Jul 30, 2019

Top 5 destinations where one can do safari in India

Popular Tiger Safari Destinations in India.

Here is a list of the Top 5 sanctuaries where one can do a Safari in India.


- Varun Mani -
  1. Kanha Natiional Park
  2. Corbett National Park
  3. Bandhavgarh National Park
  4. Pench National Park
  5. Tadoba National Park

While researching about Indian jungle safari tours, one most often thinks about the Tiger. We can understand that the prospect of spotting the tiger in the wild is simply irresistible.

Which is why we have shared a short description of the most popular Tiger Safari Parks of India below:


  • Kanha National Park: “Sal Forest Heaven” :


    Located about 04 hours or 250km away from the nearest airport(s), Raipur or Jabalpur, it is a truly heaven right in the heart of India.


  • One associates Central India with being a water-stricken and rather hot area – however the opposite holds true for Kanha. Chilled winters, availability of water around the year and coolness in the early morning and evening in peak summer characterise the uniqueness of this place.

    Being in the tribal belt of South-eastern Madhya Pradesh, it has retained its rich old forest tracts which forms corridors for animals, especially migrating tigers, to other forests in Madhya Pradesh such as Pench as well as sanctuaries such as Achanakmar in Chattisgarh. Without these corridors, the medium to long-term survival of tigers hangs in the balance.


    Kanha Tiger Reserve is spread over 2200 sq.km and maintains a core area of 940 sq.km – it has between 80 to 100 tigers in the wild. Kanha National Park is also distinguished by its moist deciduous forest dominated by old and towering Sal trees and its famous meadows where the critically endangered Hard Ground Swamp Deer or “Barasingha” has its last stronghold.


    These large deer have their rutting or mating season in winter and their magnificent winter coats and the beautifully decorated “Bara singh” or twelve-tined antlers are a treat to behold.


    During a tiger safari in Kanha National Park one can hope to see large yet elusive tigers walking on the jeep tracks as they traverse through the comparatively more comfortable road to announce their presence.


    Birding is fantastic here, with species such as the Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo, Scarlet Minivet, Crested Hawk Eagle, Emerald Dove and Rufous Woodpecker catching the eye amongst 350+species recorded here.


    The park is divided into 06 zones:


    Mukki, Kanha, Kisli, Sarhi, Khapa & Khatia.

    Gates through which one can enter:


    1. Mukki Gate: access to Mukki, Kisli, Kanha & Khapa Zone
    2. Khatia Gate : access to Kisli, Kanha, Sarhi & Khatia Zone
    3. Sarhi Gate : access to Sarhi Zone

  • Corbett National Park : “Land of the Trumpet and Roar” :


    The state of Uttarakhand in Northern India famous for several Hindu pilgrimage sites such as “Haridwar”, “Kedarnath” & “Devprayag” – it is often referred to as the “Land of Gods”.


  • Corbett Tiger Reserve, India’s first declared Tiger Reserve is also located here – about 250 km or 6 hour drive away from New Delhi. Nearest airport is Dehradun, 150 km or a 04 hour drive away.


    Corbett Tiger Reserve, It is the Land of the Trumpet and Roar, with around 600 elephants and over 100 tigers in the wild in this landscape. The foothills of the Himalayas, the Terai plans and the big rivers which are protected by this reserve are a reason for the massive biodiversity in these areas.

    Around 600 species of birds are found here(almost half of the species occurring in the Indian subcontinent).


    Dominated by Sal forests, riverine forests, plains of the Terai as well as foothills – Corbett is a treat to the eye. Especially the massive grasslands of Dhikala – it is a throwback to how beautiful the land which Jim Corbett walked during his “shikaar” exploits was. One feels as if they are bang in the middle of the Ngorongoro Crater in Africa here at Dhikala, scores of elephants make these grasslands their home. Yet, it is only a small part of what was once a larger network of forests and plains surviving due to the wildlife laws.


    The park is divided into the following 06 zones :


    Dhikala, Bijrani, Dhela, Jhirna, Durga Devi & Sitabani.

    Gates through which one can enter:


    1. Dhangadi Gate : access to Dhikala Zone
    2. Amdanda Gate : access to Birjani Zone
    3. Dhela Gate : Dhela & Jhirna Zone
    4. Durga Devi Gate : Durga Devi Zone
    5. Teda Village : Sitabani Zone

    Spotting a tiger during safari at Corbett amongst the thick vegetation is an exciting adventure and the defining flash of orange is a sight to behold. One really ponders as to the mysteries that lie in the heart of the jungle and makes one marvel about how rich landscapes such as these are surviving in a country full of people.


  • Bandhavgarh National Park : “The Land of Legends” :


    Bandhavgarh is rightfully called the Land of the Tiger. A famous hunting reserve for the Maharajas who ruled these lands, this area has to this day been preserved for shooting wildlife – with cameras. Come take a tiger safari in Bandhavgarh.


  • An almost isolated park, it has few migration routes for dispersed male tigers looking to find a home for themselves, hence, along with suitable habitat and prey-base, it has a high density of tigers. Around 60 or so wild tigers are in this area. Hence it is often said that it is the best place to see tigers in the wild in the world.

    The Tiger Reserve is spread over 1100 sq.km with a core area of about 440 sq.km.

    A safari experience here, with enthusiastic guides and drivers is a thrilling experience – the routes taken by the tigers of old are taken to this day by their offspring and one can learn about tracking these tigers through the eyes of the locals.



    This landscape is also dominated by Sal and Bamboo, however its beauty is truly seen at Tala Zone with its famous grasslands, surrounded almost entirely by large hills whereupon old Forts and Watchtowers have been erected – dating back to the 10th century.

