The land of India is bestowed with bountiful natural beauty that shelters diverse wildlife. From lush forests and salt deserts to rugged mountains and vast marine stretches, India's wildlife sanctuaries are home to unique species of flora and fauna. Some of the top sanctuaries in the country that are ideal for a wildlife game drive are listed below.The land of India is bestowed with bountiful natural beauty that shelters diverse wildlife. From lush forests and salt deserts to rugged mountains and vast marine stretches, India's wildlife sanctuaries are home to unique species of flora and fauna. Some of the top sanctuaries in the country that are ideal for a wildlife game drive are listed below.
Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
The former hunting reserve of the maharaja of Alwar, the Sariska valley is home to a variety of flora and fauna. The park has populations of tigers, nilgai, sambar, chital etc. One can spot Indian porcupine, striped hyenas, leopards during evenings. The place is a paradise for bird lovers as it shelters a large population of Indian peafowl, crested serpent eagles, sand grouse, golden-backed woodpeckers, great Indian horned owls, tree pies, vultures and many others.
Most of the landscape of the sanctuary is made of dry deciduous forests, which flank the serene Siliserh Lake in the northeast. The sanctuary is strewn with ruins of ancient temples dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Some of the highlights are the ruins of the Kankwari Fort and the 10th-century Neelkanth temples. The way to the temples is rough but the architecture and the Khajuraho-like carvings will simply leave the visitor in awe of the place. The temples are 30 km inside the reserve wherein one can spot beautiful birds such as peacocks. There is also a monolithic stone statue of the Jain tirthankar, Shantinath, about 100 m away from the temples. Another interesting site of religious importance in the Sariska Sanctuary is the Pandupol, which is believed to be the place where Bhima (the strongest of the Pandavas) defeated the gigantic demon Hidimb and earned the hand of his sister Hidimba. It is also believed that Bhima took refuge here while the Pandavas were on their exile. One can find a number of langurs, peafowl, spur fowls in the area.
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
One of the most popular attractions for tourists, the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary stretches over an area of 610 sq km across the Aravalli range. The sanctuary is home to a number of endangered species and is the only one in the state of Rajasthan to trace wolves engaged in their activities. More than 40 wolves are believed to call the sanctuary their home. Other animals that one can sight here include leopards, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, sambar, nilgai, chausingha (the four-horned antelope), chinkara and hare. It also houses a variety of flora with a number of trees and medicinal plants. One can enjoy a safari in the sanctuary to get a glimpse of wildlife in the natural habitat. The sanctuary also includes the Kumbhalgarh Fort, which is a delight to visit.
Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
Located in Chittorgarh, this sanctuary is spread over an area of 150 sq km and is home to a variety of flora and fauna. The dry deciduous forest is dotted with trees such as dhok, butea, churel, besides diverse flowering plants and medicinal herbs. Minted a wildlife sanctuary in 1988, Bassi boasts faunae such as four-horned antelopes, hyenas, jackals, wild boar, etc. It is also a paradise for birdwatchers as it shelters a number of avifauna such as lesser whistling duck, peacocks, Saras cranes, pigeons, hawks, peafowls, cuckoo, storks, etc. Bassi invites wildlife photographers from all over the world.
Bhainsrorgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
Situated on the banks of the pristine Chambal and Brahmani rivers, the sanctuary boasts a thick forest cover. The wildlife that one can spot here includes deer, jackals, chinkaras, fox, hyenas, antelopes, wild boar, turtles, crocodiles, goose, black-bellied terns, red-crested pochards, stocks, hawks, owls and darters. Since the sanctuary is situated at the confluence of the Chambal and Brahmani rivers, one can also spot a freshwater dolphin swimming around.
Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
Located in Chittorgarh, Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary is sprawled over an area of 423 sq km, comprising Aravali Hills, Vindhyachal Hills and Malwa Plateau. Some of the faunae you can spot here include leopards, wild boar, flying squirrel, four-horned antelopes, hyenas, chousingha, etc. For birdwatchers, there is a sizeable population of owls, egrets, vultures, eagles, herons, peafowls, Saras cranes, quails, Ruddy shelducks, black-winged stints, purple moorhen, cotton teal, etc.
Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
Boasting rich biodiversity, this sanctuary is spread over the hills of Mount Abu. It was minted a wildlife sanctuary in 1960 and is a significant eco-tourism spot today.
Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
Nestled atop a small hill in Bikaner, Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, who can spot fauna like nilgai, chinkara, blackbuck, wild boar, flocks of imperial sand grouse and many other species of migratory birds.
Dhawa Doli Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
Located in the periphery of Jodhpur, Dhawa Doli Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a large number of blackbucks, chital and sambar, partridges, desert rats, antelopes, desert foxes and nilgai. The best time to visit it is at the crack of dawn or dusk. Set out on a safari at the crack of dawn, as the sun peeks over the treetops, and birdsong reverberates through the lush forest. There are small water bodies inside the jungle, where you will find many of the residents of Dhawa Doli during the hot afternoons.At dusk, many of the species come onto the forest paths, as they make their way deeper into the vegetation. You can catch a glimpse of herds of blackbucks and nilgai as they lumber down the road, stopping here and there to munch on the dewy grass.
