3 States, 9 National Parks: On A Wildlife Chase Across India

Tripoto

India is a massive country, endowed with the most varied topography and climate variations. The diverse landscapes have not only given us stunning scenery but also serve as a natural habitat to a vast variety of flora and fauna. Home to the only natural habitat of Asiatic Lions outside Africa, two-thirds of the great single-horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tigers and a UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Site that is India's finest bird sanctuary, wildlife in India will leave you bowled over. All over our country, there are numerous wildlife sanctuaries and national parks continuously making efforts towards their protection and conservation.

Kaziranga National Park – Dibru Saikhowa National Park – Manas National Park

Photo of Assam, India by Aakanksha Magan

Start Your Journey With Kaziranga National Park For Witnessing The Mighty Rhinoceros In The Wild

One of the most sought after wildlife holiday destinations in India, Kaziranga National Park's 430 square km area is sprinkled with elephant-grass meadows, swampy lagoons, and dense forests, and is home to more than 2200 Indian one-horned rhinoceros – approximately two-thirds of their total world population. A World Heritage Site, this park also boasts of a highest density of tigers among the protected areas in the world. Apart from that, the park is home to a large breeding population of elephants, wild water buffalo and swamp deer. For bird watchers, Kaziranga holds some special treats. Here you can spot blue-breasted quail, red junglefowl, greylag goose and many more, as well as migratory birds form Central Asia.

Great Indian Rhinoceros Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Kaziranga National Park, Kanchanjuri, Assam, India by Aakanksha Magan

Safari timings: Jeep Safari is available from 8 am to 10 am and 2 pm to 4 pm. Elephant Safari is between 5.30 am to 7.30 am.

Best time to visit: November to April is the best time to visit Kaziranga Park as the weather is dry and pleasant. The park remains closed from June to September and is open partially in the months of October and May.

Where to stay: Nature Hunt Eco Camp and Chang Ghar are some of the best options. You can check out more here.

How to reach: Jorhat (105 km / 2 hrs drive approx) is the nearest airport but it has limited connectivity and only has flights from Kolkata. Guwahati (250 km / 5 hrs drive approx) is a more accessible airport, connected to all major cities in India. From Guwahati, one can hire a cab for ₹3,000 a day and visit Kaziranga.

Head To Dibru Saikhowa National Park Next To Spot Some Of The Most Exotic Birds In Asia

The sprawling Dibru Saikhowa National Park, identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA), is most famous for rare white-winged wood ducks as well as feral horses. Spread over an area of 650 sq km, it is located close to the eastern border of Assam, straddling both the districts of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. One of the nineteen biodiversity hotspots in the world and a biosphere reserve, Dibru Saikhowa is a bird watcher's paradise. The woods echo with the beautiful cacophony of rare and exotic birds that reside here. Till date 36 species of mammals, 502 species of birds, 104 species of fish, 43 species of reptiles, 105 species of butterflies and 680 species of plants have been recorded here. Moreover, 25 per cent of India’s threatened bird species have been found in the Dibru Saikhowa National Park. The park is also home to nearly 50 feral horses, the most in any national park across India.

Crested Serpent Eagle Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Dibru Saikhowa National Park, Tinsukia, Assam, India by Aakanksha Magan

Safari timings: There are no elephant or jeep safaris in Dibru Saikhowa National Park and the only way to explore the park is on a boat.

Best time to visit: November to April are the favourable months to visit the park. Even though the park remains open throughout the year, sometimes its closed during monsoons because of flooding. This is done without any prior notification, so check before you plan your trip.

Where to stay: You can't stay inside the park but you can choose to stay in either Dibrugarh (91 km) or Tinsukia (45 km). Aroma Residency in Tinsukia is a decent stay option. You can look for more options in Tinsukia here. If you are staying in Dibrugarh, you can opt to stay at Hotel Little Palace or choose from one of these.

How to reach: The nearest airport is Guwahati (529km/ 12 hour drive) away. The nearest railway station is Dibrugarh. There are direct trains from Guwahati to Dibrugarh and from Dibrugarh you can easily book a cab to Tinuskia and then the Dibru Saikhowa National Park. The cab will cost around ₹2,700 per day for a sedan.

Head To Manas National Park For A Chance To Spot The Elusive Pygmy Hog

Lying on the foothills of Eastern Himalayas, Manas National Park is home to a large number of tigers, elephants, wild water buffaloes and the rarely spotted pygmy hog. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is a tiger reserve, an elephant reserve and also a biosphere reserve. Other than the pygmy hog, other endangered and rare wildlife species found in the park are the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare and golden langur. The park is also home to more than 450 species of birds, including the endangered Bengal florican. In fact, Manas National Park has the highest population of it in the world.

Bengal Florican. Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Manas National Park, Assam, India by Aakanksha Magan

Safari timings: Jeep Safari is available from 9 am to 12 pm and again from 2pm to 5pm. Elephant safari is between 5.30 am to 8am.

