Wildlife Sanctuaries in India

Top 26 Wildlife Sanctuaries in India – National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary

The massive geographical diversity of India – that enriches it with mountains, coastlines, plateaus, and lush green plains – makes it a home for a very wide range of animal habitats. Amongst this, the Indian forest ecosystem comprises 16 major forest types and 251 sub-types that house tigers, bison, Asian elephants, apes, and lions – all adding to the wildlife of India. 

As per the published statistics of the national wildlife database in December’20, there are 566 wildlife sanctuaries in the whole of India. They cover an area of 1,22,420 square kilometers. This is approximately 3.72% of the Indian geographical region

The wildlife diversity in India is so popular that wildlife sanctuaries in India are popular tourist destinations for global travelers. Alongside, many travel agencies offer special wildlife tour plans to wildlife enthusiasts that offer a look at the royal lions and Indian tigers from up close.

Here is the list of famous wildlife sanctuaries in India that you should make sure to explore if you are a wildlife enthusiast:

Narudehi Wildlife Sanctuary

One of the largest wildlife reserves in India, the Narudehi wildlife sanctuary is in Madhya Pradesh. It was established in 1975. Spanning over 1197 square kilometers, Narudehi wildlife sanctuary is the largest wildlife sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh state in India

Spread among the four districts of Madhya Pradesh: Sager, Damon, Narsinghpur, and Raisin, this national park is endured by Narmada and Ganga, both rivers continuously flowing through it. Many species of exotic canines, including Indian wolf, Striped Hyena, and Indian fox, reside in the sanctuary.

  • Best time to visit: November to January; Many migratory birds are seen in this period.
  • Nearest Airport: Jabalpur and Bhopal Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Sagar, Madhya Pradesh.

Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary

Located in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, the Rollapadu wildlife sanctuary spreads across 6.14 square kilometers. Rollapadu is famous for Cobras along with many birds and reptiles, blackbucks, Sparrows, Bonnets, Mynas, Indian rollers, Rusells’ vipers, and Indian cobras are protected species in the sanctuary. This sanctuary was established in 1988 and is easily reachable from Hyderabad. 

  • Best time to visit: Between November to February
  • Nearest Airport: Hyderabad Airport 
  • Nearest Railway station: Kurnool Station

Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary

Eturnagaram is the oldest wildlife sanctuary in Telangana. Located approximately 100 kilometers away from Warangal, Eturnagaram wildlife sanctuary was established in 1952. 

This national park in India is spread over 812 square kilometers and is home to many endangered reptiles like Mugger crocodiles, cobra, python, and krait snakes.

  • Best time to visit: October to May
  • Nearest Airport: Hyderabad Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Warangal railway station

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary

This condensed green forest reserve and national park in India is in the Satara district of Maharashtra. It was earlier a protected forest area and was declared a sanctuary in 1985. And now it is a World Heritage Site too. This wildlife sanctuary in India is spread over 423 square kilometers. 

Elevated between 600 to 1000 meters of altitude, Koyna wildlife sanctuary is nourished by Koyna, Kandi, and Solashi rivers as its primary water sources. Royal Bengal Tiger and King cobra are a few of the most captivating species in Koyna.

  • Best time to visit: Monsoon months between June to October
  • Nearest Airport: Kolhapur Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Kolhapur railway station

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Periyar wildlife sanctuary is situated in Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala on the banks of Periyar lake. It is a protected wildlife sanctuary in India, a tiger reserve, and a national park in India. Located in the Cardamom and Pandhalam hills in the Western Ghats, this wildlife sanctuary in Kerala shares a common border with Tamil Nadu. 

Periyar wildlife sanctuary is famous for its tiger and elephant reserve. Periyar is famous for gaur, Travancore flying squirrel, jungle cat, Dhole, sloth bear, Nilgiri tahr, Salim Ali’s fruit bat, stripe-necked mongoose, and Nilgiri marten.

  • Best time to visit: September to April
  • Nearest Airport: Madurai Airport
  • Nearest railway station: Kottayam railway station.

Govind Wildlife Sanctuary 

Located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, the Govind wildlife sanctuary was established in 1955. It is spread over 958 square kilometers. The name of this wildlife sanctuary in India comes from Shri Govind Ballabh Pant, who was the man behind Hindi turning into the official language of India. 