Hemis Wildlife Sanctuary, Ladakh
Named after the Hemis Monastery, Hemis Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across an area of 600 sq km. Comprising the catchments of Markha, Rumbak and Sumdah nalas, it is located on the west bank of the River Indus. Spotted with rocks and boulders, the Hemis Sanctuary's terrain is characterised by rugged valleys that have vast tracts of grasslands and several dense patches of shrubs and trees. The sanctuary has been identified as a snow leopard reserve and is also known for beasts that are usually found at such altitudes like the rare shapu, bharal, wolf, Pallas' cat, ibex, Tibetan argali and the Ladakh urial. Since the bharal and urial are found in large numbers here, it is easy to sight them. Over 30 species of avifauna have been spotted here, of which the most common are the Himalayan snowcock and the Chukar partridge.
Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary, Ladakh
This sanctuary is home to a diversity of flora and fauna and is spread over an area of 1,600 sq km. It is located in the Ladakhi Changthang Plateau in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir. It boasts of the highest lake on earth, Tso Moriri. Not just that it is also believed to include the world's highest village, Korzok Village that draws tourists for the Korzok Monastery. From sighting the rare snow leopard, one can also spot a kiang or a wild ass, along with the dark-necked crane. Other interesting species one can find are the Tibetan wolf, wild yak, bharal, brown bear and the mormot that seems to be present everywhere. It also has a wide variety of avifauna and around 44 types of waterbirds and seasonal species of migratory birds are also found here.
Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
Located about 100 km from Belgaum, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for nature and wildlife lovers. Surrounded by dense forests and verdant hills, the wildlife sanctuary is blessed with rich biodiversity. It is home to animals like tigers, rare black panthers, elephants, wild dogs and deer, among others. However, the prime attraction is crocodiles. If you're lucky, you can also spot the king cobra. The wildlife sanctuary is a treat for birdwatchers as it shelters species like blue-throated barbet, great pied hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill and peregrine falcon. The dense forests of the sanctuary are lined with deciduous and evergreen trees like bamboo and teak. The best way to explore the sanctuary is by taking a forest safari in an open gypsy and witnessing fauna in their natural habitat. Located on the banks of River Kali, the sanctuary is Karnataka's second-largest and draws tourists from all parts of the country.
Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
Comprising lush vegetation of shoal forest patches, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests and bamboo trees, this wildlife sanctuary is home to faunae like tigers, elephants, macaques, gaurs, leopards, wild boars, sloth bears, Nilgiri langurs, etc. This sanctuary was established in 1974 and is surrounded by coffee and cardamom plantations. You can also find diverse avifauna here, including Malabar trogon, emerald dove and black bulbul.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
Spread over an area of 490 sq km, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is ringed by hills of the Western Ghats. A picturesque location, it provides a thrilling wildlife adventure. The sanctuary has been named after the Bhadra river that cuts through the forest.
BR Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
Tourists can explore the rich wildlife of the area by visiting the BR Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across an area of 539 sq km, the natural reserve is home to bears, chital, gaurs, sambar, leopards, wild dogs, elephants and tigers. The sanctuary is also inhabited by more than 200 species of birds including racket-tailed drongo and crested eagle.
Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
Home to several endangered species of animals and birds, Pushpagiri is among the 21 wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka. It offers a thrilling wildlife adventure to visitors.
Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
This picturesque sanctuary is a treat for any nature traveller. Spread across the undulating hilly terrain of the beautiful Western Ghats, it is home to fauna like slender loris, lion-tailed macaque, sambar, chital, sloth bear, gaur, wild pig among others. The Kodachadri Hills form the highest point in the sanctuary and the Mookambika Temple stands on the Kodachadri peak. The sanctuary derives its name from a goddess of the same name.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change declared the Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary as an Eco-sensitive Zone in 2015 to preserve and cultivate further the unique wildlife and natural heritage of the region. The best time to visit is from November to April. The sanctuary lies at a distance of 148 km from Gokarna.
Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
An idyllic site to experience wildlife at close quarters, the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary is home to tigers, leopards, wild dogs, sloth bears, gaurs, sambars, chitals, Asian elephants and four-horned antelopes. Skirted by the Cauvery river along the northern and eastern boundaries of the reserve, the sanctuary comprises a dry deciduous forest with abundant shrubbery. The sanctuary also provides shelters to endangered species like the grizzled giant squirrel, besides marsh crocodiles, pythons, cobras, Russell's vipers, banded kraits and turtles. Large populations of the Mahseer fish are found here as well, along with some species of bird such as the Sirkeer cuckoo, white-browed bulbul, green-billed malkoha and the pygmy woodpecker. Spread over an area of 523 sq km, the sanctuary can be explored through a jeep safari.
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. It spans a vast area and has a thriving animal life. Chinnar is well-guarded and holds a treasure of flora too, nearly a thousand species of flowering plants, as well as dry deciduous forests and grasslands. From birds and butterflies to mammals and moths, one can witness nature in all its beauty and glory here. Chinnar Sanctuary also has the largest number of reptiles within the state, including the rare mugger crocodile. It is also home to the grizzled giant squirrel; numbering less than 200, it is one of the most endangered species in the world. The other animals that can be found include spotted deer, sambar deer, Hanuman langur and peacock.
