More than 70% Wild Tigers call India their home. With about 50 tiger reserves spread across the country, tiger spotting in India is an accomplished desire of many wildlife enthusiasts.
There are a number of reserves where one can spot these majestic feline creatures in their natural habitat and element. Watching a tiger in person from close quarters is one of the most awing and memorable incidents for not only novice or first time travelers, but also, for seasoned wildlife lovers. Those piercing eyes, elegant walk, prowling personality and swishing tail – tiger trailing and spotting is for everyone. Here is taking a look at the top 10 destinations to spot tigers in India.
Bandhavgarh National Park – Having one of the highest Tiger densities, Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh is one of the best places in India for tiger spotting. Home to the famous white tiger Mohan, Bandhavgarh national park is set amidst the formidable Bandhavgarh Fort, in the rugged Vindhyan Plateau and thick sal forests. Spotty, Dotty, Mahaman male, Bhim & Pannalal are some of the reigning Tigers of this park. Yes, wild Tigers have names, which are fondly given by local guides and sometimes tourists.
Ranthambore National Park – One of the largest national parks of India, Ranthambore was home to one of the world’s most famous tigress Machhali and today boasts of a large population of tigers. The tigers are comfortable in their surroundings of the fort and ruins, making Ranthambore an abode for some of the best tiger spotting experiences. Some of the famous Tigers are Krishna, Arrowhead, Fateh, Noor and Kumbha.
Kanha National Park – With pug marks seen often on the ground or a roar heard regularly, the Kanha national park is also home to the famous tiger, Munna, which has a “CAT” shaped natural marking on its forehead.. A healthy tiger population, besides the accessible water holes, makes tiger spotting a pleasurable and surreal experience here.
Corbett National Park – Spread across the foothills of the beautiful Himalayas, the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttar Pradesh though often called the ‘Elephant Park’ is nonetheless home to a healthy tiger population making it a great destination for tiger watchers all over the world. Paarwali, Sharmili, Choohapani female are some of the most sighted Tigresses.
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve – Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra is an ideal tiger spotting ground and a tiger lover’s paradise during summers. The Tadoba Lake as well as the other water holes, such as, the Panchadhara and Pandharpauni are the main elixirs for the thirsty tigers during hot summer days. Just a small trivia, the locals of Tadoba have a strong fetish of naming the Tigresses after famous bollywood actresses like Madhuri, Sonam etc, but the males are given funny names like Matkasur, Yeda-anna etc.
Pench National Park – The land of Mowgli and the Jungle Book, the Pench National Park has about 50 tigers hence making tiger spotting relatively easy. Located in the southern edges of the Satpura Hills with the River Pench cutting across the park, the Pench National Park is a picturesque tiger spotting destination. The famous tigress Collarwali, recognized by her collar is one of the many tigers that make Pench Tiger Reserve worth a visit.
Satpura National Park – Located in Madhya Pradesh, the Satpura National Park is one of the few parks where walking inside the park premise is allowed. Perfect foliage for tigers to roam about freely, Satpura National Park is an excellent tiger spotting destination. During summers these majestic cats are often spotted along water holes and on the River Sonbhadra where they come for a swim. However Satpura is more famous for its Leopard and sloth bear sightings.
Bandipur National Park – One of the most practical destinations and easily accessible the Bandipur National Park is only about 80km from Mysore. Tucked in the forests of the Western Ghats the reserve boasts of a good tiger count. The reserve is also a rich biodiversity hub and due to the fact that it is a weekend getaway from Bangalore and Mysore makes it a relatively easier destination for tiger spotting.
Sariska Tiger Reserve – Once it was devoid of Tigers due to rampant poaching, but today it is a shining example of India’s conservation success story, and more than 12 Wild Tigers thrive in this national park set amidst the Aravali mountain range. The landscape and topography is much similar to Ranthambore but expect far less crowds here.
Sundarban National Park – The tigers in the Sundarban National Park have adapted to the unique salt water and marshy environment, making tiger spotting here a memorable and amazing experience. Located in the deltaic region of West Bengal, the Sundarban Tiger Reserve is a beautiful mangrove forest. Tracking a Tiger is Sundarban is perhaps the toughest of this list, as unlike the 9 above here a boat ride through the mangrove waters is the only wildlife watching option, and there are no jeep safaris possible due to the terrain. However the thrill of spotting a mangrove Tiger is something tough to describe.
The list can of course, go on with many other popular and important tiger parks, such as, Nagarhole National Park, Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary and Periyar Tiger Reserve.
The Royal Bengal Tiger is most ubiquitous tiger subspecies found in Asia, particularly in India, where it is also exalted as the National Animal of the country. Indian tiger reserves have in the last decade increased the conservation efforts to ensure that the tiger species do not dwindle further. The efforts have paid off, with many reserves and sanctuaries sustaining sizeable numbers of the Bengal tigers, hence making them excellent spots for tiger watchers and wildlife lovers.