India has 515 wildlife sanctuaries. Out of these, 41 are tiger reserves. And then there are others with plenty of birds and lesser known species. Excited enough? Because we’re bringing you 10 national parks you need to visit right away!
1. Desert National Park
This is situated in the state of Rajasthan, close to Jaisalmer. 20% of this park is covered with sand dunes. This park has a wide variety of birds, both migratory and resident. But it is most famous for the endangered great Indian bustard. Additionally, this park has 180-million-year-old fossils including those of dinosaurs (which are 6 million years old). Animals that you can spot here are the blackbuck, desert fox and the wolf. The best months to visit are from October to March.
2. Gir National Park
This park is situated in the state of Gujrat, 65 km from Junagadh. It is the only home of the Asiatic lions and that makes it one of the most protected areas in Asia. One can also find Indian leopards, crocodiles, cobras, jungle cats, golden jackals, striped hyenas and ratels. There are more than 300 species of birds in this park. The best time to visit is from December to March.
3. Kanha National Park
This national park is not only the perfect place to spot tigers, but is also a paradise for nature lovers. There are Sal and bamboo forests and grassy meadows all over the forest. In fact, this forest provided the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel Jungle Book. It has a substantial population of Bengal tigers, leopards, the sloth bear, barasingha and Indian wild dog. Additionally, it is home to over 1000 species of flowering plants. The best time to visit this park is from February to June.
4. Sunderbans National Park
Besides being a national park, this place is also a tiger and biosphere reserve, located in West Bengal. The national park is covered with mangrove forests and is one of the largest reserves of the Bengal tiger in India. One can spot a variety of birds and the salt-water crocodile in this park. The best part about this park is that the only way to roam about the territory is by boats. The best time to visit is from December to February.
5. Mahatama Gandhi Marine National Park
This is situated in Wandoor on the Andaman Islands, 29 kms from Port Blair. The park is made up of 15 islands and you can see open sea creeks running through the area. During the season, glass bottom boats are available to enjoy the island along with activities like scuba diving and snorkeling. The park is famous for coral reefs and sea turtles. The best months to visit are from December to April.
6. Namdapha National Park
Located in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, this is the third largest national park in India. This park is a hotspot of biodiversity. You can spot snow leopards, common leopards, tigers and red foxes here. Additionally, it has about 425 species of birds including five species of hornbills. The best time to visit this park is from October to March.
7. Balpakram National Park
If you want to enjoy wildlife with a little bit of culture thrown in, this is the national park for you. Balpakram is situated in Meghalaya, near the Garo hills. It is also referred to as the Abode of Perpetual Winds or the Land of Spirits. According to a Garo myth, this park is the land of eternal death. It is rich in biodiversity and is home to barking deer and the golden cat. Canyon is yet another attraction of this national park. The best time to visit this place is from October to March.
8. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary is situated in Karnataka. It is an ideal vacation spot for tourists. The sanctuary is located by the river surrounded by deciduous forests and diverse variety of animals and birds. One can spot wild pigs, sloth bears, panthers and other fascinating species. There are about 200 species of birds in this forest. The best time to visit this place is from November to June.
9. Khangchendzonga National Park
This is located in Sikkim and gets its name from the mountain Kanchenjunga, the third largest peak in the world. This park is full of glaciers and one can spot animals like musk deer, snow leopard and Himalayan Tahr. About 550 species of birds can be spotted in this park, but sadly, you need a permit to visit. The best time to visit is from March to May.
10. Kaziranga National Park
This is situated in Assam and is a world heritage site. This park is home to two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhinoceroses. Apart from animals, you can spot a variety of birds here including scavengers, water birds, predators and game birds. In fact, Kaziranga’s rivers are also home to an endangered species of dolphin. You can explore this forest in a jeep or opt for an elephant tour. The best time to visit this park is from November to April.