Bird watching and trekking are famous tourist activities in this wildlife sanctuary in India. This sanctuary protects many species of wildlife in India including Himalayan Black Bear, Musk Deer, Himalayan Serow, Himalayan Monal, Tragopan.

  • Best time to visit: Avoid the rainy season; visit in April-June or September to November.
  • Nearest Airport:  Dehradun
  • Nearest railway station: Dehradun

Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh national park is one of the national parks in India that is rich in biodiversity. Spanning across 105 square kilometers, this national park dates back to the royal era and is linked with the Maharajas of Madhya Pradesh. Locals say that the kings used to visit one of the famous sanctuaries in India for hunting and relaxing.

The name of this park originates from the legend that Lord Rama asked his brother Lakshmana to keep a watch on Lanka from a fort here. Bandhavgarh is one of the wildlife sanctuaries in India that are rich in tiger reserves.

  • Best time to visit: April and May; December and January.
  • Nearest Airport: Jabalpur
  • Nearest railway station: Umaria station

Hemis National Park

The only national park in India that is in the Northern Himalayas, Hemis national park is located in the Ladakh district in Jammu and Kashmir India. Spanning over an area of 4400 square kilometers, Hemis national park is also the largest national park in South Asia. 

Besides, it is the second-largest protected region after the Nandadevi biosphere reserve. Hemis national park is rich in Indian wildlife and is a shelter for 16 mammal species and 73 birds. Leopards, Asiatic ibex, Tibetan wolf, the Eurasian brown bear, and the red fox are the rare species that are protected in this wildlife sanctuary in India.

  • Best time to visit: Late winter; also, from May to September.
  • Nearest Airport: Leh International Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Kalka, Haryana.

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga national park is a famous world heritage site and national park in India. It was declared a forest reserve in the year 1908 and was renamed Kaziranga national park in 1950. Located in Assam, India, Kaziranga national park is the biggest wildlife sanctuary in India and is spread over 378 square kilometers. Kaziranga is famous for one-horned Indian rhinoceros. 

Alongside, Kaziranga is one of the famous biodiversity hotspots in India. This national park in India is noted for its role in protecting the wildlife of India. Compared to other national parks of India, Kaziranga boasts rich biodiversity. This makes it a popular national park in India and also a famous wildlife tourist destination in India.

  • Best time to visit: April to June, November to April; the park is generally closed in the rainy season.
  • Nearest Airport: Guwahati International Airport and Jorhat Airport
  • Nearest railway station: Furkating

Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore Park is a huge national park in India and well-known for its role in protecting wildlife in India. Situated in Sawai Madhopur district in the south-eastern part of Rajasthan, approximately 190 kilometers away from pink city, Jaipur. 

Earlier it was well-known as a hunting ground for the Jaipur Maharajas. Besides, this famous national park of India is near to well-known tourist places of Jaipur. The Ranthambore fort, the Digambar Jain temple, etc. are all located nearby this famous national park in India. A gigantic Banyan tree dating back hundreds of years ago is another attraction here.

Ranthambore national park is rich in animal life making it a popular wildlife photography destination too. This park is home to 40 species of mammals, 35 species of reptiles, and 320 species of birds. This park is famous for Bengal tigers and langurs. 

  • Best time to visit: The park is closed in the monsoon. For the best experience, plan your trip from October to March.
  • Nearest Airport: Jaipur Airport
  • Nearest railway station: Sawai, Madhopur

Jim Corbett National Park

For wildlife in India lovers, Jim Corbett national park is synonymous with tiger reserves. Here’s where India’s endangered Bengal tigers find solace and a place to live. Established in 1936 in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, Jim Corbett National Park is the largest tiger reserve in India and is well known for its tiger count. 

As of 2018-19, Corbett National Park in India has 231 tigers. Spreading over 520 square kilometers in a whole area comprising hills, marshy depressions, riverine belts, grasslands, and a large lake, Corbett reserve is a true home for wildlife in India. Not just tigers, Indian signature wildlife like elephants, buffalo, leopards, langurs, pangolins, etc are found in considerable numbers in Jim Corbett national park.

