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Beyond the buzzing Indian cities lies the serene and tranquil sanctuaries that are teeming with wildlife. There are more than 100 national parks throughout India, covering about 15,600 square miles of protected land. Majority of the modern day wildlife sanctuaries were the private hunting grounds of the Rajas and Maharajas. 

Whether you are an ardent nature lover, or you are looking to add a new experience to your travel bucket list by visiting a wildlife sanctuary, there are many places where you see the Royal Bengal Tigers, Asian Elephants and many other animal and plant species in their natural habitat. 

Among the many wildlife sanctuaries in India, we have picked the five best ones that are a must-visit for all. 

Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka 

Best time to visit – October to February

Closest city/town – Mysore 

The Nagarhole National Park, which is also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park boasts of lush green forest and marshland. It is rated as one of the best places in India to spot tigers and leopards in the wild. With the mighty Western Ghats in the backdrop, this National Park of India is replete with teak, sandalwood trees, and bamboo grooves.  

The best way to spot the big cats is to take the jeep safari, which takes you in the heart of the jungle. Alternatively, you can take a ride on the small coracle boat over the Kabini River, which is a great way to see the aquatic birds, crocodiles, and wild Indian Elephants.  

Kaziranga National Park, Assam 

Best time to visit – November to March

Closest city/town – Jorhat/Guwahati 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kaziranga National Park is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in India and it boasts of a large area that is still untouched by humans. Located on the floodplains of the mighty Brahmaputra River, this national park is the only place in India where you can spot the famed one-horned Rhinoceros.  

The Park was declared a forest reserve in 1905, with the aim to protect the Rhino from the brink of extinction. Today, there are more than 2000 Rhinos in the wild at the Kaziranga Park, and you can easily spot them by taking a jeep tour around the forest.  

The forest is divided into different zones, and also has many tigers, wild buffaloes, swamp deer, otters, river dolphins, and many local and migratory birds. 

Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal 

Best time to visit – October to March

Closest city/town – Canning/Najat/Sonakhali 

The largest mangrove forest in India, Sundarbans National Park is spread over ten thousand kilometres. The forest, which lies along the delta of Bay of Bengal, is so big that a part of it lies in Bangladesh. Sundarbans is popular for being home to the Royal Bengal Tigers, and it attracts many tourists from all over the world.  

You can access every corner of the park through its well-connected waterways, and many wildlife experts suggest that it is one of the best places in India to explore nature and wildlife. Apart from tigers, Sundarbans is also known for its snake and crocodile population.  

Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh 

Best time to visit – November to February

Closest city/town – Umaria 

One of the lesser known wildlife sanctuaries in India, Bandhavgarh National Park was once a hunting ground for the Royals of Madhya Pradesh. Today, however, the park is a highly protected reserve and is home to many wild animals and plants. The park is known to be a breeding ground for Panthers, and it also boasts of having many Tigers.  

Apart from the wildlife species, one of the notable things about this park is the thick cover of the Sal trees, which are considered to be the lifeline of the forest. The place is every nature and wildlife lover’s paradise. 

Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand 

Best time to visit – December to March

Closest city/town – Ramnagar/Kashipur 

One of the oldest and biggest wildlife sanctuaries in India, Jim Corbett National Park is named after the famous wildlife story writer, Jim Corbett. It was founded in 1936 mainly with the aim to protect the Bengal Tigers and save them from poachers.  

This National Park is a popular tourist place, and people from all over the world who come to Uttarakhand come here to revel in its pristine natural beauty. The park is especially popular among wildlife enthusiasts and nature photography lovers.  

The park has been the location for countless number of documentaries that raise an awareness about the importance of protecting the forests, and the wildlife.  

Apart from the wildlife sanctuaries listed here, there are many other national parks and sanctuaries like the Kanha National Park, Ranthambore National Park, Hemis National Park, which are also worth visiting. So, plan a trip to one of these sanctuaries to know about the rich biodiversity of India. 

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