5 best places in India to spot tigers

Looking to spot the big cat? Head to one of these beautiful sanctuaries! 

India’s national animal is also an endangered one. The good news, of course, is that the number of tigers is on the increase. India is home to most of the tiger population and with concerted efforts by the government as well as some great work by the NGOs, the numbers have gone up considerably. Just ten years ago, in 2006, the tiger population in India was just 1,411. Cut to 2014 when the numbers were up to 2,226. By some estimates India is now home to 2500 tigers. By all means, these are encouraging numbers given that the tiger population of the world is about 3,890. So where can you spot the tiger in India? Keep reading and find out!

1. Ranthambore National Park
Spread over some 1334 sq km, Rajasthan’s Ranthambore National Park is also one of the best tiger reserves in the country. Popular among amateur and wildlife photographers, Ranthambore (according to the 2014 census) is home to at least 62 big cats. The park authorities organise safaris twice every day – at 06:30 and 14:30 – each of them lasting at least three hours.

2. Jim Corbett National Park
The first national park in India, Jim Corbett is the reserve that inspired the famous Project Tiger programme of 1973 aimed to conserve wild tigers. Besides tigers, Jim Corbett National Park is also home to sloth bears, peacocks, langurs and at least 200-odd wild elephants.

3. Bandhavgarh National Park
Often considered to be the original home of white tigers, Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh is also home to the Indian bisons, sambars and cheetahs. While its tiger population is indeed the major draw of Bandhavgarh, it also has several other attractions… including shrines dating back to the 10th century!

4. Kanha Tiger Reserve
Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh is yet another place to spot tigers in the wild. But besides tigers, Kanha is also home to at least 43 species of mammals as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna.

5. Bandipur National Park
Nestled in the Western Ghats, Bandipur National Park in Karnataka is also a great place to spot tigers. Not only does the park organise morning and evening safaris, it also offers accommodation in the form of lodges and eco-friendly hotels on its fringes.

Photograph: Karthik Dwarakanath/Flickr (Under Creative Commons license)