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National parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India

Discussion in 'Wildlife and National Parks' started by ArjunNagpal, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. ArjunNagpal

    ArjunNagpal New Member

    A couple of my friends and I would like to go to some national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India. We would like to know which ones are in India, as we plan to visit different ones across India and we would decide which ones to visit when we have a list.

    If you are knowledgeable about national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India, please provide a list according to the ones which you would suggest we should visit.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!



    The landscapes and terrains of India are vast and varied, which makes it a biodiversity hotspot. India actually ranked 8th in Mongabay's assessment of the most biodiverse countries in the world. The country have four main ecological hotspots namely: the Western Ghats, the Himalayan Region, the Nicobar Islands and the Indo-Myanmar Region. Many endemic species of plants and animals reside in the country. But perhaps, India is most well-known for having saved from extinction a subspecies of the tiger, the royal Bengal tiger. As you would find out in the following guide, the wildlife of India is so diverse, encompassing more than just tigers, but a wide variety of other animals that can be hard to find in other places in the world.

    Most Popular National Parks in India

    1. Jim Corbett National Park (Uttarakhand) - Topping this list is the Jim Corbett National Park, located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. Established in 1936, then as the Hailey National Park, this is India's oldest national park. The terrains of the national park vary, from lowlands, to hilly regions, to dense sal forests and open grasslands. Various rivers make their way into the national park premises, like the Ramganga River and its tributaries, which provide for the water needs of the animals. In its vast expanse of land, over 200 royal Bengal tigers reside, which are the main stars of the national park. Other wild animals that you might here are leopards, elephants, jungle cats, wild buffalos, sloth bears, wild boars, sambars, barking deers and hog deers. Generally, the park remains open from October/November until June each year. This is true for most zones except the buffer areas of Jhirna and Dhella, which remain open all throughout the year. If you happen to visit Jim Corbett National Park during its closing times, monsoon, and you can't explore the core areas, you can still enjoy bird watching in the zones mentioned above. Options for safari include either a jeep safari or canter safari and in some zones, nature safari can also be done by foot. Keep in mind that the Jim Corbett National Park is one of the most popular wildlife reserves in the country, hence there's a need to book your safari in advance through the online portal of the national park. You can risk booking a safari on the spot but only a limited number of safaris are allowed per day on a designated zone so you might end up with a different zone or not experiencing the safari at all on rush days.
    • Must Spot Animals - Royal Bengal Tigers, Leopards, Elephants, Jungle Cats, Wild Buffalos, Sloth Bears, Wild Boars, Sambars, Barking Deers and Hog Deers
    • Safari Cost - Jeep Safari at Rs. 4,200 (Indians) & Rs. 8,000 (Foreigners) and Canter Safari at Rs. 1,500/Person (Indians) & Rs. 3,000/Person (Foreigners)
    • Opening Times (In a Year) - October/November to June (Dhikala, Bijrani & Domunda) and All Year Round (Jhirna & Dhella)
    2. Bandhavgarh National Park (Madhya Pradesh) - The Bandhavgarh National Park, located in Madhya Pradesh, has one of the highest tiger densities out of all the national parks in the country. This is because the area covered by the national park isn't too large and the estimated number of tigers here are around 22. This means that spotting tigers can be quite easier, as you can find a tiger for every five kilometre square of the national park. Even the terrains of the national park, mostly open grasslands, help in making the wildlife safari more satisfying for the tourists. Aside from the much hyped about tigers, the national park is also home to other wildlife like Indian gaurs, chinkaras, sambars, spotted deers, nilgais, jackals, wild boars, leopards and lots of peacocks. Just like the former, the Bandhavgarh National Park is divided into several zones, the most popular for tiger sightings would be Tala and Magadhi. You can opt to hire a jeep in its entirety, which would be more expensive, or to just pay per person, each jeep can seat around six persons. It is best to book for your safari online, through the website of the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department. This way, you can avoid hassles and delays during your scheduled safari trip to the national park.
    • Must Spot Animals - Royal Bengal Tigers, Indian Gaurs, Chinkaras, Sambars, Spotted Deers, Nilgais, Jackals, Wild Boars, Leopards and Peacocks
    • Safari Cost - Rs. 4,500/Jeep or Rs. 750/Person
    • Opening Times (In a Year) - October to June
    Bandhavgarh Deer (Image from Bitan)

