With the collaborative efforts of the wildlife conservationists and the government, there has been a healthy growth in the tiger population in India and the world over. With the numbers on the rise (there are about 3,890 tigers in the wild today), here’s hoping that we spot a healthy number of big cats now, more than ever. With more than 40 national parks across the country, here are the top ones to consider this International Tiger Day.
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
As one of India’s oldest parks nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, the 500 square kilometres of Jim Corbett makes a great home for tigers thanks to the dense sal forests. If you want a sure-shot view of the big cat, make sure to visit the eastern side of Corbett that attracts a large number of tigers because of the grasslands and the water bodies that help them catch their prey. Additionally, Jim Corbett is home to leopard, jungle cat, sloth bear, jackal, goral, Himalayan tahr, serow, chital, sambal, barking deer and a large number of wild elephants.
Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
It is arguably one of the best parks in world to have the highest density of tigers. While it used to be known as the home for white tigers (they no longer exist here), travellers must visit this park for a guaranteed view of the gorgeous tiger. Other commonly spotted animals in the park include sambar deer, barking deer, wild boar, nilgai, four-horned antelope, Indian Bison, wild dog, leopard, blue bull, Indian fox and the bear. You can couple your visit here by hiring a car that’ll take you to the Bandhavgarh Fort, overlooking the Vindhya Range.
Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
Known to give the most brilliant photographs of the tiger, this park is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream. One of India’s largest national parks at 1,334 square kilometres, Ranthambore was once the hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. The highlight of the park is that it is dotted with ancient ruins, including a fort where tigers are often spotted. So, that’s a little bit of history included in the wildlife scene. Apart from tigers, the park is home to leopard, jungle cat, sloth bear, hyena, Indian fox, jackal and even crocodile. There are three lakes inside the park – Padam Talao, Raj Talao and Milak Talao – where tigers and cubs are often spotted.
Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
If you think wildlife safari, think Kanha Tiger Reserve. The picturesque park will transport you straight to Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book.’ Home to lush dense meadows, this park offers great opportunities to spot tigers. Other animals here include: barasingha, chital, gaur, three-striped palm squirrel, common langur, jackal, wild pig, black buck, striped hyena, leopard, and ant-eating pangolin.
Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh
In summers, tigers swim in the Sonbhadra river running through Satpura National Park. Moreover, one can opt out of a jeep safari and roam the wilderness on foot here. Established in 1981, the infrastructure of the park is relatively new and makes it easy for a wildlife lover to spot some other animals such as hyena, leopards, gaur, sambar, chital, mouse deer, wild boar, wild dog, bear, black buck, and fox.