About 4% of total Indian land is forests and the total are of forest region is around 1,40,000 sq. km. Wildlife in India is very rich and diverse and has always drawn the attention of nature lovers from round the world. At present, there are 450 National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and protected areas in the country. From Asian Elephants to Asiatic Lion, Bengal Tiger, Sloth Bear, Indian Rhinoceros and Leopard with hundreds of bird species, India is home to a number of species. These National Parks and Wildlife Reservoirs are the perfect places to offer some of the best wildlife experiences to its visitors. Around 6.5 million tourists are visiting India annually and most of them are wild life tourists or tourists interested to visit natural areas.
Some of the popular National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are Jim Corbett National Park, Gir National Park, Ranthambore National Park, Pench National Park, Kanha National Park, Tadoba National Park, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Periyar National Park, Sunderbans National Park, Kaziranga National Park.
Gir National Park: Best known as home and natural habitat to Asiatic Lion, Gir National park is reserved wildlife sanctuary in the state of Gujarat, India. Best time to visit Gir is from Mid – October to Mid – June. One can experience the pleasant view of Asiatic Lions, Indian Leopards, Sloth Bears, Jungle Cats, Striped Hyenas, Snakes, Blackbucks, Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards.
Jim Corbett National Park: Jim Corbett is a reserved wildlife sanctuary in Uttarakand with rich flora and fauna. Established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, it has the glory of being the oldest and most prestigious National Park in the country. Best known as the natural habitat for Royal Bengal Tiger, Jim Corbett is also home for barking deer, spotted deer, sambar, chinkara, and some aquatic reptiles like different kinds of crocodiles.
Sunderban National Park: Sundarbans National Park is a large coastal mangrove forest in Sunderbans Delta, shared by India and Bangladesh, famous for Royal Bengal Tiger. Since 1966, the Sundarbans is a wildlife sanctuary, and have estimated that there are over 400 Royal Bengal Tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer within the area. Other endangered species such as Batagur baska, King Crabs, Olive Ridley, Turtle, Jungle Fowl, Giant Lizards, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar and crocodiles can be spotted in these forests. The Siberian ducks are another famous attraction here. Besides this, there are over 64 varieties of Mangroves like Goran, Genwa, Dhundal, Garjan, Kankra, Sundari and Passur. Make sure to hit the Nilkamalor Hiron Point and Katka viewpoints that provides fantastic views of animals within the wilderness. Also, enjoy the mud-flats called Chargheri Char where one can enjoy coastal trekking.
Ranthambore National Park: Ranthambore National Park is one of the biggest and most renowned National Park located in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan state. The park covers approximately 400 sq. km. of area, was initially established as Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 by Indian Government later to be declared as the part of the Project Tiger reserves in India in 1973.The forest is the natural habitat for 40 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 40 species of reptiles, 50 species of butterflies and 300 species of plants. Some of the famous animal species which can be spotted are Tigers, Leopards, Striped Hyenas, Sambar deer, Chital, Nilgai, Common or Hanuman langurs, Macaques, Jackals, Jungle cats, Caracals, Sloth bears, Black bucks, Rufoustailed Hare, Indian Wild Boar, Chinkara, Common Palm Civets or Toddy cat, Coomon Yellow Bats, Desert Cats, Fivestriped Palm Squirels, Indian False Vampires, Indian Flying Foxes, Indian Foxes, Indian Gerbilles, Indian Mole Rats, Indian Porcupines, Longeared Hedgehogs, Ratels, Small Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Civets and Common mongoose.
Kaziranga National Park: Located in Assam, Kaziranga National Park is a 430 sq km protected forest area spread across the floodplains of the Brahmaputra River, its forests, wetlands and grasslands. It has been home to more than 2200 Indian one-horned rhinoceros, which is around 2/3rd of their total world population. Formed in 1908, Kaziranga was declared as UNESCO world Heritage site in 1985. Other animals that can be spotted here are Hoolock Gibbon, Tiger, Leopard, Indian Elephant, Sloth Bear, Wild water buffalo, swamp deer, etc. Kaziranga Park remain closed from 01 May till 31 Oct every year for the visitors. Therefore November to April is the best time to visit Kaziranga National Park.
Periyar National Park: Located at Thekkady, Kerala Periyar National Park has famous for its elephants and tigers. The park covers an area of 357 sq. km with two river, Pamba and Periyar running through the park. The park lies in the middle of cardamom hills. There are 171 species of grasses and 140 species of orchid found here. There are 35 species of mammals, which includes Bengal Tigers, White Tiger, Indian Elephants, Flying Squirrel, Wild Pig, Sambar, Gaur, Fruit Bat, Nilgiri Marten, Nilgiri Langur, Sloth Bear, Jungle Cat and others. More than 266 species of birds can be spotted in this park. This includes numerous migration birds too. Top birds to spot in the park are Malabar grey hornbill, white bellied blue flycatcher, sunbird, great hornbill, Sri Lanka frogmouth, black necked stork, oriental darter, brahminy kite, little spiderhunter, eagle owl, Nilgiri wood pigeon and others. New bird species like steppe gull, paddyfield warbler, grey-necked bunting and others are recently spotted in this park.
Kanha National Park: Nested in the Maikal ranges of Satpuras in Madhya Pradesh, Kanha is the largest park of the state. Kanha is the home of legendary character “Mowgli” from the frictional work of Rudyard Kipling “Jungle Book”. The forest was declared as a reserve forest in the year 1879 and revalued in 1933 as a Wildlife Sanctuary. Later in the year 1955, its position was upgraded further to National Park. Kanha National Park is surely a paradise and ideal habitat for the wild species like Royal Bengal Tigers, Indian Leopards, Sloth Bears, Barasinghas and Indian Wild Dogs.