Best Tiger Reserves in India: Best Places to Go Tiger Spotting 1

In a recent article that did rounds on many popular websites and national dailies, our national animal is what made the headlines. The population of tigers in India has risen. Earlier, it was estimated to be around 1,411 in the year 2006 and is now estimated to be 2,226 in the year 2014, according to the ‘Status of Tigers in India, 2014’. Another fact to be proud of is that India is now home to over 70% of the Tiger population in the world. This is exciting because tigers very recently faced the fear of extinction in India. We should congratulate the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) of India for this grand feat. To commemorate this brilliant achievement, here is a list of the best tiger reserves in India where the likelihood of spotting the majestic cat is very high.

A Tiger, Best Tiger reserves in India

Tiger: An endangered big cat species (Source)

1. The Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh – One of the Best Tiger Reserves in India

Likelihood of spotting tiger : High

bandhavgarh, Tiger reserves in India

A tigress at Bandhavgarh (Source)

The Bandhavgarh sanctuary  has the highest density of tigers in the area, 63 at the last count and is one of the best and most famous tiger reserves in India. Located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavarh was declared a national park in the year 1986. It’s name literally means ‘Brother’s Fort’.

It was previously known as the land of the white tiger until the last white tiger was captured here by Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa in 1951.  The best area to spot the tiger is the Tata zone 1 and tickets for here must be booked well in advance. Other animals that you can spot here include the Chittal and Sambhar deer,  leopard, wild dog, blue bull, Indian bison, Indian fox, sloths, muntjac, rhesus monkeys and about 242 species of birds.

Special attraction: You can hire a car and take a trip to the Bandhavgarh fort, 600 m from sea level, on a cliff over looking the Vindhya mountains.

Best time to visit: Even though the park is open through the months of October to June, the best time to spot tigers will be from April to June.

Deer at Bandhavgarh, Tiger Reserves of India

Bandhavgarh National ParkSource

2. Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra- Madhya Pradesh border

Likelihood of spotting tiger : High

Pench Tiger reserve, Tiger Reserves in India

At the Pench- Kanha border (Source)

Among the lesser known Tiger reserves in India, the Pench Tiger Reserve  is thought to have inspired Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle book. There are 32 mammal species here, including the tiger, living in these deciduous forests among meadows and lakes. The tiger population here is slightly more elusive, and it includes the tigress Collarwali who raised five cubs and whose mother was part of BBC’s Spy in the jungle series.

Special attraction: The Pench Jungle camp offers safari tents and a well stocked library among other amenities.

Best time to visit: Summer months of April to June.

Wild dogs at Pench Tiger reserve of India

Wild dogs at Pench (Source)

3. Ranthambore National park, Rajasthan – A densely populated Tiger Reserve in India

Likelihood of spotting tiger: High

Ranthambore, Tiger reserves in India

Ranthambore Source

The 1,443 square kilometre sanctuary of  Ranthambore perhaps one of the most famous Tiger reserves in India, and if you have seen a picture of a tiger in India tourism ads, its most likely to have been shot here, in Ranthambore. Apart from tigers, it is also home to wild cats, leopards, sloth bears, hyenas, Indian foxes, crocodiles and jackals.

Special attraction: There are three lakes enclosed inside the sanctuary, Padam talao, Raj talao and Milak talao, where the wildlife tends to congregate. One can often spot tigresses and cubs in the densely forested Bakaula area.

Best time to visit: Even though February and March have pleasant climate and the park is open throughout, the best months to spot a tiger is during the months of April and May.

Ranthambore, Tiger reserves in India

Ranthambore (Source)

4. Kanha tiger reserve, Madhya Pradesh

Likelihood of spotting tiger: High

Kanha: Tiger reserves of India

Kanha Tiger Reserve Source

Picturesque and huge, the Kanha national park looks most like Mowgli’s stomping ground. The sanctuary is home to the Barasingha deer, an endangered species found only here. Other animals regularly sighted are the chital, gaur, three-striped palm squirrel, common langur, jackal, wild pig, black buck, striped hyena, leopard, mouse deer, porcupine, chinkara, samber and ant-eating pangolin. When you travel to the reserve, you will most likely be paying for a tiger show where elephants are trained to block tigers so as the tourists can have a good look at them. Our suggestion would be instead, to just ask for a safari so you can see the animals in their natural posture and splendor. Kanha is regarded as one of the most amazing tiger reserves in India.

Special attraction: Large open meadows where the animals freely roam.

Best time to visit: April to June.

Safari at Kanha National Park. India Tiger reserves

Safari at Kanha National Park (Source)

5. Tadoba- Andhari Tiger reserve, Maharashtra

Likelihood of spotting tiger : High

Tadoba Tiger reserve, Tiger reserves of India

Tadoba Tiger reservSource

Among the relatively new Tiger reserves in India, the Tadoba – Andhari reserve boasts of a booming population of tigers. A whopping seventy, along with leopards and sloths. There are excellent bird watching opportunities too with about 200 species of birds including the crested serpent eagle, the grey headed fish eagle and the changeable hawk eagle.

Special attractions:  A good look into the jungles of central India.

Best time to visit: Summer months.

Tadoba Tiger Reserve, Tiger Reserves In India

Tadoba Tiger ReserveSource

6. Jim Corbett National park, Uttarakhand

Likelihood of spotting tiger : Good

Jim Corbett national park, India's Tiger Reserves

Jim Corbett national park Source

Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas , whether or not you get to see the tiger at the Jim Corbett National Park depends both on luck and on your guide. This is one of the less densely populated tiger reserves in India, but one of the most popular national parks. The park has a dusty atmosphere but at the same time is known for its large wild elephant population that can be seen roaming near the Ramganga river. The park has a wide variety of terrain, from marshes to sal forests,and many varieties of mammals like the Sambhar, langur, macaque, Chittal, and birds.

