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Tiger, the national animal of India, is among the most prized sightings in the country's jungles, which boast more than half of the world's population of the feline. To protect this majestic denizen of the forest, Project Tiger, a conservation project, was launched in 1972. Initially, nine tiger reserves were dedicated to the conservation of the animal, with Jim Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve being the first among them. Today, the country is home to about 50 reserves that offer a unique opportunity to sight the majestic tiger in the wild.
Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Andhra Pradesh
Located in Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar is sprawled over an area of 3,568 sq km and lies adjacent to the popular Nagarjunasagar Reservoir. Some of the faunae you can spot here include tigers, jackals, langur, macaques and more than 150 species of birds such as pea fouls and grey hornbills. The reserve also shelters reptiles like marsh crocodiles, pythons, monitor lizard, soft-shelled turtles, etc. The forest is watered by River Krishna that ensures lush and rich biodiversity. The best time to visit is from October to May.
Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh
Covering a core area of 1,807 sq km, the Namdapha Tiger Reserve, in Arunachal Pradesh, is one of the biggest biodiversity hotspots in the country. While the tiger remains the most popular sighting here, you can also spot rare species like the snow leopard, clouded leopard, red panda, Himalayan bear, etc. In addition, the forest is home to wolves, red foxes, Eurasian otter, spotted linsang, Oriental small-clawed otter, small Indian civet, marbled cat, Asiatic golden cat, and many others.
Pakke Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh
Pakke or Pakhui Tiger Reserve is home to the royal Bengal tiger and provides a great opportunity to sight the cat in the wild. Besides, it shelters species of leopards, clouded leopards, Himalayan black bears, elephants, jackals, barking deer, sambar, hog deer, etc.
Kamlang Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh
Located in Lohit, this reserve shelters a variety of fauna besides tigers. These include elephant, boar, civets, stump-tailed macaque, deer, capped langur, flying squirrels, hornbills, etc. The reserve is spread over an area of 783 sq km and offers an amazing opportunity to spot the tiger in the wild.
Manas Tiger Reserve, Assam
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, which give way to tropical forests and alluvial grasslands, the Manas Tiger Reserve is teeming with diverse fauna. These include endangered species like tiger, Indian rhinoceros, Indian elephant and pygmy hog. Some of the other animals you can spot include golden langurs, bison, deer, red panda etc. The reserve offers amazing opportunities for birdwatching as well. You can spot avifauna like Bengal florican, great pied hornbill, wreathed hornbill, greater adjutant, and many more. Since the reserve is watered by the Manas river, aquatic life flourishes richly in it. It has also been minted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nameri Tiger Reserve, Assam
Nameri Tiger Reserve, along with the adjoining Pakhui (Pakke) Tiger Reserve of Arunachal Pradesh, is spread over an area of 1,000 sq km. The landscape majorly comprises semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests with cane and bamboo brakes and narrow strips of open grassland along rivers. The park lies around 35 km from Tezpur, in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas. Besides tigers, you can spot faunae like leopards, sambars, clouded leopards, gaurs, wild boars, sloth bears, Himalayan black bears as well as elephants. A paradise for birdwatchers, the reserve boasts around 300 species of avifauna, including hornbills, black storks, ibisbills, babblers, plovers etc. Declared a reserve forest in 1978, it was minted a national park two decades later. Set on a jungle safari and explore the teeming biodiversity of the park for an unforgettable experience of your life.
Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, Assam
One of the greatest wildlife emblems of the country, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga, is famed as a home to two-thirds of the world's population of the rare one-horned rhinoceros and the royal Bengal tiger. With the mighty Brahmaputra river lapping at the fringes, the park encompasses wetlands, forests and grasslands, which shelter a sizeable population of the rock python, the reticulated python and the king cobra, the longest venomous snake. While eastern swamp deer and wild water buffalo are common sights, if you're lucky, you can also spot a herd of elephants making their way grandly through the park. The park is surrounded by ancient temples, pristine waterfalls and lush tea estates.
