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Top 5 Wildlife Parks of India
India is famed for its wildlife. Its national parks are home to some of the world’s most fragile eco-systems, a mosaic of mangrove swamps, alpine meadows, dense rainforest and arid desertscapes. Whilst India’s call of the wild is the famed Bengal tiger, keeping your eyes peeled for an array of endemic flora and fauna as you scale the country’s national parks is bound to delight. So whether it’s coming face to face with big cats, or simply soaking up the natural splendour of India that whets your appetite, we’ve handpicked a selection of India's best national parks to visit throughout the country.
Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park is situated in Madhya Pradesh, within the Vindhya Hills. With a core area of 65 square miles it is one of the smaller National Parks in India, but whilst small, it is mighty. Bandhavgarh is known to have the highest density of Bengal tigers, as well as the highest breeding population of leopards and various types of deer in India. Offering more than just wildlife, Bandhavgarh is also home to a labyrinth of natural caves and the age old Bandhavgarh Fort. It also hosts a catalogue of unique safari options, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Pench Tiger Reserve
Nestled in the lower reaches of the Satpura Hills, and named after the Pench River, this reserve is quieter and less known than others in India, but boasts the high concentrations of wildlife and is an area of unrivalled natural beauty. Dominated by teak forest and studded with nallahs, or pools, and ravines, Pench Tiger Reserve offers a change of scenery from many of India’s National Parks. The reserve is characterised by its vast forests which spread in all directions, and is home to a vast array of species, such as tigers, leopards, bears and dhole (wild dogs), as well as a myriad of reptiles, amphibians and birds. Said to have inspired Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, Pench is a magical kingdom where the natural world thrives.
Kanha National Park
Famed for its towering, self-sufficient Sal trees, Kanha is a truly unique destination and unlike any other safari experience in India. The forests and vast meadows are home to around 90 tigers and similar numbers of leopard. Located in Madhya Pradesh in the heart of the central Indian highlands, Kanha is a fantastic place to get off the beaten track in India. Enjoy a local village walk on the edge of the park or take a game drive within it to see the unique and diverse selection of wildlife at home here. Undoubtedly, the pièce de résistance of the park is Bamni Dadar, or sunset point, the perfect setting to end a day of safari at Kanha.
Panna National Park
Panna is one of the quieter parks in Central India, nevertheless it is the most important protected region in the highlands, as it connects wildlife through the Vindhya ranges from east to west. Magnificent waterfalls, deep ravines, dense forests and open grasslands make this park a remarkable place to visit and explore. Although famed for the tiger, also look out for leopards, jackals, wolves, bears and even crocodiles. Be sure to take a pair of binoculars with you to look out for some of the lesser spotted animals, which your expert guide will help you locate.
Ranthambore National Park
Once the hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore is now considered the best place to spot tigers in Rajasthan. Thanks to its close proximity to Delhi and Agra, Ranthambore is a firm favourite to add to a Golden Triangle itinerary. The park shuts from July to September to avoid the monsoon season, but the best time to visit is just before the annual closure as you may be lucky enough to spot tiger cubs in their natural habitat. To increase your chances of coming face to face with one of these majestic creatures, we recommend hiring a private guide to take you to otherwise unreachable corners of the park.
With this in mind, we've pulled together a few other favourites to inspire your next adventure.
Satpura National Park
At Satpura, a catalogue of alternative safari experiences on land and water are offered alongside game drives making it an ideal destination for adventurers and wildlife aficionados alike. The vast swathes of parkland are home to sloth bear, the elusive Indian wild dog and a myriad of bird life making it a paradise for photographers. As well as its incredibly diverse array of wildlife, Satpura is renowned for exceptional guiding from naturalists whose enthusiasm for the park knows no bounds.
National Chambal Sanctuary
Chambal’s offering of unique safari experiences, from river cruises to camel safaris make this a perfect spot for families. See crocodiles basking on the river banks, pods of dolphins gliding through the water or hyenas hunting on the rugged landscapes. Located only an hour and a half from the Taj Mahal, it is perfectly situated to integrate into a typical Golden Triangle itinerary. The annual Bateshwar Fair at Chambal, taking place in October and November, is of immense significance in the Hindu religious calendar. It is a spectacular showcase of rural India at its finest.
Jawai National Park
Located in the remote wilderness of North West India, on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, Jawai is a unique addition to any Rajasthan itinerary. The palpable excitement of scouring Jawai on the lookout for the park’s leopards is only heightened by the drama of the surrounding scenery. Age old temples sit atop craggy outcrops which jut out of the sparse landscape creating an otherworldly setting for a safari. The local Rabari people will undoubtedly make your stay unforgettable, having lived harmoniously with the land and the wildlife of Jawai for generations, the herdsmen are a true highlight of the national park.
Nagarhole National Park
Located between Mysore and India's western coastline, Nagarhole is ideally located to add to a southern India itinerary. Without a doubt it is the most wildlife rich region in the area, hosting tigers, elephants, leopards, wild dogs and macaques. The best place to spot elephants in the park is the Kabini reservoir, where herds of the majestic creatures and a whole host of Nagarhole’s wildlife gather to drink and bathe. Taking a boat safari on the Kabini River is a unique way to see India's incredible flora and fauna.
Feeling inspired by this selection of national parks? Get in touch with one of our specialists on 020 3141 2850 to start planning a tailor-made trip.