Zoological parks are great for educational purposes, but ultimately, no one likes to see these beautiful animals locked up in cages.
Nothing in the whole world beats the fun and thrill of seeing the wild animals roam around in their natural habitats. Thankfully, our country has various national parks that allow you to be wild and experience the thrill of being in the jungle. Not to forget, trips to such places come with added benefits like night camping, jeep safaris, boating, etc.
Here, we have the top 20 national parks in India, where you can enjoy a few days in the wild. So, what's stopping you? Keep reading to find the destination for your next wildlife tour!
Hemis National Park
The Hemis National Park is located amidst a cold desert at the higher altitudes of the Himalayas. It's located at more than 10,000 ft. above sea level, making it an ideal destination for trekkers and adventure enthusiasts. Also, if you didn't already know, the primary focus of the national park is the difficult-to-find snow leopard.
As one of the most endangered species on Earth, it's not found in many places. However, you can still see a large population of snow leopards in this national park. Camping fans will also enjoy setting up a tent amidst the snow-capped mountains and starry night skies.
Area- 4,400 km²
Entry fee- Rs.20 onwards.
Best time to visit- all-year-round (However, one must be extra cautious during winters).
Prominent mammals are- Snow Leopard, Tibetan Sheep, Ladakhi Urial, Red fox, Himalayan Wolf, Himalayan Brown Bear, and Blue Sheep.
Prominent birds are- the Himalayan Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, and Bearded Vulture.
Kanchenjunga National Park
Nestled in the lap of the Himalayan Ranges, Kanchenjunga is a popular national park of Sikkim. It's situated over a varying range of heights from 1829 m to over 8550 m above sea level. Here, tourists will find many rare and indigenous fauna species.
Adventure enthusiasts will also enjoy the thrill of camping amidst the mountain ranges. Moreover, the rich biodiversity and scenic landscape of Kanchenjunga make it India's first Mixed Heritage site on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Area- 1784 km²
Entry fee- Rs.300 onwards.
Best time to visit- all-year-round (March to May highly recommended)
Prominent mammals are- Snow Leopard, Sloth Bear, Tibetan Wild Ass, Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Blue Sheep, Serow, Goral, Musk Deer, and Dhole.
Prominent birds are- Green Pigeon, Himalayan Griffon, Tibetan Snowcock, Sunbird, Blood Pheasant, Osprey, Satyr Tragopan, and Bearded Vulture.
Bandhavgarh National Park
As one of the most famous national parks in Madhya Pradesh, the Bandhavgarh National Park attracts hundreds of wildlife lovers every year. Here, tourists can see the magnificent Royal Bengal tiger roaming in its natural habitat. As per the reports, it is said that around eight of these tigers inhabit every one square kilometer area of this park.
Also, if you're interested in Jungle Safaris, you can enjoy either a jeep or an elephant one in the morning and evening. These Safaris are conducted through four tourist regions, including Tala, Magadhi, Khitauli, and Panpatha. Moreover, here you will find open grasslands and dry deciduous forests.
Area- 1536 km²
Entry fee- Rs.250 onwards
Best time to visit- From 25th October to 30th June.
Prominent mammals are- Tiger, Leopard, Four-horned Antelope, Gaur, Chinkara, Bengal Fox, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild Boar, Barking Deer, Golden Jackal, and Striped Hyena.
Prominent birds are- Sarus Crane, Black Vulture, Changeable Hawk-Eagle, White-backed Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Crested Serpent Eagle, Lesser Adjutant Stork, and Long-billed Vulture.
Gir Forest National Park
Home to the king of Jungle, the Asiatic lion, the Gir Forest National Park is a well-protected territory in India. It's spread across Gujarat's Junagadh, Gir Somnath, and Amreli districts. Moreover, the forest is similar to the African savanna, with vast shrubs, occasional trees, and open grassland vegetation.
The area is reported to have around 2,000 varied wild species, making the land a treat for wildlife photographers.
Area- 1412 km²
Entry fee- Rs.150 onwards.
Best time to visit- From 16th October to 15th June
Prominent mammals are- Asiatic Lion, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Four-horned Antelope, Sambar, Chinkara, Blackbuck, Wild Boar, Nilgai, Striped Hyena, Bengal Fox, Golden Jackal, and Spotted Deer.
Prominent birds are- Tawny Eagle, Crested Hawk-eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Painted Stork, King Vulture, and Pelican.
Ranthambore National Park
If you're on a journey to see the majestic tiger in its natural environment, the Ranthambore National Park makes the perfect destination for you!