Orang Tiger Reserve, Assam
Skirted by the mighty Brahmaputra river, this tiger reserve is home to faunae such as the great Indian rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, porcupines, civets, water buffaloes, leopards, etc. Besides, you can spot a variety of avifauna such as kingfishers, woodpeckers, white pelicans, etc.
Valmiki Tiger Reserve, Bihar
Located in Gangetic plains, this reserve boasts a core area of 568 sq km. One can spot tigers, sloth bears, langurs, chitals, sambars, gaurs, blackbucks, etc., here.
Indravati Tiger Reserve, Chhattisgarh
Named after the gurgling Indravati river that cuts through the forest, Indravati Tiger Reserve offers thrilling wildlife adventures. Besides the majestic tiger, wild buffalo is a popular sighting here. This reserve is sprawled over a core area of 1,258 sq km and a wildlife game drive here is a memorable experience.
Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve, Chhattisgarh
Situated about 175 km from Raipur, this sprawling green haven is covered by small hills and lush sal forests. It derives its name from River Sitanadi that originates in the middle of the reserve and joins River Mahanadi near Deokhut. Besides River Sitanadi, Sondur and Lelang rivers also flow through its expanse and the huge Sondur Dam is worth a visit.
Renowned for rich flora and fauna, it is one of the finest wildlife stopovers in the country. The animals you can spot here include tigers, leopards, jackals, flying squirrels, jungle cats, blackbucks, bison, sloth bears, chitals, sambars, nilgais, cobras and pythons. The reserve is also a birdwatcher's paradise, with nearly 175 species of avifauna including crimson breasted barbet, egret and heron.
Achanakmar Tiger Reserve, Chhattisgarh
Dotted with sal and bamboo trees, the Achanakmar Tiger Reserve, in Bilaspur district, is a unique wildlife getaway. It gives an amazing opportunity to sight the tiger in the wild. The best time to visit here is from November to June.
Palamau Tiger Reserve, Jharkhand
Spread over a core area of 414 sq km, Palamau Tiger Reserve is a part of the Betla National Park. Besides the majestic tiger, you can spot faunae like leopards, wild dogs, pangolin, wolves, sloth bear, sambar, barking deer, mouse deer, Indian ratel, four-horned antelope, etc. The reserve also boasts a sizeable population of elephants. Palamau was declared a tiger reserve in 1974.
Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka
Covering a core area of about 874.20 sq km, the Bandipur Tiger Reserve was created in 1973-74. Besides tigers, it is home to wild dogs, wild boars, jackals, panthers, Malabar squirrels, sloth bears, black-knapped hare, porcupines, red-headed vultures, flowerpeckers, brown fish owls, bee-eaters, kingfishers, monitor lizards, Indian rock pythons, flying lizards, vipers, rat snakes and spectacled cobras. Along with the adjoining Nagarhole National Park to the north, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, it is one of the premier tiger reserves in the country, not to mention one of the biggest biospheres. These forests are collectively known as the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, and are extremely well-protected against poachers and deforestation activities. Birds like the jungle fowl and green pigeon are also found in the park. Not only fauna, the park also shelters a wide range of timber trees like teak, rosewood, sandalwood, clumping bamboo, Indian kino tree along with flowering and fruiting trees like kadam, Indian gooseberry, satinwood, golden shower tree, black clutch and flame of the forest.
For a true forest experience, visitors are advised to spend a few days in one of the many jungle lodges that dot the periphery of the reserve. These lodges offer comfortable rooms and other amenities that will make your stay pleasurable. Some of them organise jeep safaris into the forest, which allow guests to get close to the denizens of Bandipur and, if they’re lucky, also get a glimpse of the majestic and elusive tiger in all its glory. It is a must-visit place for wildlife enthusiasts.
Nagarhole National Park and Tiger Reserve, Karnataka
It is one of the premier tiger reserves in the country, along with the adjoining Bandipur Tiger Reserve and is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. With a healthy predator-prey ratio, it is home to tigers, leopards, chital, sambars, gaurs and Asiatic elephants. Nagarhole means snake stream in Kannada, named so after the serpentine river that runs through the jungle.