Another attraction for tourists within the sanctuary is the Thoovanam Waterfalls. For a panoramic view of the entire area, including a sight of the falls, climb to the top of the watchtower here; vast expanses of green forests extending to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu and far away mountains will all be on offer for you. The sanctuary is also a trekker’s paradise and lies about 60 km from Munnar.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
Straddling the protected forest areas of the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is home to rich biodiversity. Sheltering a mix of South Indian moist deciduous forests, West Coast semi-evergreen forests and trees of teak and eucalyptus, the sanctuary houses fauna like tigers, panthers, langurs, bonnet macaques, bison, sambars, monkeys, Malabar squirrels, bears, monitor lizards, elephants, crocodiles, flying lizards, turtles, skinks and the rare slender Loris. Located on the outskirts of the city, the sanctuary is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Muthanga and Tholpetty eco-tourism spots nestled in the sanctuary offer an unforgettable wildlife experience to visitors.
The best way to explore the sanctuary is through jeep safaris, where you can sight grazing deer, a herd of elephants tromping by or the elusive tiger drinking from one of the many waterholes in the area.
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
For nature and wildlife lovers, Kannur has the Aralam Sanctuary nestled in the Western Ghats. Located at a distance of 55 km from Kannur, the sanctuary is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna. Some of the common sightings include deer, elephants, boar, bison and various types of squirrels. Kannur is located at a distance of 80 km from Bekal and can easily be reached in two hours.
Malom Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
A lush stretch of tropical green forest, Malom Wildlife Sanctuary shelters a variety of species like Malabar hornbill, flying squirrel, king cobra, rhesus monkey, python, porcupine, wild boar, etc.
Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
If you are visiting Thenmala, a boat ride through the Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary tops the list of things to do. Home to a number of species like elephants, tigers, bison, leopards, lion-tailed macaques, Nilgiri langurs, sambar, wild boar, deer and others, the sanctuary is located at a distance of 66 km from Kollam. The best way to explore the sanctuary is through a jungle safari. You can also trek along designated paths in the sanctuary and camp near the reservoir. You can also head to the Kurumthotti Top Hut, from where you can spot wildlife easily. Staying overnight can be a thrilling experience as one can sleep to the sounds of nocturnals at night.
Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
This sanctuary is best known for its Lion and Deer Safari. It also boasts an elephant rehabilitation centre and a crocodile farm.
Parappa Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala
Situated in Kasargod, Parappa Wildlife Sanctuary shelters wildlife like Malabar Hornbill, slender loris, porcupine, turtle, etc. The forest has a thick green cover and boasts several medicinal herbs.
Benog Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand
Teeming with wildlife like leopards, mountain quails, red-billed blue magpie, deer, etc., this sanctuary is one of the most gorgeous retreats in Mussoorie. The avifauna is rich and diverse here, making it a birdwatcher's paradise. The sanctuary is also called Vinog Mountain Quail Sanctuary as it is home to the almost-extinct mountain quails.
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand
Spread over an area of 47 sq km, the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is host to more than 200 species of native and migratory birds and endangered species like Indian red fox, jackals, pine martens and porcupines. It also houses leopards, ghorals, wild boars, kakars, monkeys and Himalayan black bears. Located in the lap of Kumaon hills, it gives a panoramic view of the snow-clad mountains. The sanctuary is covered by oak and rhododendron forests at higher altitudes and by chir pine forests at a lower height. Apart from this, it has 25 types of trees, 24 types of bushes and seven varieties of grasses.
There are jeep safaris from the main gate to the Forest Rest House. One can also explore the eastern fringes of the sanctuary, from the main entrance towards Gairad Bend and also to Paleo Bend, before backtracking to the gate. Many peaks of the Himalayas are visible from here, including the Kedarnath peak.
Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand
Govind Pashu Vihar shelters several species like snow leopard, brown bear, Western tragopan, musk deer, golden eagle and Indian porcupine. You can also spot endangered birds such as Steppe eagle, Himalayan snowcock and the bearded vulture. The best time to visit here is from May to October.
Chail Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh
This erstwhile royal hunting reserve is now a declared wildlife sanctuary, minted thus in 1976. Chail boasts a variety of fauna such as leopards, Indian munjtac, sambar, wild boar, etc. The best time to visit here is from March to October.
Simbalwada Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh
Home to several endemic and migratory birds, this sanctuary is a hotspot for birdwatching. The lush forest is dotted with sal forests that provide an idyllic shelter to avifauna. Some of the common faunae you can spot here are barking deer, wild boar, sambar, chital, etc.
Nagarjunasagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Telangana
Located in Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar Wildlife Sanctuary is also called Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Sanctuary. It is sprawled over an area of 3,568 sq km and lies adjacent to the popular Nagarjunasagar Reservoir. Some of the faunae you can spot here include tigers, jackals, langur, macaques and more than 150 species of birds such as pea fouls and grey hornbills. The sanctuary also shelters reptiles like marsh crocodiles, pythons, monitor lizard, soft-shelled turtles, etc. The forest is watered by River Krishna that ensures lush and rich biodiversity. The best time to visit is from October to May.
Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, Telangana
A visit to the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best ways to explore nature in its purest form. Take a jeep safari organised by the Forest Department and be ready to spot deer, nilgai, sambar and sloth bear as you pass through narrow roads lined with gorgeous trees on either sides. Home to pythons, cobras, mugger crocodiles and other reptile species, this is one of Telangana's most popular wildlife sanctuaries. The sanctuary is also one of the world's rare eco-regions that houses a variety of embryonic species of ephemeral elements (that last for a very short time). Spread over an area of 806 sq km, the sanctuary offers both easy and challenging hikes. Some rare tree fossils have also been discovered here, making it an area of historical importance. The forest is divided into two parts by the Dayyam Vagu river. The Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary lies at a distance of 110 km from Warangal and was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1953 by the government of Hyderabad.
