The tiger is one of the world’s most iconic species, a creature that’s been at the heart of both western and eastern culture for centuries. The tiger once roamed throughout Asia but its numbers have been decimated in recent decades – it’s estimated there are only 3,200 left in the wild, a 95% drop over the last century, and four subspecies (Bali, Javan, Caspian and South China) are either extinct or lost to the wild. The tiger is under threat from both the loss of its habitat and from poaching due to its use in the lucrative illegal trade in Chinese medicine – it’s estimated that a whole tiger can fetch more than $50,000. The nature reserves of India are some of the best places to see the Bengal tiger in the wild, though the creature’s solitary nature and their low density makes spotting these magnificent animals quite difficult. Of the 16 or so tiger reserves in India, the main ones are highlighted below. Catching sight of these increasingly rare but wonderful animals will be an unforgettable part of your travels and one of the most memorable wildlife experiences on earth.
|Corbett National Park|
Corbett National Park is located north of Delhi in the forest-covered slopes of the Himalayan foothills. With thick forests, open grasslands and a network of rivers and streams, Corbett has a wide variety of wildlife. These include tiger, Asian elephant, leopard, langur, wild boar and several species of antelope. Corbett is open between the months of October and June.
|Ranthambore National Park|
Ranthambore National Park is one of the premier national parks of India, covering over 400 km². The main attraction here is the Bengal tiger, a critically endangered species in India, with about 40 present in the park. Game drives in the park offer a good chance at spotting this magnificent creature, particularly between September and May when the dry season forces the animals to stay close to the lakes and rivers. Ranthambore is unusual in that amidst the wildlife lie the ruins of ancient forts and temples, making for a very picturesque setting. The 10th century Ranthambore Fort is one of the oldest in the country and offers spectacular views from its hilltop location. Other animals in the park include antelopes like the nilgai, sambar and chital, the sloth bear, cats such as the caracal, leopard and striped hyena as well as crocodiles and many bird species including crested hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, jacana, parakeet and white-breasted kingfishers. Ranthambore is open between the months of October and June.
|Bandhavgarh National Park|
Bandhavgarh National Park lies in the hills and plains beneath the Vindhyan Mountains in central India, a former hunting ground of the Rewa kings which was donated to the state in 1968. Covering some 450 km², the park boasts the highest density of tigers of any of India's reserves, with an estimated 60-70 animals. An ancient fortress, believed to date back some 2,000 years, lies on a clifftop overlooking the park. Aside from tigers, the park boasts leopard, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, nilgai, chital, wild pig, muntjac, chinkara, barking deer and up to 150 bird species including green pigeon, crested serpent eagle, hornbills, drongoes, fly- catchers, barbets, bee-eaters and parakeets. Bandhavgarh also offers the chance to view game whilst riding an elephant. Bandhavgarh is open between the months of October and June.
|Kanha National Park|
Kanha National Park is one of India's greatest parks, covering almost 2,000 km² of undulating terrain including grasslands, forests, plateaus and dramatic rocky escarpments. Kanha is thought to be the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and is a haven for wildlife with some 22 mammal and 230 bird species. In addition to about 200 resident tigers, you can spot leopard, porcupine, gaur, hyena, mongoose, sloth bear, the Indian pangolin and the rare swamp deer (barasingha), an animal unique to Khana. Bird species include hoopoes, warblers, woodpeckers, kingfishers, egrets, herons, ibis, peafowl, drongo, flycatcher, rollers and the grey hornbill. Kanha is open between the months of October and June.
|Pench National Park|
Pench National Park is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh and comprises undulating hilly terrain with forests over 275 km². The park is home to tiger, which inhabit the region around the Pench River, as well as leopard, jungle cat, Indian and palm civet, sambar, nilgai and chital. There are also more than 170 bird species in the park.
|Periyar National Park|
Periyar National Park in Kerala is one of the largest parks in India at 777 km², centred around an artificial lake created by the British in the 19th century. One of the main wildlife sanctuaries of southern India, Periyar is home to a variety of mammal and bird species including sambar, chital, langur, wild boar, otter, buffalo, gaur, elephant and the elusive leopard and tiger, of which there are about 40 in the park. The park can be explored by boat rides on the lake or guided walks through the forests.
Travel to Bengal Tigers
Organised group tours: The following tours for Bengal Tigers are available:
For those with an interest in India and in particular its wildlife, this is an unmissable Indian adventure holiday. After an overnight train ride from Delhi, we take our first game drives at Bandhavgarh, which has the highest density of tigers of any Indian reserve - there is every chance of spotting a tiger here! After 3 days, we move on to nearby Kanha, a well-run park comprising almost 2000 square kilometres of grassland, forest and rocky ridge-lines, whose rich wildlife includes monkeys, deer, wild boar, leopard and tiger. Then, we travel to Agra and spend a full day exploring the Red Fort, the colourful bazaars and the breathtakingly beautiful Taj Mahal. Finally, we visit world-famous Ranthambore, once a hunting reserve of the Jaipur Maharajas and still home to an abundant wildlife. With its atmospheric forts and temples, hidden deep within the forest, this place was an inspiration for Kipling. It can inspire you, too!
Further Exploration for Bengal Tigers
|Information and archive footage of the tiger||Learn about and support conservation efforts to protect the tiger|