The landscape of Indian sub-continent offers immense opportunities for nature lovers and adventure seekers from around the world to explore the exotic flora and fauna which is widespread across the country. If you haven’t experienced the wildlife safaris in India it’s time to go for it as wildlife reserves of India will astound you with their vast collection of faunal species. There are 80 national parks, 400 wildlife sanctuaries and 23 tiger reserves established by the government of India with a view to conserve more than 500 species of mammals, 1200 species of birds and 1600 species of reptiles and amphibians. Indian forests have 60% of the world’s tiger population, 50% percent of Asian elephants, and 80% of the one-horned rhinoceros and the entire remaining population of the Asiatic lion. Management of Indian wildlife parks constantly strives to maintain the ecological balance and create a healthy environment for the growth of plant and animal kingdom. Famous wildlife parks like Corbett National Park, Gir Forest, Ranthambore National Park, Kanha National Park and Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve are home to a large number of lions and tigers and it’s a delight to watch these animals roaming freely without fear in the core areas of these forest reserves. Most of the wildlife reserves in India offer excellent accommodation and wildlife safari options to the visitors from around the world.
Below are some of the famous wildlife safari options in India:
Sariska Tiger Reserve
Sariska Tiger Reserve located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan is spread over an area of 866 sq.km. It was initially used as a hunting ground by royal family of Alwar and was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955. The landscape of Sariska mainly comprises of rocky landscapes, deciduous forests, grasslands and hilly cliffs. It was given the status of Tiger Reserve in 1978 making it a part of India’s project tiger.
The wildlife population of the park consists of tigers, leopards, jackals, striped hyenas, wild dogs, jungle cats, wild boars, langurs, blue bulls, spotted deer, sambars, four-horned antelopes, chinkaras and many more.
The avian population of the park consists of pigeons, purple sunbirds, lapwings, babblers, oriental turtle doves, Indian pea fowls, partridges, quails, tree pies, sand grouses, wood peckers, crested serpent eagles, Indian horned owls, dusky eagle owls, Eurasian eagle owls, oriental honey-buzzards, short-toed eagles, imperial eagles, parakeets, bulbuls, grey francolins, stork-billed kingfishers and many more.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore holds the distinction of one of the largest national parks in North India covering an area of 392 km. Situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of south-east Rajasthan, Ranthambore lies at the edge of a plateau and is known for its tiger population. It is named after the historic Ranthambore fortress which lies within the park and is one of the best wildlife reserves to spot tigers in their natural habitat.
The wildlife population of the park consists of Tiger, Leopard, Panther, Indian Hare, Indian Gazelle, Blue Bull, Mongoose, Wild Boar, Jackal, Hyena, Sloth Bear, Blackbuck, Chinkara, Chital, Sambar, Antelope, Jungle Cat, Monitor Lizard, Marsh Crocodile, Long-eared Hedgehog, Indian Porcupine, Desert Cat, Common Yellow Bat, Caracal, Palm Civet, Stripped Squirrel, Langur, Indian Flying Fox, Indian Chameleon, Saw-scaled Viper, Soft-shelled Turtle, Rat Snake, Cobra, Banded Krait, Indian Python and many more.
The avian population of the park consists of Falcons, Mynas, Bulbuls, Pipits, Wagtails, Finches, Sparrows, Flycatchers, Wood-Shrikes, Drongos, Minivets, Cuckoo-Shrikes, Orioles, Crows, Treepies, Storks, Pelicans, Ibises, Flamingos, Herons, Egrets, Cormorants, Darters, Eagles, Terns, Sandpipers, Doves, Nightjars, Owls, Asian Palm Swifts, Parakeets, Cuckoos, Kingfishers, Indian Grey Hornbills, Woodpeckers, Goose and many more.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is located in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan. The sanctuary is world famous for its avifauna collection as it is home to thousands of domestic and migratory birds with 230 species of resident birds. Ornithologists from all over the world descend to Keoladeo Ghana National Park in winter months to spot some of the exotic bird species during hibernal season.
The avian population of the park consists of flamingos, rosy pelicans, Spanish sparrows, coot snipes, Siberian cranes, pipits, larks, buntings, flycatchers, wheatears, warblers, wagtails, stints, shanks, hawks, eagles, ducks, geese, kingfishers, vultures, great horned owls, harriers, chats, kites, various species of ducks, egrets, herons, spoonbills, darters, cormorants, ibises, crested serpent eagles, fishing eagles, tawny eagles, short-toed eagles and many more.
The wildlife population of the park consists of Sambars, Blue Bulls, Jackals, Black Bucks, Fishing Cats, Pythons, Spotted Deer, Otters, Monitor Lizards and many more.
Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India established in 1936 with a view to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. Located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand, it was named after famous British naturalist Jim Corbett who was famous for hunting a large number of man-eating tigers and leopards in India. Spread over an area of 500sq.km, the landscape of Corbett National Park comprises of grasslands, hills, lake, marshlands and river belt.
The wildlife population of the park mainly consists of elephants, tigers, leopards, panthers, jungle cats, jackals, Himalayan black bears, blue bulls, sloth bears, spotted deer, barking deer, hog deer, sambars, langurs, antelopes, porcupines, otters, Indian grey mongoose, Himalayan palm civets, hares, Gharials (fish eating crocodiles), Mugger crocodiles, tortoise, turtles, cobras, pythons, monitor lizards, wild boars, pangolins, palm squirrels, long-eared hedgehog, rhesus macaques, cat snakes, wolf snakes and many more.
The avian population of the park consists of white storks, black storks, egrets, grey herons, darters, large pied wagtails, sandpipers, black-headed gulls, pigeons, hornbills, barbets, parakeets, babblers, drongos, pies, orioles, woodpeckers, warblers, chats, robins, tailor birds, mynas, bulbuls, finches, lapwings, thrushes, white-tailed rubythroats, bright-headed cisitcolas, harriers, falcons, grey lags, migrant gulls, nightjars, jungle fowls, spotted eagles, peacocks, chir pheasants, khalij pheasants, weaver birds, collared falconets, plovers, doves, fishing eagles, spotted eagles, serpent eagles, ospreys, white-capped redstarts, crested swifts, paradise flycatchers, ducks, moorhens and many more.
Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park is the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh in the heart of India spread over an area of 940 km. It is divided into two districts Mandla and Balaghat. The landscape of Kanha National Park comprises of grasslands, tropical deciduous forests, sal and bamboo forests, meadows, meandering streams and shrubs in the dense forested zones.
The wildlife population of the park mainly consists of tigers, leopards, wild boars, wild cats, foxes and jackals, striped hyena, mongoose, spotted dear, sambar, wolf, jungle cat, civets, porcupine, langurs, Indian porcupine, barasingha, honey badger and hare. Reptiles like pythons, cobras, krait, rat snakes, vipers, keelbacks and grass snakes are nocturnal animals, and are therefore rarely seen. There are many species of turtles as well as amphibians found in or near the water bodies.
The avian population of the park consists of Black Ibis, Bee-eaters, Cattle Egret, Blossom-Headed Parakeets, Pond Heron, Drongos, Common Teal, Crested Serpent Eagle, Grey Hornbill, Indian roller, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Little Grebes, Lesser Adjutants, Lesser Whistling Teal, Minivets, Pied Hornbill, Woodpecker, Pigeon, Paradise Flycatchers, Mynas, Peafowl, Red Jungle Fowl, Red Wattled Lapwing, Steppe Eagle, Tickell’s Flycatcher, White-eyed Buzzard, White-breasted Kingfisher, White-browed Fantail Flycatcher, Wood shrikes and Warblers and many more.
Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park is situated in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh and is spread over an area 10 km. The landscape of the park mainly comprises of moist deciduous forests, sal forests, dense bamboo thickets and grasslands. The wilderness of Bandhavgarh can be explored with jungle safaris which offer breathtaking views of the flora and fauna of the national park. Other attractions around Bandhavgarh include a visit to Bandhavgarh Fort, rock-cut ponds, Bandhavdheesh Temple, Kabir Temple, statue of Lord Buddha, Ganesha, and Vishnu etc.
The wildlife population of the park mainly consists of White Tigers, Bengal Tigers, Leopards, Sambar, Barking Deer, Nilgai, Wild Boar, Gaur, Chausingha and Chinkara, the Asiatic jackal, Bengal fox, sloth bear, ratel, grey mongoose, striped hyena, jungle cat, leopard and tiger. The artiodactyls frequently sighted are wild pig, spotted deer, samber, chausingha, nilgai and chinkara with mammals like dhole, the small Indian civet, palm squirrel and lesser bandicoot rat and little grebe, egret, lesser adjutant, sarus crane, black kite, crested serpent eagle, black vulture, Egyptian vulture, common peafowl, red jungle fowl, dove, parakeet, Indian roller can also be found in abundance. Reptilian fauna include cobra, krait, viper, ratsnake, python, turtle and a number of lizard varieties.
The avian population of the park consists of birds like Grey Hornbill, Common Teals, Red Jungle Fowl, and White Breasted Kingfisher etc.