Pocharam Wildlife Sanctuary, Telangana
This sanctuary spreads over an area of 130 sq km and was the former hunting ground of the ruling Nizams. It was set up in 1952, and named after the Pocharam Lake here. A trekking trails winds through the sanctuary that takes visitors through thick forest covers, giving a spine-chilling wildlife experience.
Sivaram Wildlife Sanctuary, Telangana
Located on the banks of the Godavari river, this sanctuary was set up in 1987. The forest shelters species like tigers, nilgai, langur, sloth bear, chital, sambar, python, etc. Godavari is also teeming with a sizeable population of crocodile.
Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh
Established in 1965, Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary was the erstwhile hunting ground of the Nizams rulers. The main attraction here is the tiger.
Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh
Spanning an area of 614sq km, Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary was set up in 1988. It is best known for sheltering a sizeable population of the great Indian bustard and lesser florican. Other faunae that you can spot here are blackbucks, bonnets, sparrows, mynas, Indian rollers, Indian cobras, Russell's vipers, etc.
Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
Spread over 38.81 sq km, Pobitro Wildlife Sanctuary is a microcosm of Kaziranga and is often referred to as the national park’s show window. The sanctuary is home to a sizeable population of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros. Ensconced in the grasslands of Assam, the sanctuary is a birdwatcher's paradise as one can find an astounding variety of avifauna. The wetlands host birds like the greater adjutant, lesser adjutant, swamp francolin, white-bellied heron etc. If one is lucky, they can also spot the dolphins that are found in the Brahmaputra river.
Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
Located around 10 km from Guwahati, Deepor Beel is one of the most important riverine wetlands in the Brahmaputra Valley. Shortlisted as an Important Bird Area site by Birdlife International, Deepor Beel is the natural habitat of about 219 varieties of birds and 70 species of migratory birds. Some of the threatened birds one can spot here include Pallas’ sea eagle, spot-billed pelican, lesser adjutant stork, greater adjutant stork and Baer’s Pochard. Tourists can also spot fauna like Asian elephants, leopards, sambar, barking deer and Chinese porcupine. Moreover, the park is home to about 20 species of amphibians, 12 kinds of lizards, 18 varieties of snakes and tortoise and turtles, along with 50 kinds of fishes. The best time to visit is from October to March.
Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
Located around 15 km from Guwahati, Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 78.64 sq km and has a wide variety of birds and mammals. Some of the popular wildlife you can find includes flying fox, slow loris, leopard, rhesus macaque, capped langur, jungle cat, greater adjutant, wild pig, sambar, barking deer, gaur, porcupine, slender-billed vulture, python, lesser-pied hornbill, monitor lizard and Indian cobra. The wildlife sanctuary is also a haven for adventure lovers and trekkers who come to indulge in activities like trekking, rock climbing, zip lining and mountain rappelling. A visit to Amchang will leave you thrilled and awed by nature and its unparalleled beauty. Amchang was declared as a wildlife sanctuary on June 19, 2004, by the government of Assam.
Kakoijana Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
Popularly called the home of the golden langurs, this sanctuary is located on the banks of Aie river. It teems with fauna like leopards, hornbills, pythons, storks, monitor lizards, pangolins, porcupines, etc.
Bardoibum-Beelmukh Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
Set up in 1996 Bardoibum-Beelmukh Wildlife Sanctuary, in Dhemaji, is spread over a lush area. Some of the common species found here include tigers, elephants, deer, buffaloes, etc.
Hoollongapar Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
Noted for its hoolock gibbon population, this sanctuary is skirted by the Brahmaputra river and lush tea gardens. Besides gibbons, you can also spot Assamese macaque, capped langur, slow loris, stump-tailed macaque, rhesus macaque, pigtail macaque, elephants, etc.
Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
The sanctuary is a haven for those who love spending time amidst nature and is one of the favourite weekend getaways for the people of Mumbai and Pune. It is covered in deciduous forests and has been identified as an IBA (important bird area) by Bird Life International. The Shekru or giant flying squirrel, Maharashtra’s state animal, is found in this wildlife sanctuary, apart from other flora and fauna. There is also has a library in its Forest Interpretation Centre. The sanctuary is one of the 12 biodiversity hotspots of the world. Located in the Western Ghats, it is also a catchment area that supplies water to the Bhima and Ghod rivers. The best time to visit is from October to February.
Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
Covering an area of 61 sq km, Bor is a vast wildlife sanctuary that is located at Hingni in Wardha, Maharashtra. It is home to wildlife species like tigers, panthers, monkeys, bears, wild dogs and its flora comprises teak, ain , tendu and bamboo. The best time to visit the sanctuary is during summer in the wee hours of the morning. The best part about Bor Wildlife Sanctuary is that it covers a limited area of 16 km, which makes it very easy to spot wild animals, especially the elusive tiger. For an immersive experience, tourists can stay at the Forest Guest House managed by the Forest Department of Maharashtra. The wildlife sanctuary derives its name from the gushing Bor river that divides it into two parts.
Kinwat Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
The sanctuary, spread over an area of about 138 sq km, is part of the Kinwat forest area. It is a short drive of three hours from Yavatmal. Here, one can spot wildlife like tigers, panthers, sloth bears, blue bulls, sambar, chinkara, barking deer, chital and wild boar.
Bhamragarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
A delight for nature-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, Bhamragarh Wildlife Sanctuary is home to numerous fauna like sambar, chital, blackbuck, wild dogs, wild board, barking deer, sloth bear, langoor and mongoose. The best way to explore the dense forests and patchy grasslands of the sanctuary is to hire an authorised guide, who can accompany you in your car or minibus into the jungle. Tourists can also get in touch with the Deputy Conservator of Forest and make arrangements for a night stay in the rest house situated inside the sanctuary premises. During your exploration, you will also come across wetlands that source water from the Pamalgautam and Parlkota rivers, which flow through the forest. Some of the rare sightings include leopards and flying squirrels. Bhamragarh Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Chandrapur district of the Vidarbha region and makes for a great excursion from Nagpur.
Chaprala Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
Located at the confluence of Wardha and Wainganga rivers, Chaprala Wildlife Sanctuary, in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, is home to a variety of wild animals and birds. Nearly 131 species of fauna like tigers, leopards, sloth bears and wild dogs, including endangered species like the Indian python and the common Indian monitor, reside here. Wild boar, spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, blue bull, jungle cat, jackal, peacock, jungle fowl and flying squirrel also call this sanctuary home. Chaprala Wildlife Sanctuary has a rich protected forest area along with patches of grasslands that harbour these wildlife species. The best time to visit is during and between the months of February and May. Other places of interest around the sanctuary are Prashant Dham at Chaprala, Chaprala Temple and Markanda Temple.
Tipeshwar (Tipeshwer) Sanctuary, Maharashtra
A haven for tiger lovers, Tipeshwar Sanctuary is endowed with abundant natural beauty and picturesque landscapes. Some of the fauna you can sight here include blackbucks, blue bulls, chitals, sambars, monkeys, wild cats, wolves, bears, jackals and wild boars. The sanctuary is one of the few sites in the country where tourists can easily spot majestic tigers as it is home to around 13 of them. The best time to visit the sanctuary for tiger spotting is during the summer months of April and May. Tourists can book online safaris for exploring the dense forests of the Tipeshwar Sanctuary. Located at a distance of about 172 km from Nagpur, the sanctuary is a must-visit for all wildlife enthusiasts and nature-lovers.
Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
One of the most popular wildlife stopovers in Maharashtra, Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Bhandara district and attracts nature-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts from all corners of India. The sanctuary serves as a home for a wide variety of animal species including tigers, panthers, bisons, sambars, nilgais, chitals, wild boars, sloth bears and wild dogs. There is also an astonishing variety of butterflies and an interesting amphibian and reptilian population at Nagzira. Tourists can also visit Navegaon National Park, another popular attraction nearby. The best way to explore the sanctuary is through a jungle safari that gives tourists an opportunity to encounter wild animals in their natural habitat. Itiadoh Dam, Tibetan Camp at Gothangaon and Pratapgad are some other important attractions of this sanctuary.
Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
Spread over an area of 350 sq km, Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most famous biodiversity hotspots in the state, sitting in the shadow of the Western Ghats. Some of the common species you can find are Indian bison, leopards, giant squirrels, mouse deer, barking deer, tigers and sloth bears. The sanctuary also shelters a variety of bird species like eagles, plovers, owlets, doves, vultures, nightjars and jungle fowl. If youre lucky, you can also come across a Malabar pit viper! The best time to visit the sanctuary is from June to October. Tourists can explore the jungle either through a wildlife safari or by trekking through various narrow trails. Also known as Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary and Bison Sanctuary, the region was the erstwhile shooting block of Kolhapur maharajas.
Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra
Spread over an area of 11 sq km, Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary plays host to a variety of flora and fauna. The sanctuary enjoys vegetation of mixed dry deciduous and southern thorn forests that shelter a variety of species. Some of the common species you can find are wolves, hyenas, antelopes, wild cats, foxes, rabbits and peacocks. The best season to visit the sanctuary is between August and February.
National Chambal Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh
Formed to protect the Chambal river eco-system, the National Chambal Sanctuary, also known as the National Chambal Gharial Sanctuary, is famous for Ganges river dolphins, ghariyals (a crocodile variety native to India), muggar crocodiles and freshwater turtles. The sanctuary, in Uttar Pradesh, covers about 400 km of the Chambal river area, which starts from Rajasthan's Kota barrage. It was declared a national sanctuary in 1979 and sits across three states: Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. One can spot a diverse variety of birds here and over 290 species of migratory and resident birds have been identified so far. The main draw of the sanctuary are flamingos that arrive here in November and stay till May.
Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh
Spread over an area of 78 sq km in the Vindhya mountains, the forest of the Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary has been named after the Chandraprabha river, which means the luminescence of moon. The river is a tributary of River Karamnasha and both of them pass through the forest to finally meet River Ganges. The sanctuary was established in 1957 and was once famous for Asiatic lions.
Today, it is home to a wide variety of animals like leopard, hyena, wolf, wild boar, nilgai, sambar deer, chinkara, chital, blackbuck, gharial, python and many species of birds. With waterfalls like Devdari and Rajdari and several trekking paths, the sanctuary is ideal for a day's getaway from Varanasi. In addition, its many caves and mountains make it a hotspot for adventure travel. Visitors can also view beautiful cave paintings, parks, watchtowers, the sunset point and rock shelters.The forest is also home to an indigenous tribal population, which celebrates with native forms of dance and music that convey the untold tales of the tribes. One can spend an evening here listening to the rhythms of the community. The best time to visit the place is from July to February and the entry gate is located at Chandraprabha Dam. The Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary is located about 70 km from Varanasi.
