6 Must-Visit National Parks In India Before Monsoon Arrives

If you are interested in getting up close with wildlife, be sure to visit these parks before they shut down for the monsoon
Indian rhinoceros crossing a safari trail at Kaziranga National Park, Assam
Indian rhinoceros crossing a safari trail at Kaziranga National Park, AssamSom Moulick/Shutterstock

Most national parks in India will soon be closed for the annual monsoon season, a routine procedure undertaken each year before the advent of heavy rains and flooding during the monsoon season. This is because of several reasons. Wildlife sanctuaries are kept closed during this time to align with seasonal changes and wildlife migration patterns. It is the breeding season for some animals. The rains are when snakes tend to come out on roads during this time, which can pose a threat to humans. The off-road tracks in the forest areas also become muddy, which can result in jungle safari vehicles getting stuck.

The core zones for all tiger reserves are closed during the monsoon, but some buffer zones may remain open for safaris in a few parks. The dates for closure differ from state to state. For example, the monsoon break for national parks in Madhya Pradesh is from July 1 to September 30, while Ranthambore National Park zones 1 to 5 are closed for the monsoon. Jim Corbett National Park and Dudhwa National Park are closed from June 16 to November 15. In Assam, parks are generally closed from May 1 till October. If you are interested in getting up close with wildlife, be sure to visit these parks before they shut down for the monsoon. However, during these adventures, do regard for the needs of animals and their environment, and do not interfere with their natural state. Being a responsible traveller means having positive wildlife experiences that don't hurt the animals. Check here for dos and donts.

Jim Corbett National Park

An elephant herd at Corbett National Park
An elephant herd at Corbett National ParkAnuradha Marwah/Shutterstock

Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand stands as a testament to the country's rich biodiversity and natural beauty. Established in 1936, it is the oldest national park in India and is renowned for its population of Bengal tigers and diverse flora and fauna. Check here and here for our guide to the park and an itinerary to plan your trip. If you wish to visit the park during the heavy rains, the Jhirna zone is kept open. Jeep safaris are available in the mornings and will take you to the buffer area of the park, the Sitabani zone, for a duration of three hours.

Getting There

The nearest major airport is in Delhi. Take a train or drive approximately 250 kilometres to Ramnagar, the nearest town. From there, it's a short drive to the park's various entry gates, depending on your chosen safari zone.

Dudhwa National Park

A Himalayan flameback or goldenback woodpecker at Dudhwa
A Himalayan flameback or goldenback woodpecker at DudhwaSourabh Bharti/Shutterstock

Situated on the Indo-Nepal border in the Lakhimpur-Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh, the park is part of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. It is home to various species of endangered animals and diverse wildlife, such as swamp deer, tigers, leopards, black bucks, elephants, antelopes, jackals, and various bird species. The park's geographical location allows for thick sal and teak forests, numerous horseshoe bends caused by meandering rivers, and plenty of swamp areas due to the high water table. Apart from being home to some of the most endangered animals, such as tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, and hispid hare, it is also an excellent habitat for rare avian species like the Bengal Florican. For bird enthusiasts, the park is a haven. The surrounding area also offers several noteworthy attractions, including temples, making it a comprehensive destination for nature and cultural enthusiasts. Check here for our guide.

Getting There

The nearest airport is situated 283 km away in Lucknow, and the nearest railway station is the Shahjahanpur railway station. Lakhimpur-Kheri is well-connected to major cities like Delhi and Lucknow if you want to travel via road. 

Kanha National Park

A Bengal Tiger on a stroll in the park
A Bengal Tiger on a stroll in the parkSourabh Bharti/Shutterstock

One of the most notable works of literature, The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, was written keeping the jungles of Kanha National Park in mind. The Kanha National Park ranks out on top according to maximum tiger sightings. Due to the constant efforts and dedication of wildlife conservation experts, the Kanha National Park has become a model example of ecological conservation. The park has a sizeable number of Royal Bengal tigers and has been the talk of the town since it brought back barasinghas, which were on the verge of extinction.

Getting There

The nearest airport to Kanha National Park is Jabalpur, 160 km away. The nearest railheads are Jabalpur and Gondia.


A tigress with her cubs in Tadoba Tiger Reserve
A tigress with her cubs in Tadoba Tiger ReserveVIKTORIYA SAMIR DIXIT/Shutterstock

Situated in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, the Tadoba National Park occupies an area of 1727 sq. km. It has been part of Project Tiger for a decade. The park has a public road that runs through it, and it's not unusual to spot tigers on a bus. The animals that roam the park include leopards, sloth bears, sambar, spotted deer, blue bulls, gaur, and wild dogs. The park is also home to almost 200 species of birds. Check here for first-person narratives of journeys in Tadoba.

Getting There

The Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve is about 140 kms from Nagpur (nearest airport) and 45 kms from Chandrapur, the nearest railway station. You can hire a taxi to reach the tiger reserve.

Ranthambore National Park

Spotted deer herd at Ranthambore National Park
Spotted deer herd at Ranthambore National ParkSourabh Bharti/Shutterstock

Ranthambore is counted amongst the biggest and most renowned national parks of northern India. Nestled in Sawai Madhopur district of Southeastern Rajasthan lies the wildlife sanctuary known for its Bengal tigers. Densely populated by the national animal of the country, its rich fauna means that hyenas, nilgais, langurs, and the Indian leopards also find home in this vast territory. Enclosed by the Banas River to the north and the Chambal River to its south, the national park is about 150km from Jaipur. Deriving its name from the monumental Ranthambore fortress that sits deep within, this wildlife destination is home to a diverse range of birds, reptiles, and trees. Check here for our guide.

Getting There

Located 145 km from Jaipur (the closest airport), Ranthambore National Park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district in south-eastern Rajasthan. Sawai Madhopur has its own railway station. 

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park, located in Assam's Golaghat and Nagaon districts, is home to two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceros population, which also gave the park the status of a World Heritage Site. Kaziranga also has a high density of tigers, a good number of swamp deer (barasingha), wild water buffalo, and wild elephants breed here. The park is also recognised as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International.

Getting There

Jorhat Airport, 96 kilometers from Kaziranga National Park, is the closest airport. Furkating Junction railway station, is the nearest railway station.

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