According to Jim Fowler,” the continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to the quality of life of humans.” Without habitat, there is no wildlife. Wildlife of a country, place and area defines a lot about its culture and nature.

11 best wildlife sanctuaries that are worth a visit are:

1. Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand – Jim Corbett is one of the oldest national park in India located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. It was named after the establisher, Jim Corbett. Project tiger is the governing body of this national park. It witnesses large no. of tourists throughout the year and is a hub of 488 species of flora and diverse variety of fauna. It also offers exciting tourist activities. However, an increase in these activities has disturbed the ecological balance of this park located in the sub Himalayan belt. These activities are promoted so that people get an opportunity to see the landscape with its wildlife. The forest covers 110 trees species, 580 birds and a diverse variety of mammals and reptiles. Jeep safari is one of the most convenient ways to travel within the national park and trekking under the supervision of guide is allowed. It has numerous ravines and encompasses the patli dun valley.

2. Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan – the national park is located were the Aravalli ranges and the plateaus of Vindhyas meet. In the old times this was the place where the royals of Jaipur hunted. The park gets its name from the pictorial fort inside. It is considered to be one of the most visited national heritage. The best time to visit the national park is October to the end of june. In 1991, the tiger reserve was enlarged. This wildlife was known for its Bengal tigers which have a natural habitat there. The other faunas include Sambar, Southern plains grey langur, Nilgai, and a wide variety of plants, birds and reptiles. It has one of the largest banyan trees in India. Tourists can reach the kota railway station that is nearest to the park. One can see the Chambal river also. In the past few years, the tourist population has increased and the luxury train ‘palace on wheels’ also offers a trip to the park.

3. Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka – this park is located in the Kodagu district and the mysore district in karnataka. Mysore is only 50 kms away from the park. It is the part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and is considered as the world heritage by UNESCO. Balle Elephant Camp is one of the facilities offered by the park. Since it’s a deciduous forest, there is a large variety of teak and rosewood found. Shrubs of all the heights can be seen. The park has taken the initiative to protect wildlife especially the carnivores. However, the tourists may come to see an amazing variety of herbivores in this luxuriant forest and enjoy the bamboo thickets. One can also take a small trip to the states of Tamil Nadu, adjoined in the shadow of western ghats.

4. Kaziranga National Park, Assam – this national park is famous for its wildlife conservation efforts to protect the endangered species like one horned rhinoceros. This place is a must visit hotspot if you want to envision high degrees of diversified species. However, a drawback is that the park lays in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra Rivers and so every year the region witnesses’ high water level. Tourists can see a high density of tigers in this protected areas. In addition to the flora and fauna, the park enfolds an abundance of water lilies, water hyacinths and lotus brining a beautiful scenario to the surrounding. This point is an attraction for enthusiastic photographers. Adjacent to the park, tourists can take a small trip to Guwahati that comprises a no. of famous kamakhya temple and many other religious sites. The best time to visit this park is between November to April which marks the availability of Jeep and elephant safari. There is presence of elegant accommodation for tourists.

5. Sariska National Park, Rajasthan – this is located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan. In the raja- maharaja time, this used to be the famous hunting ground for the Alwar royalty that declared it as a wildlife reserve in 1955. One can take a road trip to this sanctuary as it is placed off the Delhi – Alwar – Jaipur road. It is directly connected to the NH8. The nearest airport to the sanctuary is Jaipur Sanganer Airport. The best time to visit this wildlife sanctuary is October to march as the park remains closed between 1st july to 30th September. The highlights of this sanctuary are the reserve of decent no. of Royal Bengal tigers. It is the world’s 1st tiger reserve where reallocation has taken place to ensure an amazing growth in the species population. The marsh animals of the lake are also a popular attraction. Summers in the wildlife sanctuaries are very hot and erratic is the right word to describe the monsoons. Thus, the average temperature during the best time is 15 degree. The sanctuary has done a lot to protect indiscriminate cutting of the trees.

6. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh – this park is located in the north eastern border of Madhya Pradesh at central India. Many people have phrased it as the “Tiger’s den”. The maharajas of Reva used to hunt here. It is renowned for its tiger reserve. It is a beautiful forest with spectacular vegetation in abundance. This national park is a must visit for all wildlife enthusiasts who can see frequent sight of the royal tigers. It is a home to 250 avifauna, 44- 49 tigers and more than 22 species of mammals ranging from tigers to grey mongoose, striped hyenas, leopards, gaurs etc. a jeep safari is the most convenient way to move around the landscape. The national park has derived its name from Bandhavgarh fort located at the height of 800m but is in ruins now. Enthusiastic tourists can also take a hour’s trek to this fort as it provides a awe inspiring view of the surrounding. There are a lot of accommodation options available. It is ideal for family trips and adventure. Umaria Station is the closest to this park. One can also visit the tribal village for leisure. The park has 3 gates – tala, Magadhi, and Khirtauli.

