The wildlife of India is diverse and its national parks and biosphere reserves are home to many endangered wildlife species like Royal Bengal Tigers and Red Panda, the vulnerable one-horned Rhinoceros and Snow Leopards, and critically endangered Great Indian Bustard, among many other species of flora and fauna. India boasts 104 national parks, 551 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 131 Marine Protected Areas, 18 Biosphere Reserves, 88 Conservation Reserves and 127 Community Reserves, covering a total of 1,65,088.57 sq km. In total, there are 870 Protected Areas which make 5.06% of the geographical area of the country.
The oldest national park in India is Corbett National Park. Sprawling in the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, this national park was established in 1936. It is spread in 520.82 sq km area, and is home to a rich flora and fauna, including the Royal Bengal Tigers. India's first biosphere reserve was established in 1986 and is called Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. This reserve includes Wayanad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Mudumalai, Nilambur, Silent Valley protected areas situated in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka. The Great Rann of Kutch, with an area of 12454 sq km, is the largest biosphere reserve in India. On the other hand, with an area of 4400 sq km, Hemis National Park in Ladakh is the largest national park in India.
Blessed with rich biodiversity, the region boasts renowned wildlife havens like Jim Corbett, Rajaji National Park, Ranthambore, Dudhwa, Keoladeo National Park, and Sariska, standing as crown jewels that draw wildlife enthusiasts with their diverse ecosystems. Each destination is a living example of India's commitment to conservation and ecotourism. From the iconic Bengal tiger sightings in Ranthambore to Dudhwa's rare swamp deer, witness majestic wildlife roam freely in their natural habitat in Northern India's wildlife reserves.
From the dense forests of Bandipur and Nagarhole to the picturesque landscapes of Periyar and Madumalai, Southern India's wildlife sanctuaries offer an incredible wildlife jungle safari experience amidst diverse flora and fauna. Dandeli, with its riverine habitats, adds a unique dimension to the adventure. Eravikulam, adorned with rolling hills, unveils the charm of the Nilgiri Tahr. Southern India's wildlife is a haven for nature enthusiasts, where every reserve narrates a story of conservation.
The eastern part of India is an enchanting wildlife exploration destination and is home to a biodiversity-rich haven fostering conservation efforts and diverse ecosystems. Home to popular national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, East India boasts treasures like Kaziranga, renowned for rhino conservation, and Sunderbans National Park in West Bengal, where the mangrove expanse teems with life. Assam's Orang and Manas add to the region's allure, sheltering elephants and a myriad of flora and fauna. East India's wildlife narrative unfolds amidst lush landscapes, echoing with the trumpets of elephants and the majestic presence of rhinos.
The diverse and vibrant wildlife is found in the wildlife reserves of Western India. Maharashtra boasts the thriving Tadoba, a jewel in West India's wildlife crown, while Gujarat hosts the iconic Gir National Park, home to the majestic Asiatic lions. The enchanting Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra and the Pench Tiger Reserve offer glimpses into the rich flora and fauna of Western India. From the royal lions of Gir to the elusive tigers of Tadoba, West India's wildlife beckons, inviting enthusiasts to explore its unique landscapes and contribute to the conservation of these precious ecosystems.
Internationally renowned as the 'Heart of Incredible India,' the central region, primarily Madhya Pradesh, stands as the most popular wildlife treasure getaway. Recognized as the 'tiger state,' Central India boasts incredible flora and fauna diversity, with its crown jewels being Kanha, Panna, Pench, and Bandhavgarh, renowned for their thriving tiger populations. Recently, cheetahs were relocated from Namibia and South Africa to Kuno National Park, making it the best place for cheetah sightings in India. Madhya Pradesh's central landscapes offer a unique blend of biodiversity, making it a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts seeking a mesmerizing experience with nature's majestic creatures amid pristine forests and rolling hills.
There are around 104 national parks in India spread across the country's length and breadth. These wildlife parks are home to a variety of animals and birds, and some of them are the safe shelters for unique and threatened animals like one-horned rhinos and Royal Bengal Tiger.
Launched by the Government of India in 1973, Project Tiger aimed to safeguard the endangered species of tigers in the country. Notable Tiger Reserves in India include:
India boasts more than 567 existing wildlife sanctuaries, encompassing a vast area of 125,564.86 km2. Among the plethora of wildlife sanctuaries, some of the most renowned include:
According to a study, India is among the 17 megadiverse countries which together possess 60-70% of world'sbiodiversity. The national parks and wildlife reserves in India are home to around 400 species of mammals and 1300+ species of birds.
