There are over 80 national parks in India, spread all over the country. Some are larger and more accessible then others. These parks are all popular with visitors, and offer a diverse variety of flora and fauna.
Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
India’s first national park, Corbett was established in 1936 by legendary tiger hunter Jim Corbett. It’s located around three hours from Nainital and seven hours from Delhi. The park is a large one and has five zones. One zone, Jhirna, is open all year round. The rest of the park closes during the monsoon. The chances of seeing a tiger at Corbett aren’t great but there are other animals, and elephant safaris are possible. For the best wildlife viewing, stay deep in the reserve in the Dhikala zone. However, if you’re a foreigner be prepared to pay double the rates for accommodation, with the cheapest rates around 2,500 rupees a night for a private cabin at a forest rest house. More information is available from the park’s website.
Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
Ranthambore is a fascinating blend of history and nature. Inside the park is a formidable fort that was built in the 10th century and coveted by many rulers due to its strategic position between north and central India. The park itself is characterized by rocky plains and steep cliffs. It supports a diverse range of flora and fauna, including around 30 tigers. This park is very popular due to its proximity to Delhi and the fact that tigers are relatively easy to spot there. However, the park’s popularity has resulted in overcrowding and mismanagement of safaris, which is a problem and something to be aware of.
Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Kanha National Park has the honor of providing the setting for Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, The Jungle Book. It’s rich in lush saal and bamboo forests, lakes, streams and open grasslands. This large park is well regarded for its research and conservation programs, and many endangered species have been saved there. As well as tigers (the chance of seeing one has increased dramatically in recent years), the park is known for its barasingha (swamp deer) and an extensive variety of other animals and birds. It’s perfect for nature lovers.