    3. Ranthambore National Park (Rajasthan) - With its rugged terrains, featuring the ranges of the Aravalli, the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is another can't be missed wildlife reserve in India. This large national park is also home to about 60 tigers, making it one of the best national parks for tiger spotting. The forests here are of the dry and deciduous types, interspersed amidst them are open grasslands. There are many water bodies around the national park too, mostly in the form of lakes, which are hotspots for spotting wild animals too. Aside from tigers, you can also view plenty of other animals like hyenas, jackals, sambars, blackbucks, wild boars, common palm civets, pythons, cobras and caracals within its premises. Being located in the arid desert area of Rajasthan, the climate in the national park can be extremely hot during summer, so most tourists can be found during winter season. However, the hotter temperatures during summer make the animals come out of hiding so spotting them might be easier. The national park is divided into several zones, named Zone 1 to Zone 10. Out of these 10 zones, the best ones are Zone 1 to Zone 5, wherein there are higher chances of spotting tigers. As compared to other national parks though, tiger sightings in the Ranthambore National Park are more frequent, owing to the higher tiger density as well as the experienced guides who help tourists in their safaris. You can book for your safari online through the website of the Forest Department of Rajasthan. You can choose between a canter or gypsy safari, with the latter being more affordable.
    • Must Spot Animals - Royal Bengal Tigers, Hyenas, Jackals, Sambars, Blackbucks, Wild Boars, Common Palm Civets, Pythons, Cobras and Caracals
    • Safari Cost - Canter Safari at Rs. 344 (Indians) & at Rs. 1,784 (Foreigners) and Gypsy Safari at Rs. 329 (Indians) & at Rs. 1,669 (Foreigners)
    • Opening Times (In a Year) - October to June
    4. Kaziranga National Park (Assam) - An UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kaziranga National Park in Assam is home to the world's largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses. As of 2015, the total number of one-horned rhinoceroses in the national park are around 2,400. The landscapes here are quite stunning too, with a combination of semi-evergreen forests, subtropical moist forests and savanna forests. Grasslands can also be found amongst the lower areas of the national park, particularly around the beels, which are flood-formed small water bodies. The national park remains flooded during the monsoon season as the Brahmaputra River lies just outside its border area. In fact, there are some rivulets that can be found within the park itself that also contributes to the flooding. Home to various animals like the wild Asian water buffalos, elephants, swamp deers, tigers, wild boars, sambars, rhesus macaques and Assamese macaques, the wildlife here are very much bountiful. The rare Indian pangolin also resides in the national park though spotting it might be tough. The national park is divided into several ranges, namely: Kohora, Bagori, Agoratoli and Burapahar. The Kohora Range (Central) is known for having the best chances of rhino spotting, as well as tiger sighting, and it is the only government-operated range. The Bagori Range (Western) is known for its early morning elephant safaris which can take you closer to the rhinos. Unlike other national parks, you can book for your safari here even on the spot. There are just levied entry fees that you need to pay separately from the safari charges.
    • Must Spot Animals - Royal Bengal Tigers, Wild Asian Water Buffalos, Elephants, Swamp Deers, Tigers, Wild Boars, Sambars, Rhesus Macaques and Assamese Macaques
    • Safari Cost - Jeep Safari at Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,500 (Entry Fee of Rs. 100 for Indians and Rs. 650 for Foreigners)
    • Opening Times (In a Year) - November to April
    5. Gir National Park (Gujarat) - The last one for this section is the Gir National Park, located in Junagadh in Gujarat. With its rocky and steep ravines, amidst grasslands, dry deciduous forests and hilly regions, the flora of the national park is captivating. It is also the sole home of the Asiatic lions, an endangered subspecies of lions found only here. About 500 Asiatic lions reside in the forests of the national park and thankfully, for the past years, their numbers have been steadily increasing. Other animals that you can spot here are sambars, chitals, jackals, wild boars, golden jackals, desert cats, leopards and cobras. The Gir National Park is divided into eight routes and you would be taken to two routes on one safari. For lion sightings, the Route 2, Route 4, Route 6 and Route 7 are the best ones. However, you cannot choose your route for the safari so it depends on your luck whether you'd get any of these routes. It is also recommended that you book for your safari in advance through the official website of the Gir National Park. With the opening of the Devalia Safari Park, tourists can view the Asiatic lions more easily through caged areas and this area also remains open all throughout the year.
    • Must Spot Animals - Asiatic Lions, Sambars, Chitals, Jackals, Wild Boars, Golden Jackals, Desert Cats, Leopards and Cobras
    • Safari Cost - Jeep Safari at Rs. 800 to Rs. 1,000 (Indians) and at Rs. 4,800 to Rs. 6,000 (Foreigners)
    • Opening Times (In a Year) - October to June
    Gir National Park Lion (Image from Abhijeetarc)