These wildlife reserves are home to some rare and unique wildlife species like the Indian Sloth Bear, the Chausinga (four-horned antelope) and the Barasinga (swamp deer). In fact, India is the only country where both tigers and lions can be found. It also boasts the highest deer and tiger population in the world.
Along with rich fauna, the Indian wildlife reserves are blessed with abundant flora. There are estimated to be around 15000 species of flowering plants, which make about 6-7% of the world'stotal plant species. The Valley of Flowers National Park in Uttarakhand alone boasts 600 species of flowering plants including the famous and exclusive Brahma Kamal.
Some of India's national parks have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
India is a native place for the vulnerable species of one-horned rhinos that inhabit the northeastern part of the country. Therefore, Northeast India is the best place to go for sighting one-horned rhinos. Kaziranga National Park in Assam is known for the highest density of one-horned rhinos and thus, is the best place for rhino sightings in India. Apart from Kaziranga, following are some of the best national parks for rhino sighting in India:
India is home to more than 1300 species of birds and about 467 Important Bird Areas (IBA) which include 59 bird sanctuaries. These sanctuaries and IBAs are inhabited by birds like Indian peafowl, pheasants, quails, francolin, hornbill, and snowcocks. Some of the top bird sanctuaries on the list of wildlife adventure are:
Summer (April - May) is the best time to visit the Indian national parks and tiger reserves for an exhilarating wildlife photography experience. In destinations like Corbett, Ranthambore, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, and Panna, the summer temperature and climate create the perfect conditions for wildlife sightings, especially tiger photography. These renowned national parks in India not only offer respite from the scorching heat but also provide a unique opportunity to witness diverse flora and fauna.
While many national parks close during the monsoon season (July to September) for safety reasons, some, like Corbett and Ranthambore, partially open their gates for safari. Periyar in Kerala, Valley of National Parks in Uttarakhand, and Hemis National Park in Ladakh, offer a unique monsoon experience, with lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant wildlife. Witness the magic of nature as it comes alive during the rains, making these destinations ideal for an offbeat monsoon adventure. Embrace the tranquility and verdant landscapes while exploring the distinct beauty of these selected national parks that welcome visitors even when the heavens open.
The winter season (October to March) marks the peak of wildlife tourism as all national parks and tiger reserves open their gates. This period is ideal for jungle safaris, offering the best chance to witness diverse fauna in their natural habitats. Coveted parks like Corbett, Ranthambore, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Kaziranga, Gir Forest, and Tadoba become havens for wildlife enthusiasts. Embrace the crisp air and the thrill of spotting majestic creatures against the winter landscapes, making it the perfect time to embark on an unforgettable wildlife adventure in some of the most visited and cherished national parks across India.
Most of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India are open between October and June. In the monsoon season, most of the wildlife reserves close down between July and September. The best time to visit the national parks in India are between October and March, when the weather is pleasant in most parts of the country. The average winter temperature in India ranges between 0℃ - 20℃ in North, Northwest, Northeast, and Central India, and 18℃ - 25℃ in South India. There are some national parks in India that remain open/partially open in the monsoon season.
As per the latest data of Tiger Census Report 2022, India is home to 3,167 tigers approx.
India has 104 national parks and 551 wildlife sanctuaries in India as of 2018-19.
With an area of 4400 sq km, Hemis National Park in India is the largest National Park in India.
Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand is the oldest national park in India. It was established in 1936
Some of the best destinations for tiger sighting:
Madhya Pradesh has maximum national parks in India. There are 9 national parks in the state.
Yes, some of the national parks are open in the monsoon season. Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand and Ranthambhore National Park are partially open in monsoon. Bandipur National Park in Karnataka, Periyar National Park in Kerala, and Hemis National Park in Ladakh remain fully open in the monsoon season.
The winter season between December and March is the best time for tiger photography. During this season, tigers come out in the day time to sit in the sun giving wildlife photographers a good opportunity to capture them in their cameras. Apart from the winter season, summer is also the best time for tiger photography. In summers, tigers come out frequently in search of water, thus, the chances of tiger sightings remain high.
Some of the best places to see migratory birds in India are:
The winter season is the best time to visit these bird sanctuaries to see migratory birds.
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