Located in Rajasthan's Sawai Madhopur district, Ranthambore was home to the world's most famous and fierce tigress, Machli. Over the years of her lifespan, she has featured in many national geographic and discovery channel documentaries. The park also has the famous Ranthambore Fort, which gives the place its historical significance.
Area- 1334 km²
Entry fee- Rs.100 onwards.
Best time to visit- From 1st October to 30th June.
Prominent mammals are- Tiger, Spotted Deer, Desert Fox, Chinkara, Sambar, Nilgai, Golden Jackal, Sloth Bear, and Wild Boar.
Prominent birds are- Crested Serpent Eagle, Pelican, Stork, Peafowl, Sarus Crane, Kingfisher, Owl, and Flamingo.
Sundarban National Park
Identified as one of the best UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Sunderban National Park is a significant wetland forest in West Bengal. Here, tourists can find Royal Bengal Tigers swimming comfortably in the forest rivers.
Many branches of the river Ganga also make their way through the mangrove forest, making it hard to walk around.
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Therefore, instead of Jeep Safaris and walking trails, you'll have to navigate through the park on boats.
Area- 1,330 km²
Entry fee- Rs.60 onwards.
Best time to visit- From November to March.
Prominent mammals are- Tiger, Fishing Cat, Leopard Cat, Spotted Deer, and Fox.
Other prominent species are- Stork, Grey-headed Sea Eagle, White-bellied Sea Eagle, and Saltwater Crocodile.
Jim Corbett National Park
As the first national park in India, the Jim Corbett National Park was created in 1936 to protect the majestic Royal Bengal Tigers. Surrounded by dense hills, the national park is spread across Uttarakhand's Terai region.
It has open grasslands and thick forests that make the best home to the big cats. Also, more than 600 bird species inhabit Jim Corbett, making it ideal for bird watching. Tourists can visit five different zones of the National Park- Jhirna, Durgadevi, Dikhala, Bijrani, and Dhela.
Area- 1,318.54 km²
Entry fee- Rs.200 onwards.
Best time to visit- From 15th November to 15th June.
Prominent mammals are- Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Spotted Deer, and Barking Deer.
Prominent birds are- Dove, Chat, Robin, Finch, Pallas' Fish-eagle, Hornbill, beef eater, babbler, and Kingfisher.
Other prominent species are- Crocodile and Gharial.
Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park is one of the most prominent tiger reserves spread across Madhya Pradesh's Maikal Range. The park is home to 300 different bird species, tigers, and other animal species.
Thanks to the diverse flora and fauna, lush green fields, and crystalline water bodies- it also makes the best tourist destination for nature and wildlife lovers. Once here, make sure to book a jeep or an elephant safari to get a closer look at the park's wildlife.
Area- 940 km²
Entry fee- Rs.250 onwards.
Best time to visit- From Mid-October to June. (However, November to February are highly recommended.)
Prominent mammals are- Tiger, Panther, Wild Pig, Sloth Bear, Blackbuck, Gaur, Hard-ground Barasingha, Spotted Deer, and Barking Deer.
Prominent birds are- Crested Serpent Eagle, Malabar Pied-hornbill, Emerald dove, etc.
Other prominent species are- Indian Monitor Lizard, Python, Russell’s Viper, Indian Cobra, etc.
Sariska National Park
Nestled in the lap of the Aravalli Hills in Rajasthan, the Sariska National Park is home to the famous Royal Bengal Tiger. Sariska is one of the first tiger reserves in India to have relocated tigers successfully.
Tigers were moved here from Ranthambore to repopulate the national park. Here, tourists will also find a range of fauna, bird species, and other animals. Moreover, the national park features open grasslands, dry deciduous forests, scrub-thorn forests, and rocky land.
Area- 881 km²
Entry fee- Rs.80 onwards.
Best time to visit- all-year-round (October to May highly recommended)
Prominent mammals are- Ruddy Mongoose, Indian Hare, Grey Langur, Indian Leopard, Golden Jackal, Jungle Cat, Nilgai, Small Indian Civet, etc.
Prominent birds are- Crested Serpent Eagle, Rain Quail, Jungle Bush Quail, Peafowl, Indian Eagle-owl, Golden-backed Woodpecker, etc.
Pench National Park
The Pench National Park is a famous tourist destination in Madhya Pradesh's Seoni and Chhindwara districts. It attracts many wildlife enthusiasts looking forward to seeing several endangered and rare species.
As per estimation, the park is home to 50 ferocious Bengal tigers, 40 other mammal species, 13 reptile species, 210 bird species, and some amphibians.
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Area- 758 km²
Entry fee- Rs.15 onwards.
Best time to visit- From Mid-October to June.