Kaimoor Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh
The Kaimoor Wildlife Sanctuary is a serene forested area located around 100 km from Varanasi. Spread over an area of 1,342 sq km, the sanctuary is dotted with several waterfalls, of which the finest are, Karkat and Telhar falls. The sanctuary is most famous for its blackbuck population and is home to several other animals like tiger, leopard, wild boar, sloth bear, sambar deer, chital, four-horned antelope and nilgai. Apart from these, crocodiles, pythons and other different species of snakes are also found. The place is a paradise for birdwatchers who can spot more than 70 species of resident birds during the year, along with many migratory birds. Some of the common bird species that one can find here are the brahmini duck, pintail, red-crested poacher, coot, common teal, mallard and tufted duck. Visitors can go up to watchtowers or to the waterholes to get good views.
The sanctuary was established in 1982 and also houses a sheer diversity of vegetation, including tree vegetation like baakli, mahua, dhaak and bamboo. It is one of the major tourist attractions that is located on the border of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The topography of the region comprises deciduous forests, swampy marshes and grasslands. Moreover, it has caves with prehistoric paintings and a fossil park that are unique to it.
Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh
Spread across an area of 2,073 sq km, Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including mammals, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and shrubs and herbs.
Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary, Odisha
Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most important tourist sites in Odisha and spreads across an area of 795.52 sq km. It is located on the banks of River Mahanadi, about 140 km from Bhubaneswar. The sanctuary is famous for its gharial or crocodile species. Besides these, tourists can also spot tigers, pangolins, leopards, spotted deer, elephants, rhesus, macaques, snakes, turtles etc. The sanctuary is circled by the Satkosia gorge, which has been formed by River Mahanadi. The Gharwale Sanctuary located here is a breeding place for gharials. One can also spot a variety of snakes and turtles in it. There is also a preservation centre here to help preserve the gharial population. On the left side of the gorge lies the Tikarpada Crocodile Sanctuary, known for its amazing forest and teeming wildlife. One can also take part in various adventure sports here like river rafting, trekking, fish angling, boating etc.
Balukhand Konark Sanctuary, Odisha
Located along the coastal stretch between Puri and Konark, the Balukhand Konark Sanctuary is spread across 87 sq km. The Marine Drive Road runs adjacent to it, making for a pleasant road trip. This eco-tourism site boasts casuarina, acacia, cashew, eucalyptus, neem, and karanjia trees. Spotted deer and blackbucks abound in the area, reeling in wildlife enthusiasts from far and wide. The beach next to the sanctuary is home to Olive Ridley turtles. Declared as an ecologically sensitive zone, the sanctuary has both Nuanai and Kushabhadra rivers passing through it. It is an hour's drive (approximately) from Puri and Konark. The sanctuary contributes to the agricultural activity of the region and helps recharge the freshwater levels underground. Other wildlife that can be spotted here includes large tribes of monkeys, squirrels, hyenas, jungle cats, monitor lizards, snakes, jackals, mongoose and a variety of birds and reptiles.
Barda Lion Sanctuary, Gujarat
An emerald green expanse of lush forests and verdant hills, Barda Lion Sanctuary lies facing the Arabian Sea. Criss-crossed by various rivulets and streams, it also hosts Khambala and Fodara dams that add to the charm of the area. Home to a diverse variety of fauna like lion, crocodile, sambar, chinkara, leopard, wolf, chameleon, crested hawk-eagle and spotted eagle, the sanctuary also shelters three of the most venomous snakes in the world. It was the erstwhile hunting grounds of the princely state of Ranavav and is located on the outskirts of the city, spread over Porbandar and Jamnagar. It is also known as Jam Barda and Rana Barda locally. You can enjoy jungle safaris through the forest and also trek in the Barda Hills. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from November to March.
Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat
Surrounded by hillocks and wild grass, the Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary is a wooded area in an arid place where there is no notable tree growth. The highlight of this place is the antelope and one can easily find a troop of antelopes galloping across this terrain. Other animals that can be found here include the wolf, common fox, hyena, and blue bull. There are more than 130 species of birds in the sanctuary, which include partridge, ring dove, purple sunbird and many others. The best time to visit is during winters and one can explore the forest by driving around in a jeep. The sanctuary once belonged to the former princely state of Wankaner and was declared as a Reserve Forest in 1983.
Kuno Palpur Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh
With thick deciduous trees, interspersed with meadows rolling across the undulating Vindhya range, the Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the endangered Asiatic lion. Not just home to several species of flora and fauna, the reserve sits within the valley of River Kuno, which cuts across the reserve. Notified as a sanctuary in the year 1981, the 345-sq-km reserve is perfect for a wildlife safari and also for a cruise down the Kuno river. It is also home to several migratory birds that visit the sanctuary.
Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh
Cut by the pristine Narmada river, Ralamandal is among the oldest wildlife sanctuaries of the state. It is home to wildlife like tigers, deer, wild hare, etc.
Yangoupokpi Wildlife Sanctuary, Manipur
Set up in 1989, this sanctuary spans an area of 185 sq km and is among the nine identified Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the state. it is said to be the only place where you can sight the endangered green peafowl.
Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, Jharkhand
Nestled in the catchment area of Subarnarekha river, the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most important tourist attractions near the city that serves as a great weekend getaway. The wildlife sanctuary is noted for elephants and attracts wildlife enthusiasts from all parts of the country. It is also home to leopards, tigers, barking deer, sloth bears and porcupines.