Spread across an impressive core area of 643 sq km, the reserve is home to 250 species of birds like the heron, stork, egret, duck, kite, eagle, falcon, partridge, peafowl, lapwing, wagtail, sandpiper, woodpecker, sunbird, warbler, babbler, owl and others. Some reptiles are also found here, such as the marsh crocodile, star tortoise, rat snake, Russell’ s viper and Indian python. To see the animals in their natural habitat, one can take their car accompanied by a forest guide to certain sections of the reserve.
Dandeli Tiger Reserve, Karnataka
Located about 100 km from Belgaum, Dandeli Tiger Reserve is a haven for nature and wildlife lovers. Surrounded by dense forests and verdant hills, it is blessed with rich biodiversity. It is home to animals like tigers, rare black panthers, elephants, wild dogs, crocodiles and deer, among others. If you're lucky, you can spot the king cobra. Dandeli is a treat for birdwatchers as it shelters species like blue-throated barbet, great pied hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill and peregrine falcon. The dense forests of the reserve are lined with deciduous and evergreen trees like bamboo and teak. The best way to explore the forest is by taking a safari in an open gypsy and witnessing fauna in their natural habitat. Located on the banks of River Kali, Dandeli is Karnataka's second-largest and draws tourists from all parts of the country.
Bhadra Tiger Reserve, KarnatakaSpread over a core area of 490 sq km, Bhadra Tiger Reserve is ringed by hills of the Western Ghats. A picturesque location, it provides a thrilling wildlife adventure. The sanctuary has been named after the Bhadra river that cuts through the forest.
Sri Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Karnataka
Declared a tiger reserve in 2010, Sri Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary is a dream destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Situated at a height of 5,091 ft and covering an area of 574 sq km, the reserve houses wildlife like elephants, bison, sloth bears, deer, porcupines, etc. Birdwatchers can find such avifauna as paradise flycatcher, crested hawk eagle, etc. You can explore the reserve via jeep safaris, elephant safaris and trekking.
Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala
Periyar is a kingdom of wilderness. The reserve has majestic tigers roaming its grounds among the greens. Consider yourself lucky if you can catch sight of one relaxing and lazing about. The tigers with their grandeur and physique will leave you awestruck. Periyar is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India. It is also the oldest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala, along with being renowned for having the largest protected area. The tiger reserve spans 192,001 acre of land and is blessed with a picturesque landscape home to various flora and fauna. The sanctuary also has boating facilities at its scenic lake. Travellers can see herds of elephants and grazing deer here with the sweet sound of birds chirping in the trees. The sanctuary is about 110 km away from Munnar.
It is home to as many as 1,965 species of flowering plants; this includes 171 grass species and 143 orchid species. The Podocarpus wallichianus, one of the only South Indian conifers, also grows here. As for mammals, there are more 60 species found, including leopard, sambar deer, Indian bison, Indian wild dog, Asian elephant, and barking deer. You can also spot the smooth-coated otter if you take a boat ride in Periyar Lake. The endangered long-tailed macaque, bonnet macaque, and Nilgiri langur can be seen playing amongst the trees. The forest has 265 species of birds, some of which are the Malabar grey hornbill, Indian pied hornbill, white-bellied treepie, Malabar Trogon and more.
Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Kerala
Formerly known as Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve lies in the Nelliampathy–Anamalai landscape of the Western Ghats, around 3 hours away from Palakkad city. It houses one of the first scientifically managed teak plantations of the world and also plays host to the world's oldest and tallest teak tree, which is almost 50 m high, as tall as a 17-storey building! The reserve is home to more than 30 tigers and several sightings are reported every season! It is also home to several other animals, birds and fish. Other than wildlife safaris, the reserve is known for its natural beauty, with undulating hills from the top of which the panorama of the wilderness is mesmerising. Looking down upon the canopy of dense green, punctuated by the blue waters of a lake and narrow streams is ethereal! There are a few tribal settlements inside the reserve, where tourists are often offered lunches.
Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
Home to the majestic royal Bengal tiger, Kanha is spread over a core area of 917 sq km. It is commonly believed that this reserve, with its lush green meadows and thick sal forests so enchanted the English author Rudyard Kipling that he used it as background for his iconic novel 'The Jungle Book'. Kanha also holds the distinction of bringing back the barasingha (swamp deer) from the brink of near extinction. It is also home to other majestic animals like leopard and wild dogs. The award-winning National Geographic film, ‘Land of the Tigers’ was also shot here. The sprawling acres of lush verdant greens of the reserve offer many incredible natural views. Head over to the popular Bamni Dadar, or the sunset point, which offers an amazing view of the landscape dotted with grazing sambars and gaurs. A safari through the reserve where one can sight animals in their natural habitat is indeed an unforgettable experience.
Considered to be one of the best-managed parks in Asia, Kanha Tiger Reserve was created in 1974 as part of Project Tiger. It is known for the stringent conservation programmes to preserve flora, fauna and the local eco-system. It is closed during peak summer so it is best to make travel plans for Kanha during the winter months, between mid-October and end of June. The winter months also see a lot of migratory birds making their way to Kanha and hence birdwatching opportunities are ample.
Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
Pench Tiger Reserve is located in the southern part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. With a picturesque vista and a treasure of flora and fauna, it is an ideal camping site for adventure and wildlife enthusiasts. Some of the fauna you can spot are the royal Bengal tiger, chital, wolf, Indian leopard, gaur, four-horned antelope, sloth bear etc. Furthermore, a great variety of birds like crow pheasant, peafowl, pintail, lesser whistling teal, Indian roller, wagtail, munia, waterfowl, blue kingfisher, crimson-breasted barbet, red-vented bulbul are also found here.
The reserve draws its name from the Pench river that flows through the park from north to south, dividing it into two equal western and eastern halves. Out of these, one falls in the Seoni and the other falls in the Chhindwara district. Pench was declared a tiger reserve in 1998-99.
Panna National Park, Madhya Pradesh
With the meandering Ken river and spectacular waterfalls, this tiger reserve attracts both wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Besides tigers, one can spot the gharial, a huge reptile of the crocodile family found only in the Indian subcontinent, and a variety of flora and fauna here. Spend a day or two here, and explore the park in a jeep or on the back of an elephant.
Satpura Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
Home to wildlife species like tigers, panthers, wild bears, four-horned deer and blue bulls, along with a wide variety of avian species like paradise fly-catcher, honey buzzard and Malabar pied hornbill, the Satpura Tiger Reserve is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The flying squirrel and the rhesus monkey can also be found here. The Sanskrit name “Satpura” translates to seven hills and the park boasts a topography of ravines, waterfalls, rivulets, narrow gorges and dense forests.
Spread over an area of 524 sq km, it is a part of the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, with 50 species of mammals, 254 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles, 50 species of butterflies and several types of trees and shrubs.
Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
Covering an area of 1,674 sq km, this reserve includes the Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary and Sanjay National Park. The vast forest shelters a variety of flora and fauna. The prime attraction is the tiger; you can also spot leopards, chinkara, hyenas, sambar, deer, wild dogs, etc.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
A world-famous tiger reserve where India’s first white tiger was found, this is a must-visit. The tiger density here is one of the highest known in India. Bandhavgarh is spread over the Vindhya mountain range and is home to more than 22 species of mammals, 250 species of birds and 70 species of butterflies. It also boasts a variety of vegetation and landscapes of tall grass and thick sal forests. This facilitates the survival of a large range of animals and birds in the forest. Primate species like common langur and rhesus macaque can also be found here. The reserve offers jeep safaris as well as elephant safaris to provide travellers with unique experiences.
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
A haven for tiger lovers, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is one of the largest in Maharashtra. Comprising patches of dense forests, pretty meadows and deep valleys, it is one of the few tiger reserves in India where tourists can easily spot the tiger in its natural habitat. Lined with teak trees, the best way to explore the national park is by taking a safari in a gypsy. Other common sightings in the park include sloth bears, leopards, gaurs, nilgais, civets, striped hyenas, sambars, barking deers, chitals and wild dogs. Tadoba is divided into three forest ranges known as the Tadoba north range, Kolsa south range and Morhurli range. The forest is also home to a wide variety of reptiles including pythons and cobras.
Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
Located in the Satpura range, Melghat Tiger Reserve is a prime habitat of the tiger. It was declared a reserve in 1974 and covers a core area of 1,500 sq km. The word 'Melghat' means the meeting of the ghats, which is apt for the area that comprises hills and ravines cut by cliffs. The forest has a thick green cover, which shelters a variety of fauna besides the tiger. You can spot several avifauna species as well, especially eagle. The best time to visit Melghat is from December to May.
Ensconced in the Sahyadri range, this tiger reserve is bordered by the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa. The northern part of the reserve houses the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and the southern hosts the Chandoli National Park. Besides tigers, leopards are a prized sighting. Spread over an area of 1,165 sq km, the reserve is also noted for its unique flora.
Bor Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
Covering an area of 138 sq km, Bor is a vast tiger reserve that is located at Hingni in Wardha, Maharashtra. It is home to wildlife species like tigers, panthers, monkeys, bears, wild dogs and its flora comprises teak, ain, tendu and bamboo. The best time to visit here is during summer in the wee hours of the morning. The best part about Bor is that it covers a limited area of 16 km, which makes it very easy to spot wild animals, especially the elusive tiger. For an immersive experience, tourists can stay at the Forest Guest House managed by the Forest Department of Maharashtra. The reserve derives its name from the gushing Bor river that divides it into two parts.
Nawegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
One of the most popular wildlife stopovers in Maharashtra, Nagzira is located in Bhandara district and attracts nature-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts from all corners of India. The reserve serves as a home for a wide variety of animal species including tigers, panthers, bison, sambars, nilgais, chitals, wild boars, sloth bears and wild dogs. There is also an astonishing variety of butterflies and an interesting amphibian and the reptilian population at Nagzira. Tourists can also visit Navegaon National Park, another popular attraction nearby. The best way to explore the reserve is through a jungle safari that allows tourists to encounter wild animals in their natural habitat. Itiadoh Dam, Tibetan Camp at Gothangaon and Pratapgad are some other important attractions here.
Dampa Tiger Reserve, Mizoram
Covering an area of 500 sq km, Dampa Tiger Reserve is the largest wildlife sanctuary in the state of Mizoram. It is home to elephants, gaur, binturong, dhole, bear, tiger and many primates as well as hornbills, jungle fowls, pheasants and wood pigeons. One can also come across a fine habitation of amphibians and reptiles and 16 species of lizards. The best time to visit Dampa Tiger Reserve, located around 130 km from Aizawl, is between October and April. The reserve is located on the state's north-western border and shares an 80 km international border with the neighbouring nation of Bangladesh.
Similipal Tiger Reserve, Odisha
Comprising dense forests, beautiful meadows, pristine waterfalls and gurgling rivers, Similipal Tiger reserve is spread over an area of 2,750 sq km. Besides tigers, the reserve is noted for hill mynah and elephants. You can also spot leopards, barking deer, four-horned antelope, wild boar, sambar, giant squirrel, common langur, etc. You can also find avifauna such as Indian pied hornbill, grey hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill, etc. The reserve also shelters species of king cobra and Tricarinate hill turtle. The best way to experience the reserve is through a jungle safari.
Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Odisha
Sprawled along River Mahanadi, Satkosia Tiger Reserve is a great place to sight the tiger in the wild. Besides, it is known for the gharial population. You can also spot faunae like elephants, leopards, spotted deer, gaur, mouse deer, sloth bear, sambar, etc. For birdwatchers, there is diverse avifauna.
Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan
The popular Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve was once the private game reserve of the royal family of Jaipur. Located 155 km from Jaipur, Ranthambore's diverse topography with a mix of rolling hills and crags, and meadows, lakes and rivulets, offers some of the finest opportunities for sighting the magnificent tiger in the wild. Apart from the tiger, other wildlife in the park includes sloth bear, leopard, jackal, fox, hyena, Indian wolf, chital, sambhar deer, blue bull antelope or nilgai, rhesus macaque, langur and an incredible variety of birds. The 10th century Ranthambore Fort dominates the landscape of this dry-deciduous forest. It was set up in 944 and today is better known as the ideal territory of the famous Ranthambore tigress, Machali.