Special attraction : The park has huge grasslands and watch towers (Dhikal area) where you can stand for hours and observe the wildlife around you.

Best time to visit : April to June

Jim corbett national park, Places to spot tigers in India

Jim corbett national park Source

7. Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

Likelihood of spotting tiger: High

Sunbdarbans Tiger Reserve: Tiger reserves in India

Sunbdarbans Source

The biggest mangrove forests in the world, Sundarbans Tiger reserve in India provide a complete nature’s circle to the tourist right from ‘Royal Bengal tigers‘ to roaring rivers and beautiful estuaries. With 400 tigers that call the mangrove its home, it’s not just it’s terrain that is one of a kind, but the spirit of this landscape, the animal and the way these come together, to give you perhaps the truest and rawest wildlife experiences. Apart from the tigers who are popular for having man-eating tendencies, one can spot leopards, chital, fishing cats and more.

Special attraction: Spot a number of endangered species such as Ganges river dolphin, Olive Ridley Turtle and Saltwater Crocodile.

Best time to visit: Sundarbans can be visited anytime between September and March, while the best time for tiger spotting tends to be November-February.

Sundarban Tiger Reserve, Tiger Reserves of India

Sundarban national park Source

8. Nagarhole Tiger reserve, Karnataka

Likelihood of spotting tiger : Good

Nagarhole Tiger reserve, Tiger Reserves of India

Nagarhole Tiger reserve Source

Nagarhole Tiger reserve in India is home to the largest number of Asian elephants in the world. One can also find tigers, leopards and the Indian wild dog (dhole) in the reserve situated in the western ghats.

Nagarhole, Tiger reserves in India

Nagarhole Source

9. Nagzira Wildlife sanctuary, Maharashtra

Likelihood of spotting tiger : Good

Nagzira Wildlife sanctuary, Tiger reserves in India

A tiger at ease – Nagzira Wildlife sanctuary (Source)

Again one of the lesser known of the Tiger reserves in India, this small sanctuary has rough terrains and is  covered in thick teak forests, which support healthy populations of carnivores like the Hyena, leopard, jackal  and tiger.

Nagzira Wildlife sanctuary, Tiger reserves of India

Nagzira Wildlife sanctuarySource

 

10. Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Likelihood of spotting tigers: Low

Satpura National Park, Tiger Reserves in India

Female Blackbuck at Satpura National Park (source)

Satpura National Park is one of the relatively newer wildlife sanctuaries in India. Though it remains unexplored by tourists, it is one place which has a good population of tigers. Spread over about 524 kms, it inhabits various other wildlife species, such as the yena, leopards, gaur, sambar, chital, barking deer, chin Kara, mouse deer, wild boars, wild dogs, bears, black bucks, foxes, porcupines and flying squirrel. It is also one of the only national parks where one can explore the place on foot, along with a guide of course. 

Special Attraction: The guided walks and also kayaking in its large reservoir – something very few parks offer.

Satpura National Park, Tiger Reserves of India

Sunrise at Satpura National Park (source)

Best time to visit: Most pleasant months to visit are from October to March, but April and May provide the best wildlife sightings.

11. Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka

Likelihood of spotting tigers: Good

Bandipur, Tiger Reserves of India

Bandipur – One of the best Tiger reserves in South India(source)

An ideal weekend getaway from Bangalore and Mysore, Bandipur also houses one of the best Tiger Reserves in South India. Its dense forests offer a perfect shelter to the tigers residing there. There are good chances of spotting a tiger here due to their relatively large population. Apart from tigers, one also comes across animals like the leopard, elephant, gaur, sloth bear, Asiatic wild dog, striped hyena, barking deer, sambar, spotted deer, mouse deer, mongoose, and the slender loris. 

Special Attraction: Lots of Elephants to be seen here.

Bandipur National Park, Tiger Reserves in India

Large Chital herd at Bandipur National Park (source)

Best time to visit: Winters are pleasant here, but the greatest chances of wildlife sightings are in March or April.

12. Periyar National Park, Kerala

Likelihood of spotting tigers: Low

Periyar National park, Tiger Reserves of India

Foxes at Periyar (source)

Located in God’s own country, the Periyar National Park is one of the best parks in Kerala. It’s notable for it’s rich biodiversity and scenic location, which attracts travelers from all over the country and abroad as well. There have been reports of an increase in tiger population in this tiger reserve of India. Elephants are the other main attraction here. Apart from tiger and elephants, gaur, sambar, wild pig, Travancore flying squirrel, jungle cat, Indian giant squirrel, sloth bear, Nilgiri tahr, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Salim Ali’s fruit bat, stripe-necked mongoose, and Nilgiri marten are the main inhabitants of the wildlife reserve.

Special Attraction: Boat cruises, which make a best option for checking out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary.

Best time to visit: October to June

 

So head out to these Tiger reserves in India and parks for some great time with your wild side. But, be warned,don’t let the hunt for the tiger by your eyes hinder how you enjoy all the other parts of the wildlife.

 

 

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About 

Pooja is a journalism student from Wilson College, Mumbai. She loves writing, filter kaapi and travelling for her food cravings. When she is not doing any of these things, she likes doodling on walls and scribbling on paper. She is also a talented artist and has performed on various stages. In her free time, she writes guest-posts for Holidify, the Highest Rated Travel App in India.