Tigers are predators and are the biggest of all cats. We know that predators are wild animals that hunt or prey on other animals. These animals need the flesh of the animals that they kill to survive. Predators come in many sizes and shapes.
They can be as tiny as a bug, or as large as a polar bear. The way a predator hunts, catches, and kills food is determined by many factors such as the adaptations of the predator and the prey and the type of habitat they live in.
There are six different kinds of tigers, and they are considered to be the most ferocious hunters of the animal world. We are listing 3 major of them below:
Siberian tigers are the world’s largest cats. They live primarily in Eastern Russia’s birch forests, though some exist in China and North Korea. Their fur is usually pale orange-brown, with black stripes. They are paler than most other tigers. The fur on the belly and chest is white, with black stripes. They have a white ruff around the neck. There are only about 400 of these magnificent tigers left in the wild, and they are an endangered species.
The Bengal Tiger is found in the rainforests and grasslands of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, India, and Nepal. Bengal tigers are extremely large, and the males are up to 3 meters in length. The Bengal tiger’s fur is orange-brown, with black stripes. It hunts deer, pigs, antelopes, cattle, buffaloes, and even baby elephants.
White tigers are not albinos. They are Bengal tigers that possess a special gene responsible for their characteristic white color. If a male and female tiger both have this gene, their offspring will be white. White tigers are bigger in size than the orange ones. Their fur is pale in color and lined with chocolate-colored stripes. Their eyes are blue. It is hard to find white tigers in the wild. Most of today’s white tigers are found in captivity.
The different types of tigers live in a variety of habitats. Some live in forests in Southern Asia, some in the woodlands of Siberia. Others are found in mangrove swamps, and in tall grass jungles. Some are found in the mountains where it is snowy.
Most of them live and hunt alone, and mark their territory by spraying the ground and plants with urine, and by leaving scratch marks on trees. They are also good swimmers. A tiger’s stripes help it to get close to prey when it is hunting, by allowing it to blend into the grasses, and edges of forests where it lives.
Each tiger’s pattern is different, like human fingerprints. They hunt mainly between sunset and dawn. They stalk their prey and get as close as possible and then chase the animal from behind, pouncing on it, and biting the neck or throat. When the prey is dead, the tiger drags it to a safe place and eats it.
If the prey is a large animal, It can feed on it for a few days. Not every hunt is successful, so tigers don’t eat every day. They hunt and eat many different kinds of animals such as deer, wild pigs, birds, monkeys, leopards, bears, and wild cattle. Did you know that they eat up to 18 kgs of meat at one time?
Conservation Program for Tigers
Tigers help control the population of plant-eating animals like deer, wild buffaloes, and antelopes, as well as animals like boars that eat both plants and animals. Today, tigers are becoming fewer and fewer, due to poaching and lack of habitat. As a result, an important link in the food chain is fast vanishing. It is very important to save the tiger, in order to keep the balance of Nature, which in turn, will save our forests, and our planet!
Dinosaurs – Facts about the Ruling Reptiles & Their Types
Dinosaurs fossils were probably discovered by the ancient Chinese, Romans, and Greeks. However, no one really recognized them as belonging to an extinct animal. Much later in 1676, a huge thigh bone was found in England by Reverend Plot.
It was thought that the bone belonged to a ‘giant’ but was probably from a dinosaur. The first dinosaur to be described scientifically was Megalosaurus, named in 1824, by William Buckland.
The name ‘dinosaur’ which means ‘terrible lizard,’ was actually coined by Richard Owen. In 1838, William Parker Foulke found the first nearly complete dinosaur fossil remains in New Jersey, USA. Since Buckland’s original discovery in 1819, approximately 330 different dinosaur genera have been discovered thus far.
The Ruling Reptiles
The Jurassic Period started around 205 million years ago and is known as the time when dinosaurs, who were reptiles, ruled the Earth. Dinosaurs were now much larger, which clearly put them at the top of the food chain.
Some of the largest dinosaurs of the Jurassic age were the herbivore plant-eating sauropods. Thanks to the abundant plant life, massive herbivores such as the brachiosaurus, diplodocus, and apatosaurus had no shortage of food.
The fiercest among the carnivorous dinosaurs were extremely large theropods like the allosaurus and the ceratosaurus. The allosaurus was probably the top Jurassic predator of its time, and with the largest specimen coming in at a length of over 9 meters and its prey was most likely the large herbivores such as the sauropods.
Flying reptiles like the pterosaurs were still the dominant air species. It was the first feathered flying species, and clearly an evolutionary step towards the bird species.
Marine reptiles consisted mainly of the plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, large marine crocodiles, variations of modern-day sharks, as well as cephalopods which are relatives of today’s squid and octopus species.
Different Types of Dinosaurs
There were many different kinds of dinosaurs. The smallest types were about the size of a chicken, and the largest was over 100 feet, or 30 meters long.
- Some ate only meat and were known as ‘carnivores’.
- Some ate only plants and were herbivores.
- Others ate both plants and meats and were ‘omnivores’.
Herbivorous dinosaurs were usually larger in size and had longer necks than the others as they evolved to scare carnivorous dinosaurs who hunted them for food. They usually lived in herds and had short and blunt teeth for chewing on plants. They probably swallowed stones to aid them in their digestion.
Carnivorous dinosaurs were large in size, and they usually walked on their hind limbs. They had long and sharp teeth for killing their prey and ripping their flesh for food. Omnivorous dinosaurs were not as large as carnivorous dinosaurs. They usually walked on their hind limbs, but they did not have specific kinds of teeth as they consumed plants, animals, and even eggs.
They are also classified as being lizard-hipped or bird-hipped. Some common dinosaurs are the Acrocanthosaurus, tyrannosaurus rex, spinosaurus, brachiosaurus, and diplodocus. Till now, more than 700 different species of dinosaurs have been identified.
81 National Parks of Wild India that Every Tourist Must Visit
ature for the Future National parks are dedicated to conserving a nation’s unique flora and fauna, and distinct scenic and wildlife heritage for future generations. These parks are rich in plant and animal species, thriving in their indigenous natural environment and beauty.
Each country has its own national parks that protect a number of species. Till 1970, India had only five national parks. However, new laws were passed in the 1970s and 1980s to protect wildlife and the environment.
As a result, many more national parks were established. By 2020, there were 103 national parks in India covering more than 40,000 sq km area. This number will definitely increase, as plans are afoot to set up a total of 166 national parks. This long article of FactLo unfolds for you a stunning panorama of the Wonders of Wild India.
What are the national parks?
If you have visited a national park, you will know that it is a place where Nature has been left undisturbed, and you can see animals in their natural surroundings. In other words, it is a park that preserves or conserves Nature for future generations to study and enjoy.
Every country in the world has its own national parks, and there is an international organization, the IUCN- International Union for the Conservation of Nature- that is recognized as a regulatory body for these parks. According to the IUCN there are more than 6500 national parks in the world today.
The first national park to be established was the Yellowstone National Park in the USA. It was declared a national park in 1872. The largest national park in the world is the Northeast Greenland National Park.
Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park
The Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park lies on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Since it was established in 1975, the year of the 2500th birth anniversary of the great Jain saint Mahavir, it was named after him. It became a National Park in 1994.
The park is famed as the preserve of the endangered blackbuck, the state animal of Andhra Pradesh. There are also chitals and herds of wild boar. Partridges, quails, peacocks, doves, pond herons, egrets, kingfishers, and cormorants are found here, as well as birds of prey like kites and vultures. If you are lucky, you may even catch sight of the short-toed eagle- a very rare bird.
Kasu Brahamananda Reddy National Park
The Kasu Brahamananda Reddy National Park or KBR Park, as it is popularly known, is named after a former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. It is located in the Jubilee Hills, in the heart of Hyderabad city. The park has over 600 species of plants and trees.
As far as wildlife is concerned, the park is home to approximately 113 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles, 20 species of mammals, 15 species of butterflies, and a wide variety of invertebrates as well as palm civets and small jungle cats.