Prominent mammals are- Bengal Tiger, Jackal, Jungle Cat, Striped Hyena, Wild Boar, Sambar, Chital, Nilgai, Indian Leopard, Four-horned Antelope, and Barking Deer.
Prominent birds are- Herons, Wagtail, Magpie Robin, Peafowl, Racket-tailed Drongo, Crimson-breasted Barbet, Junglefowl, and Lesser Whistling duck.
Great Himalayan National Park
Located in the Kullu region of Himachal Pradesh, the Great Himalayan National Park is one of the latest additions to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. It is situated over a varying range of elevations from 5,000 ft. to over 19,500 ft, making the entire Himalayan vegetation visible.
At the lowest height, you'll find subtropical pine forests. Beyond these, we have the temperate coniferous forests, consisting of deodars, firs, and spruces. But, as we go above, the subalpine grasslands and meadows replace the conifers.
Area- 754 km²
Entry fee- Rs.150 onwards.
Best time to visit- From October to June.
Prominent mammals are- Snow Leopard, Bharal, Himalayan Tahr, Goral, Red Fox, Himalayan Brown Bear, Musk Deer, Blue Sheep, etc.
Prominent birds are- Golden Eagle, Himalayan Griffon Vulture, Monal Pheasant, Bearded Vulture, Eagle Owl, etc.
Kudremukh National Park
Situated in Karnataka's Chikmagalur district, the Kudremukh National Park is at the height of 1894 m above sea level surrounded by lush green hills. It is home to several indigenous and endangered species of flora and fauna.
Moreover, you can spot around 200 different bird species in this park, making it ideal for bird watchers. Here, you're bound to get mesmerized by the beautiful walking trails, lush green vegetation, natural ponds, and milky-white waterfalls.
Area- 600 km²
Entry fee- Rs. 200 onwards.
Best time to visit- all-year-round (However, October to February are highly recommended.)
Prominent mammals are- Tiger, Gaur, Sambar, Lion-tailed Macaque, Wild Dog, Wild Pig, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Sloth Bear, Chevrotain, and Barking Deer.
Prominent birds are- Malabar Whistling Thrush, Imperial Pigeon, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Malabar Trogon, Great Pied Hornbill, etc.
Kaziranga National Park
The Kaziranga National Park is another place bestowed with the UNESCO World Heritage Site title. It's one of the last national parks where you'll still get to see the endangered one-horned rhinoceros.
Here, you'll find open grasslands, called doors by the locals. Besides, the place is also home to other large mammals, including the Indian Bison (Gaur), weighing around 1,500 kg.
Area- 430 km²
Entry fee- Rs.50 onwards.
Best time to visit- From 1st November to 30th April.
Prominent mammals are- One-horned Rhinoceros, Indian Elephant, Wild Water Buffalo, Gaur, Tiger, Leopard, Swamp Deer, Hog Deer, etc.
Prominent birds are- Eurasian Eagle Owl, Pallas’ Fish Eagle, Ruddy Shelduck, Bar-headed Goose, Kingfisher, Himalayan Griffon, Cinereous Vulture, etc.
Mudumalai National Park
Situated at the height of around 1266 m, the Mudumalai National Park is snuggled in the Nilgiri plateau's north-western corner. It is home to many endangered species of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
Moreover, as per reports, you'll find more than 100 tigers here. The park also features tropical evergreen and moist deciduous forests. So, it's advised to explore the area through jeep or elephant safaris.
Area- 321 km²
Entry fee- Rs.30 onwards.
Best time to visit- all-year-round (February to June highly recommended)
Prominent mammals are- Tiger, Leopard, Striped Hyena, Nilgiri Marten, Monkeys, Grey Langurs, Golden Jackal, Sloth Bear, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Sambar Deer, Asian Elephant, etc.
Prominent birds are- Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-naped Woodpecker, Crested Serpent Eagle, Indian cuckoo, Long-billed Vulture, White-rumped Vulture, etc.
Other prominent species are- Mugger Crocodile, Goan Day Gecko, etc.
Periyar Tiger Reserve
Named after the Periyar River, the Periyar Tiger Reserve is another famous national park in Kerala. Here, you'll see everything you imagine the Western Ghats to be. Lush green hills, walking trails, breathtaking lakes, crystalline rivers, and diverse fauna make it the perfect destination for some nature photography.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this place is home to several indigenous species, making it a must-visit place for wildlife enthusiasts.
Area- 305 km²
Entry fee- Rs.155 onwards.
Best time to visit- all-year-round
Prominent mammals are- Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur, Indian Giant Squirrel, Tiger, Gaur, Dhole, Elephant, etc.
Prominent birds are- Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Blacked-necked Stork, Great Hornbill, and Sri Lankan Frogmouth.
