National parks in India are IUCN category II protected areas. India's first national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, now known as Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand. By 1970, India only had five national parks. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to safeguard the habitats of conservation reliant species.Further federal legislation strengthening protections for wildlife was introduced in the 1980s. As of July 2015, there were 103 national parks encompassing an area of 40,500 km2 (15,600 sq mi), comprising 1.23% of India's total surface area.In India many more national parks are there but here we are showing you best 10 of them.
Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand and was named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment. The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative.A total of 488 different species of plants have been recorded in the park.
More than 586 species of resident and migratory birds have been categorised, including the crested serpent eagle, blossom-headed parakeet and the red junglefowl — ancestor of all domestic fowl. 33 species of reptiles, seven species of amphibians, seven species of fish and 36 species of dragonflies have also been recorded.
Bengal tigers, although plentiful, are not easily spotted due to the abundance of foliage - camouflage - in the reserve. Thick jungle, the Ramganga river and plentiful prey make this reserve an ideal habitat for tigers who are opportunistic feeders and prey upon a range of animals. The tigers in the park have been known to kill much larger animals such as buffalo and even elephant for food. The tigers prey upon the larger animals in rare cases of food shortage. There have been incidents of tigers attacking domestic animals in times of shortage of prey.
Leopards are found in hilly areas but may also venture into the low land jungles. Small cats in the park include the jungle cat, fishing cat and leopard cat. Other mammals include barking deer, sambar deer, hog deer and chital, sloth and Himalayan black bears, Indian grey mongoose, otters, yellow-throated martens, Himalayan goral, Indian pangolins, and langur and rhesus macaques. Owls and nightjars can be heard during the night.
In the summer, Indian elephants can be seen in herds of several hundred. The Indian python found in the reserve is a dangerous species, capable of killing a chital deer. Local crocodiles and gharials were saved from extinction by captive breeding programs that subsequently released crocodiles into the Ramganga river.
Best Time to Visit: Mid-November to Mid-June.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambhore National Park is one of the largest national parks in northernIndia, covering entire area of 392 km².Ranthambhore was established as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 by the Government of India and was declared one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973.Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary is known for its tigers and is one of the best places in India to see these animals in their natural jungle habitat. Tigers can be easily spotted even in the daytime. The best times for tiger sightings at Ranthambore National Park are in November and May. The park's deciduous forests are characteristic examples of the type of jungle found in Central India. Other major wild animals include leopard, nilgai, wild boar, sambar, striped hyena, sloth bear, southern plains gray langur, rhesus macaque and chital. The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of trees, plants, birds and reptiles, as well as one of the largest banyan trees in India.
Best Time to Visit: October to April
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India. The sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site.The rhino population in Kaziranga National Park is 2,401.Kaziranga is home to the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world, and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species.
Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, criss-crossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water. Kaziranga has been the theme of several books, songs, and documentaries.
Best Time to Visit: November to April
Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the popular national parks in India located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh. Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968. This park has a large biodiversity. The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is one of the highest known in India. The park has a large breeding population of leopards, and various species of deer. Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa captured the first white tiger in this region in 1951. This white tiger, Mohan, is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajas of Rewa.
One of the biggest attractions of this national park is the tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) and its sightings. Bandhavgarh has a very high density of tigers within the folds of its jungles. The 105 km2 of park area open to tourists was reported to have 22 tigers, a density of one tiger for every 4.77 km2. Bandhavgarh tiger reserve is densely populated with other species: the gaur, or Indian bison, are now extinct or have migrated elsewhere; sambar and barking deer are a common sight, and nilgai are to be seen in the open areas of the park. There have been reports of the Indian wolf (canis lupus indica), striped hyena, and the caracal the latter being an open country dweller. The tiger reserve abounds with chital or the spotted deer (Axis axis) which is the main prey animal of the tiger and the Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca).
