We bring you a list of 10 national parks from different parts of the country that you must visit this winter.
Bandhavgarh National Park
Kanha National Park
Considered as one of the most beautiful forests in India, Kanha has over 1,000 species of flowering plants. The forest is counted among those in India with maximum sightings of the Bengal tiger. While swamp deer is counted among the most commonly seen animals here, the jungle is home to numerous other species including leopard, black buck, nilgai, hyena, and a host of various migratory birds.
Panna National Park
Located not too far from Khajuraho, a major tourist attraction in Madhya Pradesh, the Panna National Park serves as a perfect stopover when you visit the region. Spread across an area of 543 sq km, the forest is home to a relatively smaller number of tigers, but are visible to most of the tourists. Wolf, sloth bear, spotted deer and sambars are the most commonly seen species in this jungle. The national park is also home to more than 200 species of birds including the bar-headed goose, honey buzzard, king vulture and blossom-headed parakeet.
Pench National Park
This is the forest which acted as an inspiration for Rudyard Kipling's famous work, The Jungle Book. Spread across Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh, the forest derives its name from the Pench river which flows through the park, almost dividing it into two halves. The Bengal tiger has major prominence in this park, amounting to a total of 25 as per a census done in 2011. Apart from this, the forest boasts of 38 other species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles and three species of amphibians. Fox, jungle cat, spotted deer, striped hyena, four-horned antelope and Indian bison are the most commonly seen animals.
Keoladeo National Park
Formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, the Keoladeo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to over 366 species of birds. Popular among photographers and ornithologists, the park is famous for a wide range of migratory birds that are visible during the winter months. A boat ride in the park can bring travellers closest to some really beautiful birds. Apart from birds, the park also has 379 floral species, 50 species of fish, 13 species of snakes, five species of lizards, seven amphibian species and seven species of turtles.
Jim Corbett National Park
A hot favourite among Delhiites for a weekend getaway, the Jim Corbett National Park spreads across a wide area of 1,300 sq km, having a fine balance of dense vegetation and rolling grasslands. Among a wide range of animals that include sloth bears, langurs, rhesus macaques, peacocks, otters, gharials and several species of deer, the forest is home to around 200 tigers and 300 wild elephants.
Ranthambore National Park
Located 130 km from Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan draws a large number of wildlife photographers from different parts of the world. The forest area, once serving as hunting grounds for the Maharajas of Jaipur, is spread across an area of 392 sq km. While tigers can be easily spotted in this place, other majorly seen animals include leopard, nilgai, hyena, sloth bear, southern plains gray langur, rhesus macaque and spotted deer, among others.
Bandipur National Park
Located in Karnataka, the Bandipur National Park covers an area of 880 sq km and is known to have a natural beauty that is unparalleled. Once the private game reserve of Mysore's Maharaja, the forest is home to about 100 species of animals, that include a good number of tigers, majestic elephants, leopards, gaur (Indian bison), spotted deer, sloth bears, langurs, and sambars. This place also makes bird watchers happy with its impressive 350-odd species of birds.
Kaziranga National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kaziranga National Park showcases the earthy beauty that the state of Assam is known for. The forest shelters world's highest number of one-horned rhinos with a population close to 1,800. Other prominent animals include a high density of tigers, a huge number of elephants with a population of around 2,000, and other varied species of animals such as swamp deer, water buffaloes and leopards, among others. When it comes to birds, the jungle boasts a good number of both resident and migratory species.
Gir National Park
Gir National Park in Gujarat is the only place in India where you can catch a glimpse of the Asiatic lion. Once serving as the hunting grounds for the Nawabs of Junagadh, the forest area of Gir spreads across an area of 1,412 sq km. The forest is home to 38 species of mammals, around 300 species of birds, 37 species of reptiles and more than 2,000 species of insects. Apart from lions, the most commonly seen animals in the forest include leopards, striped hyenas, golden jackals, desert cats, cobras and four-horned antelopes, among others.