The Bakula region is among the thickly forested areas of the sanctuary and has various waterholes and pools. Thus, an abundance of wildlife can be found here.
Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan
The former hunting reserve of the maharaja of Alwar, the Sariska valley is home to a variety of flora and fauna. The park has populations of tigers, nilgai, sambar, chital etc. One can spot Indian porcupine, striped hyenas, leopards during evenings. The place is a paradise for bird lovers as it shelters a large population of Indian peafowl, crested serpent eagles, sand grouse, golden backed woodpeckers, great Indian horned owls, tree pies, vultures and many others. The best time to visit the reserve is from October to June.
Mukandra Hills, Rajasthan
After Ranthambore and Sariska, Mukandra Hills is the third tiger reserve of Rajasthan. Spread over a core area of 417 sq km, it includes three wildlife sanctuaries: Darrah, Chambal and Jaswant Sagar. Besides tiger, you can sight leopards, sloth bears, hyenas, deer, chinkara, blue bull, wolves and antelopes. Earlier the reserve was the hunting ground of the Maharaja of Kota.
Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu
Sheltering diverse species like tigers, leopards, sambar, sloth bear, mouse deer, Indian pangolin, flying lizard, king cobra, monitor lizard, python, pit viper, etc., this reserve is a treasure trove for wildlife enthusiasts. For birdwatchers, the place offers sightings of avifauna like Oriental Bay owl, Great Indian hornbill, great pied hornbill, grey-headed bulbul, broad-tailed grassbird, etc. The best time to visit here is from October to January.
Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu
Sprawled over an area of 958 sq km, the Anamalai Tiger Reserve is situated in the southern part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve of the Anamalai Hills. The main tourist zone is known as Top Slip, situated at an altitude varying from 350 m to 2,400 m above sea level. The landscape is mostly made up of thickly wooded hills, rolling grasslands, plateau and deep valleys, housing rich evergreen and semi-evergreen forests and deciduous covers. There are teak, rosewood and many miscellaneous tropical species in the semi-evergreen and wet temperate habitats. Sheltering about 8,000 species of plants, the reserve is home to 500 species of both resident and migratory birds. Some of the popular wildlife you can spot include panther, elephant, sloth bear, flying squirrel, wild bear, wild dog etc. It was declared a tiger reserve in 2008.
Satyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu
Bordered by the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Satyamangalam Tiger Reserve is spread over an area of 1,408 sq km. It sustains a growing population of tigers and species of gaur, leopard, elephant, etc. A game drive in the dense jungles here is a spine-chilling experience.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu
Spread over a core area of 321 sq km, Mudumalai lies at the junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. At a height of 1,140 m, the tiger reserve has a variety of habitats ranging from tropical evergreen forest to moist teak forest, a dry teak forest to a swamp and more. It is the perfect place to spot a tiger and is excellent for birdwatching for its population of hornbills, minivets, fairy bluebirds and jungle fowls. Here, one can spot panthers, elephants, gaur, mouse deer, sloth bears, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, blackbucks, Malabar giant squirrels, four-horned antelopes (chowsingha), small Indian civet, porcupines and much more. If you're lucky, you can also spot a tiger by the many waterholes here! The park also houses a population of reptiles like snakes, monitor lizards and flying lizards. One can explore the park through elephant rides for a more thrilling experience. The Theppakadu Elephant Camp, established in 1972, is a major attraction here.
Amrabad Tiger Reserve, Telangana
Spread over a core area of 2166 sq km, Amrabad Tiger Reserve was earlier a part of the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve. Today, it offers amazing opportunities to wildlife enthusiasts to sight the elusive tiger.
Kawal Tiger Reserve, Telangana
Covering an area of 893 sq km, Kawal Tiger Reserve houses diverse flora and fauna. Besides tigers, you can spot faunae like chital, barking deer, sambar, sloth bear, nilgai, python, monitor lizard, crocodile, etc.
Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh
Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is one of the most protected sanctuaries in India, comprising two distinct zones – Bhabar, characterised by hills and rocky terrain, and Terai, distinguished by thick grasslands and clay-rich swamps. The latter is home to a large population of mammals and birds, and is thus listed among globally important eco-regions. This large ecosystem stretches from River Yamuna in the west to Valmiki Tiger Reserve (Bihar) in the east. The park spreads across five states along the Shivalik range of hills, and the Gangetic plains.
At present, certain endangered species like the Bengal florican and Hispid hare are protected at Dudhwa. Other than the tiger, 13 species of mammals, nine species of birds, and 11 species of reptiles and amphibians that are considered endangered are also found here. Other fauna you are likely to spot at Dudhwa include birds like the painted stork, black and white-necked stork, crane, heron, drongo, owl, egret, duck, goose, hornbill, woodpecker, barbet, kingfisher, minivet, bee-eater etc.; and reptiles like python, monitor lizard and gharial.
If you take a safari into the jungle, be sure to spend some time by Banke Tal, a large lake where a huge chunk of the reserve’s flora and fauna can be found. Given the presence of large forest lands and tree cover, as well as a massive population of animals, Dudhwa plays a vital role in the maintenance of water and climate of the region. It lies at a distance of 221 km from Lucknow city.
Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh
Spread over a core area of 602 sq km, Pilibhit is the third tiger reserve of the state, after Dudhwa (1987) and Amangarh (2012). Some of the common species you can spot are tigers, leopards, swamp deer, Bengal florican, wild boar, chital, sambar, hog deer, blue bull, etc.
Amangarh Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh
Situated in the Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, Amangarh is one of the richest wilderness spots in the state. Spread over an area of 80 sq km, it comprises such features as wetlands, dense forests and grasslands. It is a buffer area of Corbett Tiger Reserve and is best known for sheltering the tiger and the Asiatic elephant. You can also spot chital, sambar, leopard, porcupine, wild boar, jackal, etc.
Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand
Corbett Tiger Reserve is spread over a core area of 821 sq km that comprises large lakes, grasslands, marshy depressions, hills and riverine belts. Renowned for sheltering the royal Bengal tigers of India, the reserve also houses more than 650 species of native and migratory birds, along with over 50 species of raptors, 33 species of reptiles, seven species of amphibians, seven species of fish and 36 species of dragonflies. Some rare species like the endemic fish-eating crocodiles and otters can also be spotted. A wildlife safari either in an open jeep or on the back of an elephant proves to be a memorable experience here. The park is one of the few places in the country that allows visitors to stay overnight.
Rajaji Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand
Rajaji Tiger Reserve is sprawled along hills and foothills of Shivalik ranges. It covers an area of 820 sq km and comprises three sanctuaries: Chilla, Motichur and Rajaji. Besides tigers, the reserve is noted for its large elephant population. You can also spot faunae such as leopards, deer, ghorals, etc. The reserve is a treat for birdwatchers as it is home to over 400 types of birds, including gulls, mallards, pochards, teals, parakeets, thrushes, woodpeckers, kingfishers and shellducks. The main attraction is the great pied hornbill.
Sundarbans, West Bengal
Home to the unique royal Bengal tiger, the Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed in 1987. One of the largest mangrove forests in the world, the Sundarbans forests cover an area of 10,000 sq km and lie on the delta of Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers in the Bay of Bengal. The mist-shrouded area is rife with a variety of flora and fauna, including 260 species of birds and other threatened species like the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.
A cluster of low-lying islands in the Bay of Bengal spread across India and Bangladesh, make up the Sundarbans, which is among the largest active delta regions in the world. The Sundarbans got its name from a mangrove plant called 'sundari', which translated means a beautiful forest. The area is riddled with rivers and various creeks and tributaries criss-cross through it. Sundarbans was declared a tiger reserve in 1974.
Buxa Tiger Reserve, West Bengal
Created in 1983, Buxa Tiger Reserve lies in the Alluvial floodplains of India. Cut by several rivers and their tributaries, the reserve sustains rich biodiversity. Home to over 67 species of mammals, 26 types of reptiles and 230 varieties of avifauna, Buxa offers an amazing opportunity to sight the denizens of the jungle, especially tigers.