This famous national park of India is divided into five different tourist zones where tourists can enjoy wildlife safari and can enjoy fascinating behavior of wild animals from up close: Bijrani Safari, Jhirna Safari, Dhela Safari, Dhikala Zone, Durga Devi Zone, Sitabani Buffer Zone.

  • Best time to visit: November to February.
  • Nearest Airport: Delhi Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Ramnagar railway station

Kanha National Park 

Kanha national park is the largest national park in Madhya Pradesh. Also called Kanha–Kisli National Park, this famous national park of India has Bengal tigers and Indian leopards in significant numbers. Besides, the flora of this national park adds to its biodiversity. Around 1000 species of flowering plants are found in this wildlife sanctuary of India.

The Indian ghost tree, popularly called as Handkerchief tree is found in this national park of India. Additionally, this national park is the home of the Baiga tribe living in 28 villages, adding to the cultural heritage of India. 

  • Best time to visit: November to March. 
  • Nearest Airport: Nagpur Airport, Jabalpur Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Gondia Station, Jabalpur station

Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

Synonymous with the Indian lions that take rest here, Gir National park in Gujarat, India is world-renowned. This wildlife reserve in India is dedicated to the conservation of Asiatic lions. The Government of India notified this whole geographical region as Sasan Gir wildlife sanctuary on 18th September 1865. It is spread over 1153 square kilometers and is renowned for its stories that relate to royal families hunting here.

Gir forest is a reserve of lions, leopards, two species of deers, jackal, striped Hyena, and Indian fox. The biodiversity of Gir natural reserve comprises 2375 birds, 38 species of animals along with thousands of species of insects.

  • Best time to visit: November to February.
  • Nearest Airport: Keshod Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Junagadh and Veraval railway station

Sundarbans National Park

Known for their rich and lush mangroves, Sundarbans add to the rich biodiversity of India. A UNESCO heritage site and pride of West Bengal, Sundarbans derive their name from the Sundari tree, a kind of mangrove tree found in India. 

The Sundarbans forests are famous for the Royal Bengal tigers. Alongside, foxes, jungle cats, leopards, wild boars, etc. add to the biodiversity of this famous wildlife reserve of India. Sundarbans is also a nestle for reptiles, endangered species, marine mammals along with their rich flora and fauna.

  • Best time to visit: October and March
  • Nearest Airport: Kolkata Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Sealdah railway station

Bandipur National Park 

Another famous tiger reserve of India, Bandipur national park is situated in Karnataka. Along with tigers, this national park of India is famous for elephants. Also, Bandipur national park is the largest protected area in southern India and the largest habitat of wild elephants in South Asia

Close to Ooty and Mysore, Bandipur sanctuary is a popular tourist destination of Karnataka. Driving along this park is banned at night to protect the wildlife crossing through roads in the night times. Teak and sandalwood trees are found in abundance in this national park. The park’s fauna comprises elephants, tigers, sloth bears, and foxes along with Bengal tigers, Chital, and Wild boars.

  • Best time to visit: November to June
  • Nearest Airport: Banglore Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Mysore.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park 

Also popularly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana National Park is a world heritage site. It is located in Rajasthan. Unlike other natural wildlife reserves of India, the Bharatpur bird sanctuary is a man-made reserve. The main aim of creating and conserving this natural park is to prevent floods in the nearby region as well as to protect the thousands of birds that arrive at this natural reserve every year.

This natural park of India is a haven for bird lovers- almost more than 366 bird species exist in this national park of India. The park’s name is derived from the Shiva temple that is located here. Along with Sambar deer and cattle, the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is famous for Indian hornbill and variants of eagles.

  • Best time to visit: October to March
  • Nearest Airport: Agra Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Bharatpur

Sariska National Park

Home for Rhesus monkeys, the oldest monkey species on the Earth, Sariska Park is one of the famous wildlife sanctuaries of India. This famous wildlife reserve of India currently has tigers. 

Alongside, the Sariska national park is famous for many tourist attractions nearby. The Sariska Palace and the Kankawadi fort are famous tourist places here.