The park is unique in that, in addition to its magnificent flora and fauna, it also has awe-inspiring historic structures within its boundaries like the Chitan Palace of the former Nizam of Hyde’ established as a National Park in 1998 to safeguard the biodiversity, and it is like a breath of fresh air amidst the noise and pollution of the city.
Mrugavani National Park
It is located about 25 kilometers from Hyderabad and was declared as a National Park in 1978. The park is covered with teak, sandalwood, and bamboo, as well as many varieties of shrubs and herbs, woodlands, and grasslands.
It is home to animals like the Indian hare, forest cat, civet, Indian rat snake, Russell’s viper, and chital. There are over 100 species of birds, including warblers, peacocks, grey partridge, quail, lapwings, and flower peekers, as well as myriads of butterflies.
With its 600 different types of plant life, amazing wildlife, and a wide range of nature-friendly activities, Mrugavani National Park has become a favorite destination for both domestic as well as international tourists.
Sri Venkateswara National Park
The Sri Venkateswara National Park is located in the Chittoor and Cuddapah districts of Andhra Pradesh. It covers an area of 353.62 sq km of rugged hilly terrain and abounds in deep gorges, steep slopes, lofty plateaus, green valleys, and breathtaking waterfalls.
The park is famous for over 1500 plant species, and also for its rare species of wildlife. These include the slender lorises, the golden gecko, and flying lizards. There are also many mammals like the nilgai, wild boar, the occasional leopard, and hyena.
Nilgai is the largest Asian antelope. For bird-watchers, there are over 100 species of birds to be seen. The park, which was notified as a National Park in 1998, is just 10 km from Tirupati, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, and is named after the Lord.
Campbell Bay National Park
The Campbell Bay National Park is on the Great Nicobar Island, the largest of the Nicobar Islands. These islands are located in the Indian Ocean. Campbell Bay was established as a National Park in 1996 and forms a part of what is known as the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve.
The park covers an area of 426.23 sq km of tropical evergreen forest, abounding in orchids and tree ferns. The orchids are truly spectacular, and in summer, when all the flowers are in full bloom, the park is a breathtaking sight.
The animals inhabiting this park include the crab-eating macaque, the megapode, the giant robber crab, and the Nicobar pigeon. There are also myriad species of birds that you can watch from specially built watchtowers.
Galathea National Park
It is in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Located on Great Nicobar Island, it occupies an area of 110 sq km. This park is home to many rare species of plants and animals that are found only here, because of the relative geographical isolation of this region.
The park is especially famous for the presence of the giant leatherback turtle, an endangered species. Other animals found here include the water monitor lizard, the reticulated python, the endangered Nicobar tree shrew, wild pigs, robber crabs, and the Malayan box turtle.
The wildlife also includes the Nicobar scrub-fowl, the edible nest swiftlet, the Nicobar long-tailed macaque, and saltwater crocodile. The Galathea National Park is also a great place for enthusiastic birdwatchers, and a holiday here is truly unique experience.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is in the Wandoor region of South Andaman. The park covers an area of 281.5 sq km and is made up of a group of 15 islands and open sea creeks. This was declared as a National Park in 1999.
Most of the park area is dotted with islands and islets covered with mangroves or tropical forests, along with open rock-faces, and shallow beaches. The marine wonders include a variety of coral reefs, myriad fish in all sizes and colors, mollusks, shellfish, starfish, turtles, and saltwater crocodiles.
This park is a major nesting ground for sea turtles, who come there in hundreds every year to lay their eggs. This national park has many excellent locations for snorkeling and scuba-diving and is a hot-spot for eco-tourism.
North Button Island National Park
The North Button Island National Park covers 0.44 sq km of marine area in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, off the east coast of India. It is a wonderful place for scuba diving and snorkeling as the bottom of the sea is made up mainly of coral covered rocks interspersed with patches of sand.
This is the home of the dugong, dolphins, blue whale, water monitor lizard, and other forms of marine life. Here, you will also find humpback snappers, giant groupers, and schools of spiny foot and unicorn fish. Boulder corals, stag horns, and finger corals are some of the sights to be seen on the reef flats.
The area receives heavy rainfall from June to October every year, and so, the best time to visit the North Button Island National Park is from December to April.
Rani Jhansi Marine National Park
The Rani Jhansi Marine National Park is the ecotourism hub of India. lt is located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, on the picturesque Ritchie’s Archipelago, and is spread out over three islands. It is about 40 km from Baratang Island and covers a total area of about 256.14 sq km.
From the eco-tourism point of view, Baratang provides an excellent opportunity to view a variety of habitats, from mangroves to littoral forests, to mud volcanoes, as well as natural limestone caves, marine life, and birdlife.
The plant life and wildlife found here include the terrestrial forests, mangroves, coral reefs, crocodiles, dugongs, and birds. Fruit-eating bats are also found here. The islands surrounding this National Park offer great locations for scuba-diving and snorkeling.
Saddle Peak National Park
The Saddle Peak National Park is located in North Andaman Island. It covers an area of 32.54 sq km and is named after the highest point in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Saddle Peak. It was declared as a national park in the year 1996.
The climate here is humid, warm, and wet, and the park abounds in luxuriant, lush green tropical rainforests. A unique feature of this park is the stunted evergreen vegetation surrounding the peak, which is 732 meters high.
The main animal species in the park comprises Andaman wild pigs, water monitor lizards, and Salt Water Crocodile. The important birds found here are the Andaman hill mynah and imperial pigeon.
Namdapha National Park
The Namdapha National Park covering an area of 1807.82 sq km, is located in Arunachal Pradesh in north-east India. The majestic gaur, elephant, Himalayan black bear, wild goat, musk deer, and slow loris can be seen here along with tigers, leopards, the rare snow leopard, and clouded leopard.
Some of the plants and animals found here cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. For the bird-enthusiast, the forest shelters many rare and threatened species found only in the North East, such as grey peacock -pheasant, red-headed and Ward’s trogons, wedge-billed wren babbler, snowy throated babbler, hill partridges, the beautiful nuthatch, and five different species of the majestic hornbill.
Kaziranga National Park – known for one-horned Indian rhinoceros
The Kaziranga National Park in Assam is a World Heritage Site, and the natural home of the famous one-horned Indian rhinoceros. Here you will find thick forests, elephant grass, marshes, shallow pools, and reeds spread out over 858.98 sq km.
The park contains about 5 species of India’s threatened mammals. It has the world’s largest population of Indian rhinoceros. Other mammals include capped langurs, hoolock gibbons, tigers, Ganges dolphins, gaurs, sambars, swamp deer, and the Indian muntjac. Kaziranga National Park is perhaps one of the last areas in eastern India undisturbed by a human Indian presence and as such, it is one of India’s natural Rhinoceros treasures.
Manas National Park
The Manas National Park, located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Western Assam, was declared a tiger reserve in 1974, and a World Heritage Site in 1985, and a national park in 1990. The focal point of Manas National Park is the enchanting Manas River.
The sanctuary is home to a great variety of wildlife that includes the golden langur, hispid hare, pygmy hog, capped langur, Indian one-horned rhinoceros, elephant, gaur, and hog deer. It is one of the tiger reserve sanctuaries in India.
Manas is known for its project tigers, rhinos and elephants, and is one of the two tiger projects in Assam. The diverse habitat of Manas is an ideal home for a variety of specialized birds too. The park boasts of the largest population of the endangered Bengal florican in the world and is also a great place to see the great hornbill.
Nameri National Park
The Nameri National Park, in Assam, is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas and covers an area of 200 sq km. The Park is a Tiger Reserve and here you will find Sambar, Barking deer, Hog Deer, Wild Boar, and Gaur as well as Tigers, Elephants, Leopard, Clouded Leopards, and Sloth Bears.
