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International Tiger Day: Top Tiger Reserves in India

International Tiger Day
Source: Freepik

29th July is the International Tiger Day. On this day; as the world pays homage to this imperial animal; here’s a tribute to their natural habitat too. Where will the tiger population in the world be without special spaces reserved for them? The answer is as clear as the fact that despite the best conservation efforts, the tiger population in the world still stands at a critical number.

Things are, no doubt, better than the last decade, in terms of the world tiger population. And India has played a major role in increasing this figure. India’s Project Tiger has been monumental in increasing the overall population of the species as well as protect their numbers. Each tiger reserve in India has a protected area. For example; Bandhavgarh National Park is spread over 1598 sq km approximately but only 310 sq km area is open for tourists.

Here’s a list of top 10 tiger reserves in India by total area:                                                       

  1. Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Andhra Pradesh-Telangana (3296 sq km approx.)
  2. Manas National Park, Assam (3150.92 sq km approx.)
  3. Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra: (2768.52 sq km approx.)
  4. Similipal National Park, Odisha (2750 sq km approx.)
  5. Amrabad Tiger Reserve, Telangana (2611.39 sq km approx.)
  6. Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, West Bengal (2584.89 sq km approx.)
  7. Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh (2201.7748 sq km approx.)
  8. Satpura Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh (2133.30797 sq km approx.)
  9. Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh (2052.82 sq km approx.)
  10. Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh (2051.791 sq km approx.)

(Source: http://www.wiienvis.nic.in/Database/trd_8222.aspx)

Other popular tiger reserves of India are: Pench, Ranthambore, Sariska, Tadoba-Andhari, Panna, Pench, Bandhavgarh, Corbett, Kaziranga, and Bandipur.

If you are traveling to India and interested in visiting tiger reserves in the country then here’s a handy guide (for the best chances of sighting):

Best Tiger Reserve in India for Sighting

If you do not wish to miss tiger sighting when visiting any reserve then your best bet is the Bandhavgarh National Park. It is one of the best places for Tiger Safari in India. Since the last 25 years or so, this national park has been the most consistent year by year in terms of tiger sightings (males, females, cubs). B2 (1997-2011) was one of the most famous tigers in this reserve. His family line and those of other tigers now grace Bandhavgarh.

June to October are ideal months to visit this reserve. Other than tigers, the park has mammals such as leopards, Indian grey wolves, sloth bear, blue bull, spotted deer, Indian gaur, barking deer, and more. Bird species in the park are short toed snake eagle, red-headed vulture, Indian pitta, peregrine falcons, Malabar pied eagle etc.

In the monsoon months (mostly July-September), the park is not open for tourists. It is also closed every Wednesday and on the days of the Holi and Diwali festivals. So, plan your itinerary accordingly. Buffer zones in the park remain open throughout the year. But tiger sighting opportunities in these areas are scant. These areas are Johila, Panpatha, and Damokhar. The main safari zones are Tala (where B2 ruled), Khitauli, and Magdhi. The morning safaris start around sunrise and the afternoon ones around 3 PM. Full-day safaris are possible in the park but these are expensive than the usual tours offered (lasting for 4-5 hours) here.

Planning the trip: Safari bookings are limited. It is best to book your tour 3-5 months in advance. Slots via online bookings are full as soon as they open at around 11 AM every day. You can book them via operators or travel companies offering safari tours. You can then book your flights to Delhi or any other places in India according to your tour dates.

How to reach Bandhavgarh: You can fly to Delhi and take a train to Umaria, which is at a distance of around 32 km from the park. You can also take flights to Jabalpur (from Delhi Airport or any other airport in the country) from where it is at a distance of some 180 kms. You can travel this distance by road.

Where to stay in Bandhavgarh: There are plenty of accommodation options for those visiting this famous tiger reserve in India. In the luxury space; your options are Samode Safari Lodge, Taj Mahua Kothi, Bandhav Vilas, Tiger’s Den Resort, Lemontree Wildlife Resort, Bagh Tola Bandhavgarh etc. Other options are Infinity Resorts Bandhavgarh, Tiger Lagoon Resorts, Tiger Trails Resort, and the Wildflower Resort.

The tiger population in India and the world declined due to human action. The least humans can do is respect this species’ natural space, honor their place in the natural world, and keep them safe. Otherwise; the day is not far when this critically-endangered species may not exist anymore.

The regal and royal tiger owes no one an answer. However, the human race, has a lot to answer to the entire natural kingdom. The tiger reserves in India and the world are critical to keep them safe and help them roam the planet freely like they are supposed to do. Wildlife tourism needs be responsible tourism. Otherwise; conservation is moot. And then ‘reserve’ is not the right word to use for any protected space for wildlife.

You can book flights to India via Indian Eagle to pay your own homage to the Royal Bengal Tiger. Visit all the top tiger reserves in India as and when possible, during your trips to the country.


What is the total number of tiger reserves in India?

There are now 53 tiger reserves in India.

Which is the largest tiger reserve in India?

Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam, (renamed as Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary) is the largest reserve in the country, with an area of over 3000 sq km approximately. It is spread over five districts in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Which is the smallest tiger reserve of India?

Bor Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra is the smallest tiger reserve in the country.

How many tiger reserves are there in Rajasthan?

Rajasthan has a total of four tiger reserves at Sariska, Ranthambore, Mukundra, and the latest is the Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary (somewhere between Ranthambore and Mukundra reserves).

What is the total number of tigers in India?

As per the data from the last census (2018-19), the tiger population in India stands at 2967.

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