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Where to go tiger-spotting before the season ends

It's the peak season to spot the striped cat
Image courtesy: ©Shutterstock/Ondrej Prosicky

It is the season to come face-to-face with the national animal, and if you don’t want to miss a chance to see the tiger, here’s an opportunity. Take your pick from the best national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India to spot the tiger.

Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh

A couple of days at this extremely popular national park guarantees a few encounters with the Royal Bengal Tiger, which – due to its relatively small area – boasts perhaps the highest concentration of the striped cat in the world. Apart from the showpiece tigers, Bandhavgarh’s star attraction is the leopard – there are about 40 these creatures around here, compared to about 45 tigers.

Best time to go: November–May

Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

Striped tigers majestically roam an expansive savannah, and hundreds of eyes spy on you from the primal depths of an evergreen forest. Established in 1936 as India’s first national park, Corbett takes its name from the legendary tiger hunter Jim Corbett (1875–1955), who put Kumaon (the district in which the forest lies) on the map with his celebrated book The Maneaters of Kumaon. Covering an area of more than 1300 sq km, this terai wildland is home to nearly 200 tigers. The varied landscape of the park – ranging from dense vegetation to rolling grasslands – is an added draw.

Best time to go: November–May

Also Read: Ten must-see national parks in India

Also Read: Solo travel: how to keep costs down


A safari is the best way to reach the interiors of national parks and spot the tiger
A safari is the best way to reach the interiors of national parks and spot the tiger
Image courtesy: ©Shutterstock/Paul Cameron Allen

Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

Comprising 1334 sq km of wild jungle scrub hemmed in by rocky ridges, this famous park, open from October to June, is the best place to spot wild tigers in Rajasthan. Getting an accurate figure on the number of tigers comes down to who you believe – the park probably has around 32 tigers. Spotting one is a matter of luck; you should plan on two or three safaris to improve your chances. The only way to travel into the core of the national park is by going on the safari. These safaris are usually done in open-top canters and Gypsys.

Best time to go: November–March

The Sundarbans Tiger Reserve is the showpiece attraction of coastal West Bengal
The Sundarbans Tiger Reserve is the showpiece attraction of coastal West Bengal
Image courtesy: ©Shutterstock/Rudra Narayan Mitra

Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

The Sundarbans Tiger Reserve is the showpiece attraction of coastal West Bengal. Although an encounter with the famed Royal Bengal tiger is not guaranteed, a boat cruise on the muddy rivulets meandering through dense mangrove forests is sure to thrill you to no end. Home to one of the largest concentrations of royal Bengal tigers on the planet, the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve is a network of water channels and semi-submerged mangrove forests that collectively form the world’s largest river delta. Tigers (officially estimated to number close to 300) lurk in the impenetrable depths of the mangrove forests, and also swim the delta’s rivulets.

Best time to go: November–May

Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is the king of the jungle when it comes to tiger parks, and Kanha is the most famous of all jungles in the Central Indian region. The forests are vast and your chances of seeing tigers are good. Besides, you can really go deep into the forest here, and have a superb safari experience. An outing in Kanha scores in terms of authenticity. Unlike the obligatory rush-and-grab outings that Bandhavgarh is known for, Kanha allows you to roam the forests at will, going the distance to spot a tiger rather than have the tiger come to you. True, this reduces the probability of tiger sightings as compared to Bandhavgarh, but you will get a feel of the forest here that’s far more original than many other parks in India.

Best time to go: November–May

Mudumalai National Park, Tamil Nadu

In the foothills of the Nilgiri Mountains in Tamil Nadu, this 321sq km forest reserve is like a classical South Indian landscape painting brought to life. The striped Royal Bengal Tiger is the showcase species in Mudumalai. There are around 50 tigers lurking in these jungles – giving Mudumalai the highest tiger density anywhere in the country. However, as in any other nature reserve, you will have to be extremely lucky to actually spot one. Overall, though, the reserve is the best place to spot wildlife in Tamil Nadu.

Best time to go: November–May