the best tourist spots of western India. The interesting spots that can be included in this trip could be Goa, Mumbai, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Ajanta & Ellora, Bhuj, Surat, Lonavala, Khandala and many more.
Wildlife Reserves in Central India
If you want to base your itinerary around ‘Tigers’, then head straight to Madhya Pradesh. The central part of India is much more captivating than any other segment. Apart from being the land of some of the finest wildlife reserves that India boasts of, central India also features plentiful heritage sites, scenic destinations, holy places, modern cities and so much more.
The states of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh constitute the central part of India and together comprise 9 national parks and over 20 wildlife sanctuaries. All of them have been very well preserved and maintained, and there is no shortage of opulent lodges offering appreciable services around these reserves. Following are the best of all wildlife sanctuaries that central India boasts of:
- Bandhavgarh National Park – With Aravalli Mountains in its backdrop, Bandhavgarh National Park is a terrific place to spot Tigers. Most rustic and authentic of all the jungles in India, other wilds that one can spot during game drives here include white Tigers, Chinkara, Chausingha, Nilgai, Sambar and many more.
- Kanha National Park – The thick forests of bamboo and sal are the home to plethora of fauna such as spotted deer, wild dogs, sambar, spotted deer to name some. Do not skip witnessing a ravishing sunset view at the Bamni Dadar.
- Panna National Park – Bengal Tigers, Hyena, Leopards, Carcal and Wild Dogs are the main inhabitants of this lush forest. Explore the jungle on an open jeep or revel in a thrilling elephant ride.
- Pench National Park – The plot for Rudyard Kipling’s bestseller The Jungle Book, this forest has all the charm to enchant all the visitors with its charm. A game drive through this lively jungle could be the time of your life while you catch glances of Tiger, Leopard, Wolf, Wild Dogs, various other wild animals and hundreds of birds.
- Satpura National Park – Deriving its name from the Satpura range of mountains, the rugged terrain of this wildlife reserve will give you a true jungle experience in all ways. Be it the scenic beauty of nature, dense flora, or bounty of wild animals, Satpura National Park has it all.
Do plan to visit some more wildlife reserves such as Hazaribagh National Park, Betla National Park, Madhav National Park or Indravati National Park to make the most out of your wildlife vacation to central India.
The bonus of spending your wildlife vacation in this part of the country is a great connectivity across the tourist destinations of entire country; however, there are umpteen spots worthy of a visit in central India itself. These include Khajuraho, Ujjain, Sanchi, Gwalior, Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Raipur, Raigarh and many more.
Wildlife Reserves in South India
For the admirers of quaint beaches, magnetic beauty of nature, ancient temples, historical monuments, great food and excellent hospitality, south India is the place to be at.
Southern part of India is adorned by the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Much like all the other regions of India, southern part too is bestowed with immense beauty of nature and copious fauna thriving in its jungles preserved as wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Those who are fascinated by the unusual hidden beauty of elephants can see these giants in large numbers and observe their lifestyle closely in south India. The most noted of these are the following:
- Bandipur National Park – Many endangered animals such as Tigers, Indian Elephants, Indian Rock Pythons, gaurs and dholes find their habitat in the lands of Bandipur National Park, but the most enchanting part of this place is the teeming population of butterflies that can be seen here. Though they are not a rare find, but their vibrancy and colorfulness is sure to beguile each and every visitor coming over to Bandipur.
- Nagarhole National Park – The most panoramic views in the midst of a jungle and bountiful flora and fauna make it the best getaway in southern India. Tigers, Elephants, Barking Deers, Wild Dogs, Leopards and Langurs are some of the wilds that can be spotted here.
- Periyar Tiger Reserve – Numerous Bengal Tigers, Nilgiri Tahr, Elephants, Gaurs, Sambars, Flying Squirrels and many more can be seen in the territory of Periyar Tiger Reserve. A noteworthy specialty of this national reserve is that it is open all year round which is not the case with most others.
That’s not all. There are many more nicely preserved and kept up wildlife reserves in southern India visiting which can be a wonderfully memorable experience. Bannerghatta National Park, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Guindy National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park, Kudremukh National Park and Silent Valley National Park.
Moreover, spending a holiday in southern India is a great opportunity to include some of the most thrilling tourist cities of this part of India in your trip. Kanyakumari, Coorg, Pondicherry, Kumarakom, Gokarna, Alleppey, Hampi, Ooty, Kovalam, and Yercaud are the most scintillating destinations of southern India. Do not miss stopping over at some of them while you are on your wildlife vacation to make it more exciting.
Our well-thought itineraries are an excellent way to explore any part of the country equally well, we also love to customize them for all our clients. Pick the one that best fits your fancies about a wildlife vacation to India and give a flying start to the most memorable and eventful days of your life!