India is the land of diverse wildlife. There are over a hundred wildlife sanctuaries here, and each one is nothing short of a paradise for wildlife lovers. What contributes to this rich biodiversity is the abundance of dense forests throughout the country, which provides a home for these animals. In fact, according to sources, forests cover around 1.23% of the total land area in India.
The wildlife sanctuaries in India help in wildlife conservation and also give an opportunity to wildlife enthusiasts to witness various exotic animals in all their glory. However, with so many options to choose from, one can feel a bit overwhelmed as to which destination to go for!
Hence, we have compiled this list of the top five wildlife sanctuaries in India which will give you the best wildlife experience!
- Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
The Jim Corbett National Park, located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, is the oldest national park in India and was named after Jim Corbett. The park was established in 1936 and at one point of time, was called the Hailey National Park. It is one of the or probably the most favourite destination for wildlife lovers in India. The park was started for protecting Bengal Tigers and even now, it is mostly known for a large population of tigers. It is also a hotspot for bird watchers as there are over 650 species of birds in the park. Jeep or elephant safari is the best way to explore and enjoy the sightings of the wildlife in this sanctuary.
- Kaziranga National Park, Assam
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kaziranga National Park, situated in the Golaghat district of Assam, is easily one of the most popular wildlife destinations in India. In 1905, it was established as a forest preserve to protect the endangered species called one-horned rhinoceros and since then, it has played a big role in the wildlife conservation of Northeast India. Even today, it boasts of the highest population of the one-horned rhinos in the world. Besides the rhinoceros, it also has a large number of tigers, wild buffaloes, elephants and swamp deer and was also declared as a Tiger Forest Reserve in 2006. The best time to visit this wildlife sanctuary is from November to April and it can be best enjoyed with the elephant safari.
- Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
Ranthambore National Park, situated in Rajasthan, is one of the most visited wildlife sanctuaries in the country. Established in 1955, Ranthambore National Park was originally called Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary and was declared as a Project Tiger reserve in 1973. It subsequently became a national park in 1980. The Ranthambore National Park can also be called a royal national park as it was once a favourite hunting ground for the Rajasthani kings. However, it is now completely dedicated to wildlife protection and conservation and is mostly known for having the majestic Bengal tigers. Some of the other animals found here are the wild boar, Indian leopard, striped hyena and nilgai. Visitors also love the tiger safaris in this park.
- Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal
Sundarbans National Park is one of the oldest parks in India. Located in the Sundarbans delta in West Bengal, this park is known for the surrounding mangrove forests and also for the abundance of various flora and fauna. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Sundarbans National Park is known for being the home of the Bengal Tigers and for having the highest population of the same in the world. It is, in fact, a Tiger Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve as well. Salt-Water Crocodile is another endangered species found in this park. Some of the other rare species that can be seen here are hawks bill turtle, river terrapin and Gangetic dolphin. It also houses a large number of avifauna, some of which are black-capped kingfishers, water hens, pariah kites, red jungle fowl, common mynahs, open bill storks, cotton teals, cormorants and pheasant-tailed jacanas. The best time to visit this park is between December to February.
- Gir National Park, Gujarat
Gir National Park, located near Talala Gir in Gujarat, is a wildlife sanctuary and a forest, also known by the name of Sasan Gir. Established in 1965, it is widely known to be the only wildlife sanctuary in India that has Asiatic lions. Some of the other animals found here are Indian leopards, striped hyenas, sloth bears, blackbucks and jungle cats. While visiting this park, you should definitely try the exciting lion safari and go for boating as well.
So, this was our list of the top wildlife destinations in India. Our country boasts of rich and diverse wildlife and the aforementioned wildlife sanctuaries have contributed immensely towards their conservation over the years. Wildlife lovers must visit each of these parks at least once in life to revel in the company of the enchanting flora and fauna. After all, there is nothing better than being closer to nature and its various life forms.