The Capped Langur and Jackal along with Indian Bison, Pangolin, Indian Wild Dog, and Civet Cat, are amongst the species found in the park. Many rare birds have also been spotted here, including the White Billed Wood Duck and four species of Hornbill.
Dibru- Saikhowa National Park
The Dibru- Saikhowa National Park in Assam, and sprawls over 340 sq km. It was formed by merging the two reserve forests of Dibru and Saikhowa and was declared a national park in 1999.
Dibru-Saikhowa is among the most vibrant wilderness on Earth and is also distinct for its pristine scenic beauty. Situated in the flood plain of the Brahmaputra, Dibru-Saikhowa is a safe haven for many endangered species of wildlife, including over 300 species of birds, both endangered and migratory.
Over 25 species of mammals have been recorded including tigers, elephants, leopards, jungle cats, bears, small Indian civets, squirrels, Gangetic dolphins, slow loris, and the Assamese macaques. The main attractions, however, are the white-winged wood duck and the brightly colored wild horses, known as feral horses.
Valmiki National Park
The Valmiki National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the state of Bihar. As many as 53 species of mammals and 240 species of birds have made the park their home.
Amongst the many animals that can be spotted in the national park are wolves, deer, sloth bears, and reptiles like pythons, leopards, nilgai, hyenas, jungle cats, Indian bison, and rhinoceros. However, the main attraction of the park is the Bengal tiger, and most visitors travel to the place to catch a glimpse of this elusive and endangered animal.
Kanger Valley Park
The Kanger Valley National Park is spread out over 200 sq km of picturesquely hilly terrain in Chhattisgarh State. The beautiful park derives its name from the Kanger River, which flows throughout its length.
The Kanger Valley attained the status of a national park in 1982. The park has forests of sal, teak and bamboo trees. Tigers, leopards, mouse deer, wild cat, chital, sambar, barking deer, jackals, langurs, rhesus macaque, sloth bear, and wild boar are some of the wild animals found here.
Hill myna, spotted owlet, red jungle fowls, racket-tailed drongos, peacocks, parrots, and steppe eagles are just a few of the bird species that make the park a fascinating place. Besides wildlife and plants, there are many tourist attractions inside the park such as the Kutamsar Caves, Kailash Caves, Dandak Caves, and Tirathgarh Waterfalls.
Indravati National Park
The Indravati National Park is famous for its tiger reserve. In fact, it is the only tiger reserve in the state of Chhattisgarh. The park gets its name from the Indravati River, which flows through the park, from east to west.
The park boasts of exotic varieties of tropical flowers, especially orchids. The grasslands abound in wild buffaloes, barking deer and herds of nilgais. The wildlife also includes barasinghas, gaurs, sambars, wild dogs, sloth bears, hyenas, and many other species.
However, the Indravati National Park is most famous for the reptiles found here. One can see crocodiles basking in the sun, as well as Indian chameleons, cobras, and Indian rock pythons. The Park also has an interesting variety of birdlife that includes the hill myna, cattle egret, parrots, bulbul, koels, flycatchers, and weaver birds.
Guru Ghasidas National Park
The Guru Ghasidas National Park in Chhattisgarh is named after a famous reformist, Guru Ghasidas, who lived between 1756 and 1850. The Guru Ghasidas National Park is actually a part of the former Sanjay National Park.
This park was formed when Chhattisgarh was split from Madhya Pradesh to form a separate state. The park’s hilly terrain, dense forest, grasslands, and rivers perfectly support the wildlife population of the region.
Tigers, leopards, chital, nilgai, chinkara, jackals, sambar, four-horned antelopes, jungle cat, barking deer, porcupine, monkey, bison, striped hyena, sloth bear, and wild dogs are some of the common species found in this region. The best time to visit this place is from November to June.
Mollem National Park
This park is located in the Western Ghats, near the town of Mollem, 60 km south-east from Panaji, the capital city of Goa. The park was earlier known as Mollem Game Sanctuary. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and renamed Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary.
The thick jungles of the park are home to a variety of wildlife that includes the barking deer, Bengal tiger, leopard, bonnet macaque, and the Malabar giant squirrel. The park is also famous for the 12th century Tambdi Surla temple, Devil’s Canyon, Sunset Point, and Tambdi Water Falls.
Gir Forest National Park
The Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat was established in 1975. It covers an area of about 258.71sq km and is the sole home of the pure Asiatic lions. The forest and the lions in it were declared as ‘protected’ in the early 1900s by the nawab of the princely state of Junagadh.
This was an important step in the conservation of the lions whose population had plummeted to only fifteen because they were hunted as trophies. Today, the sanctuary is internationally acclaimed for successfully saving this precious species from the brink of extinction.
The sanctuary is also famous for its remarkable bird population. In addition to the lions, the Gir Forest supports rich biodiversity comprising 32 species of mammals, 26 species of reptiles. It also has the distinction of being home to the largest leopard populations of India.
Velavadar Blackbuck National Park
This national park in Gujarat gets its name from the fact that it is meant primarily to be a sanctuary for blackbucks. This is a land of wide-spread golden grasslands, where spiral-horned antelope or the blackbucks can be seen bounding up out of the grasses.
Close to the coast, there are wetlands full of birds. Pelicans, flamingos, ducks, waders, coots, white storks, painted storks, and different species of cranes-make the park a treat for birdwatchers. Thousands of harriers from Europe stay here during winter, and one of the fifty rarest birds in the world, the lesser florican, is also a regular visitor.
Gulf of Kutch Marine Park
India’s first marine wildlife sanctuary and first marine national park were created in the Gulf of Kutch in 1980 and 1982, respectively. The sanctuary covers 458 sq km, of which the park covers 162.89 sq km.
It is an archipelago of 42 tropical islands that lie along the northern coast of Jamnagar district and the southern coast of Kutch. The sanctuary is in the intertidal zone- this is the area between the lowest and highest tide levels, which means that it lies below water in high tide, and is exposed during low tide.
This unique feature gives the visitor a chance to observe the richest diversity of marine habitats in the country, including saline grasslands, marshy areas, rocky shores, mudflats, creeks, estuaries, sandy strands, coral reefs, and mangroves.
The mangrove trees can be identified by their peculiar roots, which reach up through the mud and out of the water. They are the breeding grounds for colonies of near-threatened species of birds such as painted stork, darter, and black-necked Ibis. Some of the finest coral reef fringe islands are found here too.
These colorful rock-like formations provide shelter and safe breeding grounds for various tiny marine species. In short, the Gulf of Kutch Marine Park is a treasure trove of marine life that affords the visitor a unique and thrilling experience.
Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary and National Park
The Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary and National Park in Haryana is a popular tourist destination, especially in winter when migratory birds from all over the world flock here. Situated conveniently close to New Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, and Noida, the park covers an area of 1.43 sq km.
The star attractions are the hundreds of different migratory birds, which fly in from Russia, Turkey, and East European countries, every year during winter.
These include the Siberian crane, greater flamingo, ruff, northern pintail, yellow wagtail, white wagtail, rosy pelican, spotted redshank, and long-billed pipit. In summer about 11 species of migratory birds such as Asian Koel, comb duck, and cuckoos can be seen.
Kalesar National Park and Sanctuary
The Kalesar National Park lies in the foothills of the Shivalik Ranges of the Himalayas, along the Yamuna River in the Yamuna Nagar district of Haryana. Leopards, ghoral, barking deer, sambar, chital are some of the animals that can be seen here.
The park is also home to the red jungle fowl. Other species of birds that can be spotted here are the grey hooded warbler, red-billed blue magpie, crested serpent eagle, grey capped pygmy woodpecker and blue bearded bee-eater. The park is named after a Shiva temple located in the protected area.
Great Himalayan National Park
The Himalayas are the largest, tallest, and geologically youngest mountains on our planet. They are also one of the most fragile mountain regions of the world, and their unique ecological features led to the creation of the Great Himalayan National Park or GHNP in the Kullu district of India’s mountain state of Himachal Pradesh.
