The jungles of India have long been shrouded in mystery and magic. Local folklore and pop culture alike have created legends of some of the countries iconic wildlife species. Shere Kahn I hear you say?

India is blessed with a vast array of biodiversity with both its flora and fauna. The topography includes lush green mountains, grassy flatlands and beautiful coastlines. It provides a home to a wide range of animal species as well, with the most famous being The Big Five of Asia. These are the Asian elephant, Bengal tiger, Leopard, Asiatic lion, and the Greater one-horned rhinoceros.

There are more than 100 national parks in India, so planning a safari is understandably tricky. If you’re looking for a rundown on the best wild destinations in India, then you’ve come to the right place!

The Top 10 National Parks in India

1. Jim Corbett National Park

 Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India. It was established in 1936 as a part of a project aimed at protecting Bengal tigers. 

Currently, there are more than 200 Bengal tigers living in Jim Corbett – the highest population density of any national park in India. It’s also home to more than 500 bird species, both migratory and native, so it is a great place for keen birders too!

The Top 10 National Parks in India
A Bengal tiger snarls while being photographed by safari goers in Jim Corbett National Park, India | © Siddhesh Mungekar (@mungekar_siddhesh)

There are 7 official safari zones in the national park. However only  ‘Jhirna’ is kept open during the monsoon season which runs from June to September.

Therefore the best time to visit Jim Corbett National Park is mid-year, between May and June. This is when wildlife viewing is at its best. 

2. Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park is one of the most popular national parks in India. Providing a safe home for the Greater one-horned rhino has earned the park UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

The conservation initiative for this critically endangered species began in 1903 with just 12 individuals living in the area. Today, it is reported that there are more than 1500 individuals in the wild. 

The Top 10 National Parks in India
Greater one-horned rhino in a beautiful meadow in Kaziranga National Park, India | © Ajay Jahan (@ajaycanclick)

Apart from rhinos, Kaziranga is home to herds of elephant, tigers, sloth bears, and water buffaloes.

For a completely unique experience, you can also go on a boat safari. Image up-close scenes of elephants bathing in the water, or sights of waterbirds peacefully moving through their natural habitat.

The best time to visit Kaziranga National Park is between November and March, because the vegetation is less-dense during the winter months and animals are easier to spot.

3. Kanha National Park

Another one of the top national parks in India is Kanha National Park, widely known for its exceptionally well maintained infrastructure and variety of flora and fauna.

The park is also known for its conversation efforts, after playing a key role in protecting the endangered Swamp Deer, or Barasinghas. 

Barasingha or Swamp deer in Kanha National Park | © Nitesh Anandan (@cnemaspis_anandani)

Kanha National Park boasts large forests of Sal trees, which make for an incredible sight when in full bloom. Along with the floral attractions, you will also be able to see elephants, tigers, sambar deer and sloth bears while in the park.

There are around 100 Bengal tigers in Kanha, which makes it one of the best places to spot one, especially in the morning or evening hours. 

The best time to visit Kanha National Park is between November and February, when wildlife viewing is at its best.

4. Ranthambhore National Park

Ranthambhore National Park is widely considered to be the most picturesque national park in India. With ancient ruins in and amongst its lush forests, Ranthambhore offers a look into bygone era.

The ruins of Ranthambore Fort and the Jogi Mahal are a must-see while in the park, and if you’re really lucky you might be able to see a tiger in and around the ancient temples.

Ranthambore National Park provides a home to more than 40 Bengali tigers so you will also have a 70% chance of seeing one on your safari.

It is located very close to Delhi, so you can combine a nice cityscape with a wildlife safari!

The Top 10 National Parks in India
The famous tigress Machli, in Ranthambore National Park, India | © Abhikram Shekhawat (@abhikram_shekhawat_photography)

Other animals you can hope to see are leopards, Indian gazelles, golden jackals, sloth bears, sambar deer, and spotted deer.

The best time to visit Ranthambhore National Park is from April to June, just before the monsoon season.

5. Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the most scenically beautiful national parks in India and provides home to all of the country’s incredible wildlife species.

It is also reported to have the highest concentration of Bengal tigers in India. So it goes without saying that there is a pretty good chance for you to see one while on safari. 

Sloth bear walks along a dirt road | © Dimuthu Ekanayaka (@wild_with_dimu)

Interestingly the genes of every single white bengal tiger on earth can be traced back to Bandhavgarh. Today, around 50 individual tigers call the park home.

Aside from the tigers, the reserve is also home to more than 35 mammal species, 80 species of butterflies, and 100 birds! So, it is an all-in-one journey for the wildlife enthusiast! 

The best time to visit Bandhavgarh National Park is April and May, when the wildlife viewing is at its best.