National Parks in India you can Visit to Witness Nature at its Finest

Nature offers the best of flora and fauna, mammals and birds, animals and plant life that can be an unforgettable experience. Bookmark this list of forests and national parks in India for your next trip.

Srushti Pathak
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National Parks in India

India offers a ton of opportunities for nature and wildlife enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the wonders of the natural world. From the towering Himalayas and the plains of Central India to the Western Ghats and the world’s largest mangrove forests in the east, the country has rich and diverse biodiversity everywhere. So if you want to explore such places, then read on to know more about India’s forests and national parks that welcome you to seek tranquillity.

Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

Jim Corbett National Park
Image Courtesy: Jim Corbett National Park

Established in 1936, this was India's first national park. Named after the legendary naturalist and conservationist Jim Corbett, it is located at the Himalayas' foothills, near the popular hill-station of Nainital. The beautiful Jim Corbett National Park is famous for being home to a large number of tigers, the highest among any Indian national park. The park is spread over 1318.54 sq km, of which 520 sq km is the main area, and the remaining is a buffer. It covers the picturesque landscapes of Pauri Garhwal, Almora, and Nainital. To experience the national park in the best way possible, hop on a jeep safari into the dense forest to see the wild animals in their natural habitat. And if you are lucky, then you may get a chance to even spot a tiger. Enjoy the lush green forest's views cut across by streams and rivers and a few waterfalls. There are accommodations available inside the park for night-stay as well, which offer you once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Best Time to Visit: November to February

Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand

Image Courtesy: Valley of Flowers National Park

Valley of Flowers National Park is located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Dwelling in the lap of the Himalayas, the park boasts a variety of diverse, rare, and exotic flora and fauna that are a speciality of this region. It is also one of India’s most popular treks in the Himalayas. In 1980, the Indian government created the Valley of Flowers National Park, and later in 2002, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The biosphere reserve is situated at an altitude of 3352 to 3658 metres above sea level which gives rise to spectacular views of mountains. The valley is believed to have been discovered in 1931. It was when three British climbers led by Frank S. Smythe got lost and chanced upon this spectacular valley. Attracted by the beauty of this place, they called it the Valley of Flowers.

Best Time to Visit: July to September

Kaziranga National Park, Assam

Kaziranga National Park
Image Courtesy: Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park’s 430 square kilometre area is full of elephant-grass meadows, swampy lagoons, and dense forests. It is home to more than 2200 Indian one-horned rhinoceros, approximately 2/3rd of their total world population. Formed in 1908 on the recommendation of Mary Curzon, the park is located on the edge of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots; in Golaghat and Nagaon district. In 1985, the park was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is said when Mary Curzon, the wife of the Viceroy of India Lord Curzon of Kedleston, visited the park to see an Indian one-horned rhinoceros, she wasn’t able to find even one. Then she persuaded her husband to take urgent measures to protect the dwindling species. And he did so by initiating planning for their protection. After a series of meetings and documentation, the Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest was created with an area of 232 km (90 sq mi) in 1905. Along with the iconic Greater one-horned rhinoceros, the park is a breeding ground for elephants, wild water buffalo and swamp deer. Over time, the tiger population has also increased in Kaziranga, leading it to be declared as a Tiger Reserve in 2006. Also, the park is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the conservation of avifaunal (birds or the kinds of birds of a region, period, or environment) species. Here, you can choose to go on an Elephant Safari.

Best Time to Visit: November to April

Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

Ranthambore National Park
Image Courtesy: Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park is one of the biggest and most renowned national parks in Northern India. The park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, which is about 130 km from Jaipur. The national park in Rajasthan is primarily known as the home to the Royal Bengal Tigers. Other than this, the national park also has a rich population of leopards, sloth bears, and several deer species like chital (spotted deer), marsh crocodile, palm civet, jackal, desert fox, serpent eagle, waterfowl that along with others make 40 species of mammals, 35 species of reptiles and 320 species of birds. This protected area was once considered as one of the famous and former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. The most popular safari goal here is to spot a tiger hidden behind the tall grass or lurking on the banks of the watering holes.

Best Time to Visit: October to March

Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

Sundarbans National Park
Image Courtesy: Sundarbans National Park

A biosphere reserve, a national park, and a tiger reserve; the mangrove ecosystem-based Sundarbans National Park is rich in nature. Did you know that what we call Sunderbans is actually a large delta spread across 40,000 sq. km between India and Bangladesh? It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. In 1875 under the Forest Act, 1865 (Act VIII of 1865), a large part of these forests were declared as “reserved”. Post-independence, it was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1977 and established as a national park on 4th May 1984. In 1978, the Sundarbans were declared a national park, and in 1973, they were declared a tiger reserve under Project Tiger. Here, you can enjoy the presence of the Royal Bengal Tigers. Fishing cats, macaques, leopard cats, Indian grey mongoose, wild boar, flying fox, pangolin, Indian grey mongoose, chital deer and rhesus monkey are also common sightings. This national park offers only boat safari to the visitors.