    Most Popular Wildlife Sanctuaries in India

    6. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary (Karnataka) - The Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. The forests of the wildlife sanctuary are of the dense deciduous types, with bamboo and teak trees all around. The forests are also blessed with many fruit-bearing trees which is why the sanctuary is a haven for bird watchers. It is also one of the few places in India where there are reported tourist sightings of the ever elusive but mystical black panther. Other animals residing in the wildlife sanctuary are sloth bears, barking deers, Malabar giant squirrels, jackals and mugger crocodiles. If you are able to visit the wildlife sanctuary during the winter season, you can spot bird species such as rufous woodpeckers, Malabar grey hornbills, common kingfishers, Eurasian golden orioles and more. Adventure activities like river rafting, kayaking, canyoning and rappelling can also be done in the sanctuary premises. The best part is that the safari costs here are comparatively less than the other wildlife reserves of India.
    • Must Spot Animals - Black Panthers, Sloth Bears, Barking Deers, Malabar Giant Squirrels, Jackals, Mugger Crocodiles and Birds
    • Safari Cost - Jeep Safari at Rs. 400 (Indians) & at Rs. 450 (Foreigners)
    • Opening Times (In a Year) - October to June
    Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary Bird (Image from Prajwalkm)

    7. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) - Next we have the beautiful forests of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The landscapes here vary from lowlands, to rolling hills, to hilly regions and dense moist deciduous forests. Several rivers have their origin within the sanctuary too, namely, the Periyar River and the Pamba River. While the wildlife here is very diverse, spotting them can be difficult due to the dense forest covers of the sanctuary. But if you're someone who loves nature, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary surely fits that bill. As a bonus, it remains open all-year round, so even during monsoon season, you can enjoy a safari here. Animals residing in the sanctuary are tigers, elephants, Indian gaurs, barking deers, Indian giant squirrels and striped coral snakes. Aside from a jeep safari or even an elephant safari, the most famous type of safari here is the boat safari. The boat safari takes place along the water of the Periyar River. For the more adventurous ones, they can even indulge in a traditional bamboo rafting activity if they would like. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary provides one with a more rustic but closer to nature experiences that you won't find elsewhere in the country, or even in the world.
    • Must Spot Animals - Tigers, Elephants, Indian Gaurs, Barking Deers, Indian Giant Squirrels and Striped Coral Snakes
    • Safari Cost - Boat Safari at Rs. 258 (Indians) & at Rs. 675 (Foreigners)
    • Opening Times (In a Year) - All Year Round
    8. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra) - Maharashtra's oldest and largest tiger reserve is the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. It was established in 1955 and is known for its high tiger density. Home to around 88 tigers, the chances of spotting tigers here are very high. The forests of the tiger reserve are quite dense, comprising of dry deciduous teak and bamboo regions. The combination of rugged terrains and marshy areas give the reserve a more authentic jungle vibe. Lakes, rivers, rivulets and other small water bodies can be found within the wildlife reserve, where you might be lucky and spot animals taking sips of water from. Other wild animals residing in the reserve are jackals, wild dogs, wild boars, spotted deers, jungle cats, honey badgers and sloth bears. You can book for your safari online through the website of Maharashtra Eco Tourism. You can choose between a jeep safari or bus safari. You can also opt to bring your own vehicle within the sanctuary, for a fixed fee, along with an additional fee of a guide.