  • Best time to Visit: Closed for visitors from July to September. Plan your visit from October to June.
  • Nearest Airport: Jaipur Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Alwar station

Pench National Park

Gaining its name from the Pench river flowing nearby, the Pench national park is famous for deers and birds. Located in Madhya Pradesh, this wildlife sanctuary in India is a winner of the Best Management Award too. 

Famous for its teak and sal trees, the locals love the sight of cubs that are born recently in this national park. The famous Jungle Book is inspired by the stories of this park.

  • Best time to visit: November to May
  • Nearest Airport: Nagpur Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, Nagpur

Dudhwa National Park 

Carefully protecting the Terai marshy grasslands, the Dudhwa reserve plays a major role in the conservation of deers, elephants, and birds. 

This wildlife sanctuary of India has a considerable number of rhinoceros too. 

  • Best time to visit: November to May
  • Nearest Airport: Lucknow Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Dudwa, Palia Kalan

Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary

Another popular dense forest and wildlife sanctuary in South India, Dandeli is a haven for nature lovers. Dandeli reserve is known for both elephants and tigers. Dandeli is the second most famous elephant reserve in Karnataka after the Mysuru reserve.

Dandeli is famous for trekking, boating, sightseeing, and bird watching. It is a famous tourist destination and summer holiday spot in Karnataka.

  • Best time to visit: October to May
  • Nearest Airport: Hubli Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Dharwad station.

Silent Valley National park

This wildlife reserve in India is located in Kerala near Mannarkkad. The name Silent Valley comes from the fact that, unlike any other national parks that contain the sound of cicadas, this national park of Kerala is devoid of any such cicadas music! 

The name was given by the British and looks apt for the reserve! The flora and fauna here add richness to the ecosystem while the indigenous people living here care about this park so much. 

  • Best time to visit: – December to April
  • Nearest Airport: Coimbatore Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: – Palakkad Junction.

Nanda Devi National Park

Located in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, Nanda Devi national park lies hidden in the snow-capped Himalayas. This natural reserve is famous for its valley of flowers.

Nanda Devi National Park
Nanda Devi National Park

It was in 2005, that this famous wildlife sanctuary of India was turned into a UNESCO heritage site. Brown bears, Himalayan Thar, snow leopards are the most found animals in Nanda Devi national park.

  • Best time to visit: 15 June to 15 September
  • Nearest Airport: Dehradun Airport
  • Nearest railway station: Rishikesh railway station.

Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary

Synonymous with its unbeatable bird count, Chilika is a world-famous brackish water lagoon located in Odisha, India. Chilika lake is the largest brackish water lagoon in the world

Studies show that birds from across the continents travel to this lake every year in winter. The Chilika wildlife sanctuary is famous for its marine ecosystem as well as its eco-tourism.

  • Best time to visit: November to February
  • Nearest Airport: Bhubaneswar
  • Nearest Railway station: Bhubaneswar

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary

Nestled amidst Annamalai and Nelliyampathy hills, the Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary is in Kerala. This forest reserve of South India is known for mammals, snakes, birds, and reptiles. 

Teak, neem, sandalwood, and rosewood are famous trees in this forest. 

  • Best time to visit: August to January
  • Nearest Airport: Coimbatore
  • Nearest Railway station: Coimbatore

Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary

Located in the Western Ghats of India, the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its local people as well as rich fauna. This national park of India lies along the border of Karnataka and Goa. 

The wildlife sanctuary is famous for many local attractions too. These include Dudh Sagar falls, Devils Canyon, and the famous Sunset point in Goa. 

  • Best time to visit: – November to March
  • Nearest Airport: Goa International Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Margao railway station.

Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve

Located in Telangana, this wildlife sanctuary spans five Telugu districts – Kurnool District, Prakasam District, Guntur District, Nalgonda District, and Mahbubnagar district. 

Famous for the SriSailam hill and temple and Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir, these dense forests are the largest tiger reserve forests in India. Driving during nighttime is banned for protecting the animals that may cross the roads. The forest area is known for snakes, tigers, crocodiles, and sambar deer. UNESCO World Heritage Sites India List

  • Best time to visit: – November to March
  • Nearest Airport: Hyderabad International Airport
  • Nearest Railway station: Secunderabad.