Best Time to Visit: November to March

Periyar National Park, Kerala

Periyar National Park
Image Courtesy: Periyar National Park

In the heart of the Periyar National Park, at Thekkady, lies an artificial lake that’s 100 years old. The Periyar valley was under the reign of the Pandyas who ruled from Madurai until the 12th century. In 1895, the Mullaperiyar Dam was constructed. The dam, built across the west-flowing river Periyar, stops the river to form a reservoir. It also resulted in the creation of an artificial lake, which enhanced the charm of the valley. The lake, in the centre of the sanctuary, is the nucleus of the reserve and the place where the animals come for water. Thekkady is popular for its wild elephants and heavily set up Western Ghats jungle. Periyar National Park is surrounded by abundant evergreen and in-depth forests. It is a shelter for several animals such as deer, elephants, sambar, Nilgiri Langurs, and many more. Spotting the tigers here is a thrilling experience. This national park offers a boat safari to witness nature and its elements up close.

Best Time to Visit: October to June

Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Bandhavgarh National Park
Image Courtesy: Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park is spread over the Vindhya hills in Madhya Pradesh. The national park consists of a core area of 105 sq km and a buffer area of approximately 400 sq km. The topography of the whole area varies between steep ridges, undulating forests and open meadows. Bandhavgarh National Park is known for the Royal Bengal Tigers. The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is the highest known in India as well as in the world. The national park was the former hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa and at present is a famous natural hub for White Tigers. By 1914, Maharaja Venkat Raman Singh had killed 111 tigers. White Tigers, now a major attraction around the world’s zoos, were first discovered in Rewa, not far from here. It is also believed that all the white tigers across the globe trace their roots to Bandhavgarh. The terrain is broken, with rocky hill ranges, running roughly east and west, interspersed with grassy swamps and forested valleys. Bandhavgarh was included in 1993 as Project Tiger expanded its sphere of influence, and the territory was later expanded to encompass a core area of 694 sq km and a buffer area of 437 sq km. Apart from the must-experience safari, you can see the Bandhavgarh Fort.

Best Time to Visit: October to March

Hemis National Park, Ladakh

Hemis National Park
Image Courtesy: Hemis National Park

Hemis National Park is spread across an area of 3,350 square kilometres and received its status on 4 February 1981. This national park is named after Hemis Monastery and was established in 1981. A famous wildlife destination in Ladakh, it is famous for its high population of snow leopards of 200 and a wide variety of birds. This is the only park in the country, which is located in the northern region of the Himalayas and it is the largest national park in the country. Indus and Zaskar Rivers flowing at its boundaries, Hemis National Park is flanked by five villages namely Shingo, Chillinga, Yurutse, Rumbak, and Sku-Kaya. This place is home to a variety of birds and animals including leopards, Tibetan Wolf, Eurasian Brown Bear and Red fox, amongst others. It is the only habitat of Shapu or the Ladakhi Urial in India. No hotels are available in or near Hemis National Park. There are six villages in the Hemis National Park where homestay facilities are available.

Best Time to Visit: June to September

Gir National Park, Gujarat

Gir National Park
Image Courtesy: Gir National Park

The Sasan Gir National Park is the only place in the world outside Africa where a lion can be seen in its natural habitat. This national park in Gujarat is home to 40 species of mammals and 425 species of birds. The Government notified the large geographical extent of Sasan Gir as a wildlife sanctuary on 18th September 1965 in order to conserve the Asiatic Lion. It covers a total area of 1412 square kilometres of which 258 Km forms the core area of the National Park. Indiscriminate hunting by the people of Junagarh led to their decrease in population drastically, while they were completely wiped out from the other parts of Asia. It was the kind effort of Nawabs of Junagadh who protected the royalty in his own private hunting grounds. Later in due course of time, the Department of Forest Officials came forward to protect the world’s most threatened species. There are several different safari options and you can even spend a night in the jungle.

Best Time to Visit: December to March

Hemis National Park Bandhavgarh National Park Periyar National Park Sundarbans National Park Kaziranga National Park national parks in India Gir National Park ranthambore national park valley of flowers national park Jim corbett national park