Haliday Island Wildlife Sanctuary, West Bengal
The Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve boasts three wildlife sanctuaries, namely, the Haliday Island Wildlife Sanctuary, the Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary and the Lothian Wildlife Sanctuary. Haliday Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Haliday Island, is situated on the Matla river, very close to the Bay of Bengal. One can spot a diverse kind of wildlife here, like spotted deer, wild boar, barking deer and rhesus macaque. Various varieties of birds also haunt this island and one can't miss the endemic invertebrate fauna. The royal Bengal tigers are occasional visitors to this island. One can also find plenty of fish swimming in the Matla river. Spanning over an area of 3.5 sq km, the wildlife sanctuary draws tourists from all across the country.
Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary, West Bengal
A haven for wildlife enthusiasts, Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary boasts a variety of flora and fauna. Some of the common species you can spot are chital, gharial, porcupine, jackal, jungle cat and common langur. It is also richly populated with several bird species like parakeets, hawk, barbets, Indian cuckoo etc. The sanctuary is spread over an area of 70 hectare and lies adjacent to a prominent jute producing centre.
Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary, West Bengal
Located against the backdrop of Kanchanjungha, the third-highest peak in the world, this sanctuary is a haven of tranquillity. It shelters wildlife like leopards, elephants, gaur, etc.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, West Bengal
Lying in the foothills of the Himalayas, this sanctuary is sprawled along the banks of the Mahananda river. It is home to wildlife like the one-horned rhinoceros, elephants, tigers, sambar, leopards, bison, etc.
Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh
Home to the royal Bengal tiger, this sanctuary shelters wildlife like leopards, clouded leopards, Himalayan black bears, elephants, jackals, barking deer, sambar, hog deer, etc.
Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh
This gorgeous sanctuary is home to wildlife like capped langur, macaque, slow loris, etc. The highlights here are the red panda and porcupines. The sanctuary is also a delight for birdwatchers as it shelters diverse avifauna.
Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh
Spread over an area of 337 sq km, this sanctuary is home to the endangered clouded leopard. In addition, it has a huge spectrum of flora such as silver fir trees, bamboo, ferns, orchids and rhododendron.
Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Mizoram
Located on one of the highest peaks in Mizoram with a height of 2,141 m, the Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary is a lush cover of alpine forest. Sprawled across an area of 60 sq km, the sanctuary is a birdwatcher's paradise as it shelters a diverse species of avifauna. Important birds found here are Mrs Hume's pheasant, great Indian hornbill, wreathed hornbill, pied hornbill, Khaleeej pheasant, white cheeked partridge. Moreover, one can see tiger, leopard, Himalayan black bear, sambar, barking deer, ghoral, serow, ferret badgers, large Indian civet, giant squirrel etc, along with arboreal animals like Hoolock gibbon, slow lorries, leaf monkey, common langur, rhesus macaque etc. The sanctuary is located in the eastern part of Mizoram, and the best time to visit is from October to April.
Khawnglung Wildlife Sanctuary, Mizoram
Around 160 km from Aizawl, the Khawnglung Wildlife Sanctuary is home to animals like wild boars, sambar deer, hoolock, gibbons, leopards, serow and barking deer. Covered with cliffs and green hills, the sanctuary is spread over an area of about 35 sq km and is perched at an elevation of 1,300 m above sea level. It is one of the best stopovers for those looking to explore the rich fauna and flora of the Northeastern part of the country. The best time to visit the sanctuary is between the months of October and March but touch base with Mizoram's Department of Environment and Forests before landing here.
Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary, Tripura
Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary enjoys a diverse topography that boasts a number of perennial water rivulets, water bodies, grasslands and virgin forests that are rich in rare vegetation. Spanning across an area of 197 sq km, its main wildlife attraction is the Indian gaur (bison). Apart from it, there are varieties of birds, deer, hoolock gibbon, golden langur, capped langur, pheasant and various other animals and reptiles. One can undertake a jeep safari to explore the sanctuary, which is one of the best-conserved forest reserves inviting people both for educational and sightseeing purposes. The sanctuary was set up in 1988 and is located about 18 km away from the sub-divisional town of Belonia. It is connected to Agartala by a state highway.
Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, Tripura
Located around 25 km from Agartala, Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary spreads over an area of 19 km and houses more than 150 species of resident and migratory birds. Sepahijala has been developed both as a wildlife sanctuary and as an academic and research centre. Over the years, this place has caught the eyes of tourists and wildlife enthusiasts for its natural, botanical and zoological gardens. Its green terrain and temperate weather of the place offer an unadulterated shelter to animals like the unique bespectacled monkey, Phayre’s langur, rhesus macaque, pig-tailed macaque, capped langur and spectacled langur. There are several lakes in the periphery, among which Amrit Sagar Lake is one of the most popular. It also offers boating facilities to visitors. The sanctuary was set up in 1972 and has been divided into five sections: carnivores section, primate section, reptile section, ungulate section and aviary section.
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa
Nestled at the foothills of the Western Ghats, this sanctuary is spread across an area of 240 sq km and is the largest of Goa's wildlife reserves. You can spot tiger, leopard, jungle cat, toddy cat, jackal, giant squirrel, bonnet macaque, sloth bear, hyena, sambar, spotted deer, hog, mouse deer, barking deer, ruby-throated yellow bulbul, Malabar pied hornbill, Malabar trogan, crested serpent eagle, crested honey buzzard, white-rumped spine tail, ashy wood swallow, black-crested bulbul, forest wagtail, scarlet minivet, Chestnut-bellied nuthatch, velvet-fronted nuthatch and sulphur-bellied warbler.