Vast areas of virgin conifer forests, alpine pastures, and glaciers cap this park which has a wide variety of wildlife. These include Himalayan Himalayan the tahr, the musk deer, and snow leopard. It also has more than 200 species of birds.
The park is well known as the most important locality in India for the endangered western tragopan. Raptors are also a prominent feature of the park, with lammergeiers, Himalayan griffon vultures, and golden eagles being seen regularly.
Pin Valley National Park
The Pin Valley National Park is in the cold desert region of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. This valley is the natural habitat of a number of endangered animals including the Himalayan ibex, snow leopard, bharal, woolly hare, Tibetan wolf, and snowcock.
In summer, rare birds like the Himalayan snowcock, chukar, snow partridge, and snow finch flourish in the area. This is the time when wild roses with their gorgeous pink blooms add brilliant splashes of color that form a striking contrast to the arid landscape. The best time to visit the Pin Valley is during summer, between the months of June to October.
Salim Ali National Park
Formerly known as the City Forest National Park, the Salim Ali National Park spread over 9 sq km, is a protected area located within the capital city of Sri Nagar in Jammu and Kashmir.
The park is named after the famous Indian Ornithologist and Naturalist, Salim Ali. The park is home to the hangul, the endangered antelope, and the wildlife here includes the serow, chakar, monal, and the rare snowcock. The best season to visit the park is from April to October.
Oachigam National Park
The Oachigam National Park in Jammu and Kashmir was formed by relocating ten villages, and the name of the park literally means Ten Villages’.
The park has been a protected area since 1910, first under the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir, and later under the Indian Government. It was upgraded to a national park in the year 1981.
The hangul or Kashmir stag is the most famous of the endangered species found here, and the park is also home to many other exotic wildlife, including musk deer, leopard, Himalayan grey langur, leopard cat, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan brown bear, jackal, hill fox, and Himalayan weasel.
There is also a spectacular variety of birds present, from the cinnamon sparrow, black bulbul, Himalayan mona I, golden oriole, pygmy owlet, and woodpecker to babblers, redstarts, wagtails, orange bullfinch and the Kashmir flycatcher.
Hemis National Park
The Hemis National Park is the only national park in India that lies north of the Himalayas. It is a high altitude park in Eastern Ladakh. Spread over 3350 sq km, the park is home to 16 species of mammals.
It is the protected home for endangered mammals like leopards, Asiatic ibex, Tibetan wolf, the Eurasian brown bear, and the red fox. Of these, the snow leopard is the star attraction. The park also has the distinction of being the only habitat of shapu or the Ladakhi urial in India.
The Hemis National Park is also a dream destination for birdwatchers. The park is home to over 70 species of birds. The 400-year-old Hemis Monastery, the largest monastery in Ladakh, is also located within the park.
Betla National Park
Betla National Park, earlier known as Palamu Sanctuary, is one of the most widely known national parks in the North-Eastern part of the Indian subcontinent.
Pure stands of sal forest, rich evergreens, teak trees, and bamboo thickets are home to some 37 tigers, 62 leopards, 210 elephants, and 249 bison. Some of the other important animals found in this park are panthers, wild boars, sloth bears, chitals, sambars, nilgais, langurs, jackals, small Indian civets, and ant-eating pangolins.
There are also 174 species of birds, along with reptiles, and more than 970 species of plants and shrubs, the majority of them possessing medicinal properties.
Living among the animals are eight local tribes, spread across 200 small villages. This area was also the seat of power in the (hero Dynasty, and two of its 16th-century forts still exist in the jungle.
Nagarahole National Park
The Nagarahole National Park in Karnataka is also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park. On its northern part is the Kabini River, and on its southern fringes is the Bandipur National Park.
A dam on the Kabini River and its reservoir separate the two national parks. Nagarahole National Park is blessed with fascinating wildlife. There are grassy swamps lined with teak and eucalyptus, and sparkling waterfalls, as well as rich tropical forests where the Maharajas of Mysore once used to hunt.
The park has a large elephant and bison population. There are also tigers, leopards, sloth bears, and wild dogs as well as spotted deer, sambar and wild boars. There are around 250 species of birds too, as well as amphibians and reptiles, including of course, snakes!
Anshi National Park
The Anshi National Park in Karnataka is the habitat of Bengal tigers as well as black panthers and Indian elephants. It has the rare distinction of being the only park in Asia where the black panther is found naturally.
The park abounds in wildlife like the Indian bison, sloth bear, Indian wild boar, bonnet macaque, northern plains gray langur, and the gray slender loris. There are about 197 rare species of birds. The reptile population is very impressive too.
Bandipur National Park
The Bandipur National Park lies at the foothills of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. I was set up by the Maharaja of Mysore in 1931, and became one of India’ s first tiger reserves. In 1974, Bandipur became a national park.
The entire area now constitutes the vast Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, one of India’s most extensive tracts of protected forest. Bandipur’s vast open spaces make it a pleasant and convenient outing for visitors to see the elephant in its natural surroundings.
In addition to tigers and elephants, some of the other animals that can be seen include the bonnet macaque, smooth-coated otter, common palm civet, jungle cat, and chital.
Bannerghatta National Park
The Bannerghatta National Park is in Karnataka. Spread across an area of over 104.27 sq km, the Bannerghatta National Park was established in the year 1974.
A part of the national park has been declared a biological park. The park houses a zoo, conservatories, and a museum. The park is famous for a wide variety of birds and animals and is especially known for its tiger and lion safaris.
Leopards, lions, zebras, Bengal tigers, panthers, porcupines, rhinoceroses, elephants, spotted deers, white tigers, bison, panthers, and bears can be spotted within the park.
The park is dotted with flora that attracts over 20 different species of butterflies, and the park has the distinction of housing the first-ever butterfly conservatory in India.
Kudremukh National Park
The Kudremukh National Park is located in the Western Ghats in Karnataka. The park is named after a peak shaped like a horse’s face – the name, in fact, means ‘horse face’.
The park covers four mountain ranges named Kudremukh, Kerekatte, Kalasa, and Shimoga. The mountains are clothed with eucalyptus, casuarinas, and acacia auriculiformis trees, while the wide array of wildlife includes tigers, leopards, wild dogs, Malabar giant squirrels, common langurs, jackals, and giant flying squirrels.
The park is also home to several species of birds like the Malabar trogon, Malabar whistling thrush, great pied hornbill and the Imperial pigeon.
Eravikulam National Park
The Eravikulam National Park was once a hunting preserve of the British. It was declared a sanctuary in 1975, with the intention of protecting a highly endangered mountain goat, the Nilgiri Tahr.
In 1978, it became a national park. The main body of the national park is a high rolling plateau. Spread out along the crest of the Western Ghats in the high ranges of Idukki district of Kerala, the park also is the abode of other little known fauna such as the Nilgiri marten, ruddy mongoose, small-clawed otter, and dusky striped squirrel among others.
About 120 species of birds have been recorded here, as well as 100 species of butterflies. In addition to the Nilgiri tahr, Eravikulam National Park is also famed for the spectacular mass flowering of the shrub neelakurunji, which takes place in the grasslands once every twelve years.
Mathikettan Shola, in the Idukki district of Kerala, was declared a national park to protect the wildlife and rich biodiversity of the area. It is part of the elephant corridor, and home to rare and magnificent wildlife like elephant, tiger, panther, Indian bison, and Nilgiri Tahr.
The park provides an excellent habitat for a wide variety of mammals, birds, butterflies, and reptiles. The area under the Mathikettan Shola National Park has parts of the Cardamom Hill Reserve, which was earlier leased out for plantations. The park is near other national parks like Eravikulam and Pampadum Shola National Park.
Silent Valley National Park – ‘Nature’s Gift to Mankind’
The Silent Valley National Park in Kerala is unique in many ways. It is shut off from the world as it is surrounded on all sides by mountains, – continuous ridges, and steep cliffs.
