Wildlife sanctuaries in India
10 Best Wildlife Sanctuaries in India
Rugged cold mountains, temperate dry flatlands, rainy river plains, dry hot deserts, damp soggy marshes, and lilting alpine meadows – you name it and we have it all here in India. There are places where the temperature goes sub-zero and there are scorching hot and humid places. There are torrential rainfall and extreme draught too. And no wonder that’s the reason that the flora and fauna have been into remarkable adaptations.
Come and explore India if you want to dig deep into the wildlife. From Snow Leopards to the mighty Bengal Tigers to the rare One-Horned Rhinos and the endangered Swamp Deer, you will find them all in here.
Enlisted below are a few of the most famous National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries that you must explore if you are a nature lover.
1. Jim Corbett National Park- Uttarakhand:
Talking of all national parks in India, the list must begin with the oldest and one of the best ever in India – Jim Corbett National Park. It was established in 1936 at the foothills of the Himalayan range of Uttarakhand and was named after the popular hunter and wildlife story writer Jim Corbett. The most talked-about of Corbett’s denizens are the Bengal Tiger and the Asiatic Elephant. Though less popular but more common to sight are Wild Elephant, Langur Monkey, Rhesus Macaque, Peacock, and several types of deer including Chital, Sambars, Hog Deer, and Barking Deer. Panthers also prowl this land but are not as easy to lay eyes on. There are crocodiles, gharials, monitor lizards, wild boars, jackals and over 600 species of birds.
- USP : Oldest National Park; preserves Bengal Tiger .
- Best time to visit: Mid November to mid-June
2. Ranthambore National Park – Rajasthan:
Ranked among the top royal national parks in India, Ranthambore National Park proudly preserves the majestic Tigers. Surrounded by the Banas and Chambal River, the park serves as an ideal habitat for the predators and other animals. It is immensely popular for the Tiger Safari, and jeep and open mini-bus safaris are organized through the undulating terrain of this exhilarating journey across the forest. Leopard, Nilgai, Wild Boar, Sambar, and Hyena are some of the major animals found in this park. You can also spot Peacocks, Chitals and Sloth Bear If you are the lucky one, you may have a glimpse of the mighty beast in one-go. But the real challenge is to spot one of the largest old Banyan trees that is grown somewhere in the woods.
- USP: Tigers, along with Leopard, Nilgai, Wild Boar, Sambar, and Hyena.
- Best time to visit: 1st October to 30th June (closed for the rest of the year)
3. Bandipur National Park – Karnataka:
Down South, Bandipur National Park is the most popular. Thanks to the lush forest of the Deccan Plateau and the Western Ghats that help make Bandipur so beautiful and a true treat to the eyes. The park is located 80 km away from Mysore and almost 215 km away from Bangalore. It was established in 1974 as a tiger reserve under the Project Tiger and spreads over an area of 874 sq km, protecting several species of India’s endangered wildlife. The other mammals include chital, gray langurs, Indian giant squirrels, Indian elephants, leopard, gaur, four-horned antelope
- USP: Elephants.
- Best time to visit: March to June.
4. Kaziranga National Park – Assam:
A World Heritage Site, Kaziranga National Park hosts two-thirds of the world’s Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. You will be dwarfed by the vast expanses of ultra-tall elephant grass, which is why opting for an elephant safari through the park is a great idea. Other exotic species here are the Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo and the Eastern Swamp Deer. In fact, Kaziranga has 57%% of the world population of the Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo which can be found lolling around in the many swamps here. Kaziranga is also home to a large number of birds, predators, and scavengers.
- USP: Only natural habitat of One-Horned Rhino; Ultra-tall elephant grass.
- Best time to visit: November to April.
5. Hemis National Park – Jammu & Kashmir:
Located in the Eastern Ladakh region of Kashmir, Hemis National Park is the recreational spot for activities like camping, trekking, and sightseeing. Hemis holds its uniqueness being the only national park of the Himalayas and the home to a huge population of about 200 majestic Snow Leopards. Other animals found here are the Tibetan Wolf, the endangered Eurasian Brown Bear, the Red Fox, the Argali, the Bharal, and the Shape. If you are lucky enough, be prepared to spot a few Asiatic Ibex as well. Trekking is the only way to cover most of the park as no motor-accessible roads run through
- USP: Snow Leopards.
- Best time to visit: May to early October.
6. Kanha Tiger Reserve – Madhya Pradesh:
Welcome to the Kanha national park of Madhya Pradesh. Did you know that this national park inspired the writer Rudyard Kipling to pen down his famous novel “The Jungle Book” (also covers Pench National Park)? Established in the year 1955, this park has gained a lot of attention due to its efforts in saving the rare and almost extinct species of the Swamp Deer, also known as ‘Barasingha’. Another reason to check the place out is its sunset point called Bamni Dadar. You can watch the entire park from this point that offers the most eye-catching views of the animals in their natural habitat.
- USP: Swamp Deer or “Barasingha” (endangered species).
- Best time to visit: Mid October to June end.
7. Sundarbans National Park – West Bengal:
The largest tidal mangrove forest in the world, the Sundarbans covers 10,000 sq km in the delta of the Bay of Bengal between India and Bangladesh. An interconnected network of waterways makes almost every corner of the forest accessible by boat. The Sundarbans is home to the famous Royal Bengal Tiger. It is also well known for its Crocodile and Snake population. If you are lucky, you may even see the Gangetic River Dolphin swimming down the river with you. Definitely one of the top wildlife sanctuaries in India, the Sundarbans is not just about spotting animals, it’s about experiencing nature at its finest!
8. Bandhavgarh National Park – Madhya Pradesh:
Bandhavgarh used to be the hunting park of the Maharajas of the yesteryears. Today, it is a highly protected area and boasts of the highest density of tigers in the country. Located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, it is one of the largest national parks of Madhya Pradesh. Declared as a national park in 1968, this park has a noteworthy number of Tigers in India, including the most spectacular White Tigers. The park is also a large breeding ground for Panthers and various species of deer including Nilgai and Spotted Deer. A number of luxury Safaris are organized in this park where tourists are taken around through the foggy jungle in open jeeps at the crack of dawn.
- USP: White Tigers.
- Best time to visit: October to June.
9. Gir National Park and Sasan Gir Sanctuary – Gujarat:
The Gir National Park and the Sasan Gir Sanctuary of Gujarat are the only wildlife sanctuaries in India that have Asiatic Lions. Spread over a massive 1412 sq km area, the park was established on 18th September 1965 and is one of the largest and elegantly preserved areas for the Asiatic Lions, only 523 of which remains (2005 survey). Rivers and streams flowing through this national park remain occupied by the dwellers of the park. You can also hope to spot Sloth Bears, Striped Hyenas, Golden Jackals, Four Horned Antelopes, Leopards, Nilgai, Crocodiles, and even the very rare Blackbuck. Bird lovers can see various breeds of Owls, Eagles, Quails, and Woodpeckers.
- USP: Asiatic Lions.
- Best time to visit: December to March.
10. Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary – Goa:
The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Mollem, a town in Goa. Located in the midst of the Western Ghats this sanctuary is enveloped by picturesque forests. This is one of those wildlife sanctuaries in India that possesses both historical and geographical significance. It is a paradise for the birdwatchers as it is bestowed with diverse flora and fauna. This sanctuary is a cozy home for a number of animals that include the gaur, sambar, leopards, spotted Deer, slender
- USP: Huge variety of birds; Malayan giant
- Best time to visit: November to March