Over half of the remaining tigers in the world can be found in India alone, with a 1,400-strong population scattered across several national parks. These majestic striped creatures roam the dense jungles in the wild or in protected wildlife sanctuaries, and your chances of spotting one of these beauties is pretty high if you know just where to go looking for them.
Conservationists, wildlife enthusiasts and globetrotters alike have flocked to India for tiger safaris increasingly over the years, even as the population of these big cats dwindles. To step up your chances of a sighting on a tiger safari in India, we’ve shortlisted four national parks across states that are perfect for some exploring in the wild.
Tiger Safaris in India’s Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Kanha National Park is brimming with natural beauty and flora and fauna.
Touted as one of the best places to spot tigers in the country, Kanha National Park sprawls over a whopping 940 sq km area and is lush with dense jungle filled with exotic plants and trees, such as Sal, with some areas clearing out into beautiful meadows.
The majestic cats you’re on the lookout for can often be found coming to the streams for a drink of water or lazing languorously in the sun. The pugmarks of tigers can often also be traced to catch sight of these magnificent creatures.
Kanha National Park is brimming with natural beauty and flora and fauna, and other species such as the Swamp Deer, Indian Gaur, sambar, and barking deer are all regularly spotted by visitors to the park, besides a myriad of reptiles and the occasional amphibian.
Tiger Safaris in India’s Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Some of the most famous tigers to have been photographed in the past used to roam in this national forest.
Located between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges along the north-eastern border of the state, Bandhavgarh National Park is home to more than a hundred Royal Bengal Tigers, the largest population in the country. This historic national park is one that the seasoned traveler would identify as a promising destination, for its high chances of tiger sightings, its bounteous nature and a variety of species from leopards to deer to over 250 species of birds.
Visiting between October to April is a good idea for a tiger safari, besides which this national park with an area of 694 sq km offers an immersive experience in the lap of nature amidst thriving biodiversity. Divided into four parts, Tala, Magdhi, Khitauli, and Panpatta, the Tala Zone is said to be the best one for spotting the majestic striped cats.
Some of the famous tigers to have been photographed in the past used to roam in this national forest, such as Sita, who appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazine, Mohini, Charger and Bamera.
Tiger Safaris in India’s Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
Machli, considered to be the oldest tiger alive, is one of the famous inhabitants of this national park.
Famous in India for its prospects of tiger sightings, Ranthambore National Park is surprisingly close to the urban area. Offering sanctuary to tigers in surroundings in which they can thrive, this national park is spread over a 392 sq km area and further divided into smaller areas. The authorities who manage the area also provide Tiger Trail packages and tours, that can facilitate your visit and make your tiger safari a relatively smooth affair.
Machli, considered to be the oldest tiger alive, is one of the famous inhabitants of this national park, along with Slant Ear, Mala, who derives her name from the markings on her neck, and Sultan or T-72, considered to hold a large part of the territory in the park. A 2014 report cites that the population of tigers in Ranthambore National Park has reached 65, an encouraging sign for the tiger population in the country.
Tiger Safaris in India’s Tadoba National Park, Maharashtra
Summer is the best time to embark on a tiger safari here, as the big cats often spend time basking in the sun or heading to Tadoba Lake.
A jaw-dropping 65 tigers were spotted in this national park in Maharashtra in 2014 – no mean feat, as wildlife enthusiasts would agree. As far as tiger safaris in India go, this is one you shouldn’t miss out on. Located in Chandrapur, this national park is the largest in the state and sprawls over an impressive area of 625 sq km — the best part is that the whole area is open for exploration to visitors!
Summer is the best time to embark on a tiger safari here, as the big cats often spend time basking in the sun or heading to Tadoba Lake and other surrounding waterholes for water. This lush sanctuary is home to a myriad of other species such as leopards, sloth bears, gaurs, striped hyenas, chital deer, and the four-horned antelopes, along with a plethora of birds and butterflies to boot.
As long as you take the necessary precautions and remain vigilant, your tiger safari in India is bound to be one of the most unforgettable experiences in your life.
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