Most of us who love animals are always ready to grab an opportunity to visit a national park and catch the sight of the wild in their natural habitats rather than visiting a zoo, where the animals are kept in cages. Unlike zoo visits, national parks are entirely a whole different experience. Here the people who visit are kept in caged vehicles and the animals are free to move around.
A visit to a national park would give you a whole different meaning in visiting the wild. It would give you a better understanding of wildlife. Some of the national parks in the country give you opportunities to go on a safari or trek through their deep jungles and catch some action.
India is a unique country and is home to many unique species of flora and fauna. Here there are national parks which are not only meant for wildlife but for marine life as well. The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park in the Andaman Islands is one such national park which is dedicated to marine life.
Here we bring you a few of the most beautiful National parks to be visited in the country. Take a look and head towards them to have an experience of a lifetime.
1.Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan
Like some of the wildlife sanctuaries in the country, the Keoladeo National Park served as a hunting reserve for the royalty. It was formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. At present the national park of 29 sq km has found its way into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is home to more than 360 bird species which makes it one of the finest spots for birding in the world.
The national park receives many of its avian visitors from Siberia, China, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. The Sarus crane, which is the world's tallest flying bird is a regular in the mudflats here.
PC: Kanheya Behera
2.Bandipur National Park, Karnataka
With a radius of 880 sq km, the area was the private game reserve of the Mysore Maharaja until it got notified as a national park and also as a tiger reserve in the year 1974. The forest in Bandipur is now a protected zone and is home to over 100 species of animals which include tigers, elephants, leopards and many more along with over 350 odd varieties of birds.
The forest is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and the Bandipur National Park is one of South India's most well known areas to spot wildlife.
PC: tomislav medak
3. Tal Chappar Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
Black bucks have always fascinated various personalities in India. The antelope has stood the test of time, all thanks to the one time game reserves like Tal Chhapar which now is a wildlife sanctuary and is dedicated to saving the species.
The sanctuary is spread across an area of 8 sq kilometres which is not only home to the black buck but also to the desert fox, desert cat and the chinkara. Many visitors flock here due to its immense bird population. The sanctuary does not have any safaris unlike others but visitors are free to take a stroll in the park either by foot or by driving in their own vehicles.
4. Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, West Bengal
Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, the mangrove forest here is the largest to be found in the world. There is only one way to navigate through the Sundarbans and its complex network of rivers and estuaries, which is by the humble boat. If you are keen on sighting the Royal Bengal Tiger, head up straight to one of the watchtowers deep inside the jungle.
5.Hemi National Park, Ladakh
This is one of India's largest national parks and a visit to this park is no child's play as it involves a lot of hiking, camping and extreme climatic conditions with the weather going down to temperatures of -30 degrees in winter.
The national park is home to a large variety of animals which includes the Tibetan wolf, red fox, snow cock and the snow leopard along with many others. The snow leopard is one of the major draws here, which sadly has only a population of around 300 out in the wild. The winter months make it easier for one to sight as they tend to descend slightly on the lower altitudes.
6. Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala
The Tiger reserve offers an amazing forest experience which allows visitors to hike, try their hand in rafting as well as setting up a camp in the dense forest. The tiger trail is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling experiences which comes with a golden chance to camp for a day or two and join the armed forest guards in their night duty.
Spotting a tiger here is not a very common affair as the tigers live in the core area which is out of bounds for the tourists, but one can feel their presence through the pug marks and scratches on the barks of the trees.
7. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Andaman Islands
A group of islands in the Bay of Bengal is a very unusual place for a national park, but here there is an underwater one. The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park in Andaman is home to over 135 species of corals, hundreds of varieties of fishes and a hub for nesting turtles.
It is not necessary to know swimming here to enjoy the park, but you can take a ride in the glass-bottomed boats and can catch the sight of some rare fishes and plants.
8. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Spend a few days at this popular national park which would for sure guarantee you an encounter with the Royal Bengal tiger which boasts of the highest population of the striped cat.
Apart from the tiger, the star attraction here is the leopard, followed by a variety of deer, wild boar, sambar, langur, Indian bison and many more along with over 250 species of birds and reptiles.
9. Mudumalai National Park, Tamil Nadu
Located at the foothills of the Nilgiris, the park stretches to an area of 321 sq km filled with lush greenary. You can spot a chital also known as the spotted deer and the wild boar along with the Royal Bengal tiger. The national park is said to have a population of about 50 tigers and sighting them depends on your luck.
The park is one of the best places in Tamil Nadu to spot wildlife and one would likely come across, deer, peacocks, Malabar squirrels, wild elephants and Indian bisons.
PC: Navin Sigamany
10. Kaziranga National Park, Assam
The home to the one-horned rhinos and also a World Heritage Site under UNESCO, the park has a rich heritage and has very few competitors to match its legacy. The park is home to around 1800 rhinos which is considered to be the world's largest population of this beautiful animal.
The population of the rhinos seems to be steady, and has not increased to match with the number of the resident elephants who are said to have a population of 2000. The national park is also home to various other species of water buffaloes, leopards, swamp deer and many birds.