Best time to visit: The Park is open daily from November to April, unless rains, in any exceptional year, causes it to close. The park remains closed June to September and in the months of October and May there are only morning safaris available.

Where to stay: V Resorts Sikhri Manas is a popular stay option. You can look for more here.

How to reach: The nearest airport is Guwahati (180 km/4 hrs drive approx). From Guwahati you can hire a cab at the cost of ₹3000 a day for a sedan.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary – Sariska Tiger Reserve – Ranthambore National Park

Photo of Rajasthan, India by Aakanksha Magan

Witness The Beauty Of The Migratory Birds At Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

The Keoladeo National Park, formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is recognised as one of the world’s most important bird breeding and feeding grounds. Originally a hunting reserve for the royals of Rajasthan and British officials, it was declared a national park in 1982 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. An avifauna sanctuary, Bharatpur is home to thousands of rare and highly endangered birds such as the Siberian crane that visits during the winter season. Over 370 species of birds and animals are known to have made the national park their home. Over the years, the Siberian Crane has been joined by many other migratory birds like pelicans, geese, ducks, eagles, hawks, wagtails, and so forth. Bharatpur is also home to a wide variety of animals like the Indian rock python, deer, nilgai and more.

Painted Stork Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India by Aakanksha Magan

Safari timings: There are three options to take the safari, viz. elephant back safari, jeep rides or rickshaw safari. All safaris are available from 6am in the morning till 6pm in the evening. The best way to see the birds and animals is on a rickshaw or on the back of an elephant.

Best time to visit: Though the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is open around the year, the best time to visit Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is from August to November to witness the resident birds and from October to February to get the sight of migratory birds.

Where to stay: Jungle Lodge Homestay and Laxmi Vilas Palace are the most popular options here. You can choose from one of these as well.

How to reach: The nearest domestic airport is Agra (56km away) and the nearest international airport is Delhi (184km away). There are daily trains from Delhi to Bharatpur, and the train station is only 5km from the sanctuary.

Proceed Towards Sariska Tiger Reserve For A Chance To Spot Tigers And The Elusive Leopard

Nestled in the Aravallis, Sariska Tiger Reserve is a unique jungle that houses some of the most popular Indian animals. Divided into grasslands, dry deciduous forests, sheer cliffs and rocky landscapes, the varied topography has blessed this park with diverse flora and fauna. Home to India's largest population of peafowl, Sariska National Park also houses many other birds like harbours quail, sandgrouse, golden- backed woodpeckers and crested serpent eagles, among other species. Also the Siliserh Lake on the edge of the park has a large number of crocodiles. It is also home to numerous carnivores including leopard, wild dog, jungle cat, hyena, jackal, and obviously, tiger.

Indian Leopard Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Alwar, Ganeshpura With Rundh Kali Ghati, Rajasthan, India by Aakanksha Magan

Safari timings: Jeep safari is the only way to tour the national park. The timings are between 6.30am to 11am in winters and between 6am to 10am in summers.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary is between the months of October to March. During the summer months, the weather is extremely humid and hot. The park remains closed between 1st July and 30th September.

Where to stay: Trees N Tiger Sariska and Tiger Heaven Sariska are popular choices. You can look for more options here.

How to reach: The nearest airport to Sariska is Jaipur (107km) that is well-connected to all the prime destinations of India. The nearest railway station is Alwar (37km). You can also choose to drive down from Delhi (200km away).

End Your Rajasthan Wildlife Trip In Ranthambore Where The Chance To See A Tiger Is The Highest

Ancient temples and mosques, crocodile-filled lakes and vine-covered chhatris (burial tombs) form the hunting grounds of the Royal Bengal Tiger hunts in the jungles of Ranthambore. One of, not only India's, but the world's most renowned national parks, Ranthambore is one place where your chances of actually coming face to face with a tiger are the highest, so be prepared! Other than the striped majestic beauty, Ranthambore has many animals that graze its grounds and laze around its lakes. Sloth bear, leopard, caracal, jackal, fox, hyena and mongoose are the happy campers of Ranthambore. The elusive Indian wolf too, has been spotted here occasionally. Other than these, the park is also home to many species of monkeys and birds. Woodpeckers, Indian gray hornbills, common kingfishers, bee eaters, cuckoos and parakeets are just few of the birds you can expect to spot here.

Royal Bengal Tiger Credits: bjoern

Photo of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan, India by Aakanksha Magan

Safari timings: 1st October to 31st January, the jeep safari is available from 7am to 10.30am and then again from 2pm to 6pm. From 1st February to 31st March it's from 6.30am to 10am in the morning and 2.30pm to 6pm in the evening. 1st April to 30th June, the safari timings are from 6am to 9.30am and from 3pm to 7pm.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit is between November to March as the weather is perfect. The park is closed from July to September.

Where to stay: Jungle View Resort Ranthambore and Sultan Bagh Jungle Camp Ranthambore are popular options. You can look for more places to stay here.

