With its vast landmass and diverse topography that spans tropical forests to scrubby grasslands, the Indian subcontinent is home to an astonishing number of plant, animal, bird and reptile species. Not surprisingly, the country has more than 99 national parks, 40 tiger reserves and 450 wildlife sanctuaries making the country one of the most coveted destinations for Nature lovers from around the world. If you’re eager to explore some of the most exquisite Nature-made sights and sounds that the country has to offer, look no further than our list of the best safari holidays in India.
Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan
Ranthambore is where all the action’s at, when it comes to spotting wild tigers. Spread over 1,334 sq km of wild jungle scrub and rocky ridges, the park also has a number of crocodile-filled lakes and is built around its namesake Ranthambore Fort, which dates back to the 10th Century. The park has a population of roughly 55 tigers so it may take more than a single visit for you to spot one. Try going between March and May to maximize your chances.
Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand
Asia’s very first national park was founded in 1936 and is named for the legendary British hunter and conservationist, James Corbett. Today, the park welcomes more than 70,000 visitors every year and is home to 33 reptile, seven amphibian and seven fish species. Considering the number of tigers at the park is relatively meagre, do schedule more than a single visit. Staying at the Dhikala Forest Rest House, which is located in the heart of the jungle, can also improve your chances of spotting a tiger, provided you also rise early for a dawn safari. Take your pick from jeep and elephant safaris.
Bhandavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh
Another hotspot for Nature lover, the Bhandavgarh National Park is named for a hillock in the area that, legends say, was given to Lakshmana by his brother Lord Rama to watch over Lanka. The name literally translates as Brother’s Fort. The park is best known for its high density of tigers (the highest in the country), and its leopards, bison and deer. All in all, the park has 37 mammalian species, 250 bird species and a number of reptiles. The migratory Sarus cranes also visit the park in the monsoon to breed. The park is easily accessible from Jabalpur airport, which is connected by direct flights to Delhi, Mumbai and Bhopal.
Kaziranga National Park in Assam
Spread across 430 sq km of lush grasslands, Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – its 1,800 one-horned rhinoceros represent more than two-thirds of this species’ global population. The park also has a high density of tigers, is home to a large breeding population of elephants, and has sizeable populations of wild buffaloes and swamp deer. Numerous rivers, including the Brahmaputra, run through the park and a large portion of the park is submerged during the monsoon owing to the Brahmaputra flooding its banks. Several species of birds can be found here, including migratory birds, water birds, predators, scavengers and game birds. Visitors are invited to explore the park via guided jeep or elephant tours. You can also stop by the Kaziranga National Orchid and Biodiversity Park that has more than 500 species of orchids and numerous local fish species. Over the years, the park has inspired numerous authors and filmmakers, including Robin Banerjee who produced a wildly popular documentary called Kaziranga, and L Sprague de Camp’s poem Kaziranga, Assam.