Eravikulam National Park
The Eravikulam National Park is situated at an elevation of 2258 m, with tea plantations as the scenery behind. If you're in Kerala, you must visit this place as here you'll find the rarest species of the mountain goat, Nilgiri Tahr.
Besides, if you're lucky enough, you might see the famous Neelakurinji flowers that blossom only once in 12 years. It's also home to various indigenous butterflies and 19 different amphibian species.
Area- 97 km²
Entry fee- Rs.125 onwards.
Best time to visit- From April to January.
Prominent mammals are- Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Dhole, Indian Barking Deer, Golden Jackal, Wild Dog, Jungle Cat, etc.
Prominent birds are- Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, White-bellied Shortwing, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Nilgiri Pipit, Kerala Laughing Thrush, etc.
Valley of Flowers National Park
Located in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, the Valley of Flower is another name on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Tourists will find fields of indigenous Alpine flowers and shrubs spread across the entire national park.
Besides, the trek from Govindghat to the Valley of Flowers adds another experience to your trip. The 40 km long-trek features mountain streams, breathtaking waterfalls, and exotic flora and fauna.
Area- 87 km²
Entry fee- Rs.150 onwards.
Best time to visit- From June to October. (However, it's recommended to visit before October.)
Prominent mammals are- Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Weasel, Red Fox, Himalayan Musk Deer, Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Goral, Blue Sheep, Grey Langur, Red Giant Flying Squirrel, etc.
Prominent birds are- Yellow-billed and Red-billed Choughs, Himalayan Vulture, Koklass Pheasant, etc.
Other prominent species are- Himalayan Ground Skink, High Altitude Lizard, and Himalayan Pit Viper.
Blackbuck National Park
Situated in Gujarat, the national park was established in 1976 to protect an endangered species of deer, the Blackbuck. It's also one of the very few places that inhabit the Indian wolf, making it worthy of a visit for wildlife enthusiasts.
Also, here you'll find tall, golden grasses with few trees in between, unlike the lush greenery of the Corbett and Kaziranga National Park.
Area- 34.08 km²
Entry fee- Rs.20 onwards.
Best time to visit- all-year-round (However, October to March highly recommended.)
Prominent mammals are- Blackbuck, Nilgai, Golden Jackal, Indian Wolf, Striped Hyena, Wild Boar, Hare, etc.
Prominent birds are- Stork, Bustard, Eagle, Crane, Falcon, etc.
Keoladeo National Park
The Keoladeo National Park is a small human-made avifauna reserve in Rajasthan. It serves as a paradise for birdwatchers and ornithologists with more than 370 bird species. Moreover, the park was previously known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
Besides birds, tourists will also find some amphibians, reptiles, and mammals in this park. With over 380 plant species, this place is a perfect treat for botanists and nature lovers. Here, you will find several rickshaws guiding the way around on well-paved pathways. The sanctuary was declared a national park in 1982, and within three more years, it made its spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Area- 29 km²
Entry fee- Rs.75 onwards.
Best time to visit- all-year-round (August to November highly recommended.)
Prominent mammals are- Leopard, Golden Jackal, Striped Hyena, Chital Deer, Nilgai, Blackbuck, Wild Boar, Indian Porcupine, etc.
Prominent birds are- Greater Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Painted Stork, Siberian Crane, Cormorant, Heron, Spoonbill, etc.
Bannerghatta Biological Park
Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bangalore is a perfect mixture of exotic fauna and rich flora. Thanks to the varied range of trees found in the park, more than 100 bird species take shelter here.
Besides, the park also features jeep, elephant, and bus safaris to explore the area and witness wild animals in their natural habitat. Here, tourists can also enjoy camping at night along the borders of Bannerghatta.
Area- 27 km²
Entry fee- Rs. 80 onwards.
Best time to visit- all-year-round (November to June highly recommended.)
Prominent mammals are- Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Lion, Indian Wolf, Leopard, Jackal, Fox, Striped Hyena, Blackbuck, Nilgai, Barking Deer, Bonnet Macaque, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Spotted Deer, Giraffe, Hamadryas Baboon, Pangolin, Slender Loris, etc.
Prominent birds are- Laughing Dove, Asian Koel, Flamingos, Pelicans, Peacocks, Rainbow Lorikeet.
Other prominent species are- Monitor Lizard, Krait, Python, Russell’s Viper, etc.
These were some of the best national parks in India that provide you with a brief insight into the country's varied biodiversity. Not just that, but you also get an idea of the geographical diversities of the country in different places. So, if you're planning a tour of any of these parks, we recommend you visit the state a few days ahead to experience the local life. You can also look for hotels in these places at BookYourOwn.net for affordable deals.