There are over 80 national parks in India, spread all over the country. Some are larger and more accessible then others. Many people want 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. These five parks are all very popular with visitors. If there are specific types of animals you're interested in, discover where to find them at the top 5 parks to see wildlife in India.
Want go on a tour to India's national parks? Take a look at this 14 day
Tigers, Temples & Wildlife Adventure small group trip offered by G Adventures. It includes safaris at Ranthambore and Bandhavgarh.
1. Corbett National Park
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India's first national park, Corbett was established in 1936 by legendary tiger hunter Jim Corbett. It's located in Uttarakhand, around three hours from Nainital and seven hours from Delhi. The park is a large one and has five zones. One zone, Jhirna, is open all year round. The rest of the park closes during the monsoon. The chances of seeing a tiger at Corbett aren't great but there are plenty of other animals, and elephant safaris are possible. For the best wildlife viewing, stay deep in the reserve in the Dhikala zone. However, if you're a foreigner be prepared to pay at least double the rates for accommodation, with the cheapest rates around 3,000 rupees a night for a private cabin at a forest rest house. It is costly!
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Kanha National Park, in Madhya Pradesh, 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.
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Bandhavgarh, also in Madhya Pradesh, 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. However, it's one of the most expensive national parks to visit.
Ranthambore, in Rajasthan, 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 there. However, the park's popularity has resulted in overcrowding and mismanagement of safaris
, which is a problem and something to be aware of.
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Sunderbans, in West Bengal, 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.