7. Sundarban national park - West Bengal has the world’s largest mangrove forest ,the Sunderbans located in the southern West Bengal. It covers lower than 23% of the national average forest. It constitutes 6 national parks and 15 wildlife sanctuaries. Some of them are Buxa Tiger Reserve, Bibhutibhushan wildlife sanctuary etc. Sunderbans envelop immense variety of birds like heron, blacktailed godwit, kingfishers, curlew etc. Besides spotting tigers, there are jungle cats, Indian fox, wild pig ,pangolin which serve a major crowd attraction. Sunderban was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. It is 70kms away from Kolkata. The Kolkata Zoo covers an area of 41 acres and the largest zoo in Asia. The Gangetic plains receive favorable rainfall that inhibits fertile vegetation allowing diverse variety of flora and fauna. The most valuable tree is the Sundari which gets its name after the forest name Sunderban. West Bengal has a typifying temperate forest such as oaks, conifers, and rhododendrons.

8. The great Himalayan national park, Himachal Pradesh – the national park has been a source of admiration and adoration attracting countless tourists. The Himalayas are the tallest, largest mountains on our planet and hold an enormous abundance of biological diversity. However, this has been exploited by human activities. It comes under the list of India’s most amazing national parks. The exquisite location and scenic surrounding are highlighted with the deodar and oak trees. People visit this park to experience trekking and camping in the alpine pastures of kullu. The best season to visit this park is summer and autumn. The park forms a part of the protected area that also includes Rupibhaba sanctuary and Pin Valley National park. It was added to the UNESCO list of world heritage site. The area is strictly reserved forbidding all activities like forestry, hunting, poching etc. The park protects over 350 species of fauna and more than 800 species of flora including many medicinal herbs. Tourists can also find rare species of Balsam, Buckthorns, yew, giant Indian flying squirrel, blueships, yellow swallow tail etc. the nearest airport to this sanctuary is Bhuntal that is 50 kms away from the wildlife sanctuary.

9. Periyar National Park – it is a protected area well known for its notable elephants and tiger reserve. The park has an abundance of rare endemic and endangered flora and fauna that forms the watershed of 2 rivers – periyar and pamba. Tourists are attracted due to its location in the Cardamom hills and Pandalam hills of the south Western Ghats along with the border with Tamil Nadu. Enthusiastic trekkers can also visit Cottamala, the southernmost peak of India. One can witness the tropical evergreen grasslands covered by dense grasses. Some of the coffee brands get their coffee beans from the plantations here. The park is a home to 45 species of reptiles and is a must visit.

10. Bandipur National Park, Karnataka – this national park was once a reserve of maharajas of the kingdom of Mysore. It is one of the most prominent national park located in Karnataka and is well known for its diversity in dry deciduous forest. It is one of the best managed parks too. It attracts tourists due to its abundance in sandalwood trees in the reserve area. Tourists can come throughout the year as the normal temperature ranges from 24 – 28 degree Celsius. However, monsoons are erratic. One can enjoy lodging and camping in the area while also enjoying the safari tours. The wildlife abundance ranges from vulnerable species like jungle cat, mongoose, sloth bear, cat leopard to pangolin etc. Ooty is very nearly located to this vegetation along with Coorg which is a fascinating hill station. Bangalore airport is nearest to this place.

11. Hemis National Park – situated in the higher altitude of ladakh, this park is world famous for snow leopards in its high density protected area. It is the only park in the Himalayas with largest protected area in India and the second largest contiguous protected area. It covers an average area of 4400 sq km.

It is bounded by the Indus river and the Zanskar range. It has a famous 400 year old monastery. It contains pine forests , alpine shrub lands and alpine tundra. The Tibetan wolf, the endangered Eurasian brown bear,find their presence along with the Himalayan marmot, mouse hare, an mountain weasel. One can witness the uncommon golden eagle and the Himalayan griffon vulture. Rumbak valley offers great opportunities for bird watching. The park is rich in its flora and alpine vegetation. However no metallic or motorable roads traverse the park, lodging is restricted.

Ayushi Arora