Best Time to Visit: October to June
Sundarbans National Park
The Sundarban National Park is a National Park, Tiger Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve in West Bengal, India.It is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger. It is also home to a variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species, including the salt-water crocodile.The Sundarbans forest is home to more than 400 tigers. The royal Bengal tigers have developed a unique characteristic of swimming in the saline waters, and are famous for their man-eating tendencies. Tigers can be seen on the river banks sunbathing between November and February. Apart from the Bengal tiger, Fishing cats, Leopard cats, Macaques, Wild boar, Indian grey mongoose, Fox, Jungle cat, Flying fox, Pangolin, Chital, are also found in abundance in the Sundarbans.
Best Time to Visit: December to February.
Indravati National Park
Indravati National Park is a national park located in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh state of India. It derives its name from the nearby Indravati River. It is home to one of the last populations of rare wild buffalo.Indravati National Park has one of the last populations of the endangered wild Asian buffalo. The national park is also home to a variety of other ungulate species. Reported from the area are gaur (Indian bison), nilgai, blackbuck, chausingha (four-horned antelope), sambar, chital, Indian muntjac, Indian spotted chevrotain and wild boar. Large predators are represented by tigers, leopards, sloth bears, dholes (wild dog) and striped hyenas. Smaller mammals include flying squirrel, porcupine, pangolins, rhesus monkeys and langurs among many others. The commonly found reptiles in the park are freshwater crocodile, monitor lizard, Indian chameleon, common krait, Indian rock python, cobra and Russell's viper to name a few. The park also gives shelter to the large variety of birds of which the hill myna is the most important species.
Best Time to Visit: December to June
Gir Forest National Park
The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a forest and wildlife sanctuary near Talala Gir in Gujarat, India.Its region is the sole home of the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) in the wilderness, and is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species.The count of 2,375 distinct fauna species of Gir includes about 38 species of mammals, around 300 species of birds, 37 species of reptiles and more than 2,000 species of insects.The carnivores group mainly comprises Asiatic lions, Sloth bear, Indian leopards, Indian cobras, jungle cats, striped hyenas, golden jackals, Indian mongoose, and honey badgers. Desert cats and rusty-spotted cats occur but are rarely seen.
Best Time to Visit: December to March
Periyar National Park
Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (PNP) is a protected area near Thekkady in the districts of Idukki, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, India. It is notable as both a elephant reserve and a tiger reserve.There are 35 species of mammals recorded in the park, including many threatened species. It is an important tiger and elephant reserve. A total of 24 Bengal tigers were counted across 640 square kilometers of the park in 2008. It is valuable for Indian elephant and also for a few of white tigers found here. Other mammals include the gaur, sambar, wild pig, Indian giant squirrel, Travancore flying squirrel, jungle cat, sloth bear, Nilgiri tahr, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Salim Ali's fruit bat, stripe-necked mongoose, and Nilgiri marten.
Best Time to Visit: October to June
Bandipur National Park
Bandipur National Park is a tiger reserve under Project Tiger, is a national park located in the south Indian state of Karnataka.The commonly seen mammals along the public access roads in the park include chital, gray langurs, Indian giant squirrels and elephants. A list of medium to large-sized mammals in the park Tiger, Leopard, Indian elephant, Gaur, Dhole, Chital, Sambar, Sloth bear, Four-horned antelope, Gray langur, Wild boar, Muntjac.
Best Time to Visit: October to May
Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park is an Indian national park and tiger reserve that encompasses the Shivaliks, near the foothills of the Himalayas. The park is spread over 820 km2., and three districts of Uttarakhand: Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal.The park is most renowned for its elephants.wild animals found in the park include Asian elephant, Bengal tiger, Leopard, Jungle cat, Striped hyena, Goral, Indian hare, Sloth bear, Himalayan black bear, King cobra, Jackal, Barking deer, Sambhar, Wild boar, Rhesus macaque, Indian langur, Indian porcupine, Monitor lizard, Python.
Best Time to Visit: November to June