The reptiles found at the park include bronze-back tree snake, cat snake, hump-nosed pit viper, Indian rock python, Malabar pit viper, rat snake, Russell's viper, Indian cobra and common krait. The most famous reptilian inhabitant of the park, however, is king cobra.The best way to explore the park is by hiking through it and one can choose from a number of treks and hikes conducted by knowledgeable guides. There is also an Interpretation Centre, which has an invaluable amount of collectables and data from the park.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
One of the first sanctuaries to be set up in South India, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the Jawaharlal Nehru Park in the region. Spread over an area of 321 sq km, Mudumalai lies at the junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. At a height of 1,140 m, the wildlife sanctuary has a variety of habitats ranging from tropical evergreen forest to moist teak forest, a dry teak forest to a swamp and more. The park is the perfect place to spot a variety of animal species and is excellent for birdwatching for its population of hornbills, minivets, fairy blue birds and jungle fowls. Here, one can spot panthers, elephants, gaur, mouse deer, sloth bears, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, blackbucks, Malabar giant squirrels, four-horned antelopes (chowsingha), small Indian civet, porcupines and much more. If you're lucky, you can also spot a tiger by the many waterholes here! The park also houses a population of reptiles like snakes, monitor lizards and flying lizards. One can explore the park through elephant rides for a more thrilling experience. The Theppakadu Elephant Camp, established in 1972, is a major attraction here.
Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
With tidal swamps, dry evergreen forests and mangroves, the sanctuary is an all-year-round spot. Ideal for a picnic, the sanctuary is located very near to the coastline. It is particularly renowned for its congregation of migratory waterfowls and flamingos. During the winter season, one can witness almost 5,000 to 10,000 flamingos here. Almost half of the sanctuary is consumed by a great swamp, which makes it an ideal habitat for migratory and water birds. During spring, trees and shrubs are laden with wild berries, attracting thousands of birds like green pigeons, rosy pastors and mynas. During winter, a horde of insectivorous birds gather here, including paradise fly catchers, Indian pittas, shrikes, swallows, drongos, minivets, blue jays and wood-bucks. Apart from birds, the wildlife sanctuary also has a population of blackbucks, wild boars, chital, dolphins and turtles. A vast variety of water birds such as teals, gulls, terns, plovers, stilts etc., have also made it their home.
Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary (Excursion)
Sprawled over an area of 958 sq km, the Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the southern part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve of the Anamalai Hills. The main tourist zone is known as Top Slip, situated at an altitude varying from 350 m to 2,400 m above sea level. The landscape is mostly made up of thickly wooded hills, rolling grasslands, plateau and deep valleys, housing rich evergreen and semi-evergreen forests and deciduous covers. There are teak, rosewood and many miscellaneous tropical species in the semi-evergreen and wet temperate habitats. Sheltering about 8,000 species of plants, the sanctuary is home to 500 species of both resident and migratory birds. Some of the popular wildlife you can spot include panther, elephant, sloth bear, flying squirrel, wild bear, wild dog etc.
Bir Bhunerheri Wildlife Sanctuary, Punjab
Abounding in flora and fauna, the Bir Bhunerheri Wildlife Sanctuary boasts a variety of species like blackbuck, sambar, blue bull, hog deer, porcupine, jackal, jungle cats and a variety of partridges, dove, parakeets, spotted owlet, quails and pigeons, amidst the rich growth of mixed deciduous trees like kikar, shisham and jamun that give shelter to wildlife. Declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1972, it was the erstwhile hunting grounds of the princely state of Patiala. Located on the outskirts of Patiala, the sanctuary is sprawled over an area of 661 hectare and is divided into two by a road running through it. Of the total area of the sanctuary, about 240 hectare has been fenced. It is a serene and lush forest where one can spot wildlife at close quarters.
Jasrota Wildlife Sanctuary, Jammu and Kashmir
Situated on the banks of River Ujh, Jasrota Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 10 sq km. Rich in flora and fauna, the sanctuary is a natural habitat for a variety of mammals such as chital, wild boar, rhesus monkey and others, with chital or axis deer being its main attractions. The sanctuary is dominated by bamboo plantations and its shrub associates. The area also houses migratory birds along with peafowl, red jungle fowl, jungle bush quail, green pigeon and blue rock pigeon. The best time to visit for those interested in migratory birds is from March to May and for those interested in mammals is from September to March.
Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary, Chhattisgarh
Situated about 175 km from Raipur, this sprawling green haven is covered by small hills and lush sal forests. It was established in 1974 and derives its name from River Sitanadi that originates in the middle of the sanctuary and joins River Mahanadi near Deokhut. Besides River Sitanadi, Sondur and Lelang rivers also flow through its expanse and the huge Sondur Dam is worth a visit.
Renowned for rich flora and fauna, it is one of the finest wildlife stopovers in the country. The animals you can spot here include tigers, leopards, jackals, flying squirrels, jungle cats, blackbucks, bison, sloth bears, chitals, sambars, nilgais, cobras and pythons. The sanctuary is also a birdwatcher's paradise, with nearly 175 species of avifauna including crimson breasted barbet, egret and heron.