    • Must Spot Animals - Royal Bengal Tigers, Jackals, Wild Dogs, Wild Boars, Spotted Deers, Jungle Cats, Honey Badgers and Sloth Bears
    • Safari Cost - Jeep Safari at Rs. 3,000/Vehicle and Bus Safari at Rs. 2,000/Vehicle
    • Opening Times (In a Year) - October to July
    9. Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary (Odisha) - The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique wildlife reserve as it is comprised mostly of marshy areas. In fact, the sanctuary is home to about 55 species of mangroves, out of the 58 species that can be found in India. The only way of exploring the vast marshland is by boat, which in itself can be a very tranquil experience. However, the lurking saltwater crocodiles might take away the serenity of the experience. There are over 1,600 saltwater crocodiles here as per latest estimates, which makes it one of the largest sanctuaries for this species of crocodile. That's not all though, the largest saltwater crocodile in the world was found here as well, measuring over 23 feet in size. In smaller jungle areas of the wildlife sanctuary, animals such as wild boars, chitals, rhesus monkeys, sambars and jackals can also be found. During winter, the marshland is a hotspot for bird watchers as the migratory birds from neighbouring countries venture here. You can also opt to stay in the wildlife sanctuary by renting one of the forest houses available for tourists overnight stays.
    • Must Spot Animals - Saltwater Crocodiles, Wild Boars, Chitals, Rhesus Monkeys, Sambars, Jackals and Birds
    • Safari Cost - Boat Safari at Rs. 1,020 (Indians) & at Rs. 2,020 (Foreigners)
    • Opening Times (In a Year) - July to May
    Bhitarkanika Mangroves and Wildlife (Image from Devopam)

    10. Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu) - Last on this list is the Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary, which is a famous getaway near Chennai. The Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary is renowned for being the nesting ground of hundreds of greater and lesser flamingos. Did you know that the Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish water lagoon in the country? The water of the lake is home to various species of fishes, crustaceans and crabs as well, which in turn, is the livelihood of the locals and also provides for nourishment for the birds that reside here. During winter season, the number of bird species double, as birds from other countries reach the region. You can easily spot bird species such as spot-billed pelicans, Asian open-bill storks, Eurasian pigeons, black-headed gulls and many more. You can opt to enjoy bird watching by the lake side or indulge in a boat safari by renting a boat via the local fishermen of the villages.
    • Must Spot Animals - Birds (Lesser Flamingoes, Greater Flamingoes, Spot-Billed Pelicans, Asian Open-Bill Storks, Eurasian Pigeons and Black-Headed Gulls
    • Safari Cost - Boat Safari at Rs. 400 to Rs. 600 (Plus Rs. 2 Entry Fee)
    • Opening Times (In a Year) - All Year Round

    So there you have it, some of the best national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India. This is in no way an exhaustive list as there are many more wildlife reserves worth visiting in the country. But if you just want to dip your feet first and experience the most popular areas for wildlife spotting, then you can choose from any of these choices. Once done, venture into the more remote wildlife areas of India so you can understand and feel the difference between the two.

    Good luck and I hope this helps you!:)

  3. Navaneeth

    Navaneeth New Member

    nice information.
  4. adrklkol

    adrklkol Member

    No mention of Manas National Park in Assam