Home to exotic species and unique fauna and flora, India is one of the most favourable destinations for nature lovers. Located along the length and breadth of the country are amazing national parks where one may come across rare animals and plants that are only unique to India. Here we present ten national parks that are noted for their amazing beauty and wonderful wildlife.
The oldest national park in India, Jim Corbett is located in Nainital, Uttarakhand. The park was established in 1936 by Jim Corbett, an animal hunter turned conservationist. The park covers an area of 520.8 square kilometres and comprises around 488 species of plants along with a huge variety of fauna. Some of the animals one can spot here are Bengal tigers, leopards, barking deer, sloth, Indian grey mongoose, etc. The best time to visit Jim Corbett National Park is during the months of November to June.
The Kaziranga National Park covers an area of 430 square kilometres and is located in the Nagaon and Golaghat districts of Assam. The national park, which is a World Heritage Site, is famous for its great one-horned rhinoceroses. It is estimated that there are currently around 2,401 rhinoceroses at the Park. Kaziranga was also declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006 because of the high density of tigers within the park. Some other animals found here are the wild Asiatic water buffalo, eastern swamp deer, Bengal tigers, Bengal fox, sloth bear and more. In winters many migratory birds arrive here and the park has been deemed as the paradise for bird watchers, rightly so. The best time to visit the park is between November and April.
Gir Forest National Park
Gir Forest National Park is undeniably the homeland for the Asiatic lion. The national park, which is located in Gujarat, covers an area of approximately 1,412 square kilometres. The region used to be a hunting ground for nawabs but with a drastic drop in the population of Asiatic lions over the time, due to excessive hunting, the region was turned into a sanctuary. In 2015, the population of Asiatic lions was estimated to be around 523. Here the visitors can also find animals such as Indian leopard, Indian cobra, chital, four-horned antelope, to name a few. Jeep safaris are regularly organized for the visitors. The best time to visit the national park is between the months of December and March.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is located in Rajasthan and covers an area of 392 square kilometres. Hugely popular for its Bengal tigers, however, it also has other exotic species to enjoy such as nilgai, Indian leopard, sloth bear, striped hyena, boar, sambar, mugger crocodile, etc. The national park is located in Sawai Madhopur district and is some 140 km southeast of Jaipur. October to May is the best time to visit the park .
Sundarbans National Park
Located in the state of West Bengal, Sundarbans National Park adjoins the Sundarbans Reserve Forest, which is part of Bangladesh. The forest, which is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger, covers an area of 1330.12 square kilometres. In 1987, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Apart from the Bengal tigers, other animals that inhabit the park are the saltwater crocodile, leopard cats, boars, foxes, turtles, etc. Although the park is open to tourists from September to March, the best time to visit is between the months of December and February.
Sariska National Park
Sariska National Park is located in Alwar district, Rajasthan, and covers an area of 866 square kilometres. The national park is known for its population of Bengal tigers and other animals such as Indian leopard, Jungle cat, striped hyena, langur, wild boar etc. It used to be a hunting ground of the Alwar state but was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955 and a national park in 1982. The period between October and June is high time you can find these adorable creatures roaming under the open sky.
Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park is predominantly a tiger reserve. Covering an area of 940 square kilometres, it also holds the title of the largest national park in Madhya Pradesh. Tourists come from across the country to witness nature’s marvels such as the Bengal Tiger, sloth bear, Indian leopards, wild dogs etc. Established in 1955, the park has been an active tourist spot and is now ranked in top 10 ‘Famous Places for Tourists’. Interestingly, the park is also the source of inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s novel, The Jungle Book. November to June is the best time to visit the national park.
Periyar National Park
Periyar National Park covers an area of 305 square kilometres and is located near Thekkady in Kerala. The park was established in 1982 and has myriads of trees such as sandalwoods, banyans, teak sacred fig, etc. Animals found here are Bengal tigers, elephants, gaur, wild pig, sambhar, jungle cat, flying squirrel, etc. Undoubtedly a popular tourist destination, the Periyar National Park sees most tourist traffic between the months of September and April.
Mudumalai National Park
Mudumalai National Park is located in Tamil Nadu. The park was established in 1940 and covers an area of 321 square kilometres. The park, which is also a tiger reserve, provides tourists with an opportunity to have a glimpse at many endangered and vulnerable species. Some of these that inhabit the Mudumalai National Park are Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, Indian elephant, gaur, etc. The park is also home to about 266 species of bird. Here, one can also encounter the long-billed vulture and the Indian white-rumped vulture. It is currently being considered to be included as a World Heritage Site. The best time to visit Mudumalai National Park is from March to June and September to October.
Located in Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh National Park was established in 1968. The park cover is area of approximately 105 square kilometres. The park boasts to be a ‘roam-land’ for a large number of leopards and several wonderful species of deer. Impressively, it also has the highest density of tiger population in the country. Other animals that can be spotted here are the sloth bear, jackals and several varieties of birds. The best time to visit Bandhavgarh National Park is between October and June.