    There is also the famous 60 foot statue of the sleeping Lord Vishnu in the middle of Tala Zone – a sight of tranquility in the tranquil forest. The forests though dominated by Sal Trees like at Kanha and Corbett is much drier and this is evident from February onwards moving into summer. There is a good mix of scrub forest as well.

    Though many might scoff at the idea of bird watching, Bandhavgarh is an excellent birding destination with good visibility of birds. It has a very good population of the vultures such as the Indian Vulture, White Rumped Vulture which roost along the cliffs. The Asian paradise flycatcher, Golden Oriole, Indian Pitta as well as the sight of the not so common White-capped Bunting. Hence a tiger safri tour is not complete without experiencing all that Bandhavgarh has to offer.


    The park is divided into the following 03 zones :


    Tala, Magdhi & Khitauli zone

    Gates through which one can enter:


    1. Tala Gate : Tala Zone
    2. Magdhi Gate : Magdhi Zone
    3. Khitauli Gate : Khitauli Zone

  • Pench National Park : “Land of Kipling’s Jungle Book” :


    Pench is where the Jungle Book comes to life. In the district of Seoni[or Seonee, where Mowgli was born], not more than 2.5 hours away from Nagpur City, lies this very important reserve.


  • Forming corridors for movement of tigers between Kanha, Nagzira as well as Bor Wildlife Sanctuary – Pench is one of the most significant landscapes although living dangerously amongst area of great “development” potential for the powers that be.

    This Tiger Reserve is spread across 2000 sq km in the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, although the areas close to and in Madhya Pradesh are the most. The core area of Pench Maharashtra is around 400 sq. km whose popularity has risen due to the groundbreaking documentary film by the BBC called “Tiger : Spy in the Jungle” wherein elephants have been trained to take intimate footage of a family of a dominant tigress and her 04 cubs right from birth to adulthood! The equipment used was ahead of its time with a story well woven.



    Pench has one of the highest densities of Spotted Deer in India, and animals such as the Indian Leopard and the Dhol or Indian Wild Dog exist while carefully avoiding conflict with the 80-odd tigers in the wild here. Here, evidence of large villages which have been relocated to bring back the grasslands is apparent with sprawling grasslands now as far as the eye can see, amongst the gently rolling hills which are gorgeous just after the monsoons.

    The life-giving Pench river is a hot-bed of activity with water-birds and herbivores which attract the Jackal, Wild Dog as well as the Tiger who make it one of their hunting grounds. Vultures roost atop the dry trees, looking to scavenge on the remains.


    The park is divided into the following 03 zones :


    Turia, Khursapar & Sillari

    Entry gates are as follows :


    1. Turia Gate : Turia Zone
    2. Karmajhiri Gate : Turia Zone
    3. Jamtara Gate : Turia Zone
    4. Khursapar Gate : Khursapar
    5. Sillari Gate : Sillari

    The word ‘legend’ is bandied about rather loosely these days, however, a true legend rules a big part of Pench National Park at the Turia side who has not only given birth to, but successfully raised 26 cubs to adulthood! Meet “Collarwali“, one of the finest specimens of the Royal Bengal Tiger. Her size is unbelievable and perhaps one of the reasons why she has been so successful. She is featured as a cub in Spy in the Jungle and was collared for research purposes after she was dispersed by her mother another successful tigress at Pench. Her collar fell off a couple of years ago, however the name fondly remains with old-timers and new alike flocking to get a glimpse of this grand beauty.

    A few years ago, the astonishing sight of 06 tigers together was seen when this legend had successfully even raised 05 cubs in a single litter to adulthood – a feat about tigers not known to man as yet ! Survival rates stand at an average rate of 1 surviving cub per litter due to the many challenges faced by the mother who fends for her cubs by herself.

    Pench is vastly different from the above 03 parks, it is a mixed to dry deciduous forest dominated by Teak trees.


  • Tadoba National Park : “The Jewel of the Vidharbha” :


    Slowly creeping up to the stature of Bandhavgarh as the go-to National Park for Tiger-centric tourists, Tadoba is burgeoning with tourism and as a result, tigers who are less reserved about the multitude of eyes watching them from their jeeps.


  • Tadoba is located in the state of Maharashtra, once again about a 2.5 hour drive away from Nagpur airport.

    Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve is around 1700 sq km in size dominated by teak. The core area is 625 sq.km. with tiger population crossing 80 tigers. Here, even Sloth Bears are seen in good frequency in comparison to the above 04 parks.

    The summer brings many a photographer here as the water bodies become an almost permanent fixture hitting the mid-40’s – the big cats needing the waters to cool their heavy bodies.


    The National Park is divided amongst 03 zones primarily:


    Moharli, Tadoba & Kolsa.

    Entry gates are as follows :


    1. Kolara Gate : Tadoba Zone
    2. Navegaon Gate : Tadoba Zone
    3. Moharli Gate : Moharli Zone
    4. Khutwanda Gate : Moharli Zone
    5. Zari Gate : Kolsa Zone
    6. Pangadi Gate : Kolsa Zone

    With new zones opening up every year, it is the crown jewel of safaris, and the title of the “Crown of Vidarbha” illuminates this beautiful park, and it slowly become the top tiger sanctuary in India.

    Every National Park mentioned has its own charm and uniqueness, and while we have several blogs ranking or sharing insights – these are creations of nature and every safari tour is the best safari tour.

    Finally, we maintain that spotting predators is a matter of chance, and that before every Indian jungle safari tour you remember that you remain patient and enjoy the jungle!


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