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Tiger Safaris in India

Once upon a time there used to be eight sub species of tiger. Three became extinct during the 20th century owing to the hunters and poachers. The last century has witnessed some mega destruction in form of deforestation and leisure hunting which culminated in a reduction of tiger population from almost a million to a mere 2,500 by the turn of 20th century. Man has always taken pride in gunning down tigers as trophies. The recent tiger protection programs are in full swing to save the endangered five sub species of this beautiful creation.

Tiger (Panthera Tigris) is the largest feline which has a body length measuring up to 3.3 m (11 feet), and weighs up to 306 Kg (675 lbs.). This cat is ubiquitously renowned for its power, hunting prowess and enormous strength. The Royal Bengal, also referred to as Indian tigers are majorly found in India. They are powerful nocturnal hunters and tread many miles a path in search of buffalo, deer, wild pigs, and other large mammals. The females give birth to litters of two to six cubs, which they raise with little or no help from the male. Cubs cannot hunt until they are eighteen months old and remain with their mothers for two to three years, before finally dispersing to mark their own individual territories.

Let us start a brief journey through some renowned National Parks in India.

Ranthambore National Park: Best for scenic tiger photos
Whenever you see a photograph of a tiger in India, be assured that it was most likely taken here. This is because Ranthambore is one of India's largest National parks, stretching across a magnificent area of 1,334 square kilometers, hence a favorite of all wildlife photographers.

Once, well known as official hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, this park gained celebrity status during the 1960s when Queen Elizabeth II of Britain visited here with her husband Prince Philip, who shot a Royal Bengal as a trophy.

The year 1973 saw a major turnaround, as the park introduced protection for tigers from hunters, and is currently considered as one of the best tiger reserves in our country.

The park authorities have restored and preserved the old ruins most meticulously, thus adding panache to a tourist visit. Apart from cosmetic delight these ruins also allow the tourists to view the leopards and tigers in the most pragmatic and regal surrounding. This park is home to leopards, jungle cats, sloth bears, hyenas, Indian foxes, jackals and crocodiles, not to forget a variety of slithering creatures that one comes across in the vicinity of forts. The park has three beautiful and scenic lakes - PadamTalao, Raj Talao and MilakTalao, where wildlife tends to congregate.

Bandhavgarh National Park: Greatest chance of spotting a tiger
Bandhavgarh National Park is a wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, and is blessed with the highest density of tigers in the region. With a core area of over 100 square kilometers, this park is home to more than 50 tigers.This park is also known as the land of the white tiger. Unfortunately, no more white tigers are found here. The last white tiger spotted in the wild was captured here by Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa in 1951.

Tourists can also feast their eyes by sighting a wide variety of deer in form of chital (spotted deer), sāmbhar, barking deer, nilgai, four horned antelope, and other animals that include the Indian bison, wild dog, leopard, blue bull, Indian fox and bear.

Kanha National Park: Mowgli's stomping ground
The picturesque Kanha National Park pulls a leaf out of Rudyard Kipling's immortal creation -"The Jungle Book". After flipping through the adulated pages of this masterpiece work in past, you can now sense and feel the exhilarating experience of spotting wildlife in reality, much to the delightful feel of déjà vu.

The layout of this includes large open meadows which give you a high chance of spotting wildlife, including tigers,chital, gaur, three-striped palm squirrel, common langur, jackal, wild pig, black buck, striped hyena, leopard, mouse deer, porcupine, chinkara, Sāmbhar and ant-eating pangolin. Not to forget the barasingha, an endangered species of deer found only here.

Book an early morning elephant safari from the Mukki entrance. Elephants are trained to block tigers so tourists can get a good look at them.

Jim Corbett National Park: Best for vistas
Dedicated to the legendary hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett, The Jim Corbett National Park is one of India's oldest tiger reserves, which was initially established way back in 1936 as the Hailey National Park, before being rechristened in the mid-1950s.

Nestled in the foothills of The Himalayas, these 500 square kilometers of Wildlife abode, offers its visitors a wide variety of terrainranging from Sal forests to marshes. Corbett is also known as "Elephant Park" owing to a large number of wild tuskers, who can best be spotted at the Rāmgangā River. The park has watchtowers such as the one at Dhikala, where you could spend unceasing hours observing the enchanting wildlife.

In addition to the striped feline beauty, you also have bright prospects of spotting leopards, jungle cats, fishing cats, sloth bears, jackals, bharal, goral, Himalayan tahr, serow, chital, Sāmbhar and barking deer.

Tadoba National Park ,Chandrapur
Known as "The Jewel of Vidharba", Tadoba National Park is neatly pitched in the district of Chandrapur, located in the north-eastern part of the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Being the heart of a reserved forest, this reserve offers infinite treasure in form of innumerable species pertaining to flora and fauna. Although the major attraction here is the majestic tiger, it would be unfair if the large herds of Chital, the stately Sāmbhar, the elusive Barking Deer, the fleet footed Chausinga, the majestic Gaur, the robust Nilgai, the shy Sloth Bear, the whistling Wild dogs, the elusive hyenas, the omnipresent Wild Boar, and the stealthy Leopard go unattended, which collectively make a lasting impressions on the visitors arriving at this Reserve. Indian Pangolins, Porcupines and Common Langurs too offer their cameo services to one and all who reach this destination with an aim to enjoy and unwind.As dusk settles and night falls, other nocturnal animals including the small Indian civet, the Palm civet, the ratel, and the flying squirrel make their presence well applauded.

Pench National Park
In the year 1999 The Pench National Park and Tiger Reserve received the official status of "Tiger Reserve of India" after being declared as a National Park by the Government of Maharashtra in 1975. Located in the lower southern reaches of the Satpura hill ranges this reserve extends over an area of 257 square kilometers along the northern boundary of Nagpur District.

The park gleefully derives its name from the Pench River, which wanders through it,thus dividing it down the center. Pench is an important ecosystem, which supports an abundance of flora and fauna, including a plethora of aquatic life.The park is home to 33 species of mammals, 164 species of birds, 50 species of fish, 10 species of amphibians, 30 species of reptiles, and a wide variety of insect life.

Primarily a National reserve for tigers and panthers, Pench is also home to sāmbhar, chital, barking deer, nilgai, black buck, gaur, wild boar, chausingha, sloth bears, wild dogs, langurs, monkeys, mouse deer, black-naped hare, jackals, foxes, hyenas, porcupines, and flying squirrels, to name a few.

Periyar National Park
Periyar National Park, also known as Periyar Tiger Reserve, is in the mountainous Western Ghats of Kerala, southern India. With the protected area having a span of 925 Sq. Km, this wildlife sanctuary is home to tigers and a significant elephant population, as well as rare lion-tailed macaques, sambar deer, leopards and Indian bison.

The park also known as Thekkady offers a variety of flora as many as hundreds of flowering plant taxa, including 171 species of grass and 140 species of orchids. The forests contain deciduous and semi-evergreen trees like teak, rosewood, sandalwood, jacarandas, mango, jamun, tamarind , etc.

Among the fauna, one can capture 35 species of mammals which include Bengal tigers, elephants, white tigers, gaur, sambar, wild pig, Indian giant squirrel, Travancore flying squirrel, sloth bear, jungle cat, etc. Besides, there are 265 species of birds that can be seen in the park. Among the reptiles there are 45 species living here which include 30 types of snakes and 12 types of lizards.

Each destination offers a variety of boarding and lodging options, including jungle resorts and Hotels to suit your budget, mood and style.