As a result, it is shielded from extremes of climate, and at the same time, its flora and fauna have remained relatively untouched since times immemorial. The Silent Valley National Park is the unique preserve of a natural rainforest that probably dates back 50 million years.
The park is home to 34 species of mammals, 292 species of birds, 31species of reptiles, 22 species of amphibians, 13 species of fishes, 500 species of butterflies, and moths, besides a multitude of lower forms of animal life most of which are yet to be documented.
Of these, the most famous resident of the park is the lion-tailed macaque whose name has become almost synonymous with that of the valley.
Pampadum Shola National Park
The Pampadum Shola National Park is located in the eastern part of Western Ghats in Kerala. Mistyandcloudythroughout the year, the park has hillocks of varying heights, forests, and grasslands.
22 Species of trees, 74 species of herbs and shrubs, and 16 species of climbers make the Park a botanist’s dream.
In addition to elephants, gaurs, leopards, wild boars, sambar, and common langurs, there are many rare, endangered and unique species of wildlife too. The name of the park ‘Pampadum Shola’ means ‘the forest where the snake dances’.
Periyar National Park
The Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala is famous as an elephant and tiger reserve. The sanctuary surrounds the picturesque Periyar Lake that was formed when the Mullaperiyar Dam was built in 1895.
Sixty-two different kinds of mammals have been recorded in Periyar, including many threatened ones. There are around 52 tigers and nearly 1000 elephants in the reserve area. Another rare animal glimpsed here is the Nilgiri tahr.
The park also has over 320 kinds of birds, 45 varieties of reptiles, 27 different kinds of insects, some of which are found only in the Western Ghats, and remarkable number of butterflies- some of which are even dangerous!
Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park, in Madhya Pradesh, lies amidst the outlying hills of the Vindhya Range. The park was the former hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa and, at present, is a famous natural hub for white tigers.
White tigers, now a major attraction around the world’s zoos, were first discovered in Rewa, not far from here. The park is also famous for the largest breeding population of leopards and various species of deer.
Other forms of wildlife like nilgai, chausingha, chital, chinkara, wild boar, and sometimes foxes and jackals can also be seen. The park has more than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds, as well as a large variety of reptiles.
Kanha National Park – Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book
Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh has the reputation of being one of the finest and best-administered parks in Asia. The park has a tiger reserve that was created in 1974, and it is the only habitat of the rare hardground Barasingha, often referred to as ‘the jewel of Kanha’.
Other mammals found here are the panther, chital, sambar, and blackbuck. Did you know that Kanha is the place that has been described by Rudyard Kipling in his great book, ‘The Jungle Book’?
Panna National Park
The Panna National Park in Madhya Pradesh is on the banks of the River Ken. It is a land of deep gorges, lush forests, and tranquil valleys. Here, one can glimpse tigers along with leopards, wolves, and gharials.
Herds of blue bulls, chinkaras, and sambars are a common sight along with an amazing number of other forms of wildlife. Panna is the twenty-second tiger reserve in India and the fifth in Madhya Pradesh.
The reserve is situated in the Vindhya Ranges and spreads over Panna and Chattarpur districts in the north of the state. The Ken River which flows through the reserve from south to north is home for many species of aquatic fauna.
It is one of the sixteen perennial rivers of Madhya Pradesh and is truly the lifeline of the reserve. The park can probably boast of the highest density of paradise fly-catchers and is rich in birdlife too.
The park’s area includes the former shooting reserves of the erstwhile royal state of Panna and Chhattarpur. Due to its proximity to one of the best-known tourist attractions in India, Khajuraho, the Panna National Park is recognized as an exciting stop-over destination.
Pench National Park and Tiger Reserve
Nestling in the Southern slopes of the Satpura ranges of Central India, the Pench National ParkandTiger Reserve encompasses the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary, and a buffer zone.
It was declared a national park by the Government of Maharashtra in 1975 and received the official status of the Tiger Reserve of India’ in 1999. The park is four different forest regions in one, with an amazing variety of trees, shrubs, grasses, climbers, weeds, and herbs, with teak being the most prominent of the tree species.
The park is home to 33 species of mammals, 164 species of birds, 50 species of fishes, 10 species of amphibians, 30 species of reptiles, and a wide variety of insect life. Visiting Pench National Park is an enlightening experience for everyone.
Madhav National Park
The Madhav National Park is a unique mixture of natural splendor, history, and architectural wonders. Another unique feature is that it has the ecosystems of both lakes and forests.
Located in Madhya Pradesh, the park has two lakes, Sakhya and Madhav Sagar. Marsh crocodiles are seen in abundance in the Sakhya Lake and are a popular tourist attraction.
The park has different types of forests and is home to antelopes like nilgai, chinkara and chowsinga as well as deer-like chital, sambar, and barking deer.
The wildlife also includes leopards, wolves, wild pigs, porcupines, marsh crocodiles, and pythons. Deep inside the Madhav National Park, at its highest point, stands the exquisite George Castle.
It was built by Jivaji Rao Scindia of the Gwalior royal family for an overnight halt for tiger shooting by the British King George V when he was to pass that way during his visit to India in 1911.
Sanjay National Park
The Sanjay National Park, in Madhya Pradesh, is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh. The park is made up of hills, valleys, deep gorges and plains with numerous streams.
The flora in this National Park consists mainly of babul, sal, bel, bamboo, palas, hiwar, bel, bija, khair, tendu, dhawda, zizphus helicteres, salaia and teak. As regards wildlife, the major attraction is the elephant.
The most commonly found species include bison, chital, panther, wolf, four-horned antelope, barking deer, wild dog, sambar, chinkara, blue bull, hyena, wild boar, bear, and crocodile.
In the winter months, the sanctuary comes alive with the flutter of colorful birds and their chirping. Tourists can visit the park from the months of October to June, as this is the time that the sanctuary is at its most beautiful.
The park is famous for the fact that it was here that last of the white tigers, Mohan, was saved from extinction.
Satpura National Park
The Satpura National Park is in Madhya Pradesh. It was set up in 198 1, mainly for the conservation of tigers, the national animal of India.
The wildlife here is fascinating and includes spotted dear, Indian bison or gaur, tigers, leopards, wild boar, wild dogs, sloth bear, blackbuck Porcupine, sambar, and four-horned antelopes or chowsingha. There are birds in plenty for birdwatchers too.
The best time to visit the park is during the months of November to March: during monsoons, it remains closed.
Van Vihar National Park
The Van Vihar National Park in Madhya Pradesh is near the Upper Lake of Bhopal, its capital city. The Van Vihar National Park has been developed as a zoological park, in which wild animals are contained safely in their natural settings.
Herbivores like chital, sambar, and nilghai can be seen under free-ranging conditions while animals like the tiger, lion, leopard, hyena, crocodile, and gharial are held in captive conditions. Large numbers of birds frequent this park- over 200 species.
The migratory waterfowl come in great numbers in the adjoining extensive wetland of the big lake. Apart from this, the common pariah kite, great horned owl, shikra, and kestrel are some of the important birds of prey.
The upper lake is the abode of a wide array of birds, and more than 40 species of migratory birds visit this area during winter.
Gugamal National Park
The Gugamal National Park in Maharashtra was established in 1987. It is located in the Satpura Hills and is the only park in the state that still has tigers.
It is a division of Melghat Tiger Reserve. The park has a wealth of other wildlife too, including panthers, sloth bears, wild dogs, sambars as well as ratels, flying squirrels, cheetals, nilgais, wild boars, langurs, rhesus monkeys, and macaques. Migratory birds from all over the world flock to this park too.
Navegaon National Park
The Navegaon National Park in Eastern Maharashtra is a popular forest resort. Set in the Vidarbha region, it has a picturesque lake set amidst lush green hills and the seven peaks surrounding the lake are known as ‘Sat Bahini’ or ‘Seven Sisters’.
