A guide to India’s top national parks

Bengal Tiger

India is a brilliant place to spot amazing wildlife and incredible scenery – and its national parks are arguably the best areas to do so. There is a surprisingly large number of these, though, so we’ve put together a quick list of the ones that most spark my interest below. Hopefully, that’ll help you narrow down your options.

Nagarhole National Park

Where: Karnataka

Named after the river that runs through it, Nagarhole National Park is one of the true highlights of any trip to India. Made up of forested valleys and mountains, this reserve is home to all kinds of wonderful wildlife – and is an especially good place to spot elephants, which is something that particularly appeals.

However, there’s loads more you see here – including tigers, which is one of the most popular animals to try to see on jaunts to India. Leopards, sloth bears, jackals and close to 300 types of birds are just some of the other animals you might spot while you’re there.

Ranthambore National Park

Where: Rajasthan

This is a popular stop-off on nature-based tours of India, which are one of the best things to do if you’re serious about seeing a lot of wildlife. Companies like TransIndus run this kind of break, with Ranthambore likely to be listed on these itineraries as one of the top places to spot tigers.

In fact, poachers have depleted the number of big cats here a fair amount in recent years but, fortunately, there’s still a decent enough population density that you’re pretty likely to see one or two loping around while you’re there.

While the tigers are what most people come to see, this reserve – which is the flagship national park in Rajasthan – has a lot else to offer. In addition to all the other animals, which include leopards, jackals, Indian porcupines and longeared hedgehogs, you can also see authentic Rajput ruins dotted about the grounds.

Bandhavgarh National Park

Where: Madhya Pradesh

If it’s tigers that really interest you, Bandhavgarh National Park absolutely has to be on your list of places to visit. Why? Well, it claims to have the greatest density of Bengal tigers not only in the country, but also in the world. As you’d expect, this means that by coming here, you’ll give yourself the best chance of seeing one.

Excitingly, you can go on an elephant safari early in the morning to track the tigers, or you’re able to go down the more common jeep route – the choice is yours. One thing to remember when planning your trip, though, is the park is closed for several months a year, usually between July and October.

Fossil National Park

Where: Madhya Pradesh

India’s national parks may often be home to amazing animals, but not all of them are wildlife-focused. For a unique experience, head to Fossil National Park, where you can see fossilised plants and molluscs.

Most of the time, these fossils look a lot like normal rocks, which has led to them being unwittingly damaged or moved in the past. While they may not have a particularly striking appearance, they are truly remarkable when you consider they date back between 40 million and 150 million years.

So, visiting here is a really magical, once in a lifetime experience. Don’t miss it!

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