How to reach: The nearest airport is Jaipur (180 km). The nearest railway station is Sawai Madhopur Railway Station (10 km). You can also drive down from Delhi (395 km).

Panna National Park – Bandhavgarh National Park – Pench National Park

Photo of Madhya Pradesh, India by Aakanksha Magan

Start Your Madhya Pradesh Trail With Panna National Park, Home Of The Gharial

Home to diamond mines and some of the biggest predators and waterfalls of dizzying heights; Panna has the amazing superpower to, both, calm you and thrill you! At the top of the chain in this jungle, is obviously the tiger, but its closest competitor, the leopard also roams these jungles with the same poise and confidence as the tiger. Cheetals, chinkaras, sambhar and sloth bears are some of the other animals who have made Panna their home. While in the jungle, expect to spot deer, nilgai and wild pigs. Keen watchers can also spot white necked stork, bareheaded goose, honey buzzard and more birds perched atop trees. The park is also home to gharial, a huge reptile, resembling a crocodile, and only found in the Indian sub-continent.

Gharial. Credits: Ryan Somma

Photo of Panna National Park, Kathari, Madhya Pradesh, India by Aakanksha Magan

Safari timings: Jeep safaris are available from 6.30 am to 10.30 am and again from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. The evening safari, however, is not available on Wednesdays. The Elephant safari is available between 6.30 am to 10.30 am every morning.

Best time to visit: The park is open from 16th October to 30th June. The best time to visit is in the winter months, from November to February.

Where to stay: Pashan Garh National Park - A Taj Safari Lodge and Bagoha Wilderness Retreat are great places to stay at. You can look at more options here.

How to reach: The nearest airport is Khajuraho (45 km) with connectivity to the capital city, Delhi. The nearest railway stations are Satna (70 km)and Khajuraho (45km).

Head To Bandhavgarh, The Ancestral Home Of The Exotic White Tiger

The land of ancient caves and mighty forts, Bandhavgarh is also the place where the legendary white tiger is assumed to have originated from. India’s top dwelling for tigers, Bandhavgarh National Park has the highest density of Royal Bengal tigers in the world. The sight of the majestic tiger, up close and personal, is said to trigger a sense of awe in you that you would only have experienced in your childhood. Among the other wild attractions of the park are nilgai, chausingha, chital, chinkara, wild boar and sometimes a fox or jackal. 37 species of mammals, 250 species of birds and 80 species of butterflies have been sighted in this national park. Bandhavgarh is heaven for wildlife photography enthusiasts, thanks to its stunning landscapes and abundance of wildlife.

The Monarch of Bandhavgarh Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Bandhavgarh National Park, Tala, Madhya Pradesh, India by Aakanksha Magan

Safari timings: 15th October to 15th February, from 6.30 am to 11 am and again from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. 16th February to 31st March, from 6 am to 11 am and again from 3 pm to 6 pm. From 1st April to 30th June, 5.30 am to 10 am and again from 4 pm to 7 pm.

Best time to visit: Every year Bandhavgarh National Park is open for visitors from the 15th of October to till 30th of June. The best time to visit is the winter months from November to February as the summers are very hot and animals can only be sighted near water holes.

Where to stay: Syna Tiger Resort Bandhavgarh and Tiger's Den Resort. You can check out more options here.

How to reach: The nearest airport is Jabalpur (190 km), well-connected to other Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore. The nearest railway station is Umrai (37 km). The highways in Madhya Pradesh are well maintained and one can choose to drive down from Jabalpur as well.

End Your Trip With Pench National Park, The Home Of Sher Khan, Mowgli's Arch Nemesis

The jungle that inspired Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, Pench National Park is no stranger to close encounters between animals and humans. A visit to this jungle is not only enthralling, but nostalgic as well. When you see the majestic tiger, hear the call of the birds or spot a python coiled around a tree, it will feel like the scenes from Mowgli's life are just played out in front of you. Located in the southern reaches of the Satpura range, it is divided by river Pench into nearly two equal parts. This magnificent expanse shelters over 285 resident and migratory birds. It is also home to other large predatory animals like leopards, sloth bears and jackals.

Royal Bengal Tigress Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India by Aakanksha Magan

Safari timings: Jeep safari timings during winters are from 7.30 am to 10.30 am and 3.30 pm to 5 pm. Timings in summer months are 6.30 am to 9.30 am and 4 pm to 6.30 pm.

Best time to visit: The park is closed from 1st July to 15th October. The best time to visit it is in the months of November to March.

Where to stay: Pench Jungle Camp and Baaz Jungle Resort are good options to stay at. You can also choose from one of these.

How to reach: The nearest airpot and railway station is Nagpur (92 km). You can drive down from Nagpur to Pench via NH7.

Have you been to any of these amazing national parks around India? If yes, then share your own encounters with the wildlife on Tripoto right away!

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