There is an island in the middle of the lake and the area around the lake forms the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. The park abounds with forests of teak, haldu, jamun, kawat, mahua, ain, bhel and bhor.
Tigers, panthers, bison, sambars, nilgais, chitals, wild boars, sloth bears, and wild dogs are also to be seen here. But Navegaon is most famous for its birds. Here you can experience the thrill of spotting a scarlet minivet, a paradise flycatcher, or the blue flash of a kingfisher.
The Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Navegaon is home to almost 60 percent of the migratory birds seen in Maharashtra.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is in the Mumbai suburb of Borivali. In spite of being surrounded by Mumbai’s urban sprawl, the park does have a sizeable population of big cats like panthers.
It has the reputation of being the most visited national park, and also being the world’s largest park within city limits. The forest enclosed in the park is an ideal dwelling place for many varieties of wild animals.
These include bonnet and rhesus macaque, chital, Indian hare, gray langur, and sambar, in addition to big cats. The Park is a birdwatcher’s dream. From the tiny Tickell’s flowerpecker and hummingbird to the majestic white-bellied sea eagle, the paradise flycatcher, the elusive trogon, many species of kingfishers and drongos can be seen.
Tadoba National Park
The Tadoba National Park lies in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and is often referred to as the jewel of Vidarbha. The park is located in the heart of a reserve forest and forms a part of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.
To the southwest is the huge bamboo fringed Tadoba Lake which is the home of the marsh crocodile and attracts many water birds like cattle egrets purple moorhens and jacanas. Ornithologists will get to see as many as 18 1species of birds. The star attraction is undoubtedly the Tiger.
Tadoda National Park has around 50 Tigers as well as other rare Indian wildlife including leopards, gaur, wild dogs, sloth bears, jungle cats, hyenas, and different other species of Indian deer such as sambar, chital, nilgai, and barking deer. The Tadoba National Park is the oldest national park in Maharashtra.
Keibul Lamjao National Park
The Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur is the world’s only floating national park and is the last natural habitat of the Manipur brow-antlered deer – Sangai. It is characterized by many floating decomposed plant materials, that are locally called phumdis.
Two thirds to three-fourths of the total park area is formed by phumdis, which occupy the south-eastern side of the Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in India.
It is the Sangai, which is also called the dancing deer, which has a pride of place in the folklore and culture of Manipur State and is the state animal.
Nokrek National Park
The Nokrek National Park is in Meghalaya, which is regarded as the wettest state of India. It is the first biosphere reserve of its kind in the northeast region.
Nokrek is the highest peak in the Garo Hills and is home to different species of wild animals including elephants and hoolock gibbons.
The capped langur, clouded leopard, Leopard cat, fishing-cat, golden cat, pangolin, wild buffalo, python, elephant, serow, and tiger are some of the other animals that can be seen here.
One can also spot birds such as Hornbill, Peacock, Pheasant, Hollock, and many more. The salt deposits found in the area attract green pigeons during March and April.
Balpa Kram Park
The Balpakram National Park in the South Garo Hills of Meghalaya is renowned for being the home of one of the rarest animals in the world, the lesser panda, or as it is more popularly known, the red panda.
The word ‘Balpakram’ means ‘land of the perpetual winds,’ and this is indeed a land shrouded in mystery and blessed with the most breathtaking scenery and an amazing variety of wildlife.
The park has 609 elephants and 46 tigers, while other mammals include the clouded leopard, golden cat, serrow, wild buffalo, black bear, red panda, and hoolock gibbon. The great hornbill, common hornbill, peacock, oriole, kingfisher, and Indian roller are some of the birds that can be seen.
What makes this park special and mysterious to the tribes and local people is, among other things, a deep gorge where it is believed that the spirits of the dead dwell temporarily before embarking on their final journey.
Murlen National Park
One of Mizoram’s best-known parks, the Murlen National Park lies close to the Indo-Myanmar border, near the Chin Hills. This is a land of steep hills, high cliffs, rippling clear water rivulets, lakes, and natural salt licks at altitudes ranging between 400 meters to 1897 meters.
The vegetation is lush, and over 35 species of medicinal plants, two species of bamboo, and four species of orchids have been so far recorded in the Murlen National Park.
The virgin forests are home to a unique stock of endangered wild species which include the Bengal tiger, leopard, sambar, barking deer, Himalayan black bear, serow, hoolock gibbon, rhesus macaque, and Malayan giant squirrel.
The Chin Hills-Arakan Yoma Montane Rain Forests of Myanmar are world-famous for their rich birdlife, and over 150 species of birds can be seen here.
Intangki National Park
The Intangki National Park in Nagaland was established by the British administrators in the year 1923. Rolling mountains and enchanting valleys spread over a unique 202.02 sq km area make this one of the most popular national parks in the North East.
The park has thick forests that create a natural habitat for many birds, reptiles- and mammals. Here you can see wild buffaloes also called Mithun, and the hoolok gibbon. Apart from this, the park also has tigers, sloth bears, wild dogs, and flying squirrels.
You will also see the golden langur, hornbill, palm civet, black stork, white-breast kingfisher, and reptiles like the monitor lizard, and python. The name ‘lntangki’ is derived from the Zeme dialect of the Zeliangrong tribe. This national park is an ideal place for birdwatching, trekking, and camping.
Bhitarkanika National Park
The Bhitarkanika National Park in Orissa is a unique habitat of mangrove forests, crisscrossed with numerous creeks and mudflats. It is the second-largest mangrove eco-system in India and has more than 70 species of mangroves.
These mangrove plants are a rich source of food for the organisms of the mangrove ecosystem. The animals that are associated with the mangroves cover a wide range of vertebrates and other invertebrates, including protozoans and zooplanktons.
The wetland is represented by as many as three protected areas, namely ‘The Bhitarkanika National Park’, ‘The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary,’ and ‘The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary’. Bhitarkanika is a hot-spot of biodiversity.
It is home to the largest population of the giant saltwater crocodiles in India. It is also home to the more than 215 species of birds, including an astounding eight varieties of Kingfishers.
The numerous wetlands scattered throughout the sanctuary serve as feeding and wintering grounds for more than 50,000 migratory birds during winter and early summer months.
The sanctuary is also the world’s largest nesting ground of the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtle. In the whole of South-East Asia as well as in the Northern Indian Ocean countries, Bhitarkanika is famous for its reptilian fauna.
In fact, the longest estuarine crocodiles of the world measuring more than seven meters in length are located here!
Simlipal National Park
The Simlipal National Park in Orissa gets its name from the abundance of semul or red silk cotton trees found here. This national park has 12 rivers running across it and has picturesque hills, thickly wooded slopes, ridges, luxuriant grasslands, and beautiful waterfalls.
The reserve is well known for its spectacular flowering plants- more than one thousand species. The Park is also a valuable source of medicinal and aromatic plants. Simlipal National Park is also home to three of India’s biggest animal species- the tiger, Asian elephant, and gaur.
Around 230 species of birds are found here. The national park is also home to a large number of reptiles. The other attractions of the Simlipal National Park include mugger crocodiles and the Barehipani and Joranda waterfalls.
Darrah National Park
The Darrah National Park in Rajasthan was originally the hunting ground of the Maharajah of Kota. It was established as a national park in 2003 and is actually a combination of three wildlife sanctuariesDarrah, Chambal, and Jaswant Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary.
The sanctuary is home to the wolf, sloth bear, chinkara, and leopard as well as the spotted deer, bear, and antelope. The sanctuary is also home to a number of birds and reptiles. Many rare trees and plants with medicinal value can be found here too.
A visit to Darrah sanctuary can be complemented by a visit to Jhalwar where there is a historic fort. You can also visit Jhairapatan, which is renowned for the ruins of the Sun Temple which was built way back in the 10th century.
A number of ancient temples, most of them built between the 7th – 8th centuries are located along the banks of Chandrabhaga River and are worth seeing too.
Ranthambore National Park
The Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is probably the best place in the world to spot Bengal tigers in their natural habitat. It is part of the much larger Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, and amazingly, tigers can often be observed hunting in the daytime too.
‘The park is one of the biggest, and most renowned of the national parks in Northern India, and was once the hunting ground of the Maharajah of Jaipur.
The vegetation in the park is mostly of the dry, deciduous type, with a large variety of plant life, covering nearly 300 species. In addition to tigers, other wild cats found in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve are leopards, caracals, rusty-spotted cats, and even fishing cats.
Macaques, jackals, jungle cats, caracals, sloth bears, blackbucks, rufous tailed hare, Indian wild boar, and chinkara, are just some of the other animals that can be seen. About 272 species of birds have been documented in Ranthambore.
It is also counted as a famous heritage site, because of the pictorial ruins that dot the wildlife park.
Desert National Park
The Desert National Park in Rajasthan is located amidst the sprawling sand dunes of the Thar Desert, close to the Indo-Pak border, and is known for its fragile ecosystem, and unique and diverse flora and fauna.
It is one of the largest national parks of India, covering an area of over 3,162 sq km, and is primarily known for the great number of the endangered great Indian bustards that can be seen here. Craggy rocks, compact salt lake bottoms, and sand dunes cover 20 percent of its total area.
The vegetation in the park comprises mainly of small grasses, shrubs, and xerophytes. The unique habitat supports a rich spectrum of wildlife like spiny-tail lizards, desert monitors, desert wolves, and desert cats.
The Desert National Park is different in that it is not the lush green vegetation that is the star attraction here, but the desert in its many moods and forms.
Sariska National Park
The Sariska National Park in Rajasthan is a land of deciduous forests, grasslands, rocky landscapes, and steep cliffs. Sprawling across 273.8 sq km of the Aravalli Hills, it is perhaps one of India’s most exciting wildlife reserves, and easily accessible from both Delhi and Jaipur.
The park boasts of quite a few tigers and other wildlife including the leopard, wild dog, jungle cat, civets, hyena, and jackal as well as the sambar, chital, nilgai, chausingha, wild boar and langur. Sariska is also well known for its population of rhesus monkeys, as well as its birdlife.
The Sariska National Park was initially the hunting grounds of the royal family in the early 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, the sanctuary still houses the ruins of medieval houses and temples that date back to the 10th and 11th centuries.
The Kankawadi Fort, the ‘Nilkanth Temple,’ and the Sariska Palace all make Sariska more than a wildlife sanctuary.
Keoladeo National Park
The Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan is a green oasis of wildlife that includes wetlands, woodlands, scrub forests, and grasslands. Due to its strategic location in the middle of Central Asia and the presence of water bodies, large congregations of ducks, geese, coots, pelicans, and waders arrive in the winter.
The park is the only known wintering site of the critically endangered Siberian crane, and also serves as a wintering area for other globally threatened species such as the greater spotted eagle, and the imperial eagle.
More than 15 species of herons, ibis, cormorants, spoonbills, and storks can be seen during the breeding season. The park’s well-designed system of dykes and sluices provides areas of varying water depths that are used by various species of birds. This former duck-hunting reserve of the maharajas is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Khangchendzonga National Park
The Khangchendzonga National Park in Sikkim is surrounded by glaciers and icy peaks, including the magnificent Kanchenjunga. In fact, the park derives its name from the towering Kanchenjunga Mountain.
A National Park as well as a biosphere reserve, this park was established in 1977. There are many glaciers in the park area, and among them, the Zemu Glacier is the longest and most awesome. The park has broadleaved trees as well as coniferous forests and grasslands.
The animals found here are now leopard, clouded leopard, Himalayan black bear, red panda, blue sheep, musk deer, Himalayan thar, Tibetan wolf, and the Great Tibetan sheep.
Around 550 bird species, including the green- pigeon, Tibetan snowcock and snow pigeon can also be spotted. Khangchendzonga National Park is a dream destination for mountaineers and nature lovers.
Sepahijala National Park
The Sepahijala National Park in Tripura is the national park established for the clouded leopard. This 5.08 sq km park, situated in Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, was established in 2007 and houses a botanical garden, a zoo, a lake, and many different species of trees.
Birds and primates are the star attractions here as well as a rare species of crab-eating mongoose, which was last seen around 72 years ago. Apart from the clouded leopard, civets, barking deer, and wild boar, this forest is home to five species of primates that include spectacled langur, rhesus macaque, capped langur, and pigtailed macaque.
The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park is the largest national park in Tamil Nadu. It lies in the Western Ghats, and major reservoirs like Parambikulam, Aliyar, Thirumurthi, Upper Aliyar, Kadambarai, Sholayar, and Amaravathi are fed by the perennial rivers which originate from the sanctuary.
It is, therefore, very important for the economy of this region, both in terms of agriculture, as well as electricity. The sanctuary is also called the Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary word ‘Anamalai’ means ‘mountain of elephants.’ The scenic beauty of the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary has to be seen to be believed.
The largest teak and rosewood trees are found in the lush forests of the sanctuary. Some of the animals dwelling in trees include the common langur, Nilgiris langur, Malabar giant squirrel, and grizzled giant squirrel, while on the ground, one can spot the tiger, panther, elephant, gaur, pangolin, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer and wild boar among other wildlife.
The great pied hornbill and other rare birds like the frogmouth are among the 300 species of birds found here.
Guindy National Park
The Guindy National Park, situated right in the heart of Chennai, is unique in that it has the rarest type of vegetation- tropical dry evergreen plants. A part of it has been made into a zoo, dedicated to the conservation of different species.
Blackbuck, chital, jackal, pangolin, elephant, spotted deer, jungle cat, toddy cat, and Indian civet are the major forms of wildlife found here. The park shelters over 100 species of birds such as the black-winged kite, honey buzzard, and pariah kite.
A snake park housed within this park supports various snakes, crocodiles, and turtles. The Guindy National Park has over 60 species of butterflies and spiders.
Another interesting fact is that the park, one of the smallest in India, is an extension of the grounds surrounding the official residence of the governor of Tamil Nadu.
Mudumalai National Park
The Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park lie at the meeting place of three states- Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka.
Along with the Bandipur Tiger Reserve of Karnataka in the North, and Kerala’s Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in the West, the region forms a single continuous habitat for a wealth of wildlife. A variety of habitats ranging from tropical evergreen forest, moist mixed deciduous, moist teak forest, dry teak forest, secondary grasslands, shrubs, and swamps exist here.
The park is the perfect place to see the elephant, gaur, chowsingha, mouse deer, and sloth bear. Other animals that can be spotted include the tiger, panther, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, blackbuck, common langur, and Malabar giant squirrel.
The park is home to over 200 species of birds belonging to 48 families, including the rufous bellied hawk-eagle. The reptile population in the Mudumalai National Park mainly consists of crocodiles and pythons.
The common krait and bamboo pit snake are the other major reptiles in the park which also supports a variety of turtles, frogs, and amphibians. Did you know that ‘Mudumalai’ means ‘situated on a first hill’?
The Corbett National Park – India’s first national park
It was established in 1936. Its name was first changed to Ramganga, and later to Corbett National Park in honor of Jim Corbett, a legendary hunter turned conservationist.
Corbett National Park is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the newly created state of Uttarakhand, and is the core area of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. Here you will find flat valleys, hilly ridges, and rolling grasslands that provide the perfect habitat for a rich eco-system.
More than 600 species of trees, shrubs, herbs, bamboos, grasses, climbers, and ferns have been identified in the park.
The Ramganga River is an important water source, along with its tributaries. The most famous of Corbett’s wild residents are the Bengal tiger and the Asiatic Elephant, but with about 600 species of birds too, the Corbett National Park is one of the richest bird regions of India.
Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park covers the coast of Rameswaram, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. The park, which is about 150 km away from Madurai, is a part of the Indian Ocean and lies between India and the west coast of Sri Lanka.
It is one of the world’s richest areas for marine biodiversity and consists of 21 islands. The area has all the mangrove species available in India, and all the 11sea-grasses of India are found here too. The abundance of sea-weeds and sea-grasses attracts the endangered sea cow.
Other marine creatures like dolphins, sea-horse, sea-cucumber, and sea-anemone can also be seen here. The marine park has over 137 coral reef species that form the basis of an ecosystem where 3600 species of plants and animals flourish.
Nanda Devi National Park
The Nanda Devi National Park is situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The entire park is overshadowed by the Nanda Devi peak.
The park is famed for its rugged wilderness and lies between the Eastern and Western Himalayas. The flora of the Nanda Devi National Park is supposed to be one of the richest preserves of the world.
The fauna of Nanda Devi National Park is rich in Himalayan species like serow, snow leopard, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan black bear, etc. There are 114 species of birds found here. This national park is included in the World Heritage Site list.
Rajaji National Park
The Rajaji National Park is named after the great freedom fighter and last Governor-General of India, C. Rajagopalachari. Located at the foothills of the Shivalik Ranges in Uttarakhand, the park marks the beginning of the vast Indo-Gangetic Plain and represents the vegetation of several zones and forests.
Three sanctuaries in the Uttarakhand Shivaliks – Rajaji, Motichur, and (hila were joined together to form this national park in 1983. The majestic Ganges flows through the national park for a distance of 24 km, along with innumerable streams and brooks.
The park is important in that it marks the northernmost limit where the tiger, Asian elephant, king cobra, and certain species of birds can be found. The park has the largest population of elephants in Uttarakhand. It also has a good number of tigers and leopards.
It possesses as many as 23 species of mammals and 3 15 bird species. The most prominent avian species include peafowl, woodpeckers, pheasants, kingfishers, and barbets. Besides that, the rivers which flow through the park harbor fishes such as trout and the big mahseer.
Valley of Flowers
The Valley of Flowers National Park is in Uttarakhand, bordered by Nepal and Tibet. It is a high-altitude Himalayan valley that has around 300 different varieties of alpine flowers. The main Valley of Flowers is a glacial corridor, around five kilometers long, and two kilometers wide.
The park is open only from the beginning of June until the end of September as it’s covered in snow the rest of the year. With the coming of the monsoon, the valley too comes alive with its stunning display of riotously colored blossoms, which seem like a brightly hued carpet against a mountainous, snowcapped background.
The abundance of Asmanda fern in this valley is a special feature. To reach the park requires a strenuous hike, but once you reach your destination, you’ll feel on top of the world in this enchanting place. Is it any wonder then that the Valley of Flowers has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Govind National Park
Govind The National Park in Uttarakhand was set up in 1990 to ensure long term protection and conservation of the elusive and endangered snow leopard.
The park offers awesome views of the snow-capped mountains surrounding it and is a part of the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary. The entire area gets light to heavy snowfall and is significant for being the major watershed of the Yamuna River.
The area is also an important source of medicinal plants. The sanctuary has about 15 species of mammals and 150 species of birds. The most significant of these animals are the Himalayan snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, brown bear, and serow.
The endangered birds found in this region are monal pheasant, koklas pheasant, bearded vulture, Himalayan snowcock, golden eagle, Western tragopan, steppe eagle, and black eagle.
Gangotri National Park
The Gangotri National Park is named after one of the most famous pilgrim sites in India, Gangotri. lt is located in Uttarakhand and forms a vital link in the green corridor between the Govind National Park and Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.
The park is breathtakingly beautiful with its dark green coniferous forests, lush green meadows, majestic glaciers and spectacular views of tumbling waterfalls. The vegetation consists of chir pine, deodar, fir, spruce, oak, and rhododendrons.
The vast area of the Park is home to 15 species of animals and 150 species of birds. Tourists can see snow leopards, brown bears, musk deer, thar, Himalayan barbets, tigers, serows, pheasants, partridges, koklass, bharals, and Himalayan monals, as well as doves, pigeons, and parakeets here.
Dudhwa National Park
Dudhwa National Park lies in Uttar Pradesh. It is tucked between India and Nepal, in the region referred to as ‘the Terai belt’. The Terai region is one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet, and so, Dudhwa’s importance lies in conserving this ecosystem.
With its varied topography, lush green landscape, and remarkable biodiversity, the reserve is an enviable paradise for nature lovers. The park is the last refuge for the critically endangered sub-species of the swamp deer, called Barasingha.
The grasslands are the natural habitat of Indian one-horned rhinoceros, which adds to the importance of this national park.
Neora Valley Park
The Neora Valley National Park in West Bengal is one of the richest biological zones in North East India. It was declared as a national park in 1992.
It is the land of the cute red panda, and its pristine undisturbed natural habitat, with rugged inaccessible hilly terrain and rich diverse flora and fauna, make the park an important wilderness zone. The forests are so thick and luxurious that sunlight rarely falls on the ground.
Dense bamboo groves, spectacular rhododendron bushes, lush green valleys, exotic orchids, meandering rivers, and snow-capped mountains all combine to make this a nature lover’s paradise.
The park harbors more than 3 1species of mammals, which include the ever-elusive red panda and clouded leopard. Other prime mammal species found in this park are wild dog, Himalayan black bear, leopard, leopard cat, civet, wild boar, sambar, Himalayan thar, serow, and ghoral.
The park is also home to the endangered Royal Bengal tiger. Some of India’s most sought-after birds are found in this park. Here one can see more than 300 species of feathered rarities like satyr tragopan, crimson-breasted woodpecker, Darjeeling woodpecker, Hodgson’s hawk cuckoo, lesser cuckoo, brown wood owl, Jerdon’s baza, black eagle, mountain hawk-eagle, and ashy wood pigeon.
Buxa National Park
This park lies in West Bengal, along the border with Bhutan. Created in 1983 as the 15th tiger reserve of India, it also plays the role of an internal corridor that facilitates elephant migration between India and Bhutan. The reserve has more than 300 species of trees.
It is also home to endangered species like the Indian tiger, Asian elephant, leopard cat, Bengal florican, regal python, Chinese pangolin, hispid hare, and hog deer.
The plant life includes 250 species of shrubs, 400 species of herbs, 9 species of cane, 10 species of bamboo, 150 species of orchids, 100 species of grass, and 130 species of aquatic flora. As regards the wildlife, 390 species of birds, 73 species of mammals, 76 species of snakes, and five species of amphibians have been identified so far.
The historic Buxa Fort and a sacred temple – Mohakal – lies in the park too. In fact, the name ‘Buxa Tiger Reserve’ has been derived from Buxa Fort – an imposing structure that watches over the most important of the eleven land routes into Bhutan.
Sunderbans Tiger Reserve
The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve ·and National Park lies in West Bengal and is a part of the Sunderbans- the largest delta in the world. It consists of river channels, creeks, and islands which total about 102 in number.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Indian Sunderbans forms the largest tiger reserve and national park in India. The creeks and channels teem with a variety of fishes, red fiddler crabs, and crocodiles. Sunderbans National Park is also noted for its conservation of the Olive Ridley sea turtle.
Besides a heronry, the Sajnekhali Visitors’ Centre has a crocodile enclosure, a shark pond, a turtle hatchery, and a mangrove interpretation center.
Jaldapara National Park
The Jaldapara National Park lies on the banks of the River Torsa. Located on the foothills of the Himalayas in West Bengal, it is a vast grassland with patches of forest.
It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1941 and a national park in 2012 and has the largest population of one-horned rhinos in the state. It houses more than 160 rhinos, apart from numerous bison, deer, leopards, and six Bengal tigers.
Jaldapara is a paradise for birdwatchers. It is one of the very few places in India, where the Bengal florican is sighted. More than 240 species of birds including barbets, orioles, brahmin ducks, and whistling teals are found in a variety of habitat grassland, water bodies, woodland.
There is scope for unusual holiday activities like elephant